Article By Lucia Viti

Photographs By Jennifer Cawley

Serving Up HIGHX Training

“HIGHX is a journey that creatively accommodates every fitness level to promote strength, speed, endurance, flexibility, coordination, balance and precision. The team component is magical. Groups working together add accountability, increase motivation, and maximize students to go beyond what they can do alone.”

Gabrielle, “Gabby” Reece is a living legend. The collegiate beach volleyball phenomenon turned pro is a fashion model, actress, sports announcer, writer, celebrity host and fitness trainer.

Infamous for taking risks, the former host of MTV Sports, The Extremists with Gabrielle Reece, Insider Training, Gravity Games and the 1998 Goodwill Games, also touts a line of fitness products and DVDs: Bell Express 15 workout kits; Gabrielle Reece Fit & Healthy Prenatal Workouts; and Gabrielle Reece: The Complete Fit & Healthy Pregnancy Workout.

The icon was the first female athlete to design a woman’s athletic shoe—the Nike Air GR II—that outsold the Air Jordan. And let’s not bypass her reality TV spots on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, America’s Next Top Model, The Biggest Loser, and STRONG.

Since bowing out of the pro circuit spotlight in 2010, the statuesque, 6-foot-3 wife—married to big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton—and mother of two remains an advocate for health and wellness.

HIGHX: The Program
The maven has now launched HIGHX, an explosive, high-intensity, team-oriented circuit training program. Accompanied by every fitness toy imaginable—and then some—teams, designed by class size, course through stations executing two exercises in six mini sets of 30 seconds. A team leader relays their cohorts station to station as a master coach conducts the entire class. Nontraditional, dissimilar movements sequence from high intensity to active recovery. Once completed, stations are not repeated.

“HIGHX considers the science behind what your body can and cannot do,” says Reece. “Cardio, strength and resistance training is balanced with active recovery.”

How it Began
The “idea by accident” grew organically as a simple response to facilitate working out with friends after the local gym closed on her residential island of Kauai. Reece’s “community service classroom” became her HIGHX testing ground and quickly garnered up to 100 students. Men and women range between 17 to 65 years of age and include the hyper-fit as well as the deconditioned. Writing a curriculum that builds upon itself week after week (to date the ace has written more than 1,200 workouts), Reece scales the workouts to include everyone. Dedicated to staying connected to HIGHX on a grassroots level, her island class costs a single George Washington.

Functional Fitness for Every Body
“HIGHX is a safe, solid and sophisticated inclusive training program,” she clarifies. As a competitive athlete, I was exposed to the best trainers in the world. HIGHX is my way of sharing that experience. I took the lead and designed a functional fitness program for the locals. Carve HIGHX into a hundred slices and it still offers a solid workout that invites everyone to participate.”

Sidestepping the need for equipment in large numbers, stations serve no more than a four-member team. Both genders of all ages and fitness levels mesh by choice or by Reece’s direction. Reece explains, “The team within itself reflects the individual as teams work together in one room. The exchange of energy is super positive.”

Working It
Reece spoke enthusiastically about watching 50-somethings discover their inner athletes as 60-somethings perform at impressive levels and 20-somethings realize, “cool, that’s what the new 50/60 looks like.” Reece also notes the importance of working students at their threshold while instigating a fine line of increasing intensity. Diversity and safety must override the challenge of, “How do I stress my body for change and progression; not, I busted it for five years in one modality but I hurt my back, knee or hip,” she emphasizes. “How do we stay true to safety and train forever?”

This coach maintains a no-nonsense, no excuses approach to HIGHX. Dedication is paramount while fanaticism is unwelcome. “Health requires balance,” she points out. “I encourage commitment to a lifestyle, not a cult. I’m not interested in I love you. I’m interested in let’s get together, let’s bust butts in a safe, smart and real way; let’s stay positive and have a good day.” Reece encourages diversity in training. “Fitness is a puzzle, a constant rotation, an ever-changing element that travels. It’s high-intensity training, it’s stretching, it’s hiking. Exercise is not just about looking good; it’s about functioning better.”

On a Personal Note
Ask the elegant beauty how she manages stardom, marriage to a world-renowned athlete, motherhood and a fitness empire and she will define humility. “Juggling is a discipline, not an emotion,” she concludes. “It’s what I do while I never lose sight of how fortunate I am. Everything is a gift.”

HIGHX Certification
The nationwide release of HIGHX training programs occurs as a progressive, four-level belt system. Instructors are required to teach two to three months before advancing to the next level or hold a personal training certification or a four-year degree. Reece’s equipment partner Lifeline, a division of Pivotal 5, offers instructors and fitness facilities equipment packages. For more information on becoming a HIGHX Trainer contact

Meet our experts

AFM-Author-Viti Lucia Viti, is an AFAA certified, 34-year fitness veteran and freelance journalist. Ms. Viti presently teaches at the Bay Club Carmel Valley located in San Diego.