Powerhouse Hit the Deck ($20) is a new workout system that you can do "anywhere, anytime, with no fitness equipment needed." It's made up of 35 color-coded cards and an interval timer. Each card has a strength/cardio exercise on it, and its color denotes the exercise's level of difficulty. The levels are broken down in a cute way — no sweat (easy), I'm glistening (medium), and sweating buckets (hard) — and there are five warmup/cooldown cards too.
Using the Powerhouse deck is pretty simple:
- Set the interval timer to how long you want to do an individual exercise — I set mine to 30-second intervals.
- Always start each workout by drawing the yellow cards; these are the warmup exercises.
- Read over the first card, hit the timer, and do as many repetitions of the exercise on the card as possible until the timer beeps.
- Stop the timer, draw the next card and repeat.
- After getting through the warmup exercises, draw from the rest of the deck and continue the process for as long as you like.
To see what I thought of the system,
I liked the Powerhouse deck and thought it was a great cross-training workout. There are all sorts of variations you can do to change it up: go totally random and draw cards regardless of difficulty, keep your workout limited to one difficulty level, or build on difficulty as the workout progresses. You can also decide how much time you want to spend on your workout by pulling a certain number of cards before you begin. I liked shuffling the cards I pulled before starting so that my workout would always be a complete surprise.
The pace of the workout is a lot like the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD, but the drawback is you don't have Jillian's motivation or anyone there to explain proper form. Given that it's just you and a deck of cards, you really have to rely on yourself for motivation. Also, you have to make sure you're following the cards as closely as possible so you don't injure yourself.
Though I wouldn't use the deck in place of my gym or even a workout DVD, this is a great set to have for traveling or if you need a quick way to relieve some stress.