Using a webbed spindle that provides friction, resistance on the Excy can be adjusted via a rubber knob on top of the exercise device designed by Michele Mehr.

Using a webbed spindle that provides friction, resistance on the Excy can be adjusted via a rubber knob on top of the exercise device designed by Michele Mehr.

Bothell woman creates device that puts exercise on the go

Most of us want to look and feel good.

Yet, finding the time to exercise is a challenge. Excy can fit that need. It is a lightweight portable unit that is used for resistance training or as a recumbent bike that can be used almost anywhere.

Michele Mehl came up with the idea when she was 40. She said, “I was out of shape and wanted to lose 25 pounds. I thought about the idea for a few years. I was busy running Buzz Builders, a marketing and public relations firm and lost sight of my health.”

The Bothell woman was motivated to come up with a more convenient method of getting and staying in shape that would fit into her busy lifestyle.

“I was pretty obsessed with wanting this system in my life and kept thinking about it nonstop,” she said. “I had an ‘ah ha’ moment when I was riding a dirt bike with friends. There was a minor accident. A grandma, who is in great physical shape, fell off her bike and immediately got up and went on biking.”

That incident motivated Mehl to talk with her uncle Mike Rector about her idea. He is a retired engineer who has been involved in designing prototypes of many high-tech products and is an avid cyclist who has ridden over 150,000 miles. Rector is co-founder and created the prototypes, which is named Excy by combining the first letters of ‘exercise cycle.’

“When designing Excy, we knew we had to reach a magical balance between portability and maximal utility,” Rector said in an email. “We wanted a wide variety of functional fitness exercises available over a wide range of intensities. But keeping it small and light was always a guiding factor.”

An early prototype helped Mehl recover from a broken leg that she got while skating with her son. Although she had a severe fracture with a blood clot, she started using an Excy only a few days after surgery.

The four models include the Excy Keeper, Excy Ultimate, Excy Classic Cycling and the Excy Strength System.

Each unit offers different levels of intensity ranging from one to 30 pounds of resistance, and focuses on different aspects of improving one’s physical fitness.

People with a variety of fitness levels, including those with chronic pain and disabilities, can use these systems.

Mehl said, “I met a woman who has arthritis and limited use of her arms. She started exercising slowly with Excy and eventually achieved full-arm rotation.”

Excy is a good tool for “high intensity interval training.”

According to Web MD, that type of training involves changing the pace or intensity of the activity.

This is done by alternating between short intervals of pushing to one’s limits then going at a slower pace. This sequence is repeated for a total of 20 to 60 minutes.

There are many benefits to high intensity interval training, including burning calories and fat more quickly than regular exercise, losing fat but not muscle and building endurance, according to Health Fitness Revolution website.

Excy systems match the calorie burn of spin bikes and other equipment usually found in gyms and physical therapy offices. Mehl uses Excy 20 minutes a day as a total body exercise cross training system for cardio and strength training.

She says, “It has changed my life. I’ve had some of my best workouts watching TV with the family.”

Excy units are portable, weighing only 10 pounds and can be used almost anywhere. Places such as an office breakroom, in the front yard or while on conference calls. The unit folds down, making it ideal for small homes and apartments; and even fits in overhead bins on airplanes. The units are all metal and are built at out-of-state manufacturing plants, Mehl said.

Mehl and her husband, Steve, invested money to develop, build and test the prototypes. Mehl relayed that, “We had gone through almost a thousand hours of testing using all fitness levels. This includes scenarios ranging from fitness beginners to athletes, rehab to weight loss and seniors to children with special needs.”

They then went to Kickstarter to obtain funds to take Excy to the next level. It only took 20 days to raise the money. Excy was ready to ship almost immediately. Their first customers were Kickstarter contributors. They gave feedback on the pros and cons of using the equipment, which helped in making refinements.

Mehl demonstrates various ways to use Excy in YouTube videos. Units ship with a quick-start guide that includes exercise routines. A free coaching app is available on iTunes. A special launch price is being offered until May 31.

“I had the idea for Excy and just couldn’t let go of my obsession,” she said. “I need this system in my life and so do other people. It is my goal to help people be healthy.”

For more information, visit the company’s website at https://excy.com/.

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