A Note from Special Features Managing Editor, Jenna Ditsch:
I’ll make a confession. I’ve tried to make myself like working out for many, many years, and the bottom line is: I just don’t like it! It’s not that I haven’t been able to find activities that I enjoy. My issue is the time, and often financial commitment, that comes with working out.
In the past, working out often meant waking up way earlier than I wanted to, dealing with traffic to get to a gym, and — by the time I drove back home, showered, and was ready to start my day — wondering where my morning went.
If only there was something I could do at home … that didn’t require a lot of space … or time … or money … and that I wouldn’t get bored with. What if I told you that there is!?!
I was a little skeptical at first, but I asked Army veteran Michael Volkin to send me his bodyweight fitness product, Strength Stack 52, so I could try it out for myself. It’s nice that it fits in the palm of your hand, is portable, contains millions of workout combinations, and can make fitness fun, but I wanted to know if a few mini workouts could really get results.
Michael told me that it works. He asked his friend to play three games of Strength Stack 52 a day and to give up carbonated beverages for five months. The results? His friend lost 68 pounds and looks and feels like a totally different person. Here’s the proof!
I’ve been using the cards for a week, and I am happy to report that this type of workout is VERY manageable (I don’t feel overwhelmed like I’ve felt with so many other workouts in the past), and I have lost one pound over the past week. That may not seem like a big deal, but I’m telling you that my weight was STUCK and not budging! Of course, I’m using these cards in combination with a healthy diet, so I don’t suggest you eat chocolate in between reps.
Read my interview with Michael to get the “skinny” on how he developed this product. He might change the way you work out, forever.
Michael, would you start off by telling our readers a little bit about yourself?
MV: Sure. I’m an Army veteran, author and entrepreneur. If I am not working, I am spending the day outdoors with my two labs. I have never been to an IKEA or on a Ferris wheel, and admittedly I have never been sure of the difference between the words enormous and ginormous. I have been both blessed and cursed with the inability to put my mind at rest; I am always thinking two steps ahead of where I currently am.
JD: I believe you have a unique product that can improve the quality of our readers’ lives. Tell us about your product, what makes it unique, and the story behind what inspired the idea.
MV: I was stationed overseas in the army. I was assigned to be the military fitness instructor for my company. But there was a big problem: We had no equipment. So using our body weight as resistance was a common way for the soldiers to get a great workout. As a result of my assignment as the fitness instructor, I became an expert with bodyweight exercises. After my return, my mother — a fitness enthusiast herself — was diagnosed with cancer. Since I didn’t have a cure for cancer, the next best thing I could do was support her the only way I knew how. I designed playing cards with bodyweight exercises on them. I turned these cards into a game by giving each card an exercise, a number and a suit. She could do exercises wherever she was, in the hospital or at home. She could even create a competitive workout by playing exercise card games with her friends and family. She loved them, and so do my friends, so I developed the cards more and started selling them to the world. In just over a year, I had sales in more than a dozen countries, and the cards were even on NBC’s the Today Show.
Strength Stack 52 is a series of bodyweight fitness cards that makes fitness fun. You can turn a classic game of war into a family fitness challenge, or bring the cards to work and play the coworker drop. Strength Stack 52 is so portable you can fit millions of fun workout combinations in the palm of your hand, and zero equipment is required.
What makes Strength Stack 52 unique is that it changes the way people work out. A typical gym-goer would show up at the gym, maybe with a plan, and do the same zombie-type exercises as they have always done. The human body has an amazing ability to adapt, and doing workouts as I just described becomes very ineffective after awhile. These exercise cards give you an endless variety of workout combinations that require no equipment and take up only a couple inches of space. Add to that the power of a competition, and you’re left with so many fun workout combinations that you would have to live to be more than 100 years old to deal the same workout combination twice!
JD: I was curious about Strength Stack 52 and asked you to send me a set. I was surprised that I was actually sore after my first day of working out. Why do you think people will enjoy using this product?
The cards were designed to making working out fun, period. Because they can choose creative, fun workouts, naturally people are working out more. When you work out more, you gain muscle and lose weight. Even taking away those benefits, the biggest benefit I have seen as a result of the cards is more energy. Most people like me are sitting at a desk during the workday. Try dealing five cards every couple of hours and doing the exercises on those cards. Those few minutes of exercising will increase your metabolic rate for hours. An increase in your metabolic rate will make you feel more alert, allowing you to stay more focused at work and allowing your body to burn more calories.
Another big benefit is the portability. Many of my customers write me, saying they are getting the best workouts of their lives while traveling. It’s very tough to exercise while traveling, as the gyms in hotels are dismal at best. With these cards, you can exercise at any time in the privacy of your hotel room.
The Bible says that we are “transformed by the renewing of the mind.” Transforming our bodies takes more than just focusing on physical change. In your opinion, what role does the mind play in the quest for health? What is transformed besides our bodies when we work out?
It’s all about your attitude. Personally, when I work out — especially in the morning — I feel like I did myself a favor. My body feels energized, and I am ready to tackle the day. Some people think working out is a chore. You have to change your mindset or you will never enjoy it. That is why I love working out with the Strength Stack 52 cards; they create such an easy entry to getting a workout. I can’t possibly give myself the excuse of “I am too busy to go to the gym today,” or “I don’t have 10 minutes to deal 10 cards and do the exercises.” There are 24 hours in the day. If you can’t find 10 minutes to deal some cards and do the exercises, a busy schedule isn’t your problem; time management is.
A lot of people probably made ambitious New Year’s resolutions to get in shape, and some may already feel like giving up. Other people have probably tried and failed in previous years and made no resolutions at all this year. Based on your experience, what is the secret to success when it comes to setting and succeeding at fitness goals? Is why we do something just as important as what we do? How does motivation make a difference?
Getting fit and losing weight is always one of the top New Year’s resolutions for many people. No matter how you want to get fit, there is one “secret” I always tell people to do. That secret is to announce your plans. Go on Facebook and announce your goal of losing 25 pounds before a certain date. Doing so makes you accountable to more people than yourself. The vast majority of people are willing to let themselves down before letting their friends or family down. This tactic allows your friends and family to provide the motivation you need to reach and exceed your goals.
The reason for doing the workout program is your primary driver behind getting it done. If you tell yourself you want to lose weight but don’t have a clear reason why, you are doomed to fail.
What advice would you offer to readers who feel overwhelmed or discouraged about their health or physical fitness?
Americans live in an instant society. Everything needs to be done fast, from fast food to fast Internet connections to fast cars. But losing weight is a gradual process, and trying to do it fast will only lead to failure. My advice to those who feel overwhelmed or discouraged with their health and fitness levels is to take your time, plan ahead and stay motivated. Have a clear goal in mind, make good decisions and smartly reward yourself along the way. I see many people on diets who have cheat days. A cheat meal is a great idea, but an entire day is more than just cheating! If are you going to diet, then simply make smarter eating decisions and don’t forget to give yourself rewards for reaching milestones.
Tell our readers where they can go to get more information about you or to order the product.
To learn more about Strength Stack 52 bodyweight fitness cards, simply go to www.StrengthStack52.com