The lessons from Balance Festival still ring loud and strong, as we continue to see the health and wellness scene grow and change at an unprecedented rate. It just goes to show that Balance is so much more than an event. It represents a shift in our culture towards making health a priority and achieving a fulfilling life that is nourishing in every respect. So, to celebrate what Balance Festival embodies, here are the five key lessons from Balance Festival that are paving the future of wellness and showcasing how our platform makes a healthy and happy lifestyle more achievable than ever.
1) Healthy Made Easy
In the past, one of the greatest barriers to health was that it just wasn’t easy and accessible for everyone. Following a training programme, cooking nutritious meals and managing stress whilst navigating daily life all required careful planning, time and resources. But the rise of wellness has changed all that. Balance Festival represents the incredible transformation this industry has seen and the event allowed visitors to dive head first into a healthy lifestyle with ease.
During the Health + Wellness Summit on Balance Festival’s Trade Day, Caroline Cromar, Brand Director at Pret A Manger, talked about the rise of Vegetarian on the high-street, following the recent launch of the second Veggie Pret store in Shoreditch. The ever-expanding range of nutrient-packed, plant-based and even gluten-free meals available on every corner in London is a clear indication that even large-scale branded chains are supporting our intentions to stay well by making it easy to grab healthy meals wherever, whenever.
Another shift that has made health an absolute breeze is the rise of boutique fitness studios. At Balance Festival, 8 of London’s leading gyms took over their own space and allowed visitors to walk up, drop in and take quick classes that slotted around their day. This was a glimpse into how gyms operate now, with flexible booking, short and sharp sessions and everything you need right there in the studio, giving individuals full control over their workout and life schedule.
It was hard not to get totally awestruck by all the innovative products in The Market too, giving convenience back to health. Ready-prepared smoothie packs from AmaVida mean that now even cereal is more faff than an anti-oxidant packed Pitaya bowl, and veggie-crisps by Emily make getting your five-a-day as simple as snacking.
2) The Rise Of Social Fitness
Gone are the days when getting fit meant putting in your headphones and shutting out the world to moodily smash out some squats. Now, the way to move is to interact, share the task and work as a team. This was clear throughout the Festival, from the Collision-Style Workouts, which saw cross-disciplinary instructors pair up to unite their practices, the Urban Tri, which brought together hundreds of people of all ages and abilities to cheer each other on in a united challenge, and the new boutique concept of UN1T, which saw Balance Seekers train as one to achieve their goals.
Social fitness is hot in the industry and we were all keen to find out why from the trainers at Ministry Does Fitness during their session in The LAB. For them, it was clear that sweating and socialising are key to maintaining a healthy balance, so it just makes sense to fuse the two.
3) Modern Mindfulness
Stress and anxiety are common causes of illness in the modern world, but the growing acknowledgement of mental health means that now mindfulness is being promoted more as an essential part of wellbeing. Meditation was just one way this was explored at Balance Festival, with modern mindfulness expert Michael James Wong leading a signature Just Breathe session to help us reconnect with our innermost thoughts and emotions. Meditation experts Adam Husler and Will Williams also took sessions to guide Balance Seekers away from the noise of the modern world and into a trance of stillness and gratitude.
Mindfulness doesn’t just start and end with the brain however, as we learnt from Chartered Psychologist Kimberley Wilson. A full-house in the LAB listened with notepads and pens in hand as Kimberley shared the importance of nutrition in psychiatry, why we should be using food to support brain function as well as physical performance, but also why eating for joy and pleasure is just as valid and necessary as eating for nutrition.
4) Waste Not Want Not
Eating more sustainably is on all our minds, as we discover just how wasteful the modern world can be. Stats suggest that 1/3 of the food we produce in the UK is never eaten and more than 7 million tonnes of food is thrown away by restaurants, supermarkets and the general population each year. It begs the question, why work so hard for a healthy and happy mind and body if the environment we live in doesn’t reflect that?
Well, thankfully the health industry is full of game-changing brands and individuals speaking out and steering forth a sustainable future. In The Market, Balance Seekers met with visionaries such as Chic-P, Snact and Nibs Etc., harnessing surplus produce to create delicious food in an unlikely way, all whilst fighting waste across the board.
In the Live Cooking Theatre, Alexandra Dudley also taught Balance Seekers to waste not by demonstrating her delicious jersey royals and roasted radishes with a mint and radish top pesto, featuring all the ‘bits’ to ensure nothing goes unused. If you missed it, Alexandra has kindly provided the recipe for you to make at home right now. Check it out here
5) Find Your Balance
Finally, the lesson our Festival was all about: Balance. Through shifts in the health scene, we’ve also seen our goals change from striving for intangible perfection to simply seeking a better self on our own terms. And so, with new ideas in the kitchen, motivation in the gym and knowledge from key experts and influencers, it was then essential to balance it out with good music, positive vibes and a few drinks at the Balance bar. At the end of each inspirational day, Balance Seekers cracked open a bottle of bubbly, or Twisted Halo vodka and coconut water for the absolute healthy hedonists, and toasted in celebration of an incredible weekend (and beyond) of food, fitness and wellness.
We learned more than what can be summarised in a single journal and, one thing is for sure, it doesn’t stop here. Balance Festival will be back 11-13 May 2018
to bring you something ever greater. Plus, for Balanced Urban Triathletes who just can’t wait until next year, keep your eyes peeled for a new one-of-a-kind event launching in September 2017.