When Julia Balaz was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, her life plans fell apart.
Her symptoms demanded so much of her time and energy that she had to give up on her ambitions of becoming an architect. Severe abdominal pains led to a ruptured bowel and months spent in and out of hospital on heavy medication.
Life got put on hold while she adjusted to living with a chronic illness.
On her journey to accepting her illness, she was introduced to jumping fitness by her sister Zuzana while she was in Slovakia. As well as encouraging her to get active, taking up the classes gave her the motivation and positive outlook she needed to rewrite her story.
She returned to London to find the city lacking in the jumping fitness classes she’d fallen in love with in Slovakia. Fuelled by her commitment to living life with a positive attitude, she decided she would host them herself and launched her fitness company, Jumping Julia.
She hadn’t been running these classes for long before she was snapped up by World Jumping. She now manages her own company alongside working with World Jumping to bring jumping fitness to London.
Her instructors hosts classes in Shoreditch and in St Peter & the Guardian Angels Church in Southwark.
I went along to the Southwark class to see what was so special about this fitness class that had turned Julia’s life around.
It was arranged much like any other aerobics class, with the addition of a small trampoline for each member of the group. Working out on a trampoline, Julia told me, was better for your joints and improved your balance. It also used your muscles in an entirely different way than you usually would moving around on a flat surface.
Most importantly, she told me, what made her classes stand out was that they were fun.
The forty-five minute class was broken down into five minute sections set to fast paced club anthems. The soundtrack gave the class a sense of informality without detracting from the energy you need for HIIT style workouts.
For the most part, the class focussed on low bouncing on the trampolines, forcing you to keep your whole body in control and strengthening the core muscles. The quick movement means you have to be totally in control of everything your body does and, if you’re not aware of how the springy trampoline bed affects your movement, it can be tricky to keep up.
Once you get into the rhythm, though, it’s easy enough to keep to the beat.
Careful not to neglect the upper body, there was a segment devoted to push-ups.
The class finished with a yoga section that really tested your ability to balance on an uneven surface.
Julia told me that in your average forty-five minute long exercise class, you usually burn around 800 calories. The jumping fitness classes she runs can burn up to double that.
Jumping Julia has a dedicated following already and World Jumping UK is looking to train more instructors to meet the demand for the unique classes.
Julia’s jumping fitness classes are held at St Peter & The Guardian Angels Church, 72 Paradise Street, SE16 4QD, at 6.30pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 9am on Sundays. Admission is £10 per session. For more information visit http://www.jumpingfitnessbritain.com/ or http://www.worldjumping.co.uk/