One of the things many people face challenges with is staying motivated to exercise. Too many routines are exactly that: ROUTINE. People get bored. They get in good enough shape that what they're doing is no longer a challenge. Keeping things fresh can help maintain motivation and interest. Enter the FitDeck products. Essentially a set of "playing cards", FitDeck offers an easy way of keeping your exercise routine continually changing and challenging. Their expansion specialty packs help you tailor your workouts more to your own needs.
The most basic FitDeck program is the FitDeck Bodyweight set. The set contains 50 exercise playing cards and six cards I refer to as support cards. The support cards contain all of the usual warnings about checking with your doctor before starting an exercise program (especially if you're over 35 according to the cards), information on the FitDeck philosophy, how to use the exercise cards, categories, warming up, stretching, and cooling down. The FitDeck philosophy is worth understanding if you're going to use the cards, so let's review it real quick:
Simple: FitDeck cards demonstrate hundreds of exercises, stretches, and movements in a user-friendly format. Clear illustrations and concise instructions eliminate non-essential information.
Convenient: Choose a FitDeck that suits your specific needs, fitness level, and lifestyle - no equipment, with equipment, or a combination.
Fun: Shuffle cards to create thousands of routines with unexpected combinations, sequences, and intensity levels.
Of course, me being the cynical retired cop that I am, when I first read that I thought, sales hype. But because I had been asked to do a review of the product line (good or bad) I had to look into it a bit more. In this case, education is a good thing. Just using that one deck of cards which has four different bodyweight categories (upper body, middle body, lower body, full body) can give you a pretty good workout with variety available and unpredictably changing every day. Remembering how many times I'd hear the term "daily dozen" while I was in the service, I figured I'd spend a week just doing a dozen exercises each day as directed by the cards. So, each day I took the 50 exercise cards, shuffled them and then took the top 12 cards to use as my workout.
My normal stretching routine also serves as my warm-up, so with that complete I started in on the FitDeck dozen cards I had. My exercises were:
- Reach Ups: think inverted toe touches you do laying on your back.
- Fire Hydrants: yep - I looked like a dog lifting my leg to pee on a hydrant.
- SKIP NEXT CARD - these are wild cards that unexpectedly mix up your program.
- (card skipped was lunges)
- 30-second water break (I didn't feel I needed this yet but took it as directed)
- Arm Rotations: specifically above my head
- Chase the Rabbits: I always called these mountain-climbers.
- Superman: laying on your belly you extend one arm and put the other at your side; lift and lower them both rapidly. Switch.
- Push-Ups: anyone not know what these are?
- The Bridge: used to be called "toes and 'bows" when I wrestled in high school 'cause that's all that touches the ground.
- Swimmers: laying on your belly extend arms; lift opposite arm and leg together off ground 6". alternate sides, repeat.
- Reach throughs: like situps but your reaching for your toes through your knees each time.
In that workout set I had three middle body cards, two full body cards, three upper body cards and two lower body cards. I also had the one wild card and one water break card. As you can see from the sample card shown above, each card is color coded. Lower body cards are orange. Middle body cards are green. Upper body cards are blue. Full body cards are red.
Each card has pictures that show how the exercise should be performed with simple bulleted written directions to accompany the images. If you look to the upper right corner you'll also see that the recommended number of repetitions based on fitness level: Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced. The Wild Cards in the deck include:
- Repeat Last Card
- Double Next Card
- Skip Next Card
As mentioned above, there is also a 30-second water break card in the deck.
Now, if you want to focus on your upper body (as an example) you can stack your deck with all of the Upper Body cards, some of the middle body, some of the lower body and a couple of the full body - or whatever mix you choose. The deck has 12 cards per body section and 10 full body cards (total of 46 cards plus the four wild cards = 50 exercise cards). So if you wanted to focus on upper body, but still don't want to neglect the rest of your body, you could randomly select eight to ten blue cards, four green, four orange and two red. That would be 8 to 10 upper body, 4 middle body, 4 lower body and 2 full body, totalling 18 to 20 exercises. If you just pick colors and not exercises, then you can shuffle up what you have and do the exercises as the cards get turned.
As I mentioned earlier, there is more than one kind of FitDeck. The primary FitDeck products include:
- FitDeck Bodyweight (as discussed above)
- FitDeck Stretch
- FitDeck Junior
- FitDeck Senior (made larger and printed bigger for easier viewing)
- FitDeck Yoga
- FitDeck Pilates
- FitDeck Prenatal
- FitDeck Postnatal
Each of those decks contain the six info cards, 46 exercise cards and 4 wild cards = 56 cards per deck. However, since the folks at FitDeck know that some professions and/or lifestyles can offer unique opportunities for exercise and/or place unique demands on the body for patricular types of fitness, they've also created 16 Booster Decks. Each Booster Deck contains 20 exercise cards along with the six instruction / information cards. The Booster Decks available include:
- FitDeck Travel
- FitDeck Office
- FitDeck Stairs
- FitDeck Playground
- FitDeck Navy SEAL
- FitDeck Combat Sports
- FitDeck Firefighter
- FitDeck Baby Stroller
- FitDeck Exercise Ball
- FitDeck Balance Dome
- FitDeck Dumbbell
- FitDeck Resistance Tube
- FitDeck Pull Up
- FitDeck Kettlebell
- FitDeck Toning Ball
- FitDeck Exercise Bar
Obviously some of those decks were specifically designed to work with various pieces of equipment such as the resistance tube, kettlebells, dumbbells or stroller. For a great many of us the specialty decks of Travel, Office and Stairs would be of great value. Used in conjunction with the Bodyweight and Stretch Decks, they'd offer a pretty good workout no matter what day it is or where you are.
The majority of the FitDeck primary decks are priced at $14.95 with a couple at $16.95 due to production costs (from what I can see). The Specialty Booster Packs are all priced at $9.95 per. FitDeck also offers some bundled programs such as the Teacher / Parent Toolkit (as an example) which includes a FitDeck Bodyweight, FitDeck Junior and a Games & Activites Booklet all for $29.95.
For more information about the FitDeck products or the company itself, or to order any of their product line, visit them online at the link provided below.