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Hawaiian Planking Device

Core muscles are critical for all but in particular for those who spend lots of their time on a chair and by a computer for long hours. It used be nerds now it's a lot more of us. So I built something custom to fight the fat spot.

a year ago

Latest Post 30 years and counting by Victoria Esposito public

Every time I visit my family in Italy I inevitably get some weight that takes months, if not years, to recover from. I know of people who adopt the strategy of eating less (starvation?) and for several MONTHS before they travel to Italy. With the hope of compensating weight on the way back. And yet the ledger is never even close to be balanced.

Photo by NeONBRAND / Unsplash

In 2018, when COVID had not yet ruled that the new world and customs. I tried a different approach, which was

burn calories as you bring them in

It is hard to exercise while on vacation and completely surrounded by good food but it is certainly harder to lose the extra weight afterward. So I figured I will go running in the morning, pretty hardcore, and see if that helps. And I did it even when I was visiting in the cold December, where my head was steaming after running!

Texting to my friend Cristiano and Tim that I am hot 😅

It made a difference but not in the spots I wanted. Whatever was already considered fit was getting better and the belly fat was just flapping around like fake boobs with expired warranty.

Cappuccino and several types of sweets at the BAR in the morning certainly didn't help that routine but the issue was that given that most of the day you do nothing, the type of exercise was certainly not enough or hitting the correct region. The abdominal.

I have built fitness apps, engineered smarth clothing, fitness companies and I am a fitness enthusiast so I am definitely overall knowledgable on the matter but clearly not strong-willed enough to compromise time and effort when.... you know... on vacation!

actual representation of the typical scenario

Italy has this magic spell called "bella vita" (beautiful life) which is expressed in several captivating ways. For example, you call them "spaghetti". Simple though in shape, they are not. Over there it's a way of life, it is ART.

My friend Pierre for example was hunting for good pasta and found this piece of authentic expression of what I am pointing out.

majestic marketing

Food isn't just a form of nutrition, it became a way of life and therefore you are not surrounded by it, you ARE in it, that you want it or not.

So in 2019 when the planet was brewing the worst global virus of the modern biotech era, I made an improvement on the original concept of exercising while deep into the woods of art & food.

I made with my brother and cousin' complicity a device to exercise just the abs and in a very non-time consuming way. I call it Basculo. A playful word around the word "tilt", in Italian.

It quickly became not just a huge success for me but also for very well-aged people and younger lads. Which clearly were attacked by the idea and very challenged by the task. Monica, I know that I still owe you one, since you had offer to beta test it!

Here is the gist of how it was made using a decommissioned bowling ball

In Hawaii feels like home-home to me. Similar weather, a similar lifestyle of the south of Italy, even the weeds are the same! Nonetheless, once the body has adjusted the metabolism of storing for the future simply wins over you unless you move really a lot.

And by moving a lot, I don't mean:

  1. lift really heavy stuff
  2. move up and down across two acres of land like a spin testing (NSFW)
  3. Walking every day 4 miles at ~600 of elevation
one of my daily routines

None of that will help the nerd at the computer. Because the fat is stored where gravity stops, your lap base, the belly. So you have to perform surgical exercises to fight that region and make it less desirable to fat storage.

So... I felt compelled of building Basculo 2.0 and this time with some improvements over the first version. Why building something rather than buy it? You may wonder! My fellow Internet companion.

Carbon footprint not impacted is a good start. Recycling seems another victory lap. Because I have the skills and building makes them better for building bigger things, is definitely a slam dunk. Why not, it is the final mic drop!

I always have been that way though. My dad led the way, here's a picture of when in the 80s my dad was monitoring the workers building his first home. And that little munching there is ME! Steering the concrete pump, yep today someone would go to prison for multiple child <something-here> violations 😄

Dad's is in the back of the hose

I recycle any and everything that I can. Since I lasered down on Zenification I made my life less and less cluttered and I can see the benefit so much that now it is my primary way of doing things.

While walking on one of the beautiful beaches of Molokai I stumbled upon some debris of human life. A buoy ball! That hard plastic kind is VERY pricy; so finding one although largely used it was a big win for the environment and what was coming for this project. It's very detestable what people do with what they call paradise. They don't appreciate enough... don't let me start on pollution and entitlement attitude or we're gonna be on the subject for weeks.

Robert took us to this magical place that had more than one treasure for us to harvest!

That rounded shape immediately reminded me of Basculo v1 and I figured since the only bowling place on the island is now shut down, my only chance to get a spherical shape, hard like a bowl, is this one!

I had a piece of plywood from a previous Zenification process of when we purchased the house. What I didn't have was a jigsaw to follow the rounded pattern. And that's why the hole is all fudged up because I had to improvise with clearly the wrong tool for the job.

Calculating the size of the hole was an example of NOT paying attention during the lessons of trigonometry at school. But in my defense, the spheres of my very attractive teacher were abundantly distracting for my young male brain to pay attention to the math...

Fortunately, the power of the Internet was with me and a quick calculator helped in figuring out the volume and radius. Both are critical to the overall project.

actual dimensions

Once the hole was made, I placed the sphere and used the anchor points to attach it to the base. Under the "rings" I placed some wood glue to further keep everything in place. Lots of pounds and forces are expected to lean on this thing and splashing your face on a piece of composite so hard that can withstand a boat's pressure is not recommended.

I then sandwiched the two layers and since the plywood wasn't thick enough I had to make some shims using the leftovers of the hole cutout. Wood on an island is really hard to come by and more expensive, therefore you learn how to leverage any and everything!

Using a lid of a container I made a rounded corner line and then proceeded to cut. Again, this is a job for a jigsaw or for a Japanese patient man in doing it manually. Neither were in the reach...

mark it...
cut it.. kind of...

One of the things that Basculo v1 missed was a grip that wasn't the edge of the device itself because in some instances you could squish your fingers or if you would sweat the bottom of your wrist you would lose the control of the board.

A piece of Kiawe, my most delightful type of free wood came to rescue and once shaped with a chisel and cut in half, did the job of a free rockstar.

tested the grip and orientation

I didn't like the rough edges on the top so using the router I made them more like a bald man in love.

Some sanding and a bit of spit go a long way...

Now was time to add the second improvement from the v1 attempt, something soft for the elbows. I had a piece of foam left from when we changed the back of one of the chairs we inherited from the purchase of the house.

testing the sizing of the pads

Of course, just like any job we do on the property has to be monitored by our valiant inspector, Scarlet. She was pleased at times and other times yawning her way through my cuts.

Notice the Apple Tag at her neck. What a techno cat!

While I was working on this masterpiece of the fat killer device, Victoria asked to bring some dirt next to the driveway that we just had re$urfaced.

Using branches and the technique I have been documenting I made stands to host plants and lights

Lunchtime quickly arrived and for some stranger reason on Saturday comes faster than any other working day! And Friday is the only day in the week where I have an actual meal vs my daily one salad a day type of torturing diet...

I have post-trauma chronic insomnia; it's incurable and life-threatening. If I don't apply a rigorous routine I can become a sinking balloon with just a bite of anything and a glass of water. Rigorous activities and a AI driven diet keeps me alive and mostly out of zombie land, for the most part 😁

So when Friday comes, I am like a two-year-old in a candy shop. WIF-I makes always awesome things for me on this day and on-demand. If she wasn't married I would recommend her but she's taken! 😍

Eggs benedict

I was hungry after all that work but man, this dish was talking to me in languages that I don't know. And I was able to understand them all and not being able to reply back because my mouth was stuff.

Back to the fat killer tool...

I attached a magnetic base that can hold strongly the phone while twisting left and right. Basculo v1 had a dedicated socket which worked great. However, as I learned if you are farsighted or change phone like a professional of the oldest job in the world then you need something that can keep sighting at a different angle than the board, because exercising with eye glasses isn't fun and that is shape free.

Victoria made the elbow pads for me and placed them on the base using some strong velcro.

Once the glue and everything else was set, I took it for a spin using the same app that I used for the v1 edition of Basculo.

I quickly realized that the deck's composite material is very slippery for the surface of the sphere. As the effort is a power of N to keep the whole base steady and in one spot. It works fantastic on the grass though, on the slippery side.

Yep, that is when the grass is not too tall 🙈 and as much we keep up; it's never going to be the case for me. Wonder WIF-I suggested using a yoga mat under the sphere so that it can be used on the deck or the tiles. And that worked like fat burger God of all tools wanted it to be.

That was until...

Planking doesn't require all these gimmicks, if you want to do it, just grab any surface and plank away. However, just like most fitness activities, if it isn't done with some level of engagement during the activity, it quickly becomes an annoying chore.

What makes this type of device appealing is the fact that you actually play a game while planking.

it's very engaging because it makes you forget the pain and want to score!

When leaning toward the edges, the board touches the ground stopping the movement and failing the game requirements (timing, orientation and so on). I did want to cut the hole smaller so that I could leverage the height of the buoy but I didn't have anything to secure the ball to the wood as the rings are at the center of the sphere.

Therefore the solution is to create a concave shape that stands higher from the ground. In that way, the buoy doesn't move away and there's plenty of room to float in all directions because the center of gravity would be higher from the ground.

I was about to grind some leftovers of a log when while talking to Scarlet, clearly a very helpful monodirectional conversation supporter for self-reflection situations. She clearly suggested between a yawn and a mild snobbish meow that a halve of a coconut would totally do the job and be strong enough to withstand the pressure.

I headed to Sandy beach where they float by the shore on any given windy day and grabbed one.

a bit of jittery photo thanks to the bee that was making a home in one of them 😱🌴🚙

The plan now is to cut a cup from the coconut, cut a block of wood where the cup would be placed on and secured with a plastic washer and bolt/screw in the center. And if the power of physics will hold together, we have the Basculo v2 Hawaii edition.

I used Fusion 360 simulation to stress test the forces and it seems my coconut should handle it okay, provided that I find a match for the simulated pivot axel.

At which point the only part left to do is to use it daily and until burn baby burn fat process begins!

I will update the post once that part of this fitness tool evolution is done. Now you know how to make one for yourself and if you don't but you still want to declare war on your fat core, you can buy one. Full disclosure I might hold IP rights in some of those devices, it won't affect your wallet but ethically I have to say it. 🤓

I am writing this post on Monday and it is scheduled to go out on Friday. If you are curious about what my lunch will be, look no further than our Instagram account for a peak. If you are a local reader and want to share lunch with us, just drop by the gate, we have way too many bananas to go through this week!!

Plenty of potassium...

Potassium is good for exercising but then you need to eat a good amount of papayas to avoid the bottleneck on the other side. Don't fret though, I got you covered. Four of them are ready to be collected!

🌴 Have a bLife moment, every day and for no reason whatsoever 🤙🏽

Mario Esposito

Published a year ago