Remember when you were a kid and fitness was fun and easy? Traversing monkey bars at the playground, running to tag a friend, crawling, jumping, moving tirelessly… we called it “play” rather than “fitness” or “exercise”, and then somewhere along the line the fun stopped and fitness became a chore.

To make matters worse, in our current world state, gyms have temporarily closed their doors and events are being canceled and postponed at every turn, leaving us a bit frazzled in regards to our fitness regimens. We’re doing our best staying fit at home with virtual events and the dusty dumbbells we found in the basement, but what if there was an accessible and compact exercise tool that could help us enjoy our fitness experience?

Well I have good news my fellow mud-runners…there is!  It’s the card game “Playout” and it’s just what we need to mix up our mundane, repetitive fitness funk!

Personally, I have two decks of training cards from Playout: Playout The Game of Fitness and Playout OCR Game. For this review, I will focus on the OCR Game.

What is it?

A deck of cards that includes 30 bodyweight exercises, 6 wildcard challenges, and 6 minigame competitions.

How it works: each card shows an exercise or challenge to be completed, then users choose a difficulty level (most often based on reps completed) and are awarded points when the card is completed.

The deck can be used individually or in small or large groups. When testing the game myself, I played alongside my husband to add in some friendly competition.

I used the “Open Heat” format (shuffling the deck at random and completing the cards at my own pace), but the game also offers an “Elite Heat” format (performed by separating terrain, strength and skill cards and completing exercises as specifically directed and for time). The objective of the game is to score as many points as possible before the cards or time runs out.

Right away, it was easy to see that there would be endless ways to customize this game to create the workout that is best for me.

So, let's PLAY!

In choosing to play the “Open Heat” format, I shuffled the entire deck and got to work completing the cards back to back, at my own pace, and kept score on a dry-erase board as I went along.

The cards were classified by terrain, strength, or skill, and also included wild cards and minigames. Terrain cards included exercises such as: bear crawls, butt-kickers, and lunges; strength cards included exercises such as: burpees, pullups, and frog hops; and skill cards included exercises such as: pushup-rolls, plank jumps, and forearm walks.

Wildcards, when drawn, were to be used on the next exercise card drawn and included challenges such as landing silently on jumps, breathing only through the nose, and skipping a rest break. Minigames are also included to add challenge and varied from tasks such as max out one minute of burpees, endurance planks, and a sit up duel. The minigames were especially fun to compete against my husband in and helped us both push our limits!

Overall, I found that the cards were very focused on agility, strength development, and practical movements, which as an avid obstacle course racer, I appreciated that the exercises catered so well to training for the race course.

Additionally, each card had the choice of completing an easy, medium or hard level and points were awarded based on the difficulty level completed (10, 20 and 30 points respectively). After completing each card, I tallied my score on a dry erase board.

I continued this process until I completed all of the cards and let me just say, my muscles were burning!

At the end of the deck, the player with the most points wins (spoiler alert: I was not the winner)…but truly, after that killer workout, I felt like a winner none the less.


After testing the game myself, I agree with Playout’s claim that this game is for anyone! – People stuck in a workout routine, people short on time or not sure where to start, seasoned athletes, children and families, etc. Playout definitely proved to be an innovative workout tool that is easily accessible to anyone currently staying at home, and also, I believe, will transfer well when we are able to get back to the gyms, schools, and playgrounds. I loved that the only equipment needed was a pull-up bar (there is no equipment needed in the original fitness pack) and that I was able to get a full-body workout that was fun, challenging, and extremely unique.

What I found most impressive about this game was the endless adaptations that can be created with it – Open heat, Elite heat, for time, for points, HIIT, AMRAP, EMOM, group exercise, and more. Plus, I love knowing that even with these adaptations aside, the next time I use the game my workout can be completely different just by shuffling the deck. Overall, this game definitely challenged me to make fitness fun and was perfect for mixing up the mundane, typical workouts I had fallen into a routine with. 

In addition to the card games, Playout offers a Playout: The Game of Fitness App available for download for Apple users, as well as services including presentations for professional development, field days and motivation assemblies, and installation of custom Ninja/Spartan style obstacle courses.

To support Playout, you can visit their website and spread the mission to make fitness fun!

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