The latest European wellness craze promises a perfectly balanced physical, mental and emotional workout. Ashleigh Sharman gets active-gear ready and discovers Waff.
Focusing on balance, core, posture, coordination and relaxation, Waff can be best described as ‘pilates on a waterbed’ – the fun and effective workout suitable for all levels of fitness, from first-timers to elite athletes.
But don’t be fooled, that fluffy looking cloud can deliver a killer routine if you want it thanks to its initial development by a team of physiotherapists, chiropractors, personal trainers and professional athletes.
“Back in France I was training for heptathlon events and my coach was using the Waff with us from training to recovery and rehabilitation,” says local distributor, Anne-Sophie Chapoton (aka Madam Waff).
Involved as a model in video demonstration exercises, Anne-Sophie saw the official method slowly develop and extend its reach from France to Europe, Canada and the US: and in moving to Australia she created a unique opportunity for the brand.
“When I arrived in Sydney I went to buy the equipment I was used to training with at home – swisse ball, medicine ball – but I couldn’t find a Waff!” she says, adding that although everyone was using them in France no one had heard of them in Australia.
This light-bulb moment some three years ago led to Anne-Sophie importing and training Waff locally, pitching the product first to movement professionals, including Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Osteopaths, Orthopedic specialists and Personal Trainers; however now keen to extend Waff’s reach to hotels, retreats and spas as it is beloved by many properties in her native France.
“I was a user first and believe that it truly is suitable for everybody as it helps to create permanent control of imbalance or unsteadiness. As an inflatable cushion it’s an excellent fitness tool and works muscles in a safe environment, eliminating pressure points that can generate disorder or pain.
“It’s perfect for spas, retreats and hotels as we can focus on three key areas that rejuvenate guests who suffer burn-out from their busy work life; posture, muscle toning and relaxation,” Anne-Sophie explains.
Low-impact, and adjustable to different fitness levels thanks to the mini, medium and max Waff designs, the workout is an approachable one incorporating exercises from pilates, yoga and physiotherapy-driven functional movements.
“Waff is at the crossroads of what I like to call ‘soft fitness’,” adds Anne-Sophie.
“The concept is warm and cheery and you can really have a laugh at yourself when it comes to balance activities but there is no zoning out, it demands total body awareness and focus. And that’s your physical, mental and emotional workout.”
So what about the name? Originally designed as part of a video game that never happened, ‘waff’ was the sound of the developers sitting down to total relaxation. You might just need your French accent though.