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Gym and tonic: Raising health and wellbeing as a priority for the event industry

Never before has health and wellbeing been so high on the agenda of event planners. Not only in the context of self care and ensuring they take time for themselves in what is a demanding career, but also in terms of providing opportunities for their event attendees to workout, reflect and eat well.

Event industry guests at the Lime Venue Portfolio Bootcamp

During National Obesity Week 2019, Lime Venue Portfolio invited myself and a group of event industry clients to their bootcamp weekend at Eastwood Hall in Nottingham. The weekend also set out to highlight 'Harrison’s Journey’, which the invitation informed me was "set up by Kerry Wright, Head of Group Sales at Lime Venue Portfolio, and her son Harrison, which inspires and supports children and their families who struggle with their weight."

Caleb Parker, Helen Moon, Hannah Luffman, Holly Moore, Jason Allan Scott and Mark Maher are just some of the welIbeing advocates in the event industry, always sharing their fitness activities and encouraging others. I could definetley take a leaf out of their book. A full day of bootcamp seemed like my worst nightmare, especially on my birthday weekend, but I reluctantly agreed. After all, I should be doing more, right? Here was my kick up the butt!

Arrival at Eastwood Hall

Checking into the hotel their hotel room on arrival, guests received a bootcamp survival kit containing water bottles, healthy snack bars, a mindfulness journal, a relaxation candle and reusable coffee cups, all packaged in a reusable shopper. The evening itinerary was short and simple with networking over dinner and drinks. Yes drinks (and birthday cake) is all about balance!

LVP bootcamp survival kit

Early morning bootcamp

Before sunrise, and with temperatures around 2°C, guests were up and out for a 7.30am bootcamp in the hotel grounds. A run round the car park, to warm up, was followed by circuits in the hotel tennis court. Tricep dips, farmers walks, kettle bell swings, skipping, box steps and more. It was certainly woke everyone up and got their blood pumping.

Early morning bootcamp session

Knowledge session - Nutrition awareness

After breakfast, Harry King, Great Britain Team Coach, delivered a session on nutrition, talking about what you eat and how much you eat affects your body. Professional athletes are experts in this field, as they know, only too well, how what goes in their mouth can have serious impacts on their performance.

Harry discussed the different food groups and portion sizes. Did you know:

• 80% of supermarket food was not available 100 years ago?

• 67% of supermarket food contains processed food in many guises?

He went on to offer advice on what types of food should be consumed within different time frames around exercise, to ensure your body receives maximum nourishment.

Knowledge session - wellbeing awareness

Following a short break it was back to another knowledge session with Harry King.

Harry King Stress presentation

Harry King taking about stress for event planners

When Harry described why people felt stressed he asked the room full of event planners and industry professionals if they recognised receiving too many demands, not having enough support and feeling overwhelmed. Resoundingly the room answered yes!

Tables in the room were then asked to stand up and were given hand sized bean bags and tennis balls. They then passed the objects from one to the others, with new objects being thrown in. They were told to speed up and change direction. Inevitably the group struggled, objects got dropped, some people ended up with more objects than others and everyone in the group felt the pressure.

Harry used the exercise to demonstrate the differences between stress and pressure and furthermore the impact they have on a team trying to work together. He went on to use self reflection tools, the wheel of life and the wheel of frustration to help the group recognise where and how they needed to achieve more balance.

Harry king demonstrates the impact of stress and pressure

Interactive healthy food prep session

After lunch a small group had the chance to experience a try dive in the hotel pool, whilst the majority of the group opted for a healthy cooking lesson with Zena, England Athletics Event Planner & Qualified Chef. She demonstrated how fresh ingredients could be used to make health lunches before the group got stuck in and had a go themselves.

Cooking with Zena

Activities - more fitness

Enough learning, it was time to get physical again with a HIIT workout in the exercise studio. This was gruelling high energy session! Everyone left red faced and dripping with sweat.

HIIT class in the studio

Before leaving everyone took part in a yoga class. In contrast to the HIIT class this was relaxing and low energy. The spinal health practitioner, who lead the session, advocated that yoga was the perfect antidote to office based work and took the group through a variety of poses to stretch out and correct poor posture, often caused by long periods of desk based work.

Ending the day with yoga

Tips to increase wellbeing

The whole day was action packed and there was plenty to learn. Harry King's top tips for those in the event industry to overcome stress included:

* Leave the building and walk (rebalance)

* Ask for help and confide. Prioritize

* Optimise your break times (Avoiding caffeine)

* Physical exercise, meditation, dance

* Quality sleep

Amanda Thurlow at #LVPBootcamp

Amanda Thurlow at Eastwood Hall (including party boppers to celebrate her birthday)

Lime Venue Portfolio used the bootcamp weekend as an opportunity to Showcase Eastwood Hall and inspire event planners to utilise different spaces for wellbeing activities, either as part of their event or for their own wellbeing whilst working on an event.

Awareness of health and wellbeing is only set to increase, especially as the population become more educated about lifestyle choices and the importance of work/life balance or integration.

How do you manage your health and wellbeing with a busy schedule? How do you encourage a health lifestyle amongst your event attendees? Could the event industry be doing more? Comment below and share your ideas.

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