Meet people at SXSW … while working out and losing weight

Can you go to SXSW and stay in shape? South by Southwest (SXSW) is famous for a jam-packed schedule, infinite free food & drink, minimal sleep, and radical overstimulation.  It’s not well known as a place to stay in shape. So before attending for my first time (finally!), I had to find a solution to keep my training routine on track.

The ff Venture Capital team is hosting again ff MASSIVE, our showcase for many of our companies Friday-Sunday at Empire Control Room & Garage in downtown Austin.  At our event you can box your friends with Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots and exercise your brain with Interaxon Muse‘s brain-sensing headset.  We’ll be serving barbeque, which by paleo standards is health-conscious (although I know some have different views on that!).  We designed our “Fitness Office” to promote health, and we’ve tried to do the same at ff MASSIVE.

I couldn’t find any information online about how to survive SXSW while keeping your training rhythm.  So, I asked our able intern Julia Sahin to do some research, leveraging in part the materials at Athletic-Minded Traveler. I’ve listed below some chances to meet other people while sweating, great places to get food, and some panels about the fitness industry.

If you have further suggestions for how to stay fit at SXSW, please add them in the comments!  (Related: check out my prior post on “How to  Keep the People Attending Your Event Alive.”)


Austin Equinox is hosting classes Friday, Saturday, Monday at FAST COMPANY GRILL, 201 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701.

Blood Sweat ‘n’ Beers. A kick-ass event for start ups. Friday, March 7, 10:30 AM $15-$20, RIDE Indoor Cycling, 117 Lavaca St

SXSW-Run Happy Tour–Fun Run with Live DJ March 8, 9, 10 — at 7:30am Each group run will start at The SXSW Registrants Lounge, E 4th St & Neches St.

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Dance with DJ Robert Delong from Octopus Project at ff MASSIVE Friday, March 7, 9 PM Empire Control Room & Garage, 606 E 7th St

Armour3.9 Community Run SXSW Saturday, March 8, 8-11 AM 1206 W 4th St

City Running Tours presents SXSWi 5K 2014 Saturday, March 8, 8:30-9:30 AM Luke’s Locker, 115 Sandra Muraida Way

Dungeons & Dragons Yoga at Resolute Fitness Saturday, March 8, Noon 5145 North FM 620, Suite F120

Dance with Vintage Trouble at ff MASSIVE Saturday, March 8, 9 PM Empire Control Room & Garage, 606 E 7th St

#IWILL Austin Boot Camp with Under Armour SXSW Sunday, March 9, 8-11 AM 1206 W 4th St

SXSW Charity Push-up Competition, Sunday 1-2pm , Empire Control Room & Garage, 606 E 7th St

Dance at ff MASSIVE (DJ JustBlaze in the house) Sunday, March 9, 8 PM Empire Control Room & Garage, 606 E 7th St

MapMyFitness + Adobe Monday Motor ride SXSW Monday, March 10, 9-11AM 1206 W 4th St

Lady Bird Lake Trail A great trail for running, accessible from most Downtown Austin hotels

You can also take advantage of your hotel gyms, available at the Hilton, Courtyard Marriott, Hyatt Regency,  The W, Hilton Garden Inn, The Driskill, Sheraton, Omni Hotel, Embassy Suites, and others.  Gold’s Gym Austin location has classes between noon and 2 PM on Friday, 101 West 6th St.


Plated (ffVC portfolio company) Get fresh, local ingredients for a reasonable price delivered to where you are and create your own gourmet meal in less than 30 minutes. Requires oven/microwave.

Austin Farmers’ Market 422 W. Guadalupe in Republic Square Park Pick up healthy snacks, baked goods, or prepared goods Open Saturdays, 9AM -1PM

Beets Cafe 1611 W 5th St. Suite 165

Blenders and Bowls 206 E. 4th St, Austin’s first açaí café with smoothies and customizable açaí bowls

Daily Juice 205 W. 3rd St, Fresh juices and salads. Daily Juice also does grab n’go.

Extreme Pita 515 Congress Ave #130, Fresh, chef-inspired recipes with pita: wraps, flatbaked pita, salads and soups

Juice Land Austin (7 locations)

Kebabalicious Storefront: 621 Congress Ave.; Food Truck: 450 E. 7th St. Turkish and Greek-style food

Thistle Café 221 W. 6th St, Breakfast and lunch with a Mexican touch

Truluck’s Seafood 400 Colorado, Seafood and steakhouse

Uchi 801 South Lamar, Sushi bar and gourmet Japanese fusion cuisine


Finding your fit at SXSW Meet Up Saturday, March 8, 9:30-10:30 a.m. Meet Up tent, E 6th St & Neches St

A Fun, Fit Future: Social Media Takes on Fitness Saturday, March 8, 3:30-3:45 PM Austin Convention center, Ballroom F, 500 E. Cesar Chavez

Connected Fitness 2.0: Shaping Healthy Behaviors Saturday, March 8, 5-6 PM Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon F, 500 E. 4th St

Fitness Wearables & the Quantifiable Self Monday, March 10, 5-6 PM Hyatt Regency, Texas Ballroom 5-7, 208 Barton Springs Rd

For both SXSW and other cities globally, a great resource for the fitness-minded traveler is Athletic-Minded Traveler.  Jim Kaese, Editor-in-Chief and member of the EVEN Hotels Wellness Advisory Board, observed, “Go [to a conference] with the right mindset.  Don’t think you are going to have all sorts of time to start a new or expand on your training regimen that you follow at home.  Your goal should be to maintain fitness, not build.  Plan on 20-30 minutes of cardio, which is enough to give you all the benefits of exercise.”

With this list and your panel schedules in hand, you’ll be ready for all the festivities. Stay active, eat well, stay hydrated and visit us at ff MASSIVE . See you at SXSW!

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