Month: May 2017

Be:Fit Breakdown Mark 2…Is it Unhealthy to be too Healthy?

Be:Fit Breakdown Mark 2…Is it Unhealthy to be too Healthy?

If you read  my last post, you may have picked up on the fact that Be:Fit Festval 2017, didn’t exactly live up to my expectations.

I wasn’t really intending on writing this version of events, but having read back over my Be:Fit Breakdown, I feel like it might be a disservice to myself not to tell the whole and honest truth.

Because although on the whole I had a good time, saw some friends, nabbed some samples, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit uneasy about the whole thing.

This is the case for a number of reasons:

1) Be:Fit was initiated by its founder, Leigh Fergus, in response to Women in Sport’s statistic that only 1 in 5 UK women do enough exercise to stay fit and healthy. It was a way to promote an active lifestyle and create a positive, non-competitive environment to women who may feel body conscious or intimidated by exercise. Yes, it was brilliant seeing loads of women come together to celebrate their mark in the fitness world. The thing is though, I don’t think Be:Fit actually does much to advertise or open itself up towards those women who aren’t already part of and comfortable in that environment.

I’m a personal trainer and fitness instructor but even I felt intimidated at times. The whole thing felt a lot like a fashion or body competition which is not really the way (in my opinion) to make the fitness world more accessible to those outside of it. Surely that’s a bit of a flaw in the system?

2) I feel like lots of the speakers were famous from Instagram. Which is all very well and I’m not denying that many of them have done very well for themselves. But what about the fitness world outside of the fabrications of social media? Women training for marathons or competitions that don’t necessarily have a huge following because their food isn’t perfectly photogenic.

3) Every single sample HAS to be healthy. Like yeah, I get it – it’s a fitness festival. But seriously there are only so many gluten-free-raw-paleo-vegan-all-natural-sugar-free health balls that you can have in an afternoon. Even if they are free. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have a healthy snack alternative on hand and yes I do love peanut butter. But realistically in my day to day life if I want a healthy snack I’ll have fruit. Or nuts. Or hummus and vegetables. Some seeded bread and cottage cheese. Food! Like real, actual food. There are loads of options without having to spend your life savings on the tiniest packet of vegetable crisps. And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with a cup of tea and a biscuit every now and then!

And that right there is the fundamental flaw in Be:Fit.

The festival focused so much on the uber-healthy side of things that I think it lost sight of the importance of balance. You sort of got the impression that it’s only acceptable to have a protein shake if it’s vegan and low-carb. Or only acceptable to have juice if it’s cold pressed with added antioxidants. On the first day, Tom and I filled up on so much ‘healthy crap’ that actually, we felt pretty shit.

So we left kinda early, went to the gym and had pizza afterwards.

Because you know what? Carbs (in moderation) can be healthy too.

Is it unhealthy to be too healthy?

Surely the way to get more women into fitness is by promoting genuine health and balance, rather than borderline obsession…what do you think?

Be:Fit Festival 2017: The Breakdown

Be:Fit Festival 2017: The Breakdown

At the end of last month I experienced London’s Be:Fit Festival for the very first time. Maybe it’s because I’m “in the industry” now, but I swear that until this year I hadn’t heard of it. Apparently Be:Fit has gone from strength to strength since the inaugural event in March 2017. (It was held at Olympia and, according to the people I’ve spoken to that were there, it was just a bit sh*t).

This year, all of a sudden, everything in my social media feed was about the lead up to this event. “Europe’s only health and fitness festival dedicated to Women”.  April 2017, Be:Fit Festival at Islington’s Business Design Centre was the place to be for any female fitness fanatic.

I was obviously thrilled when I won complimentary tickets to attend the full weekend this year. The chance to check it out for myself without overly worrying about filling a tote bag with enough bitesize freebies to make up the cost of the £25 ticket. Kerching!

I dragged Tom along with me on the Saturday. There were other men there, despite it being a ‘woman’s’ festival, although a couple of people did remark on how brave he was! In retrospect, I do think that around 18,000 girls parading their sports tights, crops and freshly braided hair, high on endorphins…well yes that must be pretty intimidating. I went with friends on the Sunday, Tom having politely declined the invitation…

Be:Fit Festival Breakdown 2017

The Be:Fit Breakdown

The Classes

Well…the class. I wish I could have spent two days doing back to back classes, but a) I don’t think I could’ve handled it and b) with the way that Be:Fit’s booking system works, it would have been pretty impossible. 50% spaces for the classes are booked in advance (and obviously get taken up within seconds). The remaining 50% are reserved for on the door. Which obviously means you have to plan your day down to the T and get queuing a good hour in advance if there’s a class you’re desperate to go to. Even then, VIP members get priority so there’s no guarantee still that you won’t be turned away.

The team from Rebound UK had the right idea, – running 5 minute ‘drop in’ classes on the mezzanine. Literally a hop-on hop-off exercise class. Their instructors were absolutely full of beans the whole day, even throwing trampoline flash-mobs into the crowd every few hours or so! It fitted perfectly with the festival set up and really gave a great atmosphere to the whole event.

I did manage to do a class with Un1t on Sunday. With bases in London Bridge and Fulham, Un1t specialise in High Intensity, Functional classes – a bit like F45. It was kind of intimidating because there were 5 instructors running around and “motivating”, rather than just one. Their motivational phrases ranged from “Yes, keep going, you’re doing great!” to “Don’t you stop now I need to see you sweating“. I don’t know, maybe they were just going for the “something for everyone” approach. It was less of a community feel than what I experienced going into F45…but I guess that’s hard to achieve in a one off class at a festival. Still, I left the studio with that satisfying exhaustion of a great workout!

Be:Fit Festival Breakdown 2017

The Stands

I had to work at a similar event once upon a time when I worked at the Royal Academy of Dance. I spent all of three hours (nothing) stood at their stall and it honestly drained me. Which is why I have so much respect for the owners of small business at these sort of events. They spend the whole weekend behind their stands promoting and selling their products. Plus even more time planning, setting up and clearing away. It takes a lot of effort, organisation and energy. You can really tell when the people behind the stand are genuinely passionate as well.

There was a decent range of brands available, some that I’d heard of before and other’s that I hadn’t. I was always going to get my fair share of samples from Pip and Nut and CocoPro – but finding a delicious and genuinely healthy Ice Cream brand (Oppo) was an unexpected surprise!

Be:Fit Festival Breakdown 2017

Overall

To be honest, looking back now, it’s all a bit of a blur. I remember being very overwhelmed, particularly on the Saturday when it was busiest. Festivals are strange places – I was reminded a lot of my university fresher’s fair where you go around armed with your email address and a bag full of freebies signing up to things you have no intention of committing to. It’s an interesting experience with a brilliant concept. I’m glad I’ve been once but would I go again? I’m not so sure…

 

I have not been endorsed by any of the companies featured here – even if I were, all opinions would be a) true and b) my own. Life’s too short to speak other people’s words.

 

 

Monthly Summary: April Updates and Into May

Monthly Summary: April Updates and Into May

Happy 1st May! This is one of my favourite months. Partly of course because May is when my birthday is. Quite conveniently, mine and Toms’ birthdays are only a day apart- his on the 3rd and mine on the 5th. So this year instead of doing presents we booked ourselves a few days in Tuscany as a birthday treat.

It’s a good thing we did, because after April, I definitely feel like I need a bit of a holiday!

You know how they say that if you want something done, give it to a busy person?

That sort of sums up this month.

Quite a few of my clients went on holiday for Easter- and one left to go have her baby! So in a bit of a panic I agreed to take on a few more clients plus a little bit of extra admin.

This meant that actually I was busier than ever, having to schedule my time down to the absolute minute. Still, even though I was rushed off my feet for most of April, I seemed to be able to tick everything off much easier.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how April has been for me:

PT/Work

A couple of clients stopped training in April due to work schedules, long-term travel plans and babies making an appearance. It was my first case of ‘losing’ clients and even though it’s not for bad reasons (thank goodness!), it’s a bizarre thing to get your head around. You build up such a strong relationship when you see someone so regularly then all of a sudden it stops. It’s actually really upsetting!

Still, it’s definitely a case of lose-one-gain three. Not only have I got a couple more signing up, but some of my existing clients are upping their weekly sessions from once to twice, or even three times per week. It’s the most rewarding feeling when clients start making amazing progress and you can see how motivated and happy it’s making them!

I’m facing some tricky decisions at the moment about my PT/Class ratio. Realistically, I think I need to cut down my classes a little further. I mentioned in last month’s update that I’d already cut them down a bit. It’s a shame because I absolutely love teaching my classes, but at the moment some of them are just a little too far away travel wise, which eats into time that could be spent PT-ing. Ideally I’d love to teach one or two classes a week, a little closer to home and then dedicate the rest of my time to Personal Training clients. Teaching classes is such a rewarding feeling so I never want to stop that completely.

FlexFit Dance April Updates

Life/Blog

I spent the last weekend of April at Be:Fit Festival in the Business Design Centre in Islington. A whole weekend dedicated to women’s fitness, with gym-wear, protein and peanut butter galore. Festivals are a strange thing. I went to the London Coffee Festival earlier in the month, which was full to the brim of coffee addicts. Be:Fit was the same but with gym clad girls shotting free samples of protein and getting personalised sports bras! It was an interesting experience. There was a great atmosphere – really high energy and I have a lot of respect for all the small business owners really putting in the effort on their stands to build relationships and get their name out there. There are loads of classes to try out, lots of interesting speakers and, of course, obligatory free samples of the latest health crazes. I’m in two minds about it – but you’ll be able to read more in my Be:Fit posts this week so stay tuned!

We’re on to month 3 of the Fit Bride Bootcamp collaboration with Lattes & Lipsticks. So far it’s going better than I think either of us imagined. We’ve had a great response to our Instagram giveaways- but more importantly Staci’s progress is incredible. She’s come really far both physically and also in her mental approach to fitness. She now knows how satisfying a tough leg-day workout can really be!

Coming up in May:

I mean first up on May’s to do list is the best:

  • Relaxing in the middle of nowhere in the Tuscan countryside. I can’t wait! We fly out tomorrow. It’s also exciting because it means I get to share more travel posts with you – which I absolutely love to write. Don’t forget to check out my Sunshine category in the upcoming weeks for some Italy updates!
  • I still need to do my Yoga class. I mentioned this last month and then all of a sudden was run off my feet. However I want to get at least a couple of classes under my belt by the end of June, so let’s hope I get my act together!
  • May will see the last in my TRX workout series on the blog. Short, simple and effective workouts all with one piece of equipment. If you have’t used a TRX before, now’s the time to try it out!

What are you looking forward to this month?

FlexFit Dance April Updates