How a Fitness Pro Does Coachella
Yes, it is possible to indulge, imbibe, have the full festival experience, and stay (mostly) healthy.
Coachella isn’t known for stocking racks of dumbbells and kettlebells. It also isn’t known as a place where attendees get eight hours of quality sleep each night. One could argue that it’s not a festival that would attract loads of top trainers from as far as New York City. And yet, it does. And in fact, it’s a lot more fitness-friendly than the uninitiated may expect. One of Equinox’s NYC-based Tier X Coaches, Justin Jacobs, attends the festival annually to check out the food, the fitness-related events, and of course, the music. Here, his diary—and proof that even the fittest can stay on track at Coachella.
4:00am EST NYC- Wake up
4:15am- Breakfast: smoothie
TRAINER TIP: I have some version of this smoothie pretty much every day to boost my vegetable and fruit intake: Romaine, spinach, celery, cucumber, apple, banana, ginger, parsley, mint, lemon, lime, and coconut water. When I have to be up early, I blend it the night before to make sure I have it in the morning.
TRAINER TIP: I always buy a huge bottle of water at the airport stay hydrated, and pack snacks for the flight. I opt for whole food bars like RXbar or Larabar, packaged salads, fresh fruit, or trail mix.
10:30am PST Palm Springs- Land at PSP
INSIDER TIP: I prefer early morning flights into Palm Springs. Since you don’t fly into LAX, you avoid traffic getting in and out of LA. Additionally, you have a full day when you arrive to shop for groceries, prep meals, and relax before the weekend begins.
11am- Car rental
INSIDER TIP: Having a car to get to and from supply runs for groceries or any other daytime activities is super helpful.
12:00pm- Brunch at Cheeky's Palm Springs
This popular spot offers an organic menu that changes weekly based on available local produce.
TRAINER TIP: Try the Huevos Rancheros. They’re not too heavy, but still feels like a way to celebrate the start of the weekend. They also pair well with the Spicy Bloody Mary.
INSIDER TIP: Get there early because they don't take reservations.
1:45pm- Pick up Jane
TRAINER TIP: If you want to stay on track during a vacation or festival, accountability is key. Having a friend that shares the same values and goals as you means you can keep each other accountable to workouts, nutrition, and sleep.
2:15pm- Grocery shopping at Trader Joes in La Quinta
TRAINER TIP: To avoid pre- and post-festival binges, having healthy food on hand is key. We do a huge grocery trip on the day before with smaller trips in the mornings throughout the weekend. Easy-to-prepare or prepared options for breakfast, lunch, smoothies, and snacks are ideal. Some examples include proteins and vegetables for the grill, salad greens, whole food bars, and fresh fruit.
3:00pm- Check in to condo at Legacy Villas
TRAINER TIP: Check out the options before booking to make sure the kitchen and gym will be adequate for what you need.
7:00pm- Dinner at condo: Grilled sausages with peppers, onions, roasted sweet potatoes, and salad
TRAINER TIP: Make more than needed and store for leftovers on festival days. I used leftover roasted sweet potatoes for breakfast reworked as home fries, leftover sausages for lunch, and leftover grilled onions and peppers go into fajitas later in the week.
TRAINER TIP: Shoot for at least seven hours of sleep each night. New rooms, beds, sounds, temperatures, and time zones can affect sleep. This doesn’t even factor in the excitement that comes with the activities of the weekend. I take melatonin about 30 minutes before bed time to help me fall asleep. I also suggest an eye mask and ear plugs to help control sound and light variables.
7:00am- Wake up
Notes: I got about nine hours of sleep. I was exhausted from the early flight.
8:00am- Breakfast: Eggs, sweet potato home fries, smoothie
TRAINER TIP: Pack supplements to take with breakfast. Because my travel nutrition isn’t as dependably nutrient-rich as when I am home, I supplement with fish oil, probiotics, a greens powder, vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. For Coachella, I also add in curcumin to lower inflammation.
10am- Asics hike at Tahquitz Canyon Trail
TRAINER TIP: It’s easy to come to Coachella and do nothing but the festival. Activities like a hike at Taquitz Canyon are a great way to get in a bit of low-intensity exercise while also taking in a bit more of what the Palm Springs area has to offer. It was hot out there, so definitely bring water and sun protection. If the heat is too much for you, there’s a waterfall at the end of the trail that offers solace.
1:30pm- Lunch at condo: Leftovers from last night’s dinner
TRAINER TIP: Pre-festival meals are important because once you are at the festival, your next meal might be the last thing on your mind. I make this my biggest meal of the day.
3pm- Leave for festival
TRAINER TIP: Bring a disposable water bottle with you to drink on the way and throw out at the gate or carry it in empty. They won't let you bring liquids in to avoid alcohol being smuggled in. I sometimes also bring a piece of fruit or an RX bar to eat right before we go in.
4:30pm- Big Gigantic
Notes: One of my favorites of the day.
7:00pm- Heineken in Heineken Beer Garden
INSIDER TIP: You can't drink alcohol out on the open grounds at Coachella. In the east portion of this beer garden, you get a direct view into the Gobi stage while enjoying a drink. We perched here for Banks. It's perfect.
Notes: I was the most excited to see Banks today and she didn't disappoint.
9:00pm- Dinner at 2nd City Tacos/Bao Buns (Coachella grounds): Poke bowl with lean protein, a good amount of fresh and pickled vegetables, and rice
Notes: This meal replenished my energy for the rest of the night and got me back to dancing.
9:45pm- Little Dragon
11:00pm- Capital Cities
12:30am- Return to condo
1:30am- Post-festival meal: Frozen vegetable pizza at condo
Notes: Could be worse.
9:00am- Wake up
Notes: I got seven hours of sleep which feels like an accomplishment given the late bedtime and time zone change.
9:30am- Breakfast at condo: Toaster waffle with fruit and peanut butter, green smoothie, supplements
Notes: We got the toaster waffles because they were easy and made us feel like kids.
TRAINER TIP: While there are usually a ton of places to get smoothies, I prefer to make my own to keep the vegetable content high and the sweeteners low. If you plan on making smoothies when you travel, check ahead to be sure there is a blender in the kitchen.
10:00am- Workout: Cardio and easy bodyweight mobility work at the condo
TRAINER TIP: I mostly stick to low-intensity exercise when I travel, especially if I have late nights of drinking. A low-intensity cardio session, keeping your heart rate between 130-140 bpm, will help to reduce inflammation, increase circulation, and get you thinking about something other than your hangover. I probably had five to six drinks through the course of the day before, so I'm feeling ok, but my heart rate is definitely spiking at lower speeds than it would normally. I also include some mobility work for my hips, shoulders, and ankles, which can take a bit of a beating from the hours of walking, standing, and dancing.
TRAINER TIP: Knowing tonight will be the latest night of the trip, I took a 15-30 minute nap poolside between dips.
2:30pm- Lunch at Condo: Breakfast burritos with some eggs, bacon, potatoes, leftover peppers and onions, and salsa and a green salad on the side
4:00pm- Leave for the Festival
INSIDER TIP: Lather up on sunscreen before you leave for the festival. If you bring a bag, you can bring some with you, but it is easy to forget once you are there.
5:00pm- Tent Party at Beer Belly
INSIDER TIP: The Craft Beer Barn is one of the more laid-back places on the grounds. Beer Belly is straight back from the entrance in a separate area from the main bar and features rare craft beers and ciders. ***Plus, bathrooms back here are always empty.
6:05pm- Roisin Murphy
Notes: It pains me to say this but this was bad. Avoid.
6:45pm- Mura Masa
Notes: One of my favorite performances of the weekend. Amazing set and good energy in the crowd. If you are a fan, don't miss it.
8:45pm- Dinner at phorage: Chicken Bahn mi
Notes: We went here because it was nearby and seemed easy. I got a good amount of protein and vegetables and just ate half the bread to cut down on the carbs.
9:20pm- Majid Jordan
10:00pm- DJ Snake
11:00pm- Heineken at Heineken Beer Garden
TRAINER TIP: At all day parties like Coachella, it's important to remember that it is a marathon, not a sprint. Have too much early on, and you could knock yourself out of later activities. I live by the "one drink, one water" rule. This is a good way to slow down your consumption and stay hydrated.
11:20pm- Lady Gaga
2:00am- Return to condo
2:30am- Post-festival meal: Frozen vegetable pizza. Again.
9:00am- Wake up
Notes: Not enough sleep. I feel pretty good, but know I've got another long day ahead, so I decide not to work out today.
TRAINER TIP: Lack of recovery plus more exercise leads to overtraining and no gains. I use a readiness system that I learned from Kelly Starrett of MobilityWOD. I ask myself "Did I sleep seven hours, do I want to train, and am I in a good mood?" If two or more of these are no, then I don't train and instead might go for a 30-minute walk or do some myofascial release (foam rolling) or tissue work.
10:00am- Breakfast: Eggs, toaster waffle with peanut butter, green smoothie, supplements
11:00am- Grocery run to Trader Joe's
TRAINER TIP: Someone from our group goes once a day to restock on essential food, drink, and toiletry items. It's also a good opportunity to grab coffees or smoothies for the house. I picked up final items needed for all of the meals on Monday and Tuesday, as we aren't planning on any meals out those days.
TRAINER TIP: Napped at least 30 minutes
2:30pm- Pre-Festival Meal: Veggie omelet with some greens and berries on the side. I threw in a spare sweet potato that we hadn't eaten.
3:30pm- Leave for the festival
4:30pm- Snack at Backyard Bowls: Acai bowl
INSIDER TIP: Today was the hottest day, so this superfruit-packed Acai bowl hit the spot.
7:55pm- Tove Lo
8:30pm- Dinner at WOLF: Kale salad
TRAINER TIP: We asked them to add a burger patty on top. The sweet potato tots were too good to be true.
Notes: I wasn't sure what to expect, but she was stellar.
Notes: Another favorite. Super fun.
11:00pm- What So Not
11:30pm- Back to condo
12:15am- Post-show meal: Frozen vegetable pizza
Note to self: Do not buy these next time and instead opt for a healthier frozen option, or spend more time on meal prep on Thursday so we can just heat up leftovers when we come back.
INSIDER TIP: If you can swing it, stay the extra day and spend it recovering instead of traveling. I traveled on Monday the first year I did Coachella and missed my flight due to traffic headed back to LA.
8:00am- Wake up
Notes: I'm pretty pleased with how I feel today. Not 100 percent, but definitely not like I spent the last three days at a music festival.
9:00am- Breakfast: Eggs, beans, green salad, supplements
10:30am- Workout: Yoga flow and meditation in the condo gym
Notes: I've practiced various forms of yoga on and off for the last 15 years, so I know enough to get by for an hour. I focused on intentional breath work with consistent slow movement that kept me warm, but not dripping with sweat. I'm pretty sure I fell asleep in the meditation.
TRAINER TIP: This type of exercise can help to reduce stress, increase circulation, and decrease inflammation.
12:00pm- Lunch: Huge salad with chicken, grilled and raw veggies, greens, and nuts, plus a green smoothie
Notes: Today was mostly spent at the pool recapping and relaxing.
TRAINER TIP: If your hotel or condo has a hot tub and a pool, spending up to five minutes alternating between each can simulate a contrast bath to rapidly change tissue temperatures and increase circulation. This can be especially helpful if you've got any aches and pains from dancing and walking. Three to four rounds of this is ideal.
5:00pm- TV at condo
Notes: This was my first time seeing Big Little Lies
8:30pm- Dinner at condo: Beef Fajitas with grilled vegetables, beans, and salad
6:30am- Wake up
Notes: Seven and a half hours of sleep left me feeling pretty recovered today. It's going to be good to sleep in my bed tonight!
7:30am- Breakfast: Eggs, sweet potato home fries, leftover grilled vegetables
9:30am- Head to airport
10:50am PST- Flight out of PSP
TRAINER TIP: I bought a big bottle of water again to stay hydrated on the plane, and had leftover Larabars from the condo.
12:00pm- In-flight lunch
Notes: I had a quick layover, so ordered the Luvo Buffalo Chicken wrap. I ate half the tortilla so I could eat the oatmeal cookie that was included.
8:50pm EST- Land in NYC
9:30pm- Dinner at home: Burger Salad from Bareburger ordered from Seamless while in the Uber home, so it arrived just after I got in