Balance Festival is the destination for individuals embracing a healthy lifestyle. The annual event spans a whole weekend where you can get involved with unique fitness classes, live cooking demonstrations, meditation and yoga, in addition to learning about new food, active wear and start-up brands.
This year the weekend ran from 11th – 13th May at The Old Truman Brewery and there was an unrivalled line-up. I had seen adverts for the festival in the tube and after asking around my friends to see who wanted to go everyone was busy, so G became my +1!
But, we definitely came out on top because it was one of the best days I have had in London since moving down in September.
I had no expectations before arriving at Balance because I had not been before, but as soon as I got to the venue I was buzzing. The entrance led straight into The Market where there were countless health and food exhibitors showing off their brands, handing out free samples and offering competitions. I did not know where to start because I was way too excited. We kick started with a coffee from the MXLK Bar by Ozone, before exploring the rest of The Market. There were well known brands such as Innocent Drinks, Hello Fresh, Emily Crisps, Rude Health and Kind Snacks, in addition to new discoveries such as Strong Roots, Boundless, Noble Leaf and Healthspan – all offering goodies that ranged from protein bars, frozen foods, energy balls, coffee and tea, poke bowls, seeds, smoothie mixes, soups, supplements and crisps, they had it all. My free ‘Balance’ shopper was full and we’d only seen 10% of the festival!
Despite the free food, we did have a pit stop for lunch because I knew I would need the energy for my class later on (more to come). There were a few healthy options and I went for a build-your-own buddha bowl which was piled high with goodness. G had a poke bowl which was as equally packed with the good stuff. A perfect lunch if you ask me!
I must say that this event had the best atmosphere. People had come from far and wide to enjoy the promotion of a healthy, balance lifestyle and the experts/insta-famous fitness bloggers walked around the festival chatting and snapping pics along the way with everyone who attended. There were some big names in the industry that were down on the schedule from Alice Liveing, Deliciously Ella, Ariel Kiley, Bradley Simmonds, Healthy Chef Steph and London Paleo Girl! It was an informal and relaxed vibe with no barriers between those with 600k followers on social media and those with none. It was all about embracing the best life and everyone there was focused on that.
Next to the food stands was The Live Cooking Theatre where you could watch a variety of famous health experts prepare and create some delicious snacks and meals. We got the chance to see Hugo Davies present ‘Protein-Packed Feast’, where he made a variety of plates including prawn rolls, smokey rump steak and marinated avocado. Jasmine Hemsley was also there promoting her new cookbook ‘East by West’ and talked us through Ayurvedic cooking, health and wellness practices and discovering your dosha (take her test here). Other demonstrations that day included Tessa Seward, Alexandra Dudley, Dr Hazel Wallace, Dr Rupy Aujla and Zanna van Dijk. It is always really interesting to hear first-hand from these experts because in person they give you the real deal (Jasmine was telling the audience about her daily tongue-scraping ritual)!
The Locker Room was next on our agenda, which hosted a variety of active wear brands from Pro: Direct FIT, Flexxfit and Gibson Girl – the deals were incredible and so I treated myself to a Flexxfit outfit (leggings, sports bra and tank top), I was a very happy girl!
Nestled amongst the exhibitors and stands were all sorts of fitness stations whereby you could join in on circuits, cycling, or TRX workouts. There was Les Mills, TRX, UN1T, Boom Cycle, Farm Fitness x Mr Hyde Fitness and Barry’s Bootcamp – all on Level 1 so there was more than enough to keep you busy. There were also a number of seating areas for you to take a time out such as in the Refuel Café with a Rehydration Station by Lucozade Sport Fit Water and The Vegan Treatstop by Baileys Almande which had freakshakes and doughnuts galore!
The Ground Level was taken over my meditation and yoga with The Sanctuary offering a selection of brands to fill your bags with yoga apparel, natural skin products and yoga inspired jewellery. In fitting with this theme The Meditation Dome by Rituals was for anyone looking for a spot of mindfulness in their everyday. Method Movement and Triyoga also allowed for anyone at the festival to take 30 minutes to unwind with their free sessions.
Alongside the peacefulness of the Ground Floor there were drop-in sessions in The Lab which was a space for festival goers to attend talks by a variety of interesting individuals. There was How to Live Longer by Harry Jameson, The Power Hour by Adrienne Herbert, How to Stay Energised Monday-Friday by Rosie Millen (Miss Nutritionist) and Zanna Presents: Girl Gains by Tally Rye, Victoria Spence and Zanna van Dijk. Here, you got to hear first-hand advice and guidance on how to maintain and build a healthy lifestyle and to ask questions to industry specialists.
Level 2 was packed full of even more exciting brands and fitness studios. In a large expanse Xtend Barre, Third Space and Another_Space all had sessions running throughout the day which looked intense yet rewarding. In the adjacent room The Village was set up, which was the festival’s innovation space for the latest start-ups and health-friendly inventions. Here, there were a range of stands offering everything from peanut butter, to business advice, clothing brands and vegan cookies.
The VIP Lounge was also situated on this level, so if you opted for the VIP ticket you could eat, chill and drink in this area which was supported by an in-house DJ (of course).
My highlight of the day though, came right at the end of our time at Balance Festival – Zanna Presents: HITT Vs. Muay Thai hosted by Zanna van Dijk and Jamie Ray. This was a 30 minute session on the Main Stage where 100 fellow Balancers gave it there all in a circuits session which went through everything from burpees, kicks, plank variation, jabs, and running squats. I blasted through the class and could feel it in every part of my body… (the next couple of days I could not move!)
Plus, what topped off the day was that I got to meet and snap a pic with Zanna and Jamie!
I felt so inspired leaving the festival having seen a huge range of fitness experts, advisors and brands. It made me remember how important it is to look after your health and how exciting that can be. It is not all about forcing yourself to the gym every day or going on 5km runs every morning, but instead ensuring you have a balanced lifestyle that focuses on the best version of yourself. Yes, you can treat yourself to chocolate and sit on the sofa on a Sunday evening but it just demonstrated how a healthy mindset and life can be an enjoyable one. There is no question about whether I will be going to Balance Festival next year, I already have a reminder on my phone!
If you want to see the full line-up of this year, or just want a bit more information go to their website here.