Gabrielle Reece made a splash this year in The ESPN Magazine’s annual Body Issue, and it’s no wonder: the pro-volleyball player, sports announcer, model, and actress has one killer body (not to mention some serious mental strength). We spoke with Reece about her tips for staying active, reaching for healthy foods, and prioritizing self-care.
Finally nix that bad-for-you habit.
Here’s one of Gabrielle’s go-to pieces of wisdom: “Can you get rid of your one worst habit? Change can be overwhelming, so don’t take it all on at once. Look at your lifestyle and choose one vice you can get rid of or start to cut back on. Maybe you need to add something like regular exercise, or to adjust your diet — could you take out the unhealthiest thing you eat and either sub in something better, or even eliminate it? If you snack frequently, can you find things that will serve your greater goal (and I don’t mean fried anything) like clean veggies and dip, or some nuts and fruit? Slow and steady does win the race.” (Healthy snacks can be hard to come by when you’re out and about…so maybe this is worth checking out? 7 Healthy DIY Protein Bars That Blow Your Quest Bar Out of the Water).
Find healthy snacks that work for you.
Don’t force yourself to load up on healthy indulgences like chia seed crackers and cashew butter if that isn’t your thing. Once you find a healthy snack you like, it’s easier to stay on track and resist temptation. “I’ve found that diet pitfalls come between meals when people are on the go, and thus more susceptible to fast-food and vending machine splurges,” says Reece. “That’s why it’s important to have a nutritious snack in your bag or car to satisfy cravings and maintain energy when you’re not at home. I always say that food is fuel for your body, and a snack shouldn’t be a box of crackers that’s going to fill you with empty calories.” Protein bars are a good bet, but can often be loaded with sugar and fat, making them a serious calorie bomb. “Look for a snack with enough protein to keep you satisfied and energized until your next meal like a Balance® Peanut Butter Bar.” Gabby’s also big on smoothies to start the day or enjoy before a workout. Her go-to recipe includes whey protein, bee pollen, whatever greens she has in the fridge, almond milk, and frozen berries.
Find a way to fit in a sweat session (and befriend your hula hoop!) every day.
“To me, it’s all about prioritizing workouts no matter what your schedule looks like. At this point in my life, exercise is such a part of my every day that I usually only skip it if I feel that my body needs to rest. I’ve found that you can always find time in the day for some type of physical activity. If you have to get up an hour earlier to get a run in, then I think you’ll find the benefits of that run outweigh how hard it is to get up a little earlier.” And come on, when was the last time you ever regretted going to the gym? “That hour run can also be your opportunity to have some alone time and focus on yourself to help start off the day a little bit more balanced.” Time crunch? “My go-to exercise on the road is stretching, I love a portable hula hoop, or (if you have been training regularly) they have small foam rollers and that could benefit you more than training.”
Adjust your definition of “meditation”
“Meditation, deep breathing, alone time, prayer, or however you prefer to take a moment. Let us not forget that balance is about calibrating the mind, the body, and the spirit. Being still and internally reflective is a critical aspect of feeling balanced,” advises Reece. So however it works best for you, be sure to carve out some time for some solo reflection. (If you’re in need of a quick stress-buster, maybe try these 5 Yoga Poses That Fight Stress).
“If I’m in the car alone, I’ll use that time to focus on my breathing and to check in with how I’m feeling and how balanced I am. I’m also always focusing on my sleep routine. I’m not a great sleeper — I’ve never been a great sleeper — but I strive for seven to eight solid hours [a night]. I think finding time for quiet breathing, even if it’s not traditional mediation that you’d picture, is important for helping your body relax enough to get the quality of sleep you need.”
When it comes to a beauty routine, remember that less can be more.
“When I’m at home, I’m often running between school pick-ups, the gym, and the beach with the kids. I don’t have time to put on a lot of makeup, nor do I want to when I know I’m going to be working out. After washing my face, I always put on moisturizer and sunscreen (a sweat-proof version if I’m going to be outside).” Look for an SPF of 30 or higher and remember to reapply if you’re spending a lot of time outdoors. (If you’re not sure which SPF makeup is right for you, you might want to check out Fight Sun and Shine with the Summer’s Best SPF Makeup).
“When I have a little more time in the morning, I may take a little longer of a shower just to start my day off right. Since I sweat a lot, I’m not big into makeup, but (like most women) I do want to feel good, so I’ll use a liquid eyeliner on the top and a subtle eye shadow just to feel a little put together. In the end, my motto is ‘nothing looks better than a vibrant smile and some shiny eyes.’ I try not to have my beauty routine interrupt my time with my family or my busy work schedule, but when I do have an extra minute, it’s nice to treat myself.”
Steal this trick next time you travel.
File this under brilliant: “I always pack a small massage ball in my bag. You can even sit on it and use it while on flights. It’s portable, light, and can really make all the difference between feeling great or stiff after traveling.”
Ease back into your fitness routine if you’ve been benched for a while, and practice mindfulness.
“There are so many unproductive fitness habits. One is not training for long a period of time and then going all-out at the gym. Who’s that fun for?” If you haven’t worked out in a while, start slow and build your strength and endurance back up before you try and conquer an advanced HIIT class or crush it on a super steep incline on the treadmill.” Another of Gabby’s fitness pet peeves? “I really don’t understand why people read while doing their cardiovascular exercise. I think you should commit the time and focus on what you were doing. We live in a world where we’re always doing multiple things at once. Whether it’s talking to a friend, eating a meal, or riding a bike, I still believe it’s important to do that one thing and concentrate.”
Sign a friend up to work out with you.
“We tend to be more successful at accomplishing some type of exercise if we have someone to be accountable to. Solicit a friend you enjoy being around and maybe use this as your time to connect. Nothing is more positive than helping each other stay healthy.” Nowadays, many fitness studios offer classes that pair you up with a partner, so call up your favorite fit pal to join you, or just do it the old-fashioned way and make an AM jogging date (yes, you can grab a juice or smoothie after and use that as an excuse to gossip and catch up).
Inspired yet? Read on…