The fitness niche can be quite odd. See on one hand, you can literally get in shape and see great results without any equipment, supplements or coaching. Then on the other hand, there are some great products out there that really innovate and help you get shit done and/or take you beyond your potential. What’s great is that you can find a perfect sweet spot between the two extremes… and today I have a product that has found such a sweet spot.
Product Name: Fit Deck Exercise Cards (BodyWeight)
Availability: Medium-High (Online Store & Amazon… probably retail too)
It’s called FitDeck. The product itself isn’t revolutionary per-say, but the idea behind it is quite brilliant. Take a bunch of playing cards and instead of having kings, queens, jokers and numbers… they threw on exercises that you can do instead. It’s one of those “Why the fuck didn’t I think of that” product. I love those.
FitDeck comes in many, MANY flavors, but today I’ll be reviewing their original series… Bodyweight. (More version are to come in the future once I try them out). Before getting into details, here’s the official description
FitDeck is a unique deck of Exercise Playing Cards that makes exercise more simple, convenient, and fun. FitDecks are available in 56-card and 26-card Booster decks. 56-card FitDecks specialize in bodyweight-only exercises (i.e. Bodyweight, Junior, Senior, Yoga, Pilates, Stretch, Prenatal, and Postnatal). 26-card Boosters may require certain equipment (i.e. Exercise Ball, Pull Up bar, Dumbbell, Office, Travel, Kettlebell, etc.).
Boosters can be used as a standalone workout or they can be combined with other FitDecks to create an even more challenging routine. Each card has three fitness levels to accommodate different abilities (beginner, intermediate, advanced). Cards are held in a plastic cardholder making it easy to carry and draw cards while on the go. Shuffle cards before every workout to get a random sampling of upper, middle, lower, and full-body exercises. Never spend another minute trying to decide what kind of exercises to do. FitDeck does the thinking for you. Just shuffle, draw, and go.
FitDeck Bodyweight is our flagship 56-card FitDeck that contains illustrations and instructions describing 50 different upper, middle, and lower body exercises. FitDeck Bodyweight is a bodyweight-only deck that does not require any equipment. Use this FitDeck alone or combine it with related FitDecks and Booster decks (i.e. Yoga, Stretch, Dumbbell, Exercise Ball, etc.)
The deck comes in adequate packaging and is well thought out. You get a hard case cover that you can use to carry around your cards along with a mini promo booklet that shows you all the other decks that they have.
The cards themselves are the size of standard playing cards… which is nice because I’d love to see this deck mixed up with a normal deck to create some REALLY fucked up drinking games. Huzzah! I mean can you imagine playing Kings Cup with FitDeck? “Alright buddy, take 5 shots then do 20 pushups”. This will be my future product, called PukeDeck™ – fun for the whole family.
So back to point. The illustrations are more than adequate and the written instructions are clear. Even a trained monkey shouldn’t have any trouble with getting some benefits out of FitDeck.
The exercise variety is adequate but not great (we’ll get to this in a moment) but what I really had a problem with, was the number of cards vs the number of bullshit. What do I mean by this?
Well if you take a look at the packaging and the marketing material, it says the deck contains 56 playing cards. This isn’t un true, but when you see this number, what do you assume? Well it must have 56 exercises… or a number close to it. Correct? I mean even the standard deck of playing cards has 2 jokers.
But that’s not the case, out of 56 cards, 6 are just random “info” cards (which could have been placed inside that mini promo brocheure) and the other 4 are the “wild” cards which really aren’t that necessary…
So that leaves us with 46 actual workout cards. Quite a different number from 56 wouldn’t you say? Even if I’m being nice and give them the 4 included wild cards, I would have liked to see 52 REAL workout cards. Info cards are mandatory, there is no reason to “count” them in. They are the fillers… and I’m not stupid. Thanks for insulting my intelligence.
Moving on. The whole deck is divided into 4 colors – Red, Orange, Green & Blue. Each color represents a different section of the body. Red is for full body workouts. Orange is for lower body. Blue is for upper body and here’s the kicker… Green is for “middle body”.
Uhh, “Middle body”? I had a good laugh when I read that. Who the hell calls it middle body? It’s called “core”. FitDeck should really have consulted some actual trainers before they printed this for the masses. And if the did, fire the trainers that they hired. There is being accurate, then there is being “In times” with the terminology. Please get with the times… though I doubt “middle body” ever had a time. Let’s keep chugging along.
Truth be told, I like this color coordinated system… you can really create some fun little games. The info cards also have some good game ideas that you can choose from in case you’re feeling uncreative. Nice to know FitDeck has (most) of the bases covered.
Real World Results:
Let’s start with the good – For $14.95 this is a pretty decent set to own for anyone who is a beginner/intermediate (which is most people). The randomization of workouts that you can get out of the cards along with the massive amount of games that you can come up with is awesome.
I’d also consider this deck portable and you can always spice up your normal cardio workout by shuffling the deck and injecting a simple routine that you’ve never done before. I believe boredom is one of the main culprits of quitters… and if you own a FitDeck, there is no way you’ll ever get bored. I tried plenty of different workouts and it was different everytime. Sometimes you even get rewarded because you’ll pull out a card, do the exercsie and the next one is a 30second water break and you’re like “ahh fuck yeah… today is my lucky day!”.
Then at other times you get NO break while pulling out the “double next card” and you feel like death. This is all in good fun, and I’m sure that by now you probably want to buy a deck…
…but not so soon.
If you’re an advanced athlete or even a body weight enthusiasts… I’d hold off and see what their other decks have in store because this will not float your boat. Here are a few places where this product has major hiccups.
1. Remember how we went down from 56 to 46 real cards? Well you’d think at this point it would stop but it doesn’t… because I found a few “duplicates”. They are cleverly disguised but make no mistake about it, they are 2 of the same cards. Let’s take a look at a few…
Suddenly we are playing “can you spot the difference”? Having standard pushups is never a bad idea, but then they go on and throw in “negatives” which is the standard pushup, but they throw exercise temp on top by saying “go down for a count of 5”. Uhh… this is just a tempo change. Why don’t I apply a tempo of 5-0-1 to each one of my pushing exercises? I don’t need a whole entire card to tell me this so the card on the left is what I consider “filler”. Next…
Really? “Half situps”? Who in their right state of mind bothers doing half sit ups when the deck contains crunches (as well as the standard situp)? They don’t and that’s why adding the half situp is useless. There is no need for it… “FILLER!”
And there are a few more such as “narrow pushups” and “spade(triangle) pushups” as well as half jumping jacks (say wha?).
2. Then we have those god-awful names again. I thought “middle body” was as bad as it got, but take a look at the following…
For those that have been doing some form of a workout before, what is this called? That’s right, its a god damn PLANK. I’ve only heard it called “The Bridge” once in my life before, and I had to smack that guy. In gymnastics, there is only one bridge, in wrestling, there is only one bridge, in yoga, there is only one bridge and in martial arts there is also only one bridge, and it looks like this…
image from infobarrel.com
Now obviously there are variations of this such as on the head, on the shoulders etc but that exercise on that card is NOT a bridge, it’s widely known as the plank. Don’t believe me? Google that shit.
- Ability to come up with an almost unlimited number of workout combinations
- Workouts are well illustrated and explained
- Everything is neatly organized and color coded. The different games mentioned on the info cards are also a great way to throw in a workout
- Hard cover carry case and standard playing card size makes it really easy to carry the FitDeck around.
- The exercise variation could be more diverse and is not that exciting. Most people already know these exercises. Where is the dive bomber pushups, capoera pushups, muscle ups, clapping pushups, russian twists, pullups!? It seems that FitDeck has left out some of the best body weight exercises. Yes, I know 99% of the population can’t do a muscle up by ITSELF (but they can do progressions) and I guess I can see that they really wanted to stick to the whole “no equipment required” thing… but then again, maybe they shouldn’t. NOT including the pullup in a “body weight” fitness product is absolutely ludicrous!
- Their terminology needs to be fixed and updated. Seriously… ask ME if you want. I’ll help you guys out for FREE but please update that shit. It will save your customers and yourself some humiliation.
- Not all 56 cards are exactly “useful”
So while it does have it’s fair share of problems, the target market it’s aimed for (average Joe Blow) should have a blast with the FitDeck. This bodyweight series probably tries to bite off more than it can chew by trying to please everyone and ends up not really doing everything well. It’s the jack of all trades and master of none, good for most people but best for none.
I give the FitDeck Bodyweight Series a 3.7 / 5 stars. Stay tuned for their specialty decks (Combat, Plyometrics & Speed/Agility).
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Sites That Link to this Post
- FitDeck Combat Sports Review! | March 31, 2010