Allergic to the gym? Finding yourself lazier than ever before because you can’t face your running shoes – and not because of their aroma, either? Then this one is for you – we found some alternative forms of exercise guaranteed to get the blood pumping and the heart racing – out of excitement, rather than the usual dread…
By Chandrea Serebro
If you have ever tried to change the way you think about ergonomics and health, or even just tried sitting on a stability ball instead of a chair – only to find yourself flat on the floor within seconds to the dismay of your co-workers, you will be surprised at the feats that Yossi Montrose accomplishes on the ball. Standing, one legged, feet-up, pyramid, one-leg-on-each-ball, one-leg-on-each-ball-one-hand-on-another-two-balls – you name it, Yossi has probably mastered it. Don’t picture a clowning routine though; these aren’t juggling balls. These feats are the mastery of a complex, holistic health movement which takes the high impact out of training and adds longevity and quality to your life.
Performa Ball – the company that Yossi founded out of his love and expertise on the stability ball and his belief in the benefits it can offer young and old – offers seating solutions for those that sit all day and need to improve blood flow, posture, and core. It helps kids who suffer from ADD and ADHD to manage their need for movement, at the same time as improving their confidence and balance, and ability to sit during the school day. It helps people who are disabled or paralysed to get some movement back. It helps elite sportsman to improve reaction, balance, and strength. It helps with pregnant women to have a better labour and recovery, and it helps older people improve functionality. “Ultimately, it is about valuing your health, and helps you choose the right form of training and sitting which you will be able to maintain as a lifestyle going forward,” says Yossi.
Yossi was a keen sportsman who excelled at playing cricket, soccer, and squash, but always had bad lower back, shoulder, and neck pains, and bad posture. “In 2002, I joined a gym and discovered the stability ball. I was immediately drawn to it, as it was fun, and I finally found something that I could play around with for that reason alone, rather than something which came with the added pressure that exercising has. Back then, I had no idea of the benefits that would come from it.” Yossi found himself motivated to return to the gym just to use the ball, which kept him busy for long hours spent originating new exercises, and finding his balance and comfort zone on the ball.
“I noticed that my back wasn’t as sore anymore, and neither was my shoulder or neck. After a few months, I noticed my posture improving and I started getting much better at the sports I was playing without any soreness afterwards. I knew I was on to something. The more I trained, the stronger, more balanced, quicker, and more agile I became.” After practising – which was fun and motivating – Yossi found himself with the confidence to begin to stand and start practising movements on the ball. “I totally forgot that I had ever had any pain at all, and I realised I could do more than I had imagined. I knew I could start helping people besides myself. That is how Performa Ball came about.”
Yossi’s aim is to improve one’s level of wellness and quality of life, which is called ‘longevity training’. “Not only does it decrease back and joint pain, but your reaction time will improve, which could mean preventing a fall or avoiding a car accident in the future.” There are balance skills and co-ordination skills that you will learn as well as many other skills, like focus and learning to expand your comfort zone, and of course body awareness. But how it differs to other forms of training is that it is both challenging and fun because you are training on an unstable environment. “Because the ball is round and you have to find your centre of gravity while you are on it, you find yourself needing to shift your balance with every micro-movement. This helps build new neural pathways from your mind to your body, and the more neural pathways you have the more functional you become, and the more fun you can have.”
Performa Ball is like anything in life, not least of all exercising. If you are consistent, with a commitment and dedication to learning new things and growing your form and technique, then you will grow from it, and the sky is the limit. “Imagine being able to pick up something without any strain. Imagine the ability to hit a golf ball 80 meters further with less force and strain on your body. Imagine being able to stand and squat on the ball. These have been just a few examples of how clients have grown from it” – clients who have loved the new, alternative form of exercise, many of whom are over 50 years old.
“People enjoy it because it’s fun, challenging, and keeps you engaged throughout the process. The progression and the sense of achievement one gets from mastering a new exercise or reaping the benefits of it outside of training are untold with the stability ball. It is like nothing you have experienced before.” And this is precisely why people enjoy it – because it is a unique and out-of-the-box form of training. Performa Ball is for those wanting to challenge their bodies in a healthier way. Who want to move without pain, and improve their balance and performance, confidence and strength. “It is amazing for your body and mind, as it has zero impact on the body, and your mind is engaged the whole time. Think of it as investing in your health without any risk, if done properly. The benefits are huge. You are able to look good as a by-product of the training at the same time as feeling good.” These are the main benefits, but the secondary and other benefits from the Performa Ball cannot be ignored either: getting your mind to see and think differently, acquiring a more intense focus, and achieving balance in the literal and figurative sense.”
“Nutrition is also a huge aspect, and it is so important to feed your body correctly. Disease and sickness can’t live in an alkaline body. Less sick days means more productivity, more training, and a better quality of life. Training smart is crucial as well as training hard, and so is nutrition. If you can forgo the immediate satisfaction of eating junk foods, your body will thank you in the long run. Eating well will mean that your muscles will more likely start showing more definition, and you will look and feel healthier all around.”
Follow Yossi on instagram @yossi_montrose
Start your health journey with online skype training or get the right quality balls to sit at your office or home by contacting Yossi: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0725132613
Always dreamed of being a ballerina, but resemble more the one with the two left feet in pink tights and a tutu? Well then Barre is for you, and all you will need to join a Bounce class is a “positive, happy attitude and a tight sports bra”, says Kerri Katz of ladies only gym Kerri Katz Fitness, which specialises in Ballet-based fitness in classes named for the ballerina inside us all, Booty Barre Bounce and Barreletix. In these classes, you can live out your dream of doing ballet as you get fit and give yourself a full body workout that is high intensity and low impact, without any prior expertise or, indeed, even knowledge in Ballet. “Through Barre work, one can build strength by using challenging positions taken from Ballet and dance to help tone and strengthen, as the Ballet technique provides great postural benefits, muscle strength, balance, and flexibility.” You will learn to get fit and have fun, and it is particularly beneficial if you are recovering from any injuries, giving you a safe and fun way to get your strength back.
And if you think it is just girls with their feet up on bars, buns in their hair and a smile pasted on their faces, think again. “Even though we use light weights, the burn is real. We add pulses into movements to challenge the body, and if you do these movements correctly you start to see a change in your strength, form, and body shape. Barre is also great therapy. Everyone walks out feeling energised and ready to deal with the day, no matter what is going on. There is no judgement. You go at your own pace, which takes the pressure off. Life is so stressful as it is; this is a good place to escape. You also learn the correct techniques employed in Ballet, as Barre must be done correctly in order to strengthen and see results. Anyone will see that Barre takes care of the body.” And it brings an element of crazy to your life that will have the ballerina dreamer inside you laughing with glee. All of the instructors are professional dancers, which takes the understanding of Barre to a new level, and shows you that while you may not make it to Juilliard, you will start to see a change within yourself and what you can achieve.
Kerri has also started her own Advanced Bounce syllabus, which is more of a cardio workout on the rebounder with a support Barre – still including Ballet and Pilates techniques, but with some choreography from her days as a dancer. The studio also offers Dance for Parkinsons, an amazing programme for people with Parkinsons, as well as their caregivers. For more information, visit and follow Kerri Katz Fitness FB page.
There is no reason why exercise has to be dull and dreary, and gone are the days when sweating it out at the gym or pounding your feet on the pavements were the only ways to keep fit and stay inspired. These days, there is something for everyone, and the best part of it all is that often you can learn a new skill set, while staying fit, and having fun at the same time without any expertise or prior experience needed. Zumba is one such example, a dance fitness exercise class which features movements inspired by various styles of Latin American dance and performed to Latin American dance music. It is a high intensity, high impact cardio class that feels more like a dance party than an exercise class, which is what makes it so popular with people young and old. That said, it is not the same as grooving with your mates around the beat box, even though the goal is first and foremost to have fun.
The cardio movement that is involved is real, and, says Yali Friedman of Zumba with Yali, it helps to boost your heart rate and ultimately improve your heart and lung function, giving you a full workout when all you think you are doing is moving to a few tunes. “Zumba is inspired by Latin music with simple steps that are perfect for building an exercise routine. By following the three-to-five steps typically used per particular song and finding your groove, you won’t even realise you’re exercising. People can enjoy a great cardio workout without the typical monotonous cardio of other exercise.” Zumba helps aid in muscle tone by targeting just about every muscle in your body while improving balance and coordination, and you’ll burn plenty of calories (as much as 400-600 in one hour) and improve your cardio-respiratory health as well. “I, for one, could never go to a gym and run on a treadmill or cycle, but being in the studio with great music and lots of energy makes it the best kind of workout.”
This energetic dance can be taught at any level — from beginner to advanced — and can be modified for most physical limitations one may have and people of all levels of ability. “Anyone can have fun and benefit from this exercise. It’s fast-paced with steps not everyone is familiar with. However, once one gets used to the steps it’s just a matter of keeping up.” And it will help you on the dance floor of life as well, giving you a basic knowledge of the rhythm of Latin music and dancing and an appreciation for a different kind of dance form, so you can break out and show your moves any time.
For more information, visit and follow Yali’s Facebook page Zumba with Yali.