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Tom Rowland Podcast

Jul 31, 2018

Deck of Cards: 

Travel can wreck the best intentions for fitness goals. Whether it is a vacation, a business trip, a fishing tournament or an adventure to a primitive location, having an irregular schedule and no access to a gym can cause some to really go off the rails. 

I was certainly having these same problems as I was traveling for Redfish Tournaments many years ago and it really caused me a lot of frustration as the progress I had made would slip away every time I traveled. 

I learned a quick and easy workout that required zero equipment and I could do it anywhere. For more than 20 years I have been hitting this workout on the road and it has kept me on track during the times away from my group and regular schedule. 

You will only need 1 thing to complete this and if you forget it, it will be available in any convenience store, at your hotel kiosk, or at any airport.  This is a simple deck of playing cards.  

Here is how it works:

Deck of cards workout

Simply get a deck of cards (I never travel without one) and shuffle. 

  • Face cards =10 reps
  • Aces = 11 reps
  • All other cards are face value

Designate an exercise to each suit, flip cards and get moving.

My go to travel deck of cards is this:

  • Spades = Burpees
  • Clubs = Pushups
  • Hearts = Situps
  • Diamonds = Squats
  • Joker = Usually a deck of cards has 2 Jokers but will also have 2 or 3 other cards like, the rules of poker or just a blank card.  I use these as Jokers too.  Jokers are good for adding an accessory to your workout.  I will do 100 double unders ( I also always travel with a jump rope), find a staircase to climb, a lap around the parking lot, 20 pullups, 200 Flutter kicks or if I actually have access to a hotel gym with a dumbbell, I might throw in 20 snatches or something.  There are no rules, just use what is available.

If you are on the road for a while and feeling guilty about missing your gym time, throw every key card from your trip into the deck as well and use them as additional Jokers.  It gets progressively tougher every day.

Another version:

  • All Black Cards = Burpees
  • All Red Cards = Pushups
  • Jokers = 400 m run

You can make this as tough as you want to and there are endless combinations.  Even if you do the same combination every day, simply shuffling the cards makes it different every time.

If you are feeling extra tough, do a double deck of cards.

There is no excuse for not staying in shape on the road. 


Send me an email at podcast@saltwaterexperience.comand let me know your favorite combination of exercises for the deck of cards workout.

All the best, 
Tom Rowland