Unless you’ve been living in a deep dark hole for the past few weeks, you would know that the first ever Balance Festival was taking place this weekend. Whether you’re a complete newbie to the ever-growing London fitness fanatic army or had to make one of life’s hardest decisions this weekend (Body Power? What’s Body Power?), this 3 day celebration of food, fitness and wellness has something for everyone. Whether you’re planning on heading to The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane today, or just want to get excited for next year (363 day to go!), keep on reading for a full review of my ideal, jam-packed Saturday. Don’t worry if you haven’t got pre-purchased festival tickets as they are available on the door for £35.
My day started at 5am, with an overnight oat-filled tupperware and a large volume of caffeine. Why was I up at 5am on a Saturday you may ask? As well as the festival itself, Balance hosted the Urban Tri, a multi-disciplinary challenge consisting of a 25 minutes HIIT session, a 6km run, and a 30 minute yoga stretch-out. In 5 staggered waves, 1,000 participants began the challenge in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. As very few things make me happier than being up at the crack of dawn (I promise, my girl crush for Zanna VD had nothing to do with it), I couldn’t not be in the first wave that set off at 7am.
We arrived in Stratford at 6:30am and were greeted with a greatly appreciated free cup of Ozone coffee (they made me a flat white!!) and freshly made refreshments from Vega, the sponsors of the triathlon. Half bleary eyed, half buzzing off the caffeine overload, we dropped off our belongings at the bag drop and headed to the Eastcross Bridge for our HIIT session with Zanna Van Dijk (@zannavandijk), Shona Vertue (@shona_vertue) and Courtney Fearon (@thehiitman). The session itself was suitable for all abilities, with enough motivation and guidance to alter the workout to your desired intensity. After a good warmup and stretch, we moved into a very glute-focused interval workout (unsurprisingly, given Miss Vertue’s reputation). With some intensive ab work thrown in, we were more than ready to set off on our run.
Runners were sent off in small groups, each with individual pacers, in 30 second intervals to avoid overcrowding. With running paces varying significantly, it would have been nice to have the pacers running at different speeds, offering competitors a chance to either push themselves that little bit faster or focus on maintaining a comfortable speed. After starting with the second wave, we quickly caught up with the front group where the pace was relatively challenging. With a cheeky lil’ 500m sprint to finish, we were well and truly ready for our yoga sesh. Side note: Kudos to our pacer, Paul Addicott (@pauladdicott) for pacing 2 6km runs after running a MARATHON yesterday!!!
And breathe… Our Urban Tri ended in the best way possible: 30 minutes with the Boys of Yoga (@boysofyoga). Although the class was more of a “stretch” than actual yoga, the warehouse-style space was set up beautifully and offered a desperately needed half hour to cool down.
Once we had completed the challenge, we were awarded a medal, a Vega vegan protein brownie (YUM), a goodie bag and our wrist bands for the festival. As we were in the first wave, we were finished by 8:30am, which left us more than enough time to grab (another) coffee before the festival start at 10.
Food was a strange one. Whilst there were enough stalls to fill your boots with protein, energy balls and Oppo to last you a lifetime, the lunchtime rush left me feeling a little unfulfilled. If you’re a vegan, you’re in business; double patty vegan burgers, jackfruit tikka masala, veggie tacos… We may have just made the wrong decision but there were rumours of trainers heading out for their lunchtime protein fix. More meat next time please!
Third Space, UN1T, F45, Barry’s Bootcamp and Boom Cycle list just a few of my favourite studios in London that were attending Balance Festival. With a jam-packed 3-day line up of classes including HIIT, Barre and yoga, I was in fitness class heaven. Keeping in mind that I had just participated in the triathlon AND I needed to run a (very) long distance the next day, I didn’t pre-book onto any classes. Obviously the FOMO kicked in once I arrived, and I couldn’t help but squeeze myself into Third Space’s 50 minute HIIT class, the Afterburner. Although many of the classes were sold out online, most seemed to keep a few spots free for walk-ins.
The class was taken by Luke Baden (@lukebaden) and consisted of a 10 station circuit. The intervals were 1 minute on, 5 seconds off (yes, 5 seconds), Twice through (second one was 45 secs, but still…) Oh. My. God. If you want to get a sweat on and feel like your heart might be about to explode out of your chest, this is the one for you. The trainers were incredible, correcting form whilst ensuring everyone is pushing their bodies to the absolute limit, and the buzz was more than enough to keep you going. Not one for the faint hearted, but a class I would definitely recommend.
All in all, a fantastic day out for the fitness lover and one I would highly recommend if you’re looking for something to do today/just want to get excited for next year. On top of entry to the festival, your ticket includes an EPIC goodie bag with samples from a range of brands including Pip & Nut (FAVE) and Vega, as well as a wad of discount codes for classes and activewear brands.
So, what are you waiting for? Head to the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane today for the final day of Balance Festival, I promise you won’t regret it.