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My Very Own Ugly Ball!

I just posted my review of the DailyHiit 30 Day Challenge earlier today – what a journey that was!  So check it out if you are looking for a great total body fitness program that you can get done in 15-30 minutes a day.

ugiballpinkOne of the pieces of equipment they use frequently is the Ugi Ball.  It is a weighted, squishy ball that you can use like a sandbag, or to balance on when doing exercises.  It has enough firmness to offer support, but is unsteady enough to make you use muscles to keep your balance better.  They are really nice looking, and generally the reviews are extremely positive, but for the price, I just couldn’t bring myself to purchase one (of course if anyone wants to send me one to review, just send me a message 😉 ).

So I poked around the intarwebs a bit and discovered this gentleman’s homemade version, which is dubbed the Ugly Ball.  Having been around a sewing machine enough that I didn’t feel too intimidated, I printed out his pattern and set out to find material.

My local craft stores did not offer what I needed, but having a business that sells massage therapy equipment means I have contacts with manufacturers, and one of my representatives was kind enough to find some material they use to upholster massage tables and chairs with.  It’s perfect for this project, because I know it is soft but very durable.  I picked up some foam, some quilting batting, matching color thread and a 14″ zipper and set to work.

It took about 30 minutes to cut the pattern out so I ended up with 12 individual pieces, and an additional 2 hours or so to do the sewing.  My version is rather lumpy, I stuffed it with old t-shirts as well to help fill it in a little more.  I weighed it, it comes to just under 5 pounds, and it’s easy enough to shove a bag of bolts from the hardware store in the middle if I need to add a little more to the weight later on.  Here’s the finished product:

myuglyball1 myuglyball2

Can’t wait to be able to use it!

Product Review: Lebert Equalizers

LebertEqualizer1I’ve been deeply entrenched in a 30 day fitness challenge put together by the DailyHiit folks, and they have several pieces of equipment that they use regularly in their videos.  One they use for a lot of their exercises is a set of the Lebert Equalizers, simply two metal stands that can be used in many configurations to help aid your workout.

They aren’t cheap, I did find mine through Power Systems and while deciding whether or not to take the plunge on actually purchasing them I saw advertisements encouraging me to return and complete my order with a free shipping code.  I did see that some people had been able to manufacture their own, but ultimately I wasn’t confident I could do that myself so I bought them.

lebertequalizer4First, the pros: the Equalizers are definitely helpful in doing exercises you may not otherwise be able to do.  There are plenty of items around the house you might be able to modify or use to do similar exercises, but I found there were a few I just could not do without them.  Many people use chairs or coffee tables to take the place of an Equalizer and get just as effective of a workout.  With my limited space, and household items, I just couldn’t do much substitution so that’s why I decided to go forward with them.  They have a smaller footprint and can be stored fairly easily without being too in the way.  They weigh about 8 pounds each so they can double as extra weights for some exercises.  They also feel very solid – I do not feel like there is a weakness to them, even at the places where the bases screw into the top frame.  They are cool looking enough that my daughter gravitated toward them and wanted to do all the exercises on their poster.  In addition to the poster of exercises, they also give you a DVD full of Beginner and Intermediate exercises you can do with them.

lebertequalizer3Now the cons: Upon opening the box they arrived in I was hit with an overpowering chemical smell.  I have smelled this before (particularly with sporting equipment, go figure), it’s a pungent odor that my nose equates with burnt rubber.  I hoped that being out of the box and bubble wrapping would allow it to “de-gas”, but my husband walked into the room I exercise in about 24 hours after I got them and immediately asked who was smoking cigarettes in there!  We are a smoke-free household, and when I entered I could still smell the original odor.  I currently have an Airwick plug in wide open to try and mask the smell.  There are two other complaints I have with the Equalizers, one is that the end-caps on the feet are plastic, NOT rubber as I would expect.  With hardwood floors, these can slide easily and I must try and position them on my yoga mat for safety.  Doing this sometimes forces me to modify exercises or take longer than normal to move from one exercise to another, which I find a but irritating and throws off my rhythm.  The last complaint I have is that Equalizers are a One Size Fits All product, when clearly, they need to make them adjustable or make other sizes for people of different heights.  I think this is perfect for someone around 5’7″.  I am 5’11” and when standing next to it, my fingernails JUST brush the hand grip.  I think for someone of my height, it needs to be at least 3″ taller.

I am not unhappy I purchased them, but nor can I give them a top score.  I am hoping the smell will eventually dissipate, and will just have to get used to crouching down further to adjust for the height.  Not sure what I will do about the caps, perhaps try and wrap them in something to help give them some stick, or only use them up against the wall so they don’t slide.

UPDATE:  Wanted to swing back in and let you know that the odor did indeed go away.  While they are not my main piece of exercise equipment, they are still in use today!

(Photos from Lebert Fitness)
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