How I Reinvented the Dumbbell

I always hear “muscles burn more calories than fat”. Attractive thought, but not enough information for me to start lifting heavy. But wait, is fat burn, calorie burn, or muscle building the goal here? What really should I be working towards and how the heck do you even do all of those things? Here is my journey to weight training and why I created FitSphere – fit-yoga with Spheres (spherical weights).

Exercising to be underweight

When I was younger and modeling around the world the exercise I looked for ways to help me be skinny. As if there is even such a thing possible. I picked up yoga as a low-intensity workout, particularly hot yoga, to stay slim. Being slim meant no muscular definition as muscles are shapely, definitive, and not good for my industry. My ideal weight was to be 43 kg on a 5 foot 7 frame. Ouch. I managed to keep my body weight at that all-time low by consistently weighing myself before and after a class coupled with bulimia to make sure I was always in a calorie deficit. As I got older and my body continued to change, it became more and more difficult for me to keep up with my extreme dieting techniques. I became deeply unhappy year by year as I put my life in danger for a paycheck that was costing me my self-worth.

Out of flux 

Hitting my weakest point was terrible for my health, but it was at my lowest of lows that my desire for life kicked in. Even when I was underweight I was told I was fat so, I stopped listening to the naysayers and started exercising for myself. I picked up all kinds of workouts to learn as much as I could about exercise; especially why I liked it and what it did for my health. I often journaled after lessons, spoke about classes with friends, bought home workout videos, and exercise equipment. With hard work and consistency, my life started to turn around.

In flux

I’ll never forget the day I bought strap weights because it was the first day I felt real strength. I strapped them to my wrists in warrior 1, to my ankles in warrior 3 and suddenly yoga became a workout. The yoga that I had grown so familiar with was challenged by the addition of weights and my body started strengthening and not just stretch. The key driver of muscle growth is activating as many of your muscle fibers as possible. In a yoga posture, we explore the range of motion possible for our bodies. Adding weights to that posture recruits more muscle fibers that work the body for greater strength and muscle building. Day by day, as we age, our muscles deteriorate so it’s important to keep exploring our physiological capabilities by recruiting these muscles, building our muscle fibers, and exploring our range of motion.

 Muscle building

Higher repetitions of light weights will build stronger muscles just as efficiently as lower reps of real heavyweights. I created the Spheres to be 2lbs, light enough to fire up the muscle fibers, but not too heavy to cause strain in the body. I want the mind, body, and breath to be in a “state of flow” when you practice FitSphere. This way we are moving and breathing in a capacity that is beneficial to our well-being. They are an extension of my practice that is not just practical equipment, but complements my workout, is good for me, and the environment.

Why are the weights round?

Of course, I have my intention and I knew all the benefits from having the shape ergonomic and reinventing the dumbbell. Exercising for many years and experiencing holding weights in yoga I felt stronger from the combination, but I didn’t feel like it was a natural addition to a yoga practice. My wrists felt uncomfortable holding them for longer periods of time, my palms sweat and slipped without grip, but mainly dumbbells weren’t designed to practice yoga with. I happened onto some round weights used for Pilates and practiced with students in yoga classes around the world. After getting feedback on sizing, grip, & density I reinvented the weighted area to be fist size, grippy, eco-friendly, and multi-use for pressure point massage especially on my shoulders and lower back. In my opinion, every business and every product should be made sustainably and without plastic packaging altogether. The rubber we sourced is from non-Amazonian rainforests and filled with simple sand and iron. This makes the product not only good for you, but for your environment as well. Sounds simple, but if it was everyone would be doing it. All in all, I am extremely content and happy with being able to bring about my vision and prove that you can be sustainable in all things.

Here are the comments from our buyers: 

“It’s perfect for a work setting. This whole year I’ve been using dumbbells at work and it’s too big to store. I have been taking FitSphere around with me from meeting to meeting. People have been asking me why I am holding a blue ball all the time. It’s a perfectly shaped design that fits into the ball of your hands” @iiyogi – a nurse who bought 6 pairs for other nurses

“These little 2lb spheres don’t hurt my wrists, are environmentally friendly and make my arms burn” @ursula.pascua – a member with arthritis 

“My son keeps stealing the balls and playing with them so I can never find them. You are introducing him to his first workout before 1-year-old” @kimcheeandwaffles – mother of three

All you need is you

Today, I am proud to say I am at my strongest ever. I don’t work out for vanity and I don’t weigh myself. I practice FitSphere 2-3 times a week which challenges my body to stay resilient and capable. When someone comments that they want my body, that they want my abs, and that they want to be strong; I want them to know that they absolutely can have it too – if they do the work! Pick up some light weights, try something new, and tell your friends that they can too. All you need is you.

The Spheres

With FitSphere’s transition to becoming an app, I am back to creating! Our 2lbs Spheres sold out multiple times and I was ready to create a 3lbs pair, but the weight (6lbs shipped worldwide) proved to be difficult during a global pandemic. For now, I cannot offer them for sale on FitSphere; however, I still have hopes to be able to provide them for you again one day – in stores will be better. In the meantime, NEOU has made it possible to work out with me at a special rate. Download the app and workout with me on NEOU!


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