This is a super detailed review of the Gymboss Interval Timer and Stopwatch. It's a great little gadget and I'm guessing most of you have some idea of what it does or you wouldn't be here. However, for those that don't, let's start with what it's really good for.
What is Round Timing?
Boxing workouts are basically forms of interval training. You reap all of the benefits of that type of training which includes more calorie burn during and after training, muscle gain, ability to do more work, increased power, and so on.
Any type of interval training requires you to work hard for a specific length of time, followed by a rest period of a specific length of time. It is a mistake to try and do this without some type of timer to keep you on track. If you don't, you'll find your periods of hard work getting shorter while your rest periods get longer - resulting in a less effective workout. If you're going to workout, you might as well get the most out of your time.
Boxing uses 2-3 minute rounds of hard work followed by 1 minute of rest. In the Commando Boxing system, I'll manipulate those timings based on your circumstances so you need a timer to tell you when to start and stop. It must be automatic, repeating, and keep track of rounds so you can focus on what you need to do and not fumble around with a stopwatch (which is especially difficult with gloves on...)
There are options available - smartphone apps, websites, dedicated timers and so on. I've tried most of them and I highly recommend you pick up the Gymboss Interval Timer in the video above. Below is a review of the product for you to consider. Even if you don't decide on a Gymboss - get a timer of some sort and learn how to use it - you'll need it in the coming days.
FULL DISCLAIMER: I use this product and this is what I honestly think of it. I will NEVER recommend products to you that I have not personally used. When I do recommend something - Commando Boxing gets a small commission if you buy through one of the links on this page. Thanks for your support.
GYMBOSS INTERVAL TIMER AND STOPWATCH REVIEW
Whether you are following the Commando Boxing System or just using boxing in your own workouts, you'll quickly discover that you need a way to time your rounds and rest intervals. The Gymboss Interval Timer and Stop Watch is the answer you are looking for.
Back in 2010, Jake from Gymboss contacted me to see if I'd like to try out a Gymboss and report about it. After laying the ground rules, that I will say exactly what I think, good or bad, one quickly showed up in the mail, I clipped it on and for a couple weeks - used it exclusively to put it through a thorough beating...I mean testing.
It's now 2014 and I still use this timer for all my workouts. It's been going strong for four years of near daily use (on the same battery which I think is remarkable in itself) - without any issues at all.
WHAT IS IT?
Update: Since I wrote the first version of this review, Gymboss now has a couple different timers - the original Gymboss and the Gymboss Max. I've only used the original Gymboss and this review is based on that. The Gymboss Max looks identical but has a more robust program in it to allow more complex interval setups. I haven't needed the extra horsepower so I'm happy with my original Gymboss, but it's an option if you want.
Physically, the original Gymboss Interval Timer is 5.5cm long x 4.5cm wide x 2.3cm thick (including the clip). It is made out of a lightweight plastic which initially feels kind of cheap, but you get used to it and unless you are smashing it into the floor, works just fine.
Recently, Gymboss redesigned their timers and made massive improvements to its basic look and feel. It is no longer a cheap looking timer.
As you can see in the video, it has a large screen, that is easy to read. I find that useful when I'm doing sprints on the bag and want to know how much time is left in the round. As I usually put the timer on the floor next to me - it's good that I can read the screen at a glance.
It is powered by 1 x AAA battery. Battery life is unbelievably awesome. It's been going for over four years on the same battery - usually 15 round workouts 2-3 times per week in all conditions.
It currently comes in ten different colors- Silver, Violet, Orange, Green, Black/Yellow, White/Grey, Green/Camo, Gold/White, Pink/Camo, and Teal.
It has three buttons that are used to program it and operate it. The video above covers programming and operation, but I'll just say that it was very easy to follow the included instructions and I had it up and running in about 2 minutes. It is water and shock resistant and comes with a 30 day 100% Money Back Guarantee and a 1 year warranty against defects.
If you choose to wear it, it attaches to your clothing via a standard spring loaded clip or there is an armband you can buy as an accessory. The unit resembles a pager (although lighter and smaller) if you have ever used one. On the new version, the belt clip is detachable and you can attach a lanyard.
WHAT WILL THE GYMBOSS DO?
As you can read on the back of the package, with the Gymboss you can:
- Set one or two different time intervals from 2 seconds to 100 minutes
- Repeat up to 99 times
- Auto keep repeating through the intervals
- Acts manually as countdown timer
- Set alarms by beep, vibration, or both
- Set alarm duration of 1, 5, or 10 seconds
- Use as a stop watch
WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT IT?
The Gymboss is a simple round timing/interval timing product that does what it promises to do. It focuses on a few features and does them extremely well. It tells you how long to work and how long to rest . You setup the timer for your workout, turn it on and let it direct what you do. The ability to set two timers in the unit means one interval timer tracks your work duration, the other tracks your rest interval. You don't need anything more for a boxing workout.
The Gymboss is light. So light in fact that in the beginning I was constantly checking to make sure it was still clipped to my shorts. You really don't know it is there until it starts vibrating or beeping telling you to do something.
The clip is strong and solidly built. If you wear it (I usually don't) - it keeps the Gymboss securely in place through every punch, bounce, situp, pushup, squat, etc... Yes, it actually stays put - everytime. I've been trying to find a good set of headphones that will stay in my ears while I workout, so it would have been absolutely frustrating to have another piece of kit that is supposed to make my workouts better and more enjoyable falling off every couple of minutes. I'm happy to say, it didn't.
The Gymboss has the perfect set of notification options. It either beeps (high or low), vibrates, or both, telling you when it is time to start, stop, or switch from one thing to another. I tried all three and then settled on a low beep with vibrate to notify me. You can increase the number of beeps from 1 to 5 or 10 and apparently the volume or pitch - although I didn't notice a difference between a high beep and a low beep in either volume or pitch. I do a lot of work one on one with people and having an audible beep works great in that type of setting (or even a group setting) while the vibrate option is good for those training times when you're in a busy place and don't necessarily want people looking at you every time you beep.
I was quite impressed with the ease of programming. I got a little concerned when Jake told me I could watch videos on Youtube that would step me through how to program the Gymboss, but can honestly say I didn't need to go that route and simply relied on the 4 x 6 page of instructions that came with the unit. It was well written, short, and to the point and I didn't get lost once. I got the hang of it in about 2 minutes and pretty sure anyone else could do the same. That said, if you are having trouble, they've put videos on Youtube that can walk you through it. 🙂
Now I don't know for sure if the speed with which my Gymboss arrived for review is indicative of an actual order or if the customer service I received via email from Jake is the standard, but I can say mine showed up about a day after I emailed Jake and every question I had during the testing was responded to promptly and with a solution or suggestion to my questions. I believe you can tell a lot about a product by the dedication of its company, so they have my thumbs up in this regard.
Last thing I want to mention on the good side is the Gymboss website itself. It clearly shows you how their product is useful for various sports including boxing, mma, running and even provides Tabata routines. If you have some time, visit their site for some good training ideas.
WHAT I THINK NEEDS IMPROVEMENT
I mentioned this as a good point, but I also need to mention it as an area for improvement. I said the Gymboss is an Interval timer and it does that extremely well without any extra bells and whistles. Well, for boxers, I hope future versions of the Gymboss can include one more feature and that is a 10 second warning notification. You usually get the slap on the mat to indicate last ten seconds of the round so you can pick up the pace. That would be helpful.
Update: I believe this is now possible with the newest version of the Gymboss - the Gymboss Max
I was given a solution by Jake who told me how I could achieve the same effect - basically set one timer for 10 seconds and the other for duration of the round, but that means manually resetting/starting the timer every round rather than letting it do its auto round thing. Plus, the 10 second notification, should be a different sound (like hitting the ring or clapping). I've always been a big proponent of training to the same conditions as you find in the ring, so more you can mimic the ring environment, the better you will be conditioned come fight day.
I previously criticized the original Gymboss for looking cheap. I'm happy that Gymboss has recently redesigned their timers - so I can now retract that as a bad point. The new versions look much less like a cheap toy and more like a professional timer.
I also have to point out that even though my initial impression was a cheap shell. That cheap shell managed to withstand four years of abuse in all types of conditions from the hot, dusty sands of Afghanistan and Pakistan to rainy days on the road to extreme cold in Canadian winters. It was no where near as flimsy as it initially felt.
Maybe I'm tone deaf or something, but there are two beep notifications in the unit - a high beep and a low beep. Whether that refers to pitch or volume, I'm not sure, but I really can't tell the difference between the two. Really didn't matter- a beep is a beep, but if they're supposed to be different, as far as I can tell, they aren't.
Overall, I like the Gymboss and recommend you buy one if you're looking for a round timer. It does what it says it will do and has not shown any signs of problems in over four years of use.
The Gymboss is a essential addition to your gym bag and will definitely take the headache out of interval training of any sort including your boxing routines. If you want to be freed from computer based or smartphone round timers for your workouts, the Gymboss Interval Timer and Stop Watch is your ticket.