Wellness Warehouse co-founder and medical doctor Dr Sean Gomes and chiropractor Dr Jesse Bruins Roberts have launched an innovative new brand and product called ZLAANT.
The two are passionate about helping people stay active and ‘get back out there’, and have drawn from their collective experience and expertise to create a community of outdoor enthusiasts and a sustainable, eco-conscious business that promotes consistent efforts to keep your body functioning at its peak.
How it Started
Co-Founder Dr Bruins Roberts completed a three-year post-graduate programme in sport chiropractic, during which he spent a significant amount of time with Elana Meyer’s Endurocad, a running academy for underprivileged runners in Stellenbosch. He also looked after the Zimbabwean national rugby squad when they toured South Africa, and currently works as a chiropractor for Hamiltons Rugby Team.
It was during his time at the running academy that he noticed the same injuries that kept resurfacing amongst the runners, five of the most common being:
- Runner’s knees
- Achilles tendonitis
- Shin splints
- ITB syndrome (Iliotibial band friction)
- Plantar fasciitis (heel pain under the foot)
While the above are the consequences of repetitive strain injuries, Dr Bruins Roberts also encountered more acute injuries - such as ankle sprains – and wanted to create a simple product that could help to prevent both kinds of injuries through consistent daily exercise.
At around the same time, Dr Gomes was training for his second Ironman triathlon whilst battling with a severe range of repetitive strain injuries, specifically runner’s knees. Although he was familiar with the condition and the required treatment, he found it difficult to recover from the injury. He reached out to his nephew, Dr Bruins Roberts, who found research on a specific angle decline slant board that could assist with shock absorption and lengthening of the tendon. Together, they developed the ZLAANTBOARD to treat and prevent common overuse injuries caused by activities like running and cycling.
ZLAANT’s Vision & Mission
The majority of people suffering from common running injuries keep injuring themselves over and over again. Dr Gomes and Dr Bruins Roberts identified that these injury recurrences are mainly due to the fact that most people don’t stick to their rehabilitation programmes or practise prevention.
There are plenty of products, tools and support systems for healthy and active people, but when we get injured, we’re often left out on a limb (excuse the pun). ZLAANT was inspired by the lack of support for injured people, and the team wanted to create something that would be easy to use and that could act as a visual reminder to do strengthening exercises on a regular and consistent basis in order to recover from and prevent injuries.
Many people take a couch-to-marathon approach without first establishing a foundational level of strength, stability, mobility, balance and proprioception. ZLAANT asserts that by working on all of these elements in combination each day, you’re much more likely to prevent hurting yourself when attempting to get active.
While plenty of benefits can be gained from things like yoga, fitness classes and personal trainers, ZLAANT’s specific aim is to create simple and easy-to-use tools that can be used daily and in the convenience of the home.
ZLAANT has brought together a community of healthcare practitioners, athletes and other ‘ZLAANTERS’ to serve as a support system by sharing useful information and material to help you through your journey of recovery from repetitive strain injury. Theirs is a movement to get people to be active and do the things they enjoy in a pain-free and injury-free way. They want to help keep you out there 100% of the time, and not just to go from 0 to 100 and then back to 0.
ZLAANT’s mission is to protect the longevity of your active lifestyle by finding the most effective ways for you to recover from and prevent common sports injuries so you can perform at your best.
Based on research and their own struggles with repetitive strains, the ZLAANT team discovered the three pillars to sports injury recovery, around which the product and movement are built:
- Patience – results take time
- Consistency – keep going
- Quality of movement – do it the right way
The ZLAANTBOARD has enhanced the simple functionality of a slant board or classic balance board by developing a single axis, asymmetrical rocker to increase versatility, range of mobility, strength and lower limb stability. This home workout tool is a lightweight, compact and portable board with an attractive design that can be kept under your bathroom sink, in the kitchen or at your desk as a visual reminder to do your daily exercises.
The board comes with a ZLAANT Circuit and Compliance Tracker to help you follow a dynamic yet simple daily exercise routine that focuses on quality of movement as well as strengthening and mobilising the foot and ankle. The circuit includes a range of proprioceptive exercises that target the lower kinematic chain. Consistent and controlled use of the ZLAANTBOARD and circuit can be a natural aid in enhancing performance, preventing injury and combatting repetitive strain.
The foundational circuit guides you through seven exercises, after which you can also explore additional exercises and programmes on ZLAANT’s website, YouTube channel and the soon-to-be-launched app. The gym circuit comes with a printed board to hang on your wall or mirror for an easy visual step-by-step guide to doing your ZLAANT exercises two to three times a day for 10 minutes. You can also make the exercises more challenging by doing single leg work and adding weights or bands.
A Jack of all Ages
ZLAANTBOARDS are ideally suited for:
- People of all ages (Dr Bruins Roberts’ gran loves hers!)
- Trail runners
- Children’s development (especially for core strength)
- Occupational therapists
- Soccer players (especially for ankle sprains and jumping injuries)
- Younger people (for a more active approach)
- Older people (for a more supportive approach focused on balance and proprioception)
- People who haven’t been active before and want to get out there
As we age, our joints start to wear and tear while we also lose our alignment and the ability to be steady on our feet. There is a certain degree of instability when doing the strengthening exercises, so you’re simultaneously working on your balance and proprioception, which helps to combat the natural decline of age-related balance. By using the ZLAANTBOARD daily as a lifestyle tool, you can start a journey of ageing well and living a full and active life for longer.
ZLAANT is aligned with Greenpop, and uses eco-friendly packaging that derives from recycled materials. The boards are made from sustainably-forested birchwood and water-based varnish, while a percentage of profits go to planting trees. Their ZLAANTPEAK running caps are created to encourage people to look after the environment for future generations, and to protect the biodiverse floral kingdom of the Cape. Each running cap comes with a fynbos seed in the label, and a percentage of the proceeds go to fynbos conservation.
ZLAANT’s goal is to help you:
- Recover from lower limb injuries
- Prevent repetitive strain
- Strengthen tendons
- Improve balance
- Perform at your peak
… and get back out there!
ZLAANT & Wellness Warehouse
- Traditionally when people were unwell, they were very reliant on going to the doctor to get better. Both Wellness Warehouse and ZLAANT strive to communicate and educate customers around preventative approaches to their health and wellbeing.
- Both brands are passionate about empowering people to live an active life by providing them with the necessary platforms and tools to do so.
- Wellness Warehouse and ZLAANT see the importance and value of creating a community that can support each other.
Get your ZLAANTBOARD and ZLAANTPEAK at Wellness Warehouse on Kloof Street or online at www.wellnesswarehouse.com and www.zlaant.com.
Join the ZLAANT community and stay informed about all the latest ZLAANT developments by signing up to their newsletter on their website.