Breaking with the trend of the past few weeks, Lightning Fitness Cards are not an app. They are a deck of 52 poker-sized playing cards, each of which has a single exercise and recommended repetitions printed on it. There are also three ten-card expansions for the deck, none of which I own. Here’s a sample image from their web site:
I ran into these things on Kickstarter, originally. At the time, I hadn’t been particularly interested in exercising. But I saw them, and thought “Hey, it looks like its making a game out of exercise! I could do that!” So I bought a deck, and let them gather dust for nearly a year. Because, as I may have mentioned before, I had no actual interest or motivation for trying to get healthy.
When I started exercising and cutting my calories, I decided to give them a real try. Not right away, though. I wanted to lose a little weight first, before pushing myself, so I set up rule that I’d begin them once I lost forty pounds. And when I did that faster than expected, I couldn’t weasel out. So I put them to use.
The good thing about them is that they work. The exercises consist of variations on common sorts of exercises I recognize from military PT regimes and from gym class in middle and high school – pushups, situps, crunches, lunges, jumping jacks, things like that. I routinely finish a workout with the sort of muscle pain that you associate with actually working a muscle. They’ve also let me get my son involved in my exercise. He’s got no actual interest in doing the exercises with me, but he loves picking the cards and then showing me what the next one is.
The only real downside to the cards is that I am clearly not the target audience. I get the feeling that they’re designed for people who are somewhat fitter than I am, because there are a few exercises that I am convinced would kill or cripple me if I tried them. When I deal myself one of those, I sigh and look for a comparable exercise that I can do. Someday, I’ll manage them. But not right now.
All in all, I recommend the cards. They’re a convenient workout in a pocket, and they require no tools or equipment other than your own body and a sense of balance. Or a wall, if you don’t have a sense of balance.