The 6 things I learned from Sweatlife 2017....


Lululemon's Sweatlife. After their first UK festival in 2016, it's no surprise the Sweatlife event held by Canadian activewear brand Lululemon has become a true highlight on the fitness calendar. As tickets were announced for 2017's event, fitness enthusiasts (myself included) scrambled to sign up for one the sweatiest days of the year....

The venue, Tobacco Dock

So, whilst I'm no stranger to a fitness festival (read my reviews of Balance, BeFit, Sweaty Betty), this one was, I guess, a little bit more special, resulting in a few different learnings....

1. Don't show up looking glam expecting to stay that way... especially if your first class is with Un1t! 

Needless to say, we started the day as we meant to go on - with one SUPER SWEATY class at Un1t. A circuit with everything from battle ropes, rowers, assault bikes, sprints, deadlifts, kettle bells, and way too many more to even contemplate, they don't call it Sweatlife for no reason! Ending the day with an epic group session courtesy of Connor Minney at Barry's Bootcamp,  comprising of burpees, push ups, star jumps and resistance band strength, the Sweatlife was well and truly accomplished!

Sweaty Squad!

2. Know, respect and live with your core values 

Ready, set, goals

Joining Lululemon speakers for a Vision and Goal setting workshop, we spent a truly inspirational 45 minutes focusing on what we really want in life, and how we can set goals around achieving that. Whilst I'm no stranger to setting goals, at Lululemon they believe all goals should be connected to your core values... and when asked what mine were, I honestly couldn't tell you. Taking us through a guided workshop, I learned my key value is passion - and whilst it's incredibly important to me that I feel passionate for everything I do, there are some areas of my life where this isn't true... and only by changing that can I create intention for living the life I truly love.

3. There is such a thing as too much Yoga. 

UK's largest 'gong' - make of that what you wish!

As Lulemon had set a 2 limit cap on the number of 'Sweat' classes you could do, I filled the remaining 'chunks' of my days timetable with the yoga classes. Now, don't get me wrong, I have learnt to absolutely LOVE Yoga, and with some of my favourite instructors teaching (Will Wheeler, Anna Karides, Chris Magee), this was no different. However, when it came to my fourth yoga class on the day, I swear if I was asked to do ONE more Chaturanga I would most certainly punch the instructor in the face... and that's just not very Yogi Like! (You'll be pleased to know, for this reason, I decided better not to participate in class numero 4).

4. Focus on training SMARTER, not longer. 

Wellness Ed

This is the main point that resonated with me following an incredible talk from Amy Hopkins, aka WellnessEd, aka Women's Healthy Digital Editor, entitled 'How I Built my Body and Mindset'. Amy highlighted her previous training routine, high intensity, cardio, class focused, designed largely around pounding her body at various studios around London. Hmmmmm, sounds a little familiar! The only way to progress her fitness was to do more classes, to the point where she would even do two intense workouts back to back ....  I sat slightly squirming in seat being guilty of the exact same thing.

Sweat Class no.2 - Barry's
However, even back to back workouts stopped giving Amy results, and when she couldn't physically train any more hours, she came to realise she had to reassess her methods. Booking in with top Third Space London PT Luke Worthington, she bounded up to her first session hyped up, ready to get on with the sprints, heavy squats, rowing, deadlifts..... only to be told today she wouldn't be doing any of that, she would simply be breathing. Despite the agitation (she'd prepped herself for a hardcore workout!), she went with it, and after a few sessions, everything clicked.

Luke explained that he could tell from her stance just how stressed she was, and whilst exercise can be a great way of releasing that stress, with the number of high energy evening classes she was doing generating all that adrenaline pumping through her body, the first and foremost thing he had to do was to get her to relax. Once that was complete, they began the training program, switching her focus from all-out high intensity interval training, to a proper strengthening, sustainable regime.

Amy and her Nan!

If Amy's incredible figure and fitness is anything to go by, this certainly speaks volumes, and I have vowed to tailor back on my high intensity classes and get back into the gym focusing on weights and building the strength my body is crying out for. Compounding this point even more, Amy even bought her beautiful Nan onto the stage. At 75 years of age, she still teaches 8 yoga classes a week, participates in 5 more herself, and has just passed yet another fitness qualification.  As strong and capable as ever, this lady truly drummed home the message - by taking care of and respecting your body, it will serve you for life.

Area set aside to chill, relax, and respect your body

5. Coconut yoghurt is incredibly tasty, but also very high in fat. 

With a food hall full of delicious 'healthy' food brands sampling their latest products, we went all out on the offering. The brand new Pip and Nut Chocolate Hazelenut butter,  the new vegan protein balls from Bounce, The Food Doctor nuts and nibbles, and pots of Coconut Yoghurt topped with peanut butter and granola from Rebel Kitchen.

The Food Doctor Snacks

Now, yes, the food was delicious and yes, I indulge in sampling all the nibbles (maybe some of them more than once .... hiya Pip and Nut!). And yes, it is very important to make sure you are correctly fuelling your body both before and after exercise. And, finally, yes, the food on offer was all, in somebody's 'expert' opinion, 'healthy'.... but what I want to point out is that healthy is a concept very unique to each individual.

Rebel Kitchen Dairy Free

For example, let's take the current big trend towards 'dairy free'. The Rebel Kitchen diary free Coconut Yoghurt, which we had on the day, give s115 calories and 8g of fat per 100ml. Compare this to a natural 0% Greek Yoghurt, which will give you 57 calories and 0g of fat. Now, I'm not saying just because one is lower in calories and fat it makes it a 'healthier' option - we need calories to survive, and we need fat to deliver the essential fatty acids and vitamins. What I am saying, however, is don't just 'accept' the marketing hype around many of these products ... Unless you are genuinely lactose intolerant (which, FYI, is a MINORITY), is real dairy actually that bad? Likewise, just because your chocolate brownie may be labelled 'organic', 'gluten free', 'raw', or some other healthy buzz word, doesn't mean it's a free for all!

6. Fitness events attract THE best crowd of people.

From the moment I entered the festival and saw some of my favourites from the fitness squad hanging in the entrance, I know it was gonna be a good day. Studio instructors, fellow bloggers, instagrammers, studio members, I literally couldn't walk 10 metres without bumping into a familiar, super smiley face. You see, exercise releases endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people just don't shoot their husbands (!).... and they also make for AMAZING people to have around you!! xxxx

First class of the day, full of so many of my favourite people! Emma, Flo, Sana, Hannah, Leila, Jess, Livy, Bex, Brit, Kim, Janine, Chloe, Mollie (all pictured above,sorry if I missed anyone!) and everyone who made the day so special :-)

Sweatlife, you killed it.... can't wait until the next one!!!!


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