Play 4 Life

Staying healthy is something I have struggled with for years.  I love cheese, fried foods, meat, and snack foods that are easy at the gas station.  I enjoy drive through food an energy drinks.  At one point I made it up to 350 pounds and would get winded walking up stairs.  At that point, I started buying sugar free energy drinks.  I lost like 10 pounds.  I started going to the gym on and off at work out world.  I would finish up and go grab something to eat at taco bell and dropped down to around 325.  At this point I saw a friend of mine Tyler who had gotten fat while at college (not as fat as me) and was now in good shape.  I asked what he did and he talked about a friend who opened a new gym with something different.

I hit it hard and started going doing boot camps and improving by leaps and bounds. On day one, I could not do a sit up, I could not do an air squat.  A plank was not conceivable, let alone a push up.  I am still not able to do a pull up, or a dip un assisted but, I am still working on it.  I found a new passion and community with John, Tyler, Doug, Greg, and a few others as we walked in together and pushed as hard as we could.  I started hitting little goals.  One day, I could do a full air squat.  Then I was able to do sit ups.  Push ups came next, and I noticed things like a shirt had more room in the gut.  We have fun.  I like flipping tires, hoisting atlas stones, and dead lifting big heavy weights.  My girlfriend Libby would come with me and it was our routine.  We would go to the gym, and then make some healthy dinner and go for a swim out at Rocky Pond.

I saw the other side of 300 pounds for the first time in years.  I was to the point of being able to run a mile before I messed up my knee on my birthday this year.  Since then I had some issues with my kitchen at home which made making food a pain in the but and ate out way to much.  I gained back about 20 pounds which I doubt was muscle.  Since Libby has graduated, she has helped us to eat some better food and prep meals as well as iced tea.  The fact I have not had a heart attack in the past year is likely her doing.

While I had time trying to heal my knee, I have been doing some research on calisthenics.  It costs nothing to do, and prisoners use it to not die.  Nashua doesn't really have anywhere to do this aside from using children's playground equipment.  I watched the video's from Barstarzz.  These guys are insane and doing these things without fancy gym's, just dedication and a pull up bar for the most part.  I started doing push ups, sit ups and air squats at work while I waited for files to load.  I can only do so much with my knee, but something is better than nothing.  

Then Sunday morning, I saw a post from a Facebook friend Mike linking to an article from the New York times.  I read it and new Nashua needs something like this.  We need a park with equipment that is meant for working out.  Someone should make one.  I realized I could be someone.  I have plenty of contacts through work and my after work activities at MakeIt Labs to help get things donated.  I have skills with design and should be able to figure this out.  I looked at some commercial equipment and it all looked great.  Strong and would do what it needs to do.  It is very easy to fabricate and pretty vandal proof.  It is just not pretty.  I want to make something that you show up to and you want to do a pull up.  It should look like it is meant to be there and integrates into the surrounding landscape.  

After very little thought, the site should be Mine Falls park.  I lived down the street from it when I was a kid. I rode my bike to My first job at Aubuchon hardware.  I walked to High School every day before I could drive.  I rode in my first bike race around the loop.  It holds lots of memories and I would love to give back. I am just starting this project so many things like actual viability are unknown at this point.  

I like the idea of a trail of workout stations.  I have seen them before, you go through and hit numbered stations as you move to try and hit all of your muscle groups.  Wikipedia has a good article on it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fitness_trail

Doing anything for public installation has a few design criteria.  I am unsure if a formal list exists, but this is what I would use.  

1.  Super strong.  Something that can withstand large force without deflection.  Overbuilt = just strong enough.  When you let the public touch anything, they will find a way to brake it that you never came up with.  

2.  Bolted down.  People steel anything so anything that needs to move should be fastened in such a way that removal is very hard without a cutting torch.  

3. Resistant to being defaced, easily repaired.  It should be hard for someone to damage it with a knife and good looking enough were people would prefer to do a pull up instead of carve a word into it.  

4. Low maintenance.  I want to make something the parks department has very little work to maintain.  

5. Low environmental impact.  For the entire project, I want to try and use recycled material when possible. Steel beams I will try and source from local recycling firms.  Wood, from local tree service folks.  I want to use something with an organic shape.  I would like for everything to work with the surrounding woods, not stick out. 

I modeled up a traditional outdoors pull up station.  Very functional, cheap to manufacture, and easily available.  

This is what a normal station Might look like, A few heights and allow you to do a muscle up.  
So this would work, would be very easy to make and not to expensive.  I want to make something that a  Disney Imagineer  would be proud of.  I was watching the Modern Marvels on the tree of life and the cool things they did.  

It will take lots of design work and some artistic input to make all of the stations, but this is what I have an idea for just the pull up station.  

So this is what I think a pull up tree should look like.  
It has multiple stations and allow for different height folks to work out at the same time.  The supports should be high enough to allow for a muscle up.  It uses an I beam as the main structure, which will be way above what is needed for strength.  This would able to be fabricated off site and trucked in for installation.  the majority of it would be welded so no fasteners to be removed and items to be stolen.  Now the hard part is coming up with what other equipment is needed and how to make it look awesome.  

Stations I want to incorporate:



Push up bars

Monkey bars 

Please put what else you would like to see in the comments.

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