‘Healthy’ and ‘London' aren’t two words often associated with one another (smog, sedentary desk jobs, stressful commutes...you know the vibes), but the wellbeing pioneers behind The Balance Festival are trying to turn those urban connotations of their head, one euphoric event at a time. Tickets for next year’s Balance Festival from 11th-13th May at Shoreditch’s The Truman Brewery have just been released, and to get technicalities out of the way, you can currently nab early bird standard tickets for £20, and a VIP option for £40. Why organise your life so far in advance? Because there’s nothing else quite like this if you’re into fitness, health, food, beauty, fashion, yoga...basically there’s a lot on offer, and it comes with a hefty side-order of future insight as to where the world of health and wellbeing is headed.
With workout studios and classes by Another_Space, Third Space, Barry’s Bootcamp, F45, Boom Cycle and Les Mills, plus yoga and barre offerings courtesy of Xtend Barre, Heartcore and Triyoga, the weekend’s got stretch and sweat with the best covered. Refuel with everything from avo brunch to a burger with a health twist, join a cookery workshop or book a massage in The Sanctuary area, or just go shopping for sportswear. The wellness weekend is your oyster, and you’ll be going along for the ride with personal trainer and festival headliner Zanna Van Dijk , alongside a myriad of chefs, fitness experts, yogis and big names in beauty.
To whet your appetite, the team behind The Balance Festival has shared their prediction for the workouts, foods and wellbeing movements that will be huge for 2018. Watch this space…
Boxed your way into 2017? You’re onto this fitness trend already, but for 2018, combat sports will take in even more martial arts, with Muay Thai rising to the fore (apparently Ryan Gosling is a fan so... there’s that), plus kickboxing making quite the resurgence. In addition to torching calories and helping you to build lean muscle, PT and Balance Festival ambassador Jamie Ray emphasises the often underrated mind-body connection that martial arts allow:
“Combat exercises are a hugely exciting development in the fitness sphere. Not only are they a brilliant way to increase stamina, build muscle and improve agility, but by occupying the mind they provide a total release from the stresses of our everyday, chaotic lives.”
See you in the ring.
This one’s more than a little bit ‘man on wire’- it entails working out/ trying to balance on a tightrope elevated a few inches off the ground, i.e, tied between two trees if park workouts are your thing. We’ll perhaps leave that one until spring given the current climate, but apparently it’s mightily effective for developing a strong core.
Another outdoorsy option, hiking enhances wellbeing due to immersion in nature and all of the physical and mental benefits that brings, but it’s also a growing travel trend - think Lake District over Lanzarote. Preferable with a sticky toffee pudding at the bottom of the mountain.
Slightly more specialised than leashing a rope to a tree, DNA testing is now enabling us to tailor workouts and nutrition plans to our unique microbiome, helping us to attain maximum fitness gains in a shorter amount of time.
Revved up recovery
HIITing the gym hard? You may want to ease off and stretch it out - the fitness community will adopt a greater focus on effective, restorative recovery in the months to come, with an emphasis on the surprising side effects of a few days off such as increased mobility, healthier muscles and a lower injury risk, as Zanna highlights:
“We will soon be seeing a rise in the use of advanced recovery techniques usually reserved for athletes. Gyms will also be introducing recovery based classes and workouts , which focus on stretching, releasing and mobilising your joints and muscles.”
Eating for ‘happier hormones’ will be a thing, with a particular focus on tryptophan, an amino acid that our bodies convert to serotonin, a hormone that not only keeps our organs fully functioning but regulates moods, sleep and energy levels. You’ll find it bananas, walnuts, salmon and green tea, and it’s particularly key during the dark, cold winter months apparently, when we’re more likely to feel fatigued or suffer the effects of seasonal affective disorder .
We’ve given you the lowdown on Kombucha, the fermented probiotic rich drink already, but we hear that many health conscious Londoners are swapping booze for ‘booch’, perhaps due to its unusual, sophisticated tangy taste, or maybe solely for the health benefits for everything from your gut to your immune system. It’s no G&T, but it’s something different if Diet Coke isn’t cutting it as a soft drink option.
Plant based diets
Not new, of course (dinosaurs can kind of lay the claim to that), but there are new plant based food trends on the ascendance, as Zanna explains:
“Watch out for the likes of macadamia milk, jackfruit ‘meat’ and cashew ice cream, to name a few, hitting our shelves in 2018. With the rise of vegan, veggie and flexitarian diets in the UK, it’s only a matter of time before these products arrive in UK stores.”
Adaptogenic herbs are well and truly taking off, and our general spice for life seems to show no signs of abating. We’ll be exploring more and more cultural cuisines to tap into less familiar herbs, spices and flavours, incorporating them in everything from soups to smoothies to a new spin on a Sunday roast.
Forget lemon and berry or even rosemary and birch...Icelandic moss water is supposedly coming our way. It’s been used as a tonic against sore throats since the 17th century and is apparently particularly high in potassium, calcium and iodine. You can try it at The Balance Festival and make your own mind up.
The way wellbeing is going
Been to a gong bath yet? This ancient practice, which consists of gathering around gongs or tuning forks and “bathing” in their rhythm and percussive repetition, helps to shift us into a more meditative state. Which brings us to…
Meditation gone mainstream
You’ve downloaded the apps, but meditation classes and workshops are set to spring up over the UK in greater numbers, and they’re not just aimed at yoga nuts. From helping you to achieve greater mental clarity to nail a work project to reducing stress, there are genres and methods of meditation being made available to all.
Health tracking as “gaming”
The spirit of competition is alive and well if app development insiders are to be believed- apparently fitness trackers are evolving to be more science-based, with a leaning towards competing with your mates or those around you. For some comparison is the thief of joy, but for others it gets them going in the morning. Whether you play the game is up to you.
Athleisure made office appropriate
This one’s been brewing for a while, but the likes of Uniqlo have ‘business attire’ designs in the pipeline that are made from the same technologically advanced, sustainable materials as many high quality sportswear brands. If you’re sweating it in the boardroom, you may as well do so in a sartorially chic wetness wicking top.
Plant based beauty
In essence, you’re putting your avocados and turmeric concoctions on your face or at least beauty brands are increasingly harnessing plant power above synthetic, man made alternatives. “Natural” beauty isn’t always better for skin mind, but there’s a growing arsenal of brilliant green beauty brands making waves.
Buy your early bird standard and VIP tickets to The Balance Festival
Follow Anna on Twitter and Instagram