Cabin Fever: a workout game

Snow days are fun! We’re outside long enough to get cold and tired. Then we cozy up by the fire with a blanket and warm drink. Nothing but But ice days? They’re not as fun. The whole slip and break your ass thing keeps me and my kids from doing much outside.

Today is one of those days. School’s cancelled. We’re surrounded by an ice skating rink. Stuck inside. For the third day in a row. Cabin fever has set in… Because, when all the pillows/blankets/cushions/chairs/stools have been turned into a fort, the books read, the crafts done and the games played, there’s nothing left to do but for mama to lose her shit.

And I was on the brink of doing just that this morning when I remembered a little game that Jillian Michael once taught me. It’s actually a workout disguised as a game. And my kids were totally into it. I threw on some tunes, got a deck of cards and started to sweat. The “game” took about 30 minutes, including water breaks and costume changes. Here’s the deal…

Cabin Fever: a workout game

You’ll need a deck of cards, a bit of open space and some tunes. Optional: a pair of hyenas (or small children) who’ve been trapped inside for 3 days. Or you could play solitaire style (if you’re so lucky.) Here we go…

  1. Grab a deck of cards.
  2. For each suit, designate an exercise. Get creative – see example combinations below. You could even integrate hand weights and/or bands!
  3. Select a wild workout for the Joker cards (if you have any). We treat Ace as eleven.
  4. Turn up the tunes and get ready to play Cabin Fevaaahhh!
  5. Flip the deck over and select one card at a time. The number on the card indicates the number of repetitions. The suit indicates the exercise. Although you take turn drawing cards, everyone does the exercise.
  6. As soon as you perform the exercise and reps indicated by the card, move on to the next card immediately. Keep that heart rate up!
  7. In this casino, you’re the boss. So, if you get tired of a certain exercise mid-game, switch it up! Get creative and have fun!

It’s super easy to adapt the movements based on the intensity you’re looking for. If you’re already showered and dressed, keep the intensity low. Perhaps focus on abs. The goal of the game today was to burn off some energy, so I opted for high intensity moves. Here was our circuit…

  • Hearts – jumping jacks
  • Clubs – squat jumps
  • Spades – split jumps
  • Diamonds – Lola’s (something Vera made up that involves a side leg lift)
  • Joker – 30 second all out dance party

Possible Workout Combinations:

Ab Circuit: 1) Spades – Plank with cross knees*, 2) Clubs – Side plank raises*, 3) Hearts – V-ups, 4) Diamonds – Full extensions, 5) Joker – Headstand hold

Cardio Circuit: 1) Spades – Burpees, 2) Clubs – Squat Jumps, 3) Hearts – Mountain Climbers, 4) Diamonds – Lateral Side Hops, 5) Joker – Squat hold for 30 seconds

Legs and Buns Circuit: 1) Spades – Pulse lunges*, 2) Clubs – Drop squat jumps, 3) Hearts – Curtsy lunges*, 4) Diamonds – Sumo squats, 5) Joker – Bridge hold for 30 seconds

Core Circuit: 1) Spades – Lying side leg lifts*, 2) Clubs – Bridge lifts, 3) Hearts – Russian twists*, 4) Diamonds – Crunches, 5) Joker – Side plank dips, 20 on each side

Upper Body Circuit: 1) Spades – Tricep dips, 2) Clubs – Walk outs, 3) Hearts – Push ups, 4) Diamonds – Plank walks, 5) Joker – 5 chaturangas

* For these exercises, complete the reps on both sides.

Thanks be to Jillian Michaels and the brilliant human who invented cards! Now, go kill 30 minutes and a few calories!

PS. I’m posting this the day after. Honestly, my side-butt is so sore! It must have been the 95 reps of squat jumps and split jumps from yesterday. Yeah Cabin Fever!

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