What I learned at the London Health Show 2016

I took an exciting trip to London last week, to visit the first London Health Show. Not only was it my first solo trip to the big city, but as I was attending on behalf of my job, it was my very first ‘business trip’ too.

Hannah gets Hench at the London Health Show

The pilgrimage of wellness took place at the great London Olympia exhibition centre, just near Kensington. The two days consisted of exhibitions from leading health, fitness and beauty brands, as well as conferences and workshops from key influencers in the industry.


Hannah Gets Hench London Health Show

10.00 am: After being incredibly confused by the overground and underground trains – who knew there were two types – I arrived on time at Olympia to collect my pass and enter the exhibition.

It was early but there were already hundreds of people there, I had a brief look around the stands and headed over to the conference area to get a seat for the opening remarks by Chairperson Dal Dhaliwal, founder of Elite PT Zone and fitness expert.

I also had a pain au raisin and a latte, which was the start of my very unhealthy and ironic diet at the health show.

10.30 am: Dr Christian Jessen, aka embarrassing bodies man, was the first speaker of the day. He was much more theatrical than I had imagined, and a lot posher.

He gave some predictions about health trends for the next year which included the use of ‘wired wellness’ which referred to utilising health and fitness technology, not getting wired for wellness. He also remarked that although consumers are taking more of an interest in wellness, is it because they are concerned about looking good on the outside, rather than feeling good on the inside.

Hannah Gets Hench

11.00 am: Next up was Justin Varney, Deputy Director for Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England. Justin gave an interesting talk about obesity in the UK, he said that 40% of serious illnesses could be prevented by leading a healthier lifestyle, which is pretty scary.

He also said that for the first time in a decade, diet has overtaken smoking as the number one cause of preventable death in the UK. He discussed the new sugar smart app and outlined plans for the next campaign ‘One You’ which is aimed at the over 40s to encourage them to be more active.

11.30 am: Shona Wilkinson, Head Nutritionist at NutriCentre, revealed her predictions about trends in the health and supplement market for the next year. Spoiler alert: we are all going to be drinking camel’s milk, which has 50% less fat than cow’s milk, and eating insect protein bars which have an extremely high protein content.

12.00 pm: Next I visited a workshop run by Grant Powles, about client aspirations. If you haven’t heard of him, Grant has many strings to his bow as Senior global master trainer for Technogym, international presenter and accredited Olympic and Paralympic trainer.

He said that people have all sorts of issues with their range of movement, which is affecting their posture, balance, sleep and daily activities. He expressed the need to resolve these issues with movements through key exercises, rather than jumping straight into lifting weights. I definitely agree with Grant, although being able to lift more than your bodyweight is great, if you are doing it with weak knees then you could cause yourself an painful injury further down the line.

13.00 pm: I took myself off for quest for lunch and returned with a sandwich and some mango, avoiding the bakery aisle at all costs.

I also discovered that Urban Massage had a stand and were giving out free professional 10 minute massages by signing up!  Incase you haven’t heard of Urban Massage, they are basically like Uber for massages, so you can book a masseur to come to your house through the app. I booked mine for 14.00, which was actually the same time I was meant to meet my boss, so I was quite worried that I’d look up and he’d just be standing there, but free professionals massages, how could I resist?!

14.00 pm: Had my massage and it was AMAZING! My back has been really sore and painful recently because I’ve started doing weighted exercises on my shoulders and arms again so this treatment was well overdue. Also my boss did not turn up, so that was all good.

14.15 pm: Apprentice Winner and skin care Goddess Dr Leah Totton discussed cosmetic skin procedures to prevent the look of ageing. Although it’s not something I know a great deal about I found the talk really informative, there are just so many things you can do with fillers and botox! I did think that Leah would be quite biased considering she owns her own cosmetic clinic, but she seemed quite honest, even advising people not to get their lips done.

She said that botox has been given a bad rep because of botched celebrity work, but most of the time these people have gone way overboard and there are plenty of natural looking procedures you can have done that wouldn’t give you a frozen mask. I wouldn’t consider it now, but perhaps when I am older I would indulge in botox.

hannah gets hench

15.00 pm: Had another wander around the stands and spoke to the guys at British Military Fitness and told them about my experience at their class. Tried some almond butter and coconut and almond butter, it was sooo good!

17.00 pm: Left the conference with a dead Iphone and headed off to (optimistically) find my hotel in the dark, apparently it was only a 10 minute walk away so I wasn’t concerned.

18.30 pm: Finally arrived at my hotel after being lost in Kensington for an hour and a half. Luckily I went into an estate agents and a lovely lady showed me the correct way. I hoped Binky from Made in Chelsea would find me in Kensington and adopt me as her sister, but oh well. Had a McDonalds and a whole plastic case of buttery flapjack for dinner (very healthy).


Cheryl hersey

07.30 am: Had breakfast at my hotel, there were some American guests that were going mad because there was no cream to go with their coffee, just milk. It made me chuckle.

09.00 am: Checked out of my hotel and headed to the Olympia for the second day. It took me 10 minutes when I went the right way, damnit. Got to the Olympia and wandered around the stalls, they were the same which I was a bit disappointed about, especially as I had sworn to my boss they would be different.

11.00 am: Listened to a workshop about developing your brand as an authority on social media, was quite interesting but it was more related to individuals rather than businesses. The speaker said she could easily email editors at big media publications with feature ideas and they’d run them, which I found difficult to believe. As someone who works in PR I know how challenging it is to get Editors of big publications to even open your emails let alone publish your feature.

12.00 pm: Cheryl Hersey, Director at ActionPR, was one of the speakers who I was really excited to hear. Her talk was about how to identify trends in the fitness industry and react to them, aswell as giving some of her own predictions.

Cheryl said that active rewards, immersive fitness classes and pick n mix gym memberships – which means paying for a variety of classes at different gyms for the same price – will be big in the next year. She also played this video, which is just lol.

13.00 pm: Had some lunch, can’t remember what it was. It was probably unhealthy. Oh wait it was a panini and a cake. It was very unhealthy!

13.35 pm: Caught Steve Ward’s talk about how to encourage people to be more active. Steve is the Director of UK Active which is a not for profit organisation which aims to get the nation more active and lead healthier lifestyles. It’s refreshing to hear that despite the growing obesity epidemic, the UK is really passionate about health and fitness and there really isn’t a better time to be in this industry. A stand out quote was “There is no such thing as peak fit for Public Health, as we can never stop helping people.” which is a very positive message!

14.20 pm: Next two individuals donned the stage, one in a very business like suit and the other in a neon coloured lycra outfit. Turns out they are Dave Sibley, Managing Director for Zumba in Europe, Russia and India and Caroline Parsons, UK Master Zumba Trainer. Dave sure looked good in that yellow crop top….

They explained how Zumba exploded in the fitness industry and the process that people go through to become Zumba instructors. Essentially you take a one day course to get your certification, although I think you have to have worked in fitness before, you can’t just wander off the street and start jiving.

15.00 pm: I missed a discussion about supporting fitness and healthy lifestyle trends as I had to catch my train. I was gutted because Katie Scott Editor of PT magazine, Dal Dhaliwal, Christianne Wolff who is an award winning celebrity trainer and Christ Tuck, best selling author, were on the panel.

Trends and predictions

  • Fitness tech and wearables will continue to grow
  • More of a push to prevent obesity with apps and campaigns
  • Supplement market will grow
  • Camel’s milk and insect protein bars will be on your shopping list
  • Active rewards
  • Immersive Fitness
  • Greater fitness paradies as it becomes popular
  • More focus on movement rather than weight lifting
  • Pick n mix gym memberships

What do you think about these trends? Would you drink camel’s milk if it was in the shops?