By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Jan 20, 2016 at 11:06 AM

New Year's celebrations are behind us, leaving only the resolutions to eat better and get fit. Don't worry, we're here to help. This week – Healthy Living Week, brought to you by The Milwaukee Y – we will focus on articles and information about exercise, eating right and staying healthy in a variety of ways. 

In a world of crazy exercise gizmos like the Shake Weight, the Face Trainer and … whatever the heck this deathly contraption is, the BuildingBlock is a fairly simplistic creation. After all, as Milwaukee-based inventors Dylan Pinkus and Brandon Bogan jokingly note, it’s just a box – a box that can help with steps … and squats … and pushups … and yoga … and harness pulls … and dozens of other exercises.

Designed with their motto "Simple. Durable. Adaptable." in mind, Pinkus and Bogan’s "just a box" is actually a multifunctional exercise device designed to efficiently enhance workouts ranging from rehabilitation activities to fat loss to athletic training. According to Bogan, a personal trainer, the idea came to him as he was thinking about ways to improve his home workout sessions for his clients.

"I feel people are more comfortable (at home) and get more work done in a more intimate setting without the hustle and bustle of going to the gym," Bogan explained. "So I needed multiple pieces of equipment – to burn the most amount of fat and get the most amount of muscle-building – but I needed that in one, simple-to-use piece instead of going back out to my car and bringing everything into the house. I needed one piece that you could jump on, step on, lift, push and pull."

"Being here in Milwaukee, it’s freezing," Pinkus added. "No one wants to go out to the gym. It’s New Year’s resolutions and people want to work out, but people don’t want to go outside. It’s very depressing going out here, go in your workout clothes, sweat and come outside into the freezing cold. So why not have something in your house?"

Together, Pinkus and Bogan began to design the all-in-one piece of fitness equipment he imagined. The result was an approximately 25-pound plastic box – one that can be flipped to different heights of 12, 16 and 20 inches to help with exercise squats, steps and jumps of different difficulties. The box also comes with built-in handles for pushups and other workouts; slots for a stability bar to give support to rehabbing users or provide additional exercise options; locking points to attach equipment like exercise bands and harnesses for sled pulls; and a weight adapter that can add up to 500 lbs. to increase one’s workout.

"There’s dozens of different tools in one, where you would have to collect thousands of dollars of equipment turned into one simple piece," Bogan said. "It’s such a simple idea, but we’ve taken it to that tenth degree and really made it what we want. I’ve made exactly what I want for my clients."

The two already developed a workout program for the BuildingBlock, as well, called The 10x10 Challenge: ten minutes a day for 10 days with the device, using easy and multifunctional movements.

"Ten minutes goes by very quickly, and you build up a sweat," Pinkus said. "You can definitely see the progress on some of the pictures and videos we have, so it works."

To help put the finishing touches on the BuildingBlock – and to help get the product’s name out there early – the duo recently turned to the popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter. The campaign’s goal, currently set at $20,000, would go toward creating the plastic molds for the final product design. As of writing, with 14 days remaining on the Kickstarter campaign, the device has raised $9,021 toward its target goal.

If all goes accordingly, Pinkus and Bogan aim to get the first wave of finished BuildingBlocks out into the world sometime in March. From there, the Milwaukee tandem has high aims for their new fitness device, getting the BuildingBlock out to consumers, exercise bloggers, fitness celebrities, physical trainers and therapists in the hopes of growing some positive buzz and learning more about how others use their product.

The two have already loaded their website with examples and demos for all of the various workouts and ways one can use the BuildingBlock, and depending on how successful the Kickstarter campaign goes, they’d like to make an app as well to help its users get fit and get the most out of their device, helping to make more of a program than simply a product.

"As a professional, I’m here to support these people who are supporting us," Bogan said. "I want to make sure that everybody gets what they want out of it. If it’s shedding fat or building huge muscle, I’m here for you, Dylan is here for you and we’re not going to let anything get in our way in that regard."

It’s a lot of big aspirations for "just a box."

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.