Reader’s Request: Fitness Workshop Fueling

Hey friends! How are you??

It feels SO GOOD to be back home 🙂 I love vacays, but it’s always nice to be back… even with all the laundry I have to deal with 😉

Most random breakfast award?


Blackened salmon salad from BJs + goat cheese from home. I <3 salad for bfast 😀

The madre brought it to me at the airport last night, but since my flight was delayed twice, I ended up grabbing something mediocre when I was stuck at the Phoenix airport. It was late when I got home and all I wanted to do was crawl under the covers and sleep.

I woke up to a thousand Bella kisses, which was pretty much the best thing ever 🙂


So, I got this question as a reader’s request and thought it would be fun to discuss this morning:


Fitness conventions and workshops are no joke- you’re usually working out for multiple hours, for at least a few days. Fueling can be a little challenging, because most people don’t like to exercise with a giant food baby (if you do, more power to ya), but you also need to make sure you’re getting enough fuel to support your activity level.

I definitely had to be strategic this weekend, and also when I did my Zumba training and 5 day AFAA workshop last year.


Here are some of my tips for fitness convention fueling: (These are just tips that have worked for me. Remember, different strokes for different folks and if you ever need help planning out fuel to fit your own activity level, please consult with a doctor or RD)step

1. On “regular” days, quite a few people like to follow the “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper principle”. I prefer to roll with 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day- I’m a snacking machine 🙂 Anyway, when it’s workshop or conference time, I take the “breakfast like a king” philosophy and reverse it, combined with many tiny snacks throughout the day.


Small breakfast: 1/2 C oats with berries/fruit, 1 banana with almond butter, small smoothie, or slice of brown rice bread and goat cream cheese


Snacks every hour during activity: This is to keep your body from entering a catabolic state and munching on your muscles for fuel. It will also keep your energy up, which you’ll definitely need! Some ideas: Clif energy gels (mocha is my fave), honey stingers, dates, an apple, Clif shot bloks. Make sure to also get electrolytes while you’re working out, in the form of coconut water, Gatorade, or a homemade sports drink.


Lunch: I roll with something that will fill me up, but not sit like a brick in my stomach for the next set of classes. Here is where you want your protein focus to be, to help the muscles repair that you’re tearing down with your workout workshop marathon. Also, right after lunch you’ll usually have a lecture or some down time before you start classes again. Good bets: chicken/salmon/tofu salad, smoothie, omelet with fruit, soup + 1/2 sandwich.

good eggs

Dinner FEAST: This is when the kingly eating occurs 🙂 Focus on carbs + protein and go to town. When you workout, your body uses carbs as fuel and they’re not going to be the carbs you most recently ate- they’re stored carbs, most likely from dinner the night before. The carbs you eat during dinner will be used during your next day’s workshop, and you’ll need them after a long day of sweating! I’d eat a lovely carbtastic meal as soon as we were done:


2. Plan! When you leave for a fitness conference, make sure to have PLENTY of little snacks to last you. Gels, chews, oatmeal in a baggie, protein in a baggie, apples, amazeballs!, and if it’s possible, pick up some goodies from a nearby health food store or grocery store. You cant depend on the workshop location to have good eats, and even when they do, they’ll be super busy during the lunch breaks. Stopping at Whole Foods for hot bar to bring with you is always a good idea too 😉


3. This doesn’t have to do with fueling, but pack at least 2 extra sets of clothes for each day– one to change into midday and one for afterwards. Being sweaty soggy all day is no fun 😉 Flip flops are also awesome to have during lunch and for when you’re done- your feet will be tired!

Hope this helped a little!!

If you have any more tips to add on workshop fueling, please leave them in the comments section 🙂

I’m off to work, meeting up with a friend for lunch and then running errands (groceries!!). The fridge looks very sad, haha.

Have a beautiful day <3



Something to do: If you’d like to try the Honey Stingers I’ve been raving about, they’re going to be on promo this week through OpenSky. Follow me by entering your email address *here*. You’ll also be entered for baller prizes (Vitamix, lulu outfits…), and we only send out 1 email per week.

Something to read:

Alternative Cold and Flu remedies

The King’s Homeopath?

20 Healthy Appetizers

Treadmill Pyramid Intervals

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  1. elizabeth on March 1, 2011 at 10:55 am

    you are an ANGEL, thanks for posting these tips!

  2. Holly @ Couch Potato Athlete on March 1, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I love Honey Stingers – I can’t wait to see the promo!

    Silly question – can anyone go to those fitness conventions? Or do you have to be fitness professional? I’m assuming you have to register beforehand and all that, but I’m curious if anyone can go.

    • Fitnessista on March 1, 2011 at 11:02 am

      sometimes you can take the classes without being a fitness professional, but to attend the lectures you usually have to be.

  3. Mandy (theamazonprincess) on March 1, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Good tips Gina! I find that I can never eat with the “Breakfast like a king” principle. I’m just not hungry enough in the mornings, and I like to have a big feasty dinner! 🙂

  4. Dani on March 1, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Thanks for all the info! And I’m so stoked for that promo.

  5. Leanne on March 1, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Thanks for all this info.

    I don’t go to workout events like that but these tips are good for a busy day too!

  6. Samantha on March 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Hey Gina,

    I hate to be a pain in the *you know what* but I am still not recieving your opensky promos :((( I don’t know wut is wrong. I don’t have a spam folder so I know they are not going there. Any ideas???

  7. Maryann (The Balanced Bean) on March 1, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Those are great tips! I am also a huge snacker…I always have to plan ahead because I need food every couple hours!

  8. Ashley on March 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Great advice! I’ve never done a weekend fitness workshop before, but I think the advice can also be applied to intense training for races, etc.

  9. Tina on March 1, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    On busy days I actually find that a lighter breakfast works better for me. A large heavy meal can make me feel tired or sluggish, but if I have something light, like a green smoothie, I find I have more energy since my body isn’t working so hard trying to digest a huge Great tips!

  10. Valerie @ City|Life|Eats on March 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    This is super helpful – I go to yoga retreats, and sometimes am starving and can’t figure out why. Well 6+ hours of yoga a day burns some calories, even if it is not as much as at Zumba training.

  11. Allison @ Food For Healing on March 1, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    this will definitely come in handy! especially when i go for my zumba instructor training. thank you.

  12. VeggieGirl on March 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm


  13. Natalia - a side of simple on March 1, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    This post was really helpful, thanks for answering your reader question. I’m always trying to balance working out vs. eating the right foods/meals and a lot of it tends to be trial and error. Looking at your approach really helps!

  14. christina on March 1, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Dancing for five days sounds wonderful 🙂

  15. Mary @ Bites and Bliss on March 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Dang, I love working out and all…but fitness workshops would be INTENSE!

  16. courtney @ cupcakedynamite on March 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    what awesome tips! your trip looked like so much fun, but definitely jam packed so I’m sure you ARE the expert 😉

    I do have a question on how they let you bring food on the plane? I thought you weren’t allowed to bring any food on a plane unless you buy it at the airport? For example, your Vega, apple, almond butter from one of your posts, did you just buy those at the airport? Feel free to tell me if I am totally behind on the airplane times, too! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on March 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm

      nope, you can bring food on the plane! liquids have to be checked or in a quart sized baggie though

  17. Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife on March 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    I made sure when I did the Les Mills BodyPUMP training to bring boiled eggs, spinach smoothies + protein powder, and turkey/cheese sandwiches–all filling yet not to “foodbabyish” 😉 Love your ideas! When I did the Zumba training I ate too big a bowl of cereal and that was NOT fun. Never doing that again! Thanks -you’re a great woman, Gina! p.s. check out my website–i linked back to you last night (I am a geek and learning more how to!)

  18. Liz @ Tip Top Shape on March 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    I’ve never gone to a fitness conference but enjoyed reading the tips, nonetheless!

  19. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) on March 1, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I love the fueling tips but also the change of clothes tip!

    When I have done all day yoga classes and retreats, or go away for a weeklong or monthlong yoga retreat, even though it’s very hard to pack SO MANY clothes, there is just something so not fun about sitting in sweated on clothes that multiple changes of clothes in the same day sometimes are just….essential.

    When I went on my first yoga retreat to Costa Rica 11 years ago, I had NO IDEA how much I’d be sweating and that it would be like…all day…12 hr days. And wished I had brought more changes of clothes. Live and learn.

    Great tips 🙂

  20. Heather (heathers dish) on March 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    I adore random breakfasts…cold enchiladas? Don’t mind if I do!

    • Fitnessista on March 1, 2011 at 4:11 pm

      hahah lasagna is good in the morning too 🙂

  21. Colleen @ The Lunchbox Diaries on March 1, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    I’ve never had salad for breakfast, but I think I just might have to try it! 🙂

  22. Hannie on March 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Hey Gina,

    It seems that your life is busier than mine!!! I keep a planner but still seem to miss or forget important things! How do you keep your busy schedule straight?


    • Fitnessista on March 1, 2011 at 6:47 pm

      hey hannie,
      my life is definitely crazy- i have 4 jobs! i have a notebook and write out to-dos for each day and plan every day out by the hour. of course it doesn’t always go the way i plan, but as long as the to-do list gets checked off, i’m good 🙂

  23. rebecca lustig on March 1, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Sometimes I crave carrots and hummus for breakfast– no shame!! ha

  24. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on March 1, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    I love salmon and salads, but I don’t know how you can stomach them for breakfast! I need SWEET in the mornings. 😀

    • Fitnessista on March 1, 2011 at 7:20 pm

      i actually perfect savory in the mornings. if it wouldn’t be boring, i’d have an omelet every day 🙂

      • Fitnessista on March 1, 2011 at 7:20 pm

        prefer* 🙂

  25. wendyfru on March 1, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Awesome post! Thank you for posting these ideas!

  26. Monica on March 1, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Thanks for posting this Gina! You are amazing how you prioritize eating so healthy and balanced when you are so busy! I am wondering how you got involved in teaching fitness classes and zumba. What was your first workshop, were you nervous? Any tips for people who are considering getting into this?

    • Fitnessista on March 1, 2011 at 7:48 pm

      i got into teaching about 4 years ago. i taught dance through high school and college so it was a fun way to fill the void. for my first workshop (my afaa cert), i was nervous, but it ended quickly. usually everyone is so outgoing and helpful, there’s no need to be nervous

  27. Christin@purplebirdblog on March 1, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I love the change of clothes tip… I am a sweaty beast so this is something I’m well versed on! 😉

  28. Melissa @ Delectable Living on March 1, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    When I did my Zumba instructor training in September I had oatmeal for breakfast, a banana about 15 minutes before the training started, pb&j, Pirate’s Booty and an apple for lunch, larabar later for snack and then a granola bar later on for another snack– crazy I remember this from September, I love my snacks! Like Gina said definitely pack a lot. If I do another training I’ll throw in one or two more items on top of what I had. Oh, and plenty of water!

  29. Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn on March 2, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Thanks girl! So helpful:) I definitely follow the snack attack approach too!

  30. Diana (Soap & Chocolate) on March 2, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Agreed on all points! I have definitely learned the hard way to plan ahead. I’ve done 4 workshops so far, and for the ones here in the city it was no big deal whether or not I brought things to munch, but that one that turned out to be in bumblef*ck Jersey was a rude awakening. I walked 40 minutes to the club from the nearest train station and the people there looked at me like I had 2 heads when I said I’d come from the city for that workshop. 🙂 You can bet I was about to storm home like the Cloverfield monster in search of food when I was done, running on a PBJ + smoothie for the whooooooole day.

    If you need a visual for the Cloverfield monster, just search Google images for Cloverfield–you will laugh. 😛

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