Now in its fourth year, BeFit is a 3 day health and fitness festival aimed at women. There are talks, live cooking sessions and fitness classes from industry leaders such as The Body Coach, Equinox, Madeline Shaw, Clean Eating Alice, Barry’s Bootcamp, Another_Space….the list goes on.
In addition, there are stalls selling everything from matcha shots (an acquired taste) and juices to protein blends and sports gear.
The day didn’t get off to a great start. I had a minor breakdown at 7:25 am when my sister still wasn’t up and announced she didn’t want to come. We were supposed to leave in 5 minutes; she had the train times, the common sense and the street smarts.
“I’m gonna get lost, I’m gonna be so lonely, I’m gonna die” I whimpered, as tears rolled down my cheeks and panic set in.
I may be the older sibling but I possess 0 common sense, 0 confidence and am basically a fail of a human being. This combination often results in me being a complete and utter numpty (I have locked myself in just about every public bathroom I have ever used).
Just as I got myself together, zipped up my coat and opened the front door, she decided she would accompany me after all. So an hour late, we headed to Basingstoke train station to catch the 8:57am train to London Waterloo.
The train was packed which meant we had to stand for an hour before heading to the underground and getting on the Jubilee line, changing at London Bride and boarding the Northern line to Angel. From Angel station it was a 2 minute walk to Islington’s Business Design Centre where the event was being held.
The Main Event: BeFit Festival
It didn’t take long to get in and inside everything was well set out and sign posted. Suffering from baby bladder syndrome, we headed to the loos first where, surprise surprise the women’s queue was a mile long. Necessities dealt with, we decided to find our bearings and explore.
The ground floor consisted of the main stage, a talk tent and a Reebok store. The first floor was where all the food, drink and product stalls where (more on this later) and the second floor was the destination for fitness classes.
Being a worrier meant I had planned out our entire day, circling the classes I was desperate to try and noting others of interest. Yoga was first on my agenda but the class was fully booked so we watched a live cooking demo with Madeline Shaw on the main stage.
According to my schedule the next choice was a HIIT session or a yoga jivamukti class but again both where at full capacity. I could see a theme developing so thought it best to arrive extra early for the next class. Unfortunately for me, others people had the same idea. 40 minutes waiting outside the spin studio still didn’t get me a place.
What was going on? I had been at the festival for a couple of hours and spent most of my time queuing. I asked a member of staff how I could get into a class and she informed that people where queuing for upwards of 1 hour 30 minutes in the hope of getting into a class. The word ‘hope’ didn’t exactly fill me with confidence. I could potentially waste hours of my day just to be told the class is full, again.
Turned out VIP ticket holders could rock up last minute and get a place at whatever class they wanted because they had paid £50 more for the privilege. That and a VIP lounge. My sister and I were left feeling deflated. I had worked myself up for a serious day of sweat and new fitness discoveries. Instead I had paid £25 to stand in a corridor for hours.
Fuelled with passive aggression we headed back down to the food floor and decided to get our money’s worth in samples and freebies. ‘1 La Roche sample per customer’ you say? I’ll just help myself to 6. ‘Try a flavour’. Don’t mind if I try them all. “No I have not been at this stall before, you are mistaken Madame”. I also have a lot of unsubscribing to do. I only signed up to everything to get the vouchers and free bar of Raw Health lavender and quinoa chocolate.
The Bit Where I Tried to Be a Londoner
By 2:30 pm we had run out of stuff to steal sample so decided to head to Camden and wander round the markets to prevent the whole day being a write off.
This decision was a mistake. Camden was heaving. I found myself drowning in a sea of people desperately trying to shuffle to safety. We ended up spending less than an hour in Camden as we needed to be able to breathe again and walk without constantly apologising for doing so. Plus, we couldn’t afford a damn thing; £45 for a stone in netting on a rope, I think i’ll pass.
Back at Waterloo station I grabbed a double shot of espresso and caught the fast train home. One thing was certain; I shall never be a Londoner.
Once back I emptied my rucksack of sampled goods, tuned into radio 1’s dance anthems and spent 40 minutes sweating out my frustration.
Although I was disappointed by the BeFit festival, I am glad I went. It got me out the house, out of comfort zone and a bunch of free stuff.