Last Saturday me and my mum went to our first fitness and wellness festival, ‘Balance Festival’ in London. It was a day full of sweaty workout classes, trying different food and listening to talks by inspiring women; women who use Instagram as their platform to reach out to people, like me, to encourage self love, self belief, and most importantly self acceptance. It’s a difficult task for most to post a picture of themselves not in the “best state” with no make-up or not posing the way they’d want to. We all have this fear that what goes online has to be “perfect” in fear of being judged. But that is you and that is your body, you can’t change your genes so why not embrace it?
The people and brands I follow on Instagram inspire me everyday to work hard, build a strong body for my future and to be the best version of me. These individuals include Alice Liveing, Zanna Van Dyke, Rhiannon Lambert, Deliciously Ella, Livia’s Kitchen and Carly Rowena, just to name a few.
Balance Festival is a three day celebration of food, fitness, wellness and travel and this year was held at The Old Truman Brewery, London. This is an area of London we had never been to before, so I was also interested to explore and discover a new area. The event allowed guests to experience cutting-edge fitness classes, sample delicious healthy foods, learn from leading experts and browse the latest brands.
At the event, there were various corners and spaces offering different things. The main stage is where some of the larger live workouts took place and the LAB is where the more intimate talks were held. The fitness and yoga classes where undertaken in the Boutique studios and another area was the Live Cooking theatre. If people fancied taking themselves off for a couple of minutes to quieten their minds or reflect on the days events, the Meditation Dome or the Sanctuary was the place for them.
We started the day by going to see Zanna presenting, ‘Finding your Fitness,’ in the LAB. This was an in depth discussion with Jamie Ray, Twice the Health, Faisal Abdalla. They explored the topic that there is no one size that fits all when it comes to working out. The inspirational talk slightly changed the way I aim to workout in the future and made you fall in love with it all over again. Rather than doing things because I feel that they are good or because I have to, I’m going to focus more of my attention on what I enjoy the most and the exercise that make my body feel the best.
After this we listen to Rhitrition’s talk on maintaining a healthy relationship with food. She stressed that this relationship with food is developed over time; a journey. Psychology and nutrition work hand in hand. We all have that inner voice inside our heads. For some, this voice dictates and rules how they choose the food they choose; it essentially tells you what to do.
Rhiannon stressed that the most important thing is to learn to separate the voice from what you really want and what you will enjoy that day. The scales cannot be a scale for health, in the same way that how you look on the outside cannot reflect how you are feeling and functioning on the inside. I loved how she strongly believes that everything should be consumed in moderation.
At the end of both talks, I managed to meet both Zanna and Rhiannon and had a short conversation with them; both of whom were lovely. Both of these ladies I have followed on Instagram for a couple of years now and they inspire me to push myself, have balance, empower others and be the best version of myself. I have learnt so much over the years through following their platforms and will continue to be educated by them.
Two of my favourite aspects were the Market and the Refuel Cafe. I am a massive lover of nutritious food and so I loved sampling products from innovative and up-coming brands that cannot be obtain in my local shops. The representatives behind each brand stand were so friendly and helpful and also so smiley, making each one so approachable. We got so so many tasters and snacks as we walked around and we came home with bags full of crisps, drinks and snack bars!
I have never tried a matcha latté before, but have always wanted to. I picked up one from tea pigs and they made it with the Rude Health Brown Rice milk I have at home. It was delicious and I would definitely have it again! My mum also got a coffee from another stand and had it with oat milk.
For lunch, we were indecisive over what to get. I wasn’t very hungry as a result of eating samples at each stand. In the end I opted to a boiled egg, spinach and guacamole pot with a side of a brown rice and quinoa mix. My mum chose the butternut squash and tomato salad box; the squash had a lovely flavour.
My mum and I loved exploring the latest athleisure labels (I love looking at new activewear and admiring all of the designs and patterns!), discovering innovative wearable tech, exploring mindful practices and even looking at travel destinations. Each element of the event created new experiences to optimise guests lives!
Throughout five hours at the event, I was given the opportunity to test my strength and stamina by taking part in two workouts, run by some of the best studios in the city. Both my mum and I initially signed up for a 20 minute yoga session, with triyoga and Imi Wiseman, when we booked our tickets. However, I originally thought it would be a flow sequence or a power yoga session, but it turned out it was an introduction to arm balances. This workshop aimed to get us off our feet and onto our hands with drills, tips and tricks to help your crow fly. I have been trying to do a crow pose for a couple of months now, however my mum is a beginner to yoga and so we decided that this may not be suitable for us both.
Before the event, I emailed the Balance team to explain this and they kindly gave me a discount code to get 2 more sessions in a class for free. By this time, at lot of the classes were sold out, but we managed to book Barre. I didn’t really know what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t just another barre workout. The class was with Xtend Barre which is Pilates and dance amplified. The session brought elements of dance, ballet and Pilates together which created a workout that aimed to strengthen, lengthen and chisel the body.
Our class featured an elegant yet energetic combination of movements that enhance flexibility, improve balance, and challenged the core. I have done Pilates before, however nothing like this. Although we both found it challenging and unexpected, we had a laugh and enjoyed it.
Later in the day, I took part in a Barry’s Bootcamp, Cardio + Strength class. This is one of the studios signature workouts that aims to burn calories fast in a music-filled environment where every class feels new, fun and exciting for all levels. The 30 minute class was very high energy and intense which I loved and I definitely came out red faced and sweaty! The workout included interval cardiovascular treadmill routines and strength training utilising free weights, resistance bands, medicine balls and other equipment. If I lived in London, I would definitely try to attend this studio as often as I could; it was really motivating and the time flew by!
I left the festival feeling very inspired and fuelled with new ideas to achieve my best self. Below are five of the things that I learned and took away from the day.
1. Surround yourself with like minded people, people who empower you and make you happy.
2. Regular self care – make time for you!
3. Accept your body for who you are, stop comparing yourself with other people (especially on instagram).
4. Celebrate individuality, everyone is different.
5. Express gratitude and be grateful for the body you have been given, not everyone is so lucky to have the ability to move.
The whole event went very quickly but I had an amazing day and wouldn’t have wanted to spend it with anyone other than my mum. We always learn and grow together. I am definitely going to try to get tickets next year too! I personally feel that it is the one place where you can access all the best brands, experts and classes around. If you have been to Balance Festival, I would love to know you did and your thoughts.