Take Me Out to the Metaball Game
A friend of mine offhandedly mentioned yesterday that he and his business partner were involved with a fitness start-up that he'd blithely failed to mention before. And by "before," I mean for the past four years!. And yes, I've regularly asked, "So, what's up?" And "How are things going?" It just never occurred to me to ask, "Working on any physical fitness products?" They're filmmakers, the closest we've come to discussing health and fitness is asking, "Do you ever put butter on your popcorn?" Yet now they're on the verge of going public with it. The product is called "Metaball," which I thought might make a good title for a futuristic action thriller.
I'm not a "going to the gym" or even home workout kind of guy, preferring instead to get my exercise with a morning constitutional for a constitutional. Occasionally, the spirit does move me, and I'll flop to the floor for some push-ups and sit-ups. Though honestly the spirit doesn't move me all that much. So, the product isn't the kind of thing I'd use. But I do know a bunch of friends who go to the gym or workouts at home, and it actually seemed somewhat intriguing for them. It's basically a fitness workout rolled together in this one "ball," something they could use at home and in a reasonably confined space.
The easiest way to describe it is a "medicine ball" that can be manipulated to take the place of a lot of equipment that one would normally buy. For instance, you can pull it apart and add weights, rather than buy multiple medicine balls. And you can also keep the halves unhooked and add weights to each side to turn the device into individual dumbells. Plus, there's a handle attached, which lets it be used as a kettleball. (I didn't know what this was, so I looked it up -- it's another kind of weight training device, that you hold with both hands, more for powerlifting. That's what you see in the image below.) A cord can be also attached to the Metaball and hooked onto a door for stretching exercises. When separated and placed on the ground, its ballbearings let you spin the Metaball to provide an more aerobic style of push ups -- and most bizarrely, you can put straps on the weights which are designed so they can become weight "sandals" you wear on your feet that add further aerobic benefits while exercising.
The added benefit is there's no need to buy all the corresponding equipment the Metaball replaces. (For example, you don't need to buy half a dozen medicine balls -- just the one, and simply add the weights, which are multi-purpose and can additionally be used for the dumbbells and kettleballs.) As such, it also uses far less storage space that would otherwise require a fitness room at home. If it's hard to visualize -- and it was for me, even when my friend was describing it -- this video demonstrates it better.
The guy who designed this is a former Army Ranger captain, and he comes across in the various videos like he's he's enthusiastic, albeit obsessive about this sort of thing. He's also, not surprisingly, a fitness trainer, and a two-time All American wrestler. (I can only imagine the workout DVDs that are included, sort of like a more friendly Louis Gossett, Jr., in An Officer and a Gentleman. "Drop and give me 50, Mister. But it's okay, you can eyeball me!") Since much of this exercise training world is outside my pay grade, the site here describes the "Metaball Fitness System" far better, along with the start-up funding information and various fitness packages. As I said, I have friends who regularly go to The Gym to work out, and much of what I read on the site seems to overlap with things they generally enthuse about, though I tend to zone out when the phrase "reps" comes around for the third time. Me, I'm fine with my morning constitutional, as much as they're into total fitness.
Anyway, I know this isn't of interest to everybody, but if you're one of those Must Do My Daily Workout Folks, this might be worth taking a look at. At the very least, as I've written in my tech columns, I love products that are well-designed and multi-fuctional and that's the most intriguing thing here to me, whether or not I personally ever use a gym workout system. It just simply looks well-made and cleverly made, which I admire.
And now, if you'll excuse me because I have to go chastise my friends again for not telling me for the past four year that they've been involved with this start-up company...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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