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