The Coachella Diet?

Kirsten Potenza and Cristina Peerenboom of Pound

Kirsten Potenza and Cristina Peerenboom (Photo: Pound)


Women have been cutting carbs and ramping up their workouts for weddings and beach vacations since forever. Now, some are trying to lose weight (like it or not) for an entirely different occasion—Coachella.

The massive California festival, which takes place this year on the second and third weekends of April, was created as a freewheeling celebration of music and art. But in recent years, it’s become a hot-weather Fashion Week of sorts—marked by boho chic, hippie-inspired looks (instead of Balenciaga and Burberry) that are intended to be worn in the sweltering desert heat. Crop tops, short shorts, and over-sized sunglasses are practically mandatory.

And with barely-there fashion pressure, some say, comes fretting about exposed midriffs and limbs. Hence, the arrival of the “Coachella Diet.”

It wasn’t always the focus, says 22-year-old Kyla Rae, a college undergrad living in New York City, who’ll be headed to the festival for the seventh time. “There’s more competition style-wise now. The number of Coachella virgins increases every year, and, if anything, they’re really into the image aspect.” 

(Photo: Pound Rockout Workout)

(Photo: Pound)


Kirsten Potenza and Cristina Peerenboom, the creators behind the Pound Rockout Workout (where drumsticks stand in for weights), who’ve both attended the festival, say that their clients “definitely” intensify their fitness regimens for Coachella and that many of their students begin to make healthy recipe swaps as it approaches.

This year, they introduced “Cut by Coachella,” a 30-day competition that includes a workout calendar and prizes for participants. But Peerenboom says they’re careful to not “focus overtly on weight loss,” and Potenza characterizes their program as being centered on the “effort and exhilaration of each workout” rather than a “body-centric weigh-in mentality.”

Rae says that while she believes veteran Coachella attendees are more about celebrating than judging, she does tend to do a little physical prep. “I don’t change my diet as much as I exercise more before it,” she says. “I’ll do more yoga, SoulCycle, and Physique 57 classes. I step up on the late nights of dancing to get in the practice, too.”

(Photo: Pound Rockout Workout)

(Photo: Pound)

Another college student, Sara Green, 21, has attended the festival twice. “I’m terrible at dieting,” she says, “and would probably fail if I tried.” But the scads of women dressed in bikini tops at the festival can be a motivating factor for some. “I definitely think a lot of people diet for Coachella because it’s so hot that everyone wears small outfits, but there’s such a vast range of people that I think most just go with the flow.”

Of course, the concept of dieting for a weekend that’s dedicated to losing yourself in music and art is ripe for parody (and scrutiny).

Coachelladiet has its own Twitter handle, which tweets questions like “Anyone know how many calories are in this Molly?” and “Just purchased size 0 jean shorts, a teeny bikini & an Indian headdress. Just need to fit in any of this by Friday.”

While other outlets ignore the irony altogether and publish how-to stories like Countdown To Coachella 2012: Healthy Ways To Get In Shape.

Which makes us think the festival may be on its way to becoming the next “bikini season” (sigh) when it comes to the marketing of cheap tummy-toning tricks and body-size obsession.

Here’s hoping women can cut through the quick-fix messaging, and use the occasion as motivation to stick to a healthy living plan that just happens to include dancing, carefree, in the sun. —Jamie McKillop

Note: Some names in this article have been changed at the request of the interviewees.


20 Comments | ADD YOURS

  1. April 2nd, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Really Well & Good?? just tell me to be anorexic and be done with it.-Don’t sugarcoat it. NOT the support young women need .

  2. April 2nd, 2014 at 11:10 am

    this makes fitness news? highlighting that a festival for the arts is a great reason to hit it hard at the gym and diet? sigh. My heart dies a little every day for the stupidity of women. We’re never skinny or fit enough and drivel like this does nothing to help anything. EVER.

  3. April 2nd, 2014 at 11:26 am

    I’m sure the magical combination of molly, PBR, ironic tattoos, and an indian headdress would make the weight melt right off.

    I’m seriously considering unsubscribing to this newsletter.

  4. April 2nd, 2014 at 11:43 am

    I have to agree with the posts above- more depressing than inspiring. Makes me wish I could be 18 again but I can’t.

  5. April 2nd, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Wow. Just wow. I’m speechless. The little disclaimer at the end doesn’t undo the tone of the article or the irony of the image. I’ve worked in hospitals with young women dying of eating disorders and this just turns my stomach. You do a lot of great work otherwise. Goodness.


  6. April 2nd, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    I think everyone is overreacting here. It clearly doesn’t seem like well+good is supporting a crash diet. Rather, hoping that young women will try to become healthier in general; maybe this opportunity will inspire them to live an active lifestyle.

    If you really think that well+good is encouraging partying to lose weight, than you’ve missed the point. I, for one, think any reason to get healthy is a good one.

  7. April 2nd, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    This is stupid and does not support good health. I’m unsubscribing. Every issue of this newsletter that I’ve seen so far has had some drivel like this and has not convinced me that it stands for good health. Good-bye!

  8. April 2nd, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    I second the over reaction comment. Well + Good’s tone throughout this article was not laudatory, but factual, and they do introduce some healthy skepticism in the article. And when I read the headline, I was like, “Of course.” It’s like music festivals require jorts, and jorts are the most unflattering thing ever, unless you are very skinny. I think this is a case of not shooting the messenger.

    And anyway, this is no different than getting ready for summer. It’s just a few weeks earlier.

  9. April 2nd, 2014 at 12:53 pm


  10. April 2nd, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    This article is clearly not endorsing dieting for the festival. It is reporting about a trend that is happening.
    By the end of the piece you can tell that W+G is not subscribing to this trend.

  11. April 2nd, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    This article is what I dislike about “wellness” women’s articles. There is no wellness. There is pressure to conform and look thin. Even if the tone of this article was no laudatory- it endorses dieting for an event with strangers- because I should care what they think about my body? I’m more interested in being valued for me, not my size.

  12. April 3rd, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Not trying to care how you look? Come on over to Firefly–no one is going to judge you after 4 days & 5 nights of camping. :)

  13. April 3rd, 2014 at 10:45 am


  14. April 3rd, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Is this a belated April Fool’s joke?

  15. April 4th, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Read the article, people.

  16. April 4th, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    “Coachelladiet has its own Twitter handle, which tweets questions like “Anyone know how many calories are in this Molly?” and “Just purchased size 0 jean shorts, a teeny bikini & an Indian headdress. Just need to fit in any of this by Friday.””


  17. April 4th, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Ugh. This was the article that made me stop visiting this website forever.

  18. April 5th, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Stupid article for the stupid $hit heads who flock to this festival living life like the only thing that matters is how they look on their stupid phones. Their heads are firmly up their tight a$$holes.

  19. April 5th, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    I was left at the end of this article with a deeply furrowed brow, deeply concerned for the endless stupidity of my generation. The comments section saved it for me. Sarcastic women, you are my saving grace!

  20. April 14th, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Why bother, most of the “revelers” will end up on their drunk ass by the time night falls. No one can see you “Cut by Coachella” body when you’re slumped against a recycling bin passed out. If only this year Coachella could be headlined by Jane’s Addiction and they could end the show with an encore of “Idiots Rule.”

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