If Gabby Reece is going to eat pizza, it’s not going to be one of those trendy, guilt-quashing ones made of cauliflower crust.
The cheesy, carb-laden food is not something the 6-foot-3-inch former pro beach volleyball player-turned-fitness guru typically indulges in.
But when she does, she wants the real thing: “I want an Italian making my pizza, something you’d find in New York or Chicago.”
Day in and day out, though, she’s into organic meat, stir-fries, salads and vegetables as well as the superfood-infused coffees her husband, pro surfer Laird Hamilton, is devoted to. Co-founder of XPT, a high-intensity fitness program, Reece, 50, is now expanding into podcasts: “The Gabby Reece Show” starts Jan. 20, and will feature experts in the fields of wellness, entertainment and medicine. “I always say I do not have answers, but I have a lot of questions and I’m willing to share my experiences in work, family and home life to start up the conversation,” she said. “I feel like we are all navigating a lot of the same things.”
“I encourage people to take a moment to place value on their well-being,” Reece told us. “It has to start there. It’s not about looking ripped. It’s about asking, ‘What’s the greatest thing I own besides my relationship with friends and family’? It’s your health. Place value on that.”
Here, Reece shares some ways of getting there.
1. Baby steps
I always honor that people don’t have the time or resources to throw at this. [Wellness] feels unavailable. People feel overwhelmed. They try to change too many things at one time. Take out your worst habit, one little thing you can do first. Make one change at a time.
2. Log out
It sounds so trite, but people should go to sleep. We’re on our devices all the time, and the blue light from them suppresses melatonin and affects sleep. Get the glasses to block it, or turn it off. These devices are a convenience, but we never get to disconnect. We’re distracted. We’re still biological, primal beings, and we need to connect with each other, to take a walk around the block, to get to bed.
3. Think before you eat
If we put something into our mouth, let’s understand why. Is it to nourish us, or because we’re hungry or stressed out or bored? Food is either real food and medicine, or it’s a drug and we’re using it to medicate ourselves. Sometimes we eat more than we need to because we don’t have the nutrients from what we are eating. The brain is like, “I haven’t gotten what I need.”
4. Coffee, water, fish, vegetables
Laird wanted to turn coffee into a performance beverage. I drink one every morning with our Superfood Creamer — healthy fats, no refined sugars — and it gives me sustained energy till lunch. Water is critical; most of us aren’t hydrated enough, and hydration is a really powerful thing in health. Lunch is a high-quality animal protein and lots of vegetables. We have three daughters, and I cook dinner every night — fish, a few sides of veggies, salad, sweet potatoes. Nothing elaborate.
5. You don’t have to love it
I was doing stand-up cycling with Laird the other day, uphills and hitting brakes, and it was really hard. I came through professional sports, so I’m connected enough in the understanding that you have to take the emotion out of it. It isn’t about wanting it every day but about creating an environment that you can be successful in.
6. Get out
I hate running, but I will go to the beach and run barefoot so I don’t pound my joints. Go in nature and have that moment where you are looking at a tree, a park, an ocean, if you’re near it. You don’t have to work-work-work hard. But you do have to move. Our bodies have primal patterns. So just take a walk. The kicker is, 90% of the deal is what you put in your mouth anyway. So if you watch that and manage your stress, you’re going to be OK. You won’t be a bodybuilder, but you’ll be fine.