How to Survive Film Festival Season

2012-30 FEA Venice Telluride Film Festival H

Telluride has helped launch Oscar winners like "The King's Speech" and "The Artist."

Heading off to Venice, Toronto, Telluride or Deauville? Celebrity health experts share their tips for staying in one piece during the festival frenzy.

Those summer nights are over, and film festival season is kicking off. Whether you’re saying "Ciao, Venice," "Bonjour, Deauville," "Hello, Telluride" or "Oh, Canada" for TIFF, you'll be spending the next few weeks out of the office and likely in the air, in screenings and meetings and rushing from one red carpet to the next. Not sleeping enough, indulging in local delicacies and schmoozing your way through endless glasses of champagne are part of the game, but that doesn't mean you need to sacrifice your health entirely. Award-winning vegan chef and author Ani Phyo and celebrity yoga and pilates powerhouse Kristin McGee share their insider tips for surviving the fall festival season.


Bring a blender: That's the advice from Phyo, whose clients include Maroon 5, Moby and Carrie Ann Moss. She recommends packing a small travel blender like the Tribest Personal Blender that is, she points out, "smaller than a pair of shoes." Pack it into the PB deluxe or regular carrying case specifically designed for travel and remember to pack a power transformer and adapter if heading overseas.

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Phyo's advice: "Before you leave, find out if there are any local markets and ask your hotel if they have a fridge you can store a few things in. Then just grab some greens, superfood powders and any fruits, and you can just blend in your room. When you're really busy, blending is great. Blending means it's chewing up the food for us, so that places way less digestive stress on our system, and the nutrients can be taken to the parts of body that need nutrition, giving us more energy."

For snacks, Phyo recommends on-the-go-friendly produce including carrots, jicama, peppers, radishes, cucumbers, apples, oranges, lemons and limes and easy-to-pack snacks like Nori -- "It's a great seaweed for mineralizing, helps with heavy metal radiation and is filled with electrolytes. You can take a whole packet of 20 sheets and stick it in the outside compartment of your carry-on luggage." Also wheatgrass and rice protein powders, dried fruits like goji berries or superfoods such as maca or chlorella that are "really full of antioxidants and slow down the signs of aging. Nuts are great too. They're high in Vitamin E antioxidant and building collagen in the skin."

Pack a small jar of Rawmio almond or hazelnut gourmet chocolate spreads for a healthy alternative to those Nutella breakfasts in Venice, or make your own protein bars ahead of time from Phyo's new book Ani’s 15-Day Fat Blast. Just mix almonds, protein powder, maca powder, dates, a pinch of salt  and even some cacao powder or vanilla and goji berries together, pack into a baking tray, slice into bar shapes and carry with you throughout the week.

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Stretching is key. "When you first arrive at your hotel, do legs up the wall pose to let the blood recirculate and alleviate tight lower back and compressed legs from a long flight," recommends McGee, whose clients include Tina Fey, Steve Martin and LeAnn Rimes. Before heading out at night, she says, "Do a few sun salutations in the hotel room to perk yourself up and stretch out your entire body, especially your feet in upward dog and downward dog knowing you'll be cramming them in high-heel shoes or standing on them all night."

Even while sitting on a plane or in a long screening, there are still ways to stretch out. McGee recommends "eagle arms while seated, simple twists in your chair or tolasana, which is picking your butt up and hovering in the air." Even at events, McGee says: "Find a quiet corner to do a few rounds of alternate nostril breathing. It will oxygenate the brain and keep you alert for the premieres, showings and parties."


Hydration is essential when on the go, especially during the trip to and from the festivals. "The plane is dehydrating. For every hour, drink one liter of water. Flying is aging and stressful on the body, so hydration is key," Phyo says.

Her recommendation? "Put a tablespoon of chia seeds into a liter bottle of water -- It's full of energy and very hydrating. Buy water before you get onto the plane, and mix a bag of chia seeds into them. It's the best trick ever."

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And, if you can find some, drink as much juice as possible. "Green juices infuse the body with so many nutrients and enzymes. They make your skin glow -- they’re better than a facial. Your inner body starts to radiate to your outer shell. It's just amazing," Phyo says of the liquid trend.


Sleep is a luxury at film festivals, so when there is a chance for some slumber, make it count. "Do a supine twist before going to bed to detox from all the cocktails and to work out the kinks in your lower back and shoulders from standing, mingling and holding drinks or posing for paparazzi all night long," McGee recommends. And if you're still having trouble sleeping, she says, "Lie in goddess pose with your hands on your belly and watch the breath rise and fall."


It's easy to forget to eat or sleep during festival season, but don't forget to breathe. Slip a travel yoga mat like Manduka's eKO Superlite into their brand-new Journey On collection bags designed for practicing on the run and do yoga in your room -- even five, 10 or 15-minute sessions -- thanks to The site, which features top teachers from across the globe like New York's Elena Brower or the Paris-based Marc Holzman, even has special sections for travel yoga, the immune system or stress reduction that likely will come in handy over the next few weeks. Or give the computer a break and grab Art of Attention, Brower's brand-new book with co-author Erica Jago, for more on and off the mat inspiration wherever in the world you are.