Katrina Barber, Greg Noire, Charles Reagan Hackleman


Though Austin City Limits may be known for its incredible lineup of live music, tasty local food vendors, and plenty of alcohol, one might think you’ll be skipping the exercise and indulging all weekend. But, ACL is arguably a great workout as well.  


A three day, all out, total body, endurance experience that you don’t even realize is kicking your butt — until Monday morning when you wake up confused as to why your calves are so sore. So how is it that a festival is such a great way to trick yourself into working out?


Start with the flocking to the Zilker. It’s a struggle to figure out the most cost and time efficient means of getting to the park. From ride shares, buses, scooters, etc. — These all drop you off a good distance from the entrance for traffic and safety purposes.


And so, the workout begins.



Following the herds of fellow festival-goers, you migrate through the maze of barriers, signs, and volunteers all laid out to point you in the right direction. As the faint music playing in the distance grows louder, the crowd’s pace quickens proportionately. The adrenaline and excitement grow as you, even as you stand in line for the security checkpoint. Standing in line, chatting about what the day has in store, seems like a break from the long walk.


This, however, is just the daily warm up.


You get in, you round up your crew, maybe you even get some Instagram worthy pictures before the day’s shenanigans has worn your impeccable outfit out. But then you make a beeline to the first artist on your list.


Whether your dance moves are the classic stand-and-sway or the more energetic all-out-jiving, you are burning calories at every stage you hit up. By the time you make your way to the ACL Eats area, you deserve (if not need) every last bit of it. Wash it down with a cold one, or two, and you’re back to the stages. Time for round two.


In between your must-see artists, you have a few options to unknowingly earn a little extra calorie-burning credit.

The first is to find one of any music festival’s iconic hula-hoop dancers. Almost always they will be open to sharing their passion hooping along to the music with a fellow festival goer, and you can make sure your hips don’t lie with a nice subtle abdominal workout.


Another alternative on the lineup is to saunter on over to the silent disco. There, it's like a giant Zumba or Hip-Hop workout class without the rules. No instructor, no specific moves, and no set playlist you have to listen to. You dance like no one is watching because you’re the only one listening.



By nightfall, you’ve at least doubled your goal step count. The crowd gets rowdier, and the hype spreads like wildfire. The contagion makes even those stand-and-swayers throw in a little more hip-action and head nods. Once you’ve caught the ACL Bug, there's no going back. It's all jumping, dancing and singing from there.


But, your workout still is not finished, even after the headliners have sang their final song.


The cool down takes form as a parting walk away from that last stage with those same fellow festival goers, all in search of that original dilemma of transportation. Your feet might hurt, your clothes might stink and your phone might be dead, but as you watch the gaggles of friends laughing together, the lights of the stages start to dim and the step count on your watch start to skyrocket,  you can’t help but feel the excitement of doing it all over again next year.

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