This story originally appeared in the September/October issue of Capital Region Living, Saratoga Living‘s sister magazine.
Thought playing cards were just good for game night? Think again. This past July, Orangetheory Fitness trainers Mike Altieri and Chris Gross launched Atlas Training Cards, customized decks of cards that give their owners an easy-to-follow workout plan that requires next to no equipment. Here’s how it works: Each deck contains a key card, with four exercise options for each suit. The user assigns each suit a workout, so, for example, spades is overhead press, clubs is a kettlebell swing, hearts is a goblet squat and diamonds is a see-saw row. The user then makes his or her way through the deck, doing four goblet squats when the four of hearts is pulled, 11 kettlebell swings when the jack of clubs is pulled and 13 overhead presses when the king of spades is pulled. Each deck allows for more than 500 different potential workouts, and comes with a link to an online database of exercise demonstrations.
“Atlas is the Greek Titan god who was condemned to carry the heavens upon his shoulders after defeat at the hands of Zeus and the Olympians,” says Altieri, the director of operations for Orangetheory’s Albany, Rochester and Buffalo studios, about the name of his new venture. “He possessed greater strength, stamina, endurance and resistance to injury than any other Titan. These qualities are what the Atlas Training Cards are designed to build.” The fitness community has bought into the Atlas Card mission, literally, purchasing more decks during preorder registration than Altieri and Gross had even planned to print. At press time, they had sold more than 300 decks.
Though New York State allowed gyms to start reopening at 33 percent capacity, with a number of restrictions in place, between August 24 and September 2, at-home workouts still remain popular: According to NPD Group, March sales of exercise bikes, free weights and benches were up 170 percent, 181 percent and 259 percent, respectively, versus last year. While Atlas Cards definitely fall under the category of at-home fitness equipment, they’ll be useful as people start returning to gyms as well. And return they will, Altieri says. “When the dust settles, and it’s safe to return not just to the gym but to our normal lives, gyms will be busier than ever,” he says. “We all need that coach or workout partner to motivate and encourage us to push harder.” Until then, Atlas will certainly do. To get your own deck, visit atlastrainingcards.com today.