Title:
Compact fitness center for truck sleeper compartments
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A compact fitness system that provides many of the aspects and benefits of a weight training system that would be found in a gym, including stacked weights, pulleys, cables, hand grips, supporting structure, and a bench. The compact nature of the present fitness system is such that it can easily fit into the sleeper compartment of a modern over the road tractor trailer cab. The size of the various components is scaled back in order to constitute a system that can fit easily into a truck sleeper cab. Similar compact fitness systems can be tailored to fit into other vehicles and aircraft.



Inventors:
Cole, James A. (Plaineville, CT, US)
Application Number:
12/313095
Publication Date:
05/21/2009
Filing Date:
11/17/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B21/06
View Patent Images:
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20100041520Continuous Rope Pulling Exercise ApparatusFebruary, 2010Popescu
20070167297Exercise training apparatusJuly, 2007Stevenson



Primary Examiner:
GINSBERG, OREN ISAAC
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard, Bigelow L. (203 TREMONT STREET, NEWINGTON, CT, 06111, US)
Claims:
The following is claimed:

1. A compact fitness system designed for installation and use in the sleeper compartment of over the road trucks comprising: a. stacked weights, b. pulleys, c. hand grips, d. cables, e. a base, f. one or more vertical supports, g. one or more horizontal supports, h. one or more front stabilizing brackets, i. one or more guide rods, j. a lock down mechanism to hold the weights in place during transit, and k. a “J” wedge stack stabilizer.

2. A compact fitness system as in claim 1 where the total weight of the system is less than 300 lbs.

3. A compact fitness system as in claim 1 where the three dimensional envelope of the system is between twenty and thirty inches in length; between twenty and thirty inches in width; and between five and six and a half feet high.

4. A compact fitness system as in claim 1 where the base, vertical supports, horizontal supports, front stabilizing brackets, and guide rods are made of lightweight metals such as aluminum or titanium.

5. A compact fitness system as in claim 1 where the three dimensional envelope of the system is twenty-four inches long by twenty-four wide by five and a half feet high.

6. A compact fitness system as in claim 1 where the stacked weights total between two hundred and two hundred fifty pounds.

7. A compact fitness system as in claim 1 where the system can be secured to the floor of the sleeper compartment.

8. A compact fitness system as in claim 1 where the system can be secured to the overhead of the sleeper compartment.

9. A compact fitness system designed for installation and use in recreational vehicles, tour buses, and aircraft: a. stacked weights, b. two or more pulleys, c. one or more hand grips, d. cables, e. a base, f. two more vertical supports, g. one or more horizontal supports, h. two front stabilizing brackets, i. a lock down mechanism to hold the weights in place during transit, j. a “J” wedge stack stabilizer, and k. two or more guide rods.

10. A compact fitness system as in claim 9 where the total weight of the system is between 200 and 300 lbs.

11. A compact fitness system as in claim 9 where the three dimensional envelope of the system is between twenty and thirty inches in length; between twenty and thirty inches in width; and between five and six and a half feet high.

12. A compact fitness system as in claim 9 where the base, vertical supports, horizontal supports, front stabilizing brackets, and guide rods are made of lightweight metals such as aluminum or titanium or a strong lightweight composite material.

13. A compact fitness system as in claim 9 where the three dimensional envelope of the system is twenty-four inches long by twenty-four wide by five and a half feet high.

14. A compact fitness system as in claim 9 where the stacked weights total between two hundred and two hundred fifty pounds.

15. A compact fitness system as in claim 9 where the system can be secured to the floor of the vehicle or aircraft.

16. A compact fitness system as in claim 9 where the system can be secured to the bulkhead or overhead of the vehicle or aircraft.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This non-provisional patent application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/989,463 filed on Nov. 21, 2007.

FEDERAL RESEARCH STATEMENT

None

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a compact fitness center and more particularly to a fitness center that is compact enough to fit into the sleeper compartment of an over the road tractor trailer while still providing most of the weight training benefits of a standard weight system. Applicant intends to market his invention under the trade name RoadFit™. For brevity's sake, the instant invention shall be referred to as the RoadFit™ System in this application.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

The prior art contains many examples of fitness devices that can be used by truckers. However, virtually all of these devices are simple systems that generally involve some type of elementary fitness system that centers around exercises that are performed while the truck driver is seated in his seat. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,159,133 to Shugg teaches a seat mounted workout system. US Patent Application 20060194679 by Hatcher teaches another seat-based exercise system. US Patent application 20060186638 by Varner shows an external workout system that is mounted on the exterior of the tractor. Finally, US Patent Application 20060287170 by Gerschefske teaches another portable workout system that a trucker would have to set up and break down every time he or she wanted to use it.

While the above referenced devices provide some degree of fitness and strength training, they can in no way replicate the benefits that are obtained by exercising and training with free weights or weight machines. It is generally agreed that the optimum fitness and strength is obtained through the use of free weights or robust weight machines that incorporate stacks of weights. Clearly the above referenced devices do not incorporate free weights or stacks of weights in a machine and are therefore less than optimal. The instant invention provides a compact fitness and strength training center incorporating stacks of weights which can be installed in the sleeper compartment of a tractor trailer and still comply with any governmental restrictions on weight, stability, and safety in the sleeper compartment.

While the RoadFit™ System has wide application in the trucking industry, it can also be adapted to other mobile platforms such as recreational vehicles, passenger and freight trains, coastal and open ocean vessels, executive motor coaches, and even executive jets. The instant invention is carefully designed to meet all height, weight, clearance and stability objectives consistent with the safe operation and storage of the invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed toward a compact fitness system that provides many of the benefits of a weight training system that would be found in a gym. The compact nature of the present fitness system is such that it can easily fit into the sleeper compartment of a modern over the road tractor trailer cab. The device comprises many of the same type of stacked weights, pulleys, hand grips, cables, rigid structure, modified bench, etc., that would be found in a gym or fitness center based system, however, the size of the various components is scaled back in order to constitute a system that can fit easily and securely into a truck sleeper cab.

Over the road truckers experience a difficult life. Not only are they away from their homes for extended periods of time, they also experience a mostly sedentary life with little chance for exercise or a more healthy life style. As a result many truckers put on a considerable amount of excess weight and suffer many of the maladies associated with excess weight including heart problems, diabetes, poor circulation, bone and joint problems, etc. Increased medical costs and diminished performance while driving often occur as a result of these problems.

In addition to the sedentary and unhealthy life style, many truckers have a considerable amount of time on their hands as a result of regulations restricting the number of hours they can drive. Most truckers can drive no more than eleven hours a day. Even if they sleep a total of seven hours a day, that still leaves some five waking hours a day with little more to do than to eat and read, watch a video, converse with other truckers, maintain their vehicles, access the internet, etc.

Applicant's invention provides a means whereby over the road truckers can improve the quality of their physical fitness during the free time they have during the day. Better physical fitness results in a better quality of life for drivers, lower medical costs for drivers and their companies, and more alert drivers on the highway. One of the most attractive aspects of the RoadFit™ System is that it can be used anywhere that the trucker parks—a truck stop, a travel center, a rest area, a depot, along the side of the road, or even when the trucker is parked at home. The trucker doesn't have to search for a gym that is open when he or she happens to come by or work his schedule around periods when gyms are open.

The key to the RoadFit™ System is its size. While it incorporates many of the features of a gym-based system, it is compact enough to fit into open, yet unobtrusive space in a sleeper compartment. For example, the RoadFit™ System could easily be placed into the area in the sleeper compartment where cabinets are currently situated. Generally, the maximum three dimensional envelope of the device is approximately twenty-four inches long by twenty-four inches wide by six and a half feet high. However, this can be modified to fit the particular envelope that the individual truck sleeper compartment presents.

Another key aspect of the RoadFit™ System is its total weight. Since the system is designed to be installed in the sleeper cab of an over the road tractor, it has to conform to weight and stability specifications of the trucking industry and any governmental regulations. It would be impractical and even somewhat risky to have a 1,000 pound weight machine in the sleeper compartment of a truck. Such a large system would render the truck unstable and somewhat dangerous. However, a more constrained system weighing on the order of 300 lbs would merely replicate the weight of an additional driver or passenger. In light of the foregoing, many of the structural components will be made of strong yet lightweight materials such as aluminum or titanium. In addition, the total amount of weight in the stack would be limited to about 200 lbs. The amount of weight in the stack can be varied to accommodate any safety requirements and regulations.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a frontal view of the compact fitness system 10 showing the stacked weights 20, pulleys 30, hand grips 40, cables 50, base 60, vertical supports 70, horizontal support 80, and front stabilizing bracket and support 90.

FIG. 2 shows a side perspective view of the compact fitness system 10 positioned behind the passenger's seat 75 in a truck cab and in front of the bed 85 in the sleeper cab.

FIG. 3 shows a cutaway side view of a truck cab and sleeper compartment 100 showing the relative position of the compact fitness center 10 in the sleeper compartment.

FIG. 4 shows a closer view of the bottom bracket 60 of the compact fitness center in the truck sleeper compartment showing the manner in which it fits into the limited space in the compartment.

FIG. 5 shows a view of one method for using the compact fitness center 10 where a trucker actually stands outside the truck in order to use the compact fitness center.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed toward a compact fitness system that can easily fit into the sleeper compartment of a modern over the road tractor trailer cab. The device comprises many of the same type of stacked weights, pulleys, hand grips, cables, rigid structure, modified bench, etc., that would be found in a gym-based system, however, the size of the various components is modified and generally reduced in size and weight in order to comprise a system that can fit easily into a truck sleeper compartment and still comply with any governmental regulations concerning additional weight in the combined cab/sleeper compartment.

Referring to FIG. 1, a frontal view of the RoadFit™ System 10 is shown. The stacked weights 20 are of the type normally found in gym-based systems with the exception of the fact that they are somewhat smaller in size per unit in order to fit the reduced size of the RoadFit™ System. The actual weights are made of carbon steel or similar rugged metal or composite. Most of the other components of the system are made of light weight metals in order to minimize the overall weight of the system. For example, the pulleys 30, cables 50, casings 55, base 60, vertical supports 70, horizontal support 80, and rear stabilizing bracket and support 90 would be made of aluminum or even titanium.

FIG. 1 also shows the relative configuration of the base 60, vertical supports 70, horizontal support 80, and rear stabilizing bracket and support 90. These base and vertical supports are much closer together than would be evident in a standard gym-based fitness system in order to meet the maximum envelope size of the RoadFit™ System. In addition, the maximum height of the vertical supports is 6.5 feet in order that it can fit unobtrusively into the sleeper cab.

FIG. 1 also shows a key feature of the RoadFit™ System—the rear stabilizing bracket and support 90. This support, which is not normally found in a weight machines at a gym or fitness center, is required in order to provide stability to the overall system. It is designed to be affixed to the rear wall or side wall of the sleeper compartment. These structures are designed so that they can be firmly and solidly affixed to the floor and overhead of the sleeper compartment. Some sleeper compartments may require additional structure in the overhead and floor in order to ensure solid and stable connections. Once the rear support is affixed to the rear wall of the sleeper compartment it provides a rigid and stable structure that the rest of the RoadFit™ System can be affixed to in order to provide a rigid and stable fitness system.

Another key feature of the RoadFit™ System is a lock down mechanism (not shown) which is designed to hold the stack firmly in place as the truck/sleeper compartment traverses the open road. The lock down mechanism comprises a sleeve assembly that envelopes part of the guide rod that go through holes in the stack weights. The sleeve is generally made of light weight metal. A rubber gasket is attached to the bottom of the sleeve assembly. This rubber gasket engages the top of the stack weights. A cam lever attached to the upper portion of the sleeve causes the sleeve to tighten around the guide rod and also press down on the stack when the cam lever is engaged.

Another key feature of the RoadFit™ System is the J wedge stack stabilizer (not shown) which fits in between the stack weights and the frame in order to reduce motion of the stack while the truck/sleeper compartment is travelling over the road. The J wedge stack stabilizer is made of flexible highly durable plastic or composite.

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of the compact fitness system 10 positioned behind the passenger's seat 75 in a truck cab. This view shows the relative size of the compact fitness center such that it fits between the passenger's seat and the bed 85.

FIG. 3 shows a cutaway side view of a truck cab and sleeper compartment 100 showing the relative position of the compact fitness center 10 in the sleeper compartment 110.

FIG. 4 shows a view of the bottom bracket 60 of the compact fitness center 10 in the truck sleeper compartment showing the manner in which it fits into the limited space in the compartment. The bottom bracket 60 is composed of a plate and reinforcing bars to which the vertical components of the compact fitness center are firmly attached by welding or by using bolting. Similarly the bottom bracket 60 is either welded or bolted to the floor of the sleeper compartment.

While not shown in any figure, the upper portion of the compact fitness center may be optionally affixed to the top of the sleeper compartment or an optional upper stability bracket that is welded or bolted to the overhead of the sleeper compartment. This gives the compact fitness center more stability and adds to the overall structural integrity of the truck and sleeper compartment.

FIG. 5 shows a view of one method for using the compact fitness center 10 where a trucker actually stands outside the truck in order to use the center. The compact fitness center is so comprised such that the trucker can either work out inside the sleeper compartment or standing outside the cab as is shown in the picture. The trucker use the compact fitness center from inside the sleeper compartment in many different ways, such as while sitting on the bed, while sitting on a small bench or stool in front of the compact fitness center or even sitting on the floor.

The compact fitness center must make maximum optimum use of lightweight materials (with the exception of the stack weights themselves) in order to allow for the maximum amount of stack weight and still meet the requirements of any governmental regulations.

While the instant invention has been specifically designed for installation and use in the sleeper compartments of over the road trucks, it can be easily adapted to other vehicles such as recreational vehicles, yachts, tour buses, passenger rail cars, and even airplanes. In summary, the compact fitness system would find applicability and usefulness in any type of travelling vehicle where people are required to sit for extended periods of time and have little opportunity to exercise and maintain muscle tone.