What’s Cookin’ with Athlete Gabrielle Reece

Volleyball icon Gabrielle Reece is not only a phenomenal athlete, but she’s also incredibly beautiful both inside and out.

As one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, Reece has also graced the covers of magazines (we’re proud to have her as a former SHAPE cover girl), been featured in TV and print ads for major endorsement deals, and has appeared on both the big and small screen as an actress and television personality.

With such extremely impressive accolades, there’s no question that Reece knows her stuff when it comes to all things health and fitness.

That’s why we were so excited to get the scoop from Gabby herself on what’s cookin’ in her workout, diet, kitchen and career. Read on to find out how she stays so fit, the recipes she can’t live without and what exactly she’s been up to in her career.

By Kristen Aldridge

What’s Cookin’ in Gabby’s Workout:

The pro volleyball player, model and TV personality admits she’s “always pretty rigorous” when it comes to her training, working out six days per week.  On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays she enjoys pool training with her husband, big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton.

Using dumbbells while immersed in 12 to 13 feet of water, the couple train by doing an assortment of jumps and other dynamic moves off the bottom of the pool.

“It’s really good because it’s explosive training without the impact. You also have to deal with holding your breath and the rhythm of breathing,” Reece reveals. “If someone is training for sports or for life, there’s moments where you’re uncomfortable so this creates a logic path on how to deal with that.”

In addition to her pool workouts, Reece also teaches circuit classes to her friends at no charge. “I enjoy it because it’s a way I can continue to learn. I have to keep bringing new ideas and new material so I can continuously be a student and thus be a better leader,” she says.

When she’s not working out in her pool or teaching free circuits, Reece enjoys taking Barre Control classes with founder/owner Michelle Vrakelos at M6 Fitness.

A professional dancer and well-known trainer, Vrakelos describes her class as “like ballet on crack!” A fusion of ballet and intense athletics, Barre Control “works your booty like you’ve never felt before, and it’s great for your back and arms!” Vrakelos laughs. “All I do is sit up and think of new moves to torture people!”

Reece began taking the class at M6 Fitness three years ago to work on her flexibility, which she admits is one of her weaknesses.

“When you go to Michelle’s class, you feel her genuineness and passion for what she’s doing,” Reece says. “I felt comfortable with her and thought it would be a good thing to add to my physical fitness repertoire that would make some of my weaknesses just a little bit better.” What was it like for Vrakelos to work with one of the most talented female athletes in the world?

“Gabby is amazing. She’s the most down-to-earth person on the planet,” Vrakelos says. “She’s in phenomenal shape and every time she walks into that classroom she’s all into it and keeps smiling the entire time!”

What’s Cookin’ in Gabby’s Diet:

Reece “isn’t a big drinker” so she avoids alcohol, as well as too many processed products, grains and wheat.  She’s also cut back on red meat but still eats animal protein to fuel her machine during her rigorous workouts.

Juices, sodas and athletic drinks (which are loaded with calories and sugar) are also off limits. “I always say eat your sugar, don’t drink your sugar!” Reece says.

For the occasional splurge, pure chocolate is her thing. “With something like cookies, not only do you have sugar — but you also have flour,” the professional athlete says. “If I’m going to splurge then I’m going to do it so that it hurts the least but I still enjoy it.”

What’s Cookin’ in Gabby’s Kitchen:

As a busy mom, devoted wife and hard-working athlete with intense daily workouts, Reece recognizes the importance of convenient yet extremely healthy meals her family and friends can also enjoy! Here, Reece shares with us three of her favorite recipes.

Ginger Sweet Potato Baked Fries
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a sheet tray with parchment. Peel and slice sweet potatoes into ¼ inch long slices, ¼ inch wide. In a large bowl toss sweet potatoes with just enough coconut oil to coat. Sprinkle with sea salt (to taste) and one tablespoon ginger.

Spread sweet potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake until sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Why she loves it:  She learned this recipe from a friend in Kauai.

Butternut Squash Salad
Peel ½ of a butternut squash into cubes and mix it with one small cut-up red onion.  Poor one tablespoon of olive oil over all of it and bake in the oven at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

Once the squash is soft and the onions are a tad crispy, remove it from oven. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes, then put mixture on top of lettuce. Add feta cheese to your liking (Gabby loves a lot), and ¼ cup of roasted pine nuts. Top with balsamic dressing and enjoy!

Why she loves it: Reece loves getting creative with salads.  This salad cooks itself but is still unique, is a little heartier and tastes great.

Free Range Roasted Chicken
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take one cooked organic roasted chicken (you can find at most grocery stores) and cover it with two tablespoons of olive oil.

Juice one lemon and pour ½ of the lemon juice on top of all the skin.  Slice one small onion and sprinkle under chicken. Then add three garlic cloves and the remaining ½ of the lemon juice, along with a sliced lemon in the cavity of the chicken.  Add salt and pepper, then bake for 45 to 60 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken).

Why she loves it: It doesn’t take too much effort to make at the end of a long day, it’s healthy and something her whole family will eat!

What’s Cookin’ in Gabby’s Career:

For the past six years, Reece has been building an incredible online fitness portal with her website, gabbyreece360.com. Offering healthy recipes, workout tips, instructional fitness videos and much more, the site is a true inspiration for both women and men striving to live a healthy, fit lifestyle.

“One of the reasons I created the site was for women who have no time, can’t afford to go to the gym or who don’t have anyone supporting them on their quest,” Reece says. “With a pair of dumbbells and 20 minutes we can show them what to do in their own house.”

Creating true, valuable relationships with others is something the down-to-earth beauty does best. “In order to do the best job I can do, I need to be out there in social media so I can get the feedback I need to help others.”

Her advice to women on how to live the fit, healthy lifestyle they’ve always dreamed of? “I feel like women will put everyone, anything and everything above their own well-being. I kind of have a mantra about having a good-selfish, so women need to be good-selfish when it comes to their health,” Reece advises.

“Find a female friend that inspires you and is a positive person so you can surround yourself with those types of people, because it makes things a lot easier!”
About Kristen Aldridge

Kristen Aldridge lends her pop culture expertise to Yahoo! as host of “omg! NOW”. Receiving millions of hits per day, the hugely popular daily entertainment news program is one of the most-watched on the web.  As a seasoned entertainment journalist, pop culture expert, fashion addict and lover of all things creative, she is founder of positivelycelebrity.com and recently launched her own celeb-inspired fashion line and smartphone app. Connect with Kristen to talk all things celebrity via Twitter and Facebook, or visit her official website at www.kristenaldridge.com.