Looking for a new class to challenge you? Then let us take you to our Dealer. Words: Charlotte Thomas of Unbound magazine.
Take me to your Dealer
When there are burpees in a warm up – like full-on-lie-flat-on-the-ground-at-the-bottom burpees – you know fate has dealt you a rubbish hand of cards.
When the second half of your workout also involves burpees, followed by full burpees, followed by more burpees, some plank burpees and – thank the lord – the odd kettlebell swing, you know that someone out there hates you.
Usually I'd say that person was the instructor – in this case one Mr Firas Iskandarani. Unfortunately, the concept of the new The Dealer class is that your fitness is written in the cards – yep, a literal deck of cards – meaning the instructor can absolve themselves of any blame and return to cackling evilly in the corner.
A 45-minute functional training class featuring bodyweight exercises, kettle bell work, weights and general frame-based nastiness, the exercises, number of reps and order of the workout is determined by the cards you're dealt.
After a warm up, our class was split into groups of around six people. Each group picked cards from the dealer. These cards dictated our first round of exercises. The number on the card signified the exercise and the different suits corresponded to different numbers of reps. Sounds complicated? Hopefully this pic can explain.
For my group this resulted in a first set of 3 kettle bell swings, 6 push presses and 3 rows. Not too bad. Not so much fun after around 10 minutes of constant repetition.
For a break (!) we put the cards to the side and, working in our groups, had to complete 200 exercises called something like toes to armpits – I seem to have wiped the official name from my memory as I couldn't even do one. Basically it involved hanging from the frame and, with straight legs, bringing your toes up towards your face. Luckily, we were told that lifting our knees up would suffice for the weedy among us. Phew.
After a short break, it was back to the cards for our final exercises but this time we picked from the deck as a full group. This is when we got 6 sit ups, 12 plank burpees, 12 kettle bell swings and 6 more burpees – basically the Gymbox equivalent of losing your keks in a game of strip poker.
The idea was to complete AMRAP (as many reps as possible) for the remaining 11 minutes. EEELLLEEEVVVVEN!!
To stop us skiving, there was a competitive element. We had to shout out our team name – A, B, C – every time we completed a round while Firas notched up the scores. I think we lost. I was too sore to care. I've always been shit at cards.