WARNING: Today’s post is a blatant attempt towards improving your overall health and lifestyle choices. If you still refuse to get off your ass and improve your quality of life, click this link NOW!
We all know I believe in good health. I constantly testing different training approaches, nutritional plans, exercise routines, and fitness styles. A sampling of any population will reveal how diverse our fitness needs are; good thing there are so many customized approaches out there!
Thus far, my single favourite piece of fitness equipment has been the TRX Suspension Trainer. It was developed and refined by a US Navy SEAL, and let me tell you, it’s effective. I use mine several times per week, and even went out of my way, spending time and money, to become a TRX Professional Trainer. For an investment price of under $200, it’s already paid for itself several times over.
But this post isn’t about the TRX.
This post is about a small company called FitDeck.
What is FitDeck?
FitDeck is an innovative approach to address one of the most fundamental issues people have with exercise; it’s boring and repetitive. Believe it or not, your body agrees with you. It thrives on constant challenge. It likes when you change things up.
To that end, FitDeck founder Phil Black, former US Navy SEAL and Navy SEAL instructor (sense a trend in the things I appreciate yet?) put together a small program to keep people excited about exercise. He wanted to make it fun again! If it isn’t appealing, we won’t do it.
His business model? Quite brilliant in its simplicity really. He created a deck of exercise cards.
How’s it work?
It’s pretty straightforward. See below.
This is a sampling of four exercise cards:
- The colour bar across the top of each card refers to the body category it focuses on. This is consistent across decks, making it easy to mix and match your routines as you expand your product.
- The coloured circles refer to time/repetitions for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Keeps thing simple.
- The main area of the card is for a large visual representation of how to perform the exercise itself. As a personal trainer, I can tell you, the attention to proper form in these cards is appreciated.
- In addition to the visuals, the bottom portion of the card has written details for each step of the exercise.
Also included with every deck are a set of overall stretches, sample routines, a product catalog, and a plastic protective case. The routines provided are a great way to kick start your use of FitDeck.
Where do I get FitDeck?
You can get FitDeck at http://www.fitdeck.com
If you browse through their product offerings you will quickly see there is a great versatility available; from athlete level to pregnant women, to those in physiotherapy (visit the website of Winnipeg physio clinic for more details), to kids and the elderly. Here are just some of what they offer:
- Medicine Ball
- Pull Up
- TRX (woot!)
- Exercise Ball
- Balance Dome
- Core Blast
- Combat Sports
They also offer many specialized sport decks, and bundles of multiple decks to really boost your collection!
I actually picked up my first FitDeck, the TRX deck, while earning my certification. It was affordable and right there in front of me, so I tried it out. I was instantly hooked.
So I went to FitDeck and ordered one of their bundles. That is where the lack of polish in their ordering process began to show.
Firstly, I live in Canada, and often when I visit a site, it asks me during the Checkout process if I want USD or CAD. If I choose CAD, it will either relay the order to a Canadian distributor, or at least inform me of one before committing my checkout process.
No such luck at FitDeck.
If you live in Canada, look carefully in the bottom left corner of any FitDeck.com page. There is a Canadian flag. You need to click that if you want to save yourself hassle ordering in Canada. That will take you to an ugly page that looks like it was designed by a fifth grader that simply shows you the products again.
You have to click the Buy Now navigation link.
From there you have to choose which distributor to use, either in Alberta or Ontario. I live in Ontario. There are two choices. The first one seems sketchy, as it’s a guy’s email address and phone number. Yeah, I don’t think I’m trusting my credit card information to that one, so I picked the other, a relatively well known martial arts supplier. By now, I have four windows open in my browser, just to order the damn thing. Bad user experience.
Once I get to CW Martial Arts Supply ( I just saved you this entirely painful experience), it doesn’t link through to the FitDeck product; I actually have to do a search. So I quickly type in FitDeck to the Search field in the top right of the website and voila, I’m good to go.
What an entirely painful process.
The best part, of course, is I never saw the Canadian flag, so I ordered from the main FitDeck site.
Upon successfully fulfilling my order, I received an email confirmation of the order; standard best practice. Point for FitDeck.
From there, it’s standard best practice in eCommerce to also send you an email notification when your product is sent out, along with a tracking number. For the $25 US shipping fee, one would certainly hope so!
I received no such email as the days passed me by. FitDeck states their product will arrive within 10 business days. I’ve had a rash of issues with delivery companies over the last three months (still waiting on several Christmas presents to arrive that were ordered in early November), so I was skeptical and concerned regarding my first purchase.
I called their 800 number. It doesn’t work in Canada. That made me a little more nervous. Thankfully they provide a local area code number as well, so I called that.
At the time, I had no idea who Phil was. To me, he was just the guy that answered the phone when I called. I found him rude and abrasive, just like me. Needless to say we didn’t get along well on the phone. I felt I was treated as though my business didn’t matter, and I was literally questioned and put on the defensive. Now that I know Phil was a SEAL, I understand where he was coming from better, but it still leaves for poor phone etiquette. Point lost for FitDeck.
The main point of contention I had during that call was that my order was physically sitting on the shipper’s desk, ready to go, but they don’t ship things everyday. I don’t know the logistics behind shipping, but to know that a paying customer’s order has been processed and is just sitting there bothered me.
A few days later I received an email from their shipper, Cyndi. Even though I still didn’t get an email with an order confirmation or tracking number (yes, I checked my spam folder), she was patient and very thorough in her explanation of how things work for them. She also provided me with a tracking number.
The tracking number didn’t work on the appropriate courier website. That made me more nervous.
Cyndi tried to explain to me that couriers don’t always register their tracking numbers on the website. I call bullshit really. I do a lot of online ordering, and I have never, not once, been provided an invalid tracking number.
I even threatened to post a very negative and hostile review of FitDeck on my blog. Tee hee.
But true to her word, the package arrived on the 10th business day. Everything was packaged well, no damage. I am quite happy with my product.
So, here’s my scores:
- Product value = 8
- Ordering process = 3
- Customer Service = 6
- Overall experience = 6
I definitely think anyone can benefit from FitDeck, and in fact I recommend that each of you pick up at least one deck to try. I also believe that FitDeck needs to improve their level of professionalism in regards to their online ordering process, but like I started out with, they are a small business, so I’m sure there is room to grow.
I will continue to buy additional FitDecks, but next time, I’ll go through CW Martials Arts Supply. Maybe it will save me a bit of headache.
Oh, and when you do order your FitDeck, tell them Roc says hi. I’m sure they’ll like that. A lot.