Last Saturday I neglected my studies in order to spend the day at Be:Fit London (Instagram: @befitlondon_), at the Islington Business Design Centre (it wasn’t a hard decision to make). For those of you who haven’t heard of it, Be:Fit is a fantastic fitness festival where you can meet all of the fitties you follow (stalk) on social media, sample virtually every kind of protein bar and shake, and take part in the most popular fitness classes in London. I was like a kid in a (sugar-free) sweet shop.
Next 3 photos belong to Be:Fit London
I kicked off my day with a sweaty Velocity workout led by the Core Collective. It was really crammed in the Reebok Studio (there were 350 of us!) which made it difficult at times but other than that it was great – a tough circuit workout involving squat jumps, burpees, press ups… You get my drift. That was followed by a delicious lunch from the main café; grilled salmon with mixed salads to refuel.
Next I dashed to a talk led by the amazing Zanna Van Dijk who shared her tips on how to grow a blog and was interviewed by Leigh Fergus (founder of Be:Fit and responsible for the incredible festival). Zanna is hugely inspirational, she recently reached 100k followers on Instagram, has her own activewear range and is currently writing her book, which you can pre-order now. Check out her amazing blog here.
Then I had a little wander around the stalls, where I snacked on samples and picked up a delicious frozen chocolate smoothie from Frill – nothing nasty added, tastes just like ice cream and available in Waitrose and WholeFoods.
My last event of the day was a relaxing Strala yoga class led by the one and only Tara Stiles (Instagram: @tarastiles). Tara is such a source of inspiration to me, particularly as she was the one who got me interested in yoga in the first place! If, like I was, you’re not confident enough to start going to a class, or you’re short on time, get her DVD This Is Yoga.
Until I bought this DVD I had always dismissed yoga as easy and never considered it as exercise, or how beneficial it is for the mind as well as the body. I started doing Tara’s DVD and was stunned at how challenging it was. It massively helped to build up my strength, flexibility and confidence and I still use the DVD sometimes, as well as going to classes.
Looking incredibly keen, I snagged myself a spot in the front row where I spent 1 hour unwinding opposite Tara. This was a class I’d been looking forward to in ages, as I visited New York in October for the first time, but never made it to one of her classes, so I was very excited for this one! I can also confirm that she’s as lovely in real life as she seems behind a screen.
Anyway, enough of my fangirling over Tara. That was it! It was a whirlwind day of excitement and before I knew it, it was all over! I came away feeling exhausted, happy and carrying lots of free samples.
However, one thing that I thought I should address is self-confidence. I think honesty is hugely important and I won’t pretend that the day was totally fun and happy. I love the fitness community, including social media, but I dislike the vanity side of it and the pressure that it can put on you to look a certain way. Being surrounded by people who are slimmer, taller, more toned, more beautiful than you are can make you feel insecure. I don’t believe that anyone is truly immune to this.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my body. It’s fit, it’s strong, it’s healthy and it does everything for me. But that doesn’t stop me from looking at other girls and experiencing negative thoughts. I don’t believe that everyone tries to make you feel inferior or secure, but the fitness world (and the world in general!) can be exclusive and it can be cruel, too.
There definitely are people out there who want to make you feel inferior to them, but in the end you have to remember that this stems from insecurity. I’m guilty of it too – I think it’s human nature to automatically judge others based purely on appearance – let’s face it people, we’re shallow! But it’s something that I try to overcome and if I find myself doing it then I’ll have sharp words with myself. What gives anyone the right to judge others on their appearance? Maybe she’s slightly chubbier than you are, but maybe she can lift much heavier than you can. Maybe she’s more toned, but maybe you can run faster.
As humans, we have a tendency to compare ourselves to others and I wish we’d stop as I don’t think it benefits anyone’s mental health. Instead of making it my goal to look or be like someone else, I’m going to aim to be the best version of me. That way it won’t be unachievable and I won’t be disappointed when I don’t end up looking like someone else. We’re all different shapes and sizes, and fitness is available to everyone, it can bring people together and change people’s lives. So I think it’s important to embrace this aspect of it.
Furthermore, it didn’t help that I was on my own – that always makes one feel more vulnerable! My fellow fitties weren’t able to make it and although I enjoyed myself overall, it makes a massive difference when you’ve got a friend with you who’s equally excited about doing as many burpees as you can in 30 seconds! However I did meet lots of lovely people, I did still have a great time and I’m already looking forward to next year’s. If you have any questions or thoughts, please feel free to comment below.
Thanks for reading!