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TMHS 702: Prioritize Your Health, Build Resilience, & Show Up As Your Best Self – With Gabby Reece
Building a healthy lifestyle is accomplished by creating new habits, brick by brick until you have a solid foundation in place. Sometimes implementing new habits can be challenging and uncomfortable, but once you find a routine that is enjoyable, that’s when you really hit your stride. Today’s guest, Gabby Reece, knows a thing or two about creating a fulfilling life that is centered around fitness and wellness.
Gabby Reece is a volleyball legend, a New York Times bestselling author, and speaker. Her career accomplishments are vast, spanning from becoming the first female athlete to design a shoe with Nike, to gracing the cover of numerous prominent magazines. Gabby is also a podcast host, trainer, and a dedicated mother and wife.
In this interview, Gabby is sharing powerful insights she’s learned throughout her life and career. You’re going to learn about how to make your health a priority, the importance of building adaptability and resilience, and how to create a healthy lifestyle that feels authentic. Gabby’s tips will help you change the way you think about training, and help you identify habits that allow you to be your best self in every area of your life. Enjoy!
In this episode you’ll discover:
- The power in taking the stress out of your health routines.
- How to create an environment that supports your goals.
- The best way to influence healthy habits in your partner.
- A question you should ask yourself to identify your best health practices.
- How training efficiently can allow you to show up as the best version of yourself.
- What most people get wrong about fitness.
- How movement and nutrition can help you manage your emotions and mood.
- Why building adaptability and resilience is more critical than ever.
- The importance of having a passion and purpose.
- What attracted Gabby to beach volleyball.
- The power of showing up in parenting and life in general.
- Why your dreams must be bigger than your achievements.
- How to separate your accomplishments from your identity.
- Why you should treat your relationship like a garden.
- What XPT is and its benefits.
- The value of forced learning.
- How creating a practice can make you successful.
Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Model Health Show. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute and leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcast by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!
SHAWN STEVENSON: Welcome to the Model Health Show. This is fitness and nutrition expert Shawn Stevenson, and I'm so grateful for you tuning in with me today. How can we make our bodies and minds more resilient to the stressors of the world today? How does improving our health and fitness impact our experience as a parent, as a partner, in how we show up in the world today? That's what this episode is all about. We're going to be talking with an absolute legend in fitness who has such a vast array of knowledge, yes, but also of experience of fitness at different stages and levels of livelihood. Whether that's as a professional athlete, as a new mom, as an experienced mom, as a wife, and as a partner, as somebody who's been running multiple businesses, as somebody who's been in the public eye, as somebody who's been teaching and training countless students, everyday folks, to advanced athletes and everybody in between.
And with such a vast experience, this is going to be a game changer. I'm talking about a wealth of knowledge that we can start to apply in our lives today, regardless of where we are, regardless of what we've been through in the past. It's about getting these new insights and putting some things into play for ourselves. And it's always so helpful when it's coming from somebody who, yes, has a certain degree of experience, but also somebody who's traversed and dealt with struggles and challenges of day-to-day life, and being able to still find a place of health and fitness and resilience. And not just that but being able to share that with the people that she cares about and expanding that out to millions of people whose lives have been impacted by her work. So, I'm really, really excited about this episode. And our guest today is coming from the incredibly competitive world of beach volleyball.
Now, not just the world of beach volleyball, I'm talking about she put it on the map, alright? Our special guest made it hot, made this particular sport revolutionary, truly, and to such a degree that she was actually the first woman to have a shoe co-created with Nike. Alright. Michael Jordan did it, all the way up to today, LeBron James, Kyrie, she was the first woman to have a shoe with Nike. That's crazy. And not just that, her shoe actually outsold Air Jordan's for a brief time period. Now she might downplay something like that, but that's pretty freaking remarkable. So being that this is the case in a competitive sport like that elite athlete, but also something where you're in the sun. You're getting sun kissed, but you can also get sun kicked.
She's going to be out there sweating. And she knew very early on, this has been something that has been a part of the culture of athletics, but it's been distorted, the importance of getting in high quality electrolytes. And I'm saying that it's been distorted because here we come with these companies adding all of these artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, insane amounts of sugar to their product when we're supposed to be getting, again, electrolytes. Why does this matter in the context of athletics? Well, according to a meta-analysis published in 2016, about 15% of elite endurance athletes develop exercise associated hyponatremia. This is a condition where you're actually over watering yourself. I'm not saying over hydrating, because there's a difference between drinking water and actually being hydrated. We think water and hydration is synonymous, but please hear what I'm saying. Hydration is not just a function of water alone.
Hydration is a function of water and electrolytes. Key minerals that carry an electric charge that actually enable your cells to interact with the hydration, the water that you're consuming, that you're trying to get your cells hydrated with. So, we're talking about sodium in particular. That's the main one. Sodium, potassium, and magnesium. These are the three key electrolytes that are critical to proper hydration, in particular for our brain, our nervous system, and our muscles. If we are deficient in these key electrolytes, we can actually be overwatering ourselves, not over hydrating, overwatering ourselves, and creating a depletion in key electrolytes and a depletion in our body's ability to actually be properly hydrated. Now, again, upwards of 15% of elite endurance athletes develop this condition, but other estimates pegged this incidence much higher depending upon the sport. And several of these athletes have experienced this condition as a consequence of low serum sodium.
So, we want the electrolytes, but we do not want the artificial colors. We don't want the sugar, the unnecessary sugar that's coming along with those electrolytes. This is why I'm such a huge fan of LMNT. Go to drinkLMNT.com/model to get the very best electrolytes in the world. These are the electrolytes that professional teams are now turning to. They're ending the days of these sugar laden Gatorade and Powerades, even if it's on the outside of the dispenser, where athletes are getting their beverages from inside. 'Cause they might have a contract. You gotta have Gatorade displayed on the sideline inside of that, for several NFL teams. I've got inside information here. They're actually putting LMNT into those containers for the athletes. Because they are well aware of the profound performance benefits and being able to protect the athletes from the downsides of excess sugar consumption and these artificial colors that should simply not be in anything that's related to health and performance.
And so, get yourself ahead of the curve and get yourself hooked up with LMNT. And by the way, you get a free gift right now. You get a free gift with every purchase from LMNT. So, head over to drinklmnt.com/model. Get yourself some of the best electrolytes in the world, and you're going to get a free gift, a free sample pack of a variety of the different salts for you to try out the different electrolyte flavors for you to try out. All right? So, head over there, check them out, drinklmnt.com/model. And now let's get to the Apple Podcast review of the week.
ITUNES REVIEW: Another five-star review title, “the best of podcast for inspiration and information”. What a useful show for anyone concerned about their health and just being the best version of themselves. Today's show featured 11 Top Health and motivational speakers from Dr. Daniel Amen, to Eric Thomas and Tony Robbins. Thank you for all the good you've done for listeners who need to know. They could be amazing.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Oh, I love that so much. Thank you so much for getting that review over on Apple Podcast. I truly, truly do appreciate that. And we've got another instant classic for you today. Now our special guest, her bio reads like a legendary action movie mixed with a little bit of romance and some drama. Gabrielle Reece, AKA Gabby Reece, is not only a volleyball legend, but an inspirational leader, New York Times bestselling author, wife and mother, and the former professional beach volleyball player in Nike's first female spokeswoman is the definition of athleticism, combined with beauty and realness. Many of today's top professional athletes and celebrities look to Gabby for her training guidance. Partnering with her husband, big-wave surfer, Laird Hamilton, Gabby helped to create XPT Extreme Performance Training, a unique and powerful fitness training and lifestyle program featuring their unique water workouts, trademarked performance breathing, recovery methods, high intensity, and endurance training for people of all fitness levels and backgrounds.
Gabby spent her high school years in Florida and was introduced to sports in the 11th grade. She wanted athletic scholarship to Florida State University for indoor volleyball, where she played two seasons before accepting offers from the modeling world. Despite the demands of modeling and competing, Gabby set two school volleyball records for FSU that still stands today. As a Florida State Star turned pro, Gabby trained hard and honed her skills in beach volleyball, and eventually competed in the Olympic Four on Four challenge series, as well as the beach volleyball world tour, where Gabby's four-person team took first place at the first ever beach volleyball world championships. In 1994, Gabby became Nike's first female athlete to design a shoe, and Nike's first ever female cross training spokesperson. As a New York Times best-selling author, Gabby's been interviewed in a vast array of media outlets, including The Today Show. Dr. Oz, Katie Couric, Chelsea Lately, and the list goes on and on.
She's also had her fitness and health tips in every magazine from Shape to Men's Fitness, L Magazine, and many others. And she's also spent numerous years in front of the camera as a TV host for networks, including MTV, ESPN, and NBC. As a model, she's graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, Travel and Leisure, Women's Sports, and Fitness, Outside, L Magazine, Shape, SELF and Vogue, among many others. Don't tell me that you model if you ain't been in Vogue. Oh, my goodness. And to top it all off, Gabby has been named one of the 20 most influential women in sports, and she's here now to share her incredible insights on the Model Health Show. Let's dive into this conversation with the one and only Gabby Reece. Gabby Reece, welcome to the Model Health Show.
GABBY REECE: Thank you for having me. It's such a treat.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Of course. Well, I first of all want to ask you about why, for yourself personally, why do you make your own health and fitness a priority?
GABBY REECE: I think it was luckily by... I got forced education coming through sports, and so, playing in high school, playing in college, playing professionally, and hopefully you're paying attention enough that you start to really understand that feeling good physically also supports your sense of wellbeing. And so, quite frankly, I think it was that default and also even being injured, playing sports, I've had many injuries, and you knew what it felt like to need assistance, even if it was temporary. And so, once you learn that and you can learn it young, especially with injury, you think, "Oh, I'm going to participate in avoiding this, and I'm also going to realize that the greatest gift that I truly own is my health." And then it got reinforced. I met Laird at 25, and so now I'm in a partnership with somebody who, for the same and different reasons, sees their health emotionally, mental, physical, as a real, as a priority.
SHAWN STEVENSON: So just for people who don't know, Laird is?
GABBY REECE: So, Laird is my husband, Laird Hamilton, he's known as a big-wave surfer, waterman, and he's pretty extraordinary. I mean, he's an extraordinary person, but as far as an athlete goes, he's a very unique athlete who is 59 years old and pursuing his sport at still a very high level. And he's paid a really strong physical price for that. You know, people think, oh, it's like, no, there's constant maintenance and other things you have to be doing, but it's living with somebody who goes to bed early, who even is managing what they're, not only what they're eating consuming, but what they're consuming through their eyes and their ears. And so, what he's reading and what he's watching. So, I've had these really good influences and then it sorts of became part of my business. So, it's like, you don't want to be... It doesn't occur to you that you're a hypocrite, but part of it is you better be living it. If you want to talk about it and share it and learn and do all these things, you better do it.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. Yeah. I love that. I mean, one of my favorite qualities about a person is people who are congruent. You know, obviously in this day and age when you can portray all kinds of stuff very easily and, but when you're in the room with somebody and you get a chance to see how people are operating in the real world, like those are the people I'm very attracted to. And you just mentioned something incredibly powerful, which is the power of relationship and its influence on our health. And it could be either rewarding or detrimental. So, for you coming into this with an incredible background in athletics and then essentially having a match put together, right? So, you are basically creating the conditions that makes health and wellness more accessible.
GABBY REECE: Yes. And it also makes it not something that you do, it just is, and it's a part of your life. I will say this, and I think it's really important, it also has to be done in a way that there isn't that stress around it, because then that's counterproductive, right? Like you're trying to eat and do all these things and right, but I know a lot of people who, they almost put a stress around it, and I feel like that that's not the way either. So, I want to be really clear that I'm very serious about it, but I still try to approach it, with a soft hand so it doesn't feel like something I'm doing 'cause otherwise, like all people, I'm rebellious too, right? Like, I don't want to be told what to do. I don't want to feel I'm adding one more thing.
So I try to actually incorporate it in a way that has a softness to it so that I can do it for a long period of time 'cause otherwise the training's hard enough, not eating French fries at every turn if I wanted to, it's not that that's become, of certainly it's easy, but it's sort of like there's enough things in it because you're using self-restraint or you're exerting a lot of energy that I'm trying to find the softness within it as well, so that it's like we're not being healthy, it's like, be healthy. It's like, okay, well, we're out here doing our best and we try to create environments where we can be successful. So that means like, hey, hang around people that maybe they're doing it the same way. How do we cook at home? All these things. So, I want to make sure that people understand. I don't have it figured out, but what I do know how to do is create an environment to at least put me in a position to have a good practice and to be successful.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. That is so powerful. So, this also speaks to knowing oneself. You know, you said that you don't like being told what to do, but...
GABBY REECE: No.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And I very much relate to that. And at the same time, we're also very coachable, I would imagine. And for me it's even in that choosing of a coach, right. And the congruency in that, it opens me up more to essentially in a way be told what to do. But framing is a big deal for me. And so, I would imagine, again, what would the relationship look like with you and Laird. I would imagine there's some head bumping from time to time.
GABBY REECE: That's a great question. It's an interesting thing. I think with Laird and I, we've learned, we joke about it, we used to call it the Cold War or, in military, I always get this wrong. It's like, mutually agreed destruction mad. I think we both know that the other person is pretty willful. And so, we share information. And I used to joke that if I found... Let's say I researched a supplement for like two months and I thought, you know what? This thing is showing up rock solid. I would never go to Laird and be like, "I've been researching this and so and so and this and that. You should take it." What I do is I go, "Hey, I've checked this out. I'm going to experiment with it. I got some extra in case you wanted to try it." And I just leave it to him for him to decide.
So, we've learned... What's that thing about a warrior has a sword, they just choose to... They choose not to un-sheath it. And I think both Laird and I are really trying to practice that not only in our, individual lives, but our lives together, which is I'm not here to tell you how to live, I'm not your mom and you're not my dad. You know, the joke is sometimes I have three daughters and he'll be like, "You all," dah, dah, dah. And I'm like, "Yeah, no, I'm not your daughter. Like, I'm your chic." And like, so let's not do that. So, I think it's respecting the other person, but it's really hard at times to learn from the person close to you, closest to you because you know all their, let's put them in quotes, "flaws" as they know yours. But what I try to do is I try to really keep paying attention because Laird is very smart, and he brings a lot of interesting things to the table. And so, I try to keep paying attention with new eyes. And it's like having kids that you change their diapers and now they're young adults. It's like you absolutely can learn from them and just because you changed their diapers, it's like, pay attention.
So, I think it's that it's a dance and everybody has their boundaries, but we live, we walk in certain ways, pretty light and pretty respectfully in our house, 'cause I just don't think there's an alternative.
SHAWN STEVENSON: I'm selfishly asking this question, by the way, with my wife and just, we do have a culture of health in our household that we've co-created. But it's definitely that you can't be a profit in your own land kind of thing.
GABBY REECE: No. An expert is somebody who lives a mile away.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah.
GABBY REECE: You know, the other thing is we do it different. Laird is more militant, and I'm not going to assign a gender to it, but he's masculine, so it's like, "I don't eat this, I don't do this. Oh, it's time to go to bed." I don't do it that way. And by the way, if I want to eat the thing over here, I will, if he chooses to or not. So, I think that's the other thing is finding within it the independence. It's the same thing I have to afford to my children, of how are you going to do it? How are you going to move? What are you going to eat? All those types of things. So, within that is the space. And by the way, I don't want to hear it. Like if I'm eating, if Laird was like, "Oh, you're going to eat that?" I'd be like, "Oh yeah, I'm going to eat it three times now." You know what I mean? So that's the other thing, is we're not here to police each other. We're here to love each other and support each other. And I find by, that being a good example usually is the most powerful, anyway. But, not putting again that hard kind of stress around it just makes it easier. Especially if we're trying to encourage people and ourselves, to do this for 80 years, you got to chill out a little.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, for sure. It seems like you are really good at paying attention, like paying attention to other people, paying attention to behaviors, character traits, because some of the stuff that you're sharing already, like I was teaching this stuff in clinical practice. For example, a lot of times when a woman comes in and she's struggling with a particular health issue, when we're getting to the root of like why... You know what to do, why are you not doing this for yourself, the blame game starts, and they start pointing the finger, to my kids, you don't understand. My husband, whatever. And one of the things I would hear, for example, is like if he would just. And I started to give women the insight into a man's thinking. You know, again, this is some stereotype stuff, but also, it's logical.
GABBY REECE: You mean there are some biological things that happen to show up and are true?
SHAWN STEVENSON: Absolutely, you just gave a great exa... Literally, what you shared about how you would approach Larid with...
GABBY REECE: Oh, yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Finding out at about a supplement, for example, I would coach them like, "Don't tell him that he should do this thing. Be more inquisitive, a matter of fact, like, 'Hey, what do you think about... " You know like, you know what I mean? So, it's just approaching it in a different way so that we think we figured it out or we think we're the one choosing it. Yeah, right.
GABBY REECE: And I find it interesting in this day and age where people are... They want to go with everything and have a set of rules, like it should be like this and this and that, and that's all fine and dandy. But I feel like if you're really living in the world and you're living in yourself and your essence, and you live in relationships with other people. If you really do pay attention, you will see tendencies, so you can fight biology, you can bang your head against the wall, or you can figure out, "Hey, what am I trying to do here? And what am I trying to do with the people around me? And what would be an effective way?" Not manipulative. What would be an effective way to do that? And so, I learned that through sports, I learned that through a myriad of things. And so, I go... 'cause I'm also interested in making it easier on myself and living in reality. Byron Katie says, when we say should, and I would imagine just that word, she's like, "Oh, the minute you say that word, you've left reality." And I'm interested in like, "Hey, what am I dealing with?" It's on Laird if he wants to make changes in himself. I'm just here to try to be a good partner.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. We can't really change anybody. It's like...
GABBY REECE: I can barely change myself at this point.
GABBY REECE: I'm working on, it's very slowly.
SHAWN STEVENSON: It's so strange how we do this, and it creates so much frustration in us. We are creating frustration within ourselves when somebody doesn't do what we want them to do, and so you even sharing... It's not about being manipulative, it's about getting an in-result through an efficacious way, which is again, understanding the motivations of a person, understanding their perspective, and rather than saying somebody doesn't listen, you find another way. And that takes for us to step back and also even with the five love languages and thinking about how people love, give love and receive love. And paying attention to those things.
GABBY REECE: Yeah, because it's really rewarding when you can go outside of your normal way of doing something and meet somebody where they are because they're doing the best they can too, and that's what you realize. And the other thing on this that I think is really important for people to recognize is there's typically a trait, and it's usually the one that is challenging about the person that you absolutely can draw a straight line to the thing that you love and respect about the most. And if you don't think they're connected, I mean, my husband is moody, and he wants to be in nature and he wants to live in this way that I so admire because he's pure in a way, his essence is pure. Like I said, to be in nature, but connected to that is this person who's like, "Why do I feel domesticated?" And so, why would I just respond to the one side, why wouldn't I not try to help him and figure that out, and it's the same with the children, it's the same with friends, it's the same. So, I don't know if it takes a little bit of distance and maturity to be like, "Of course, they're like that," because look exactly to the straight line to what it's connected to.
SHAWN STEVENSON: I'm already done. This is like, again, these things are so obvious, but we don't think about them. Because as soon as you said that I thought about over the years, some of the disagreements, well, heated conversations I've had with my wife about feeling like... For example, one of the things that she would tell other people about or that she feels safe around is because I am aggressive, I am assertive and getting things done, and really kind of just not settling. Being very growth oriented. So, these things where I'm really pushing, I'm pushing, I'm pushing. But bringing that to her sometimes, I feel like I would... This is f*cked up what I'm about to say, but I feel like you're neutering me, you're trying to neuter me by you want me to bring this down, but this is what you admire about me at the same time.
GABBY REECE: That's right. Yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: We didn't have the language for that, and we kept on having this kind of... And so she has been more conscientious in understanding how I express myself in certain times, and also, of course, because there is obviously with the layer of respect and admiration and love that should be inherent, but sometimes if I'm being this big energy, coming from the culture she comes from in Kenya, where you don't do that, right, so you don't even talk about emotions, and so it's just like we were hitting a head, we were bumping heads because of a pendulum swing of two different cultures, and understanding it, yeah.
GABBY REECE: Well, you're trying what two different genders and two different cultures, so you got layers.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Right, got that.
GABBY REECE: Okay, I'll throw one more at you for that, 'cause Laird talks about being domesticated and neutered and I don't want that. I want him always to feel like, "Oh, you want to... You have a waves going somewhere, I'll pack your bag for you, I'm your biggest advocate." But I learned, it took me a while. Maybe for seven years of our marriage, we actually almost got divorced after five years, and I realized that sometimes he'd come at me with this super intensity, and I said, "Listen, feel however you want to feel, be restless, be whatever, but create the space inside that's safe for me." So, it's not you against the world in that moment, I'm still on your team, and you can act or feel as far as your feelings, 'cause he's quite kind.
That's fine, it just when it becomes this person against the world, so the couple, the other part of the couple feels like, "Well, now there was no room for me." So, if the person who's more feeling savage, wild, moody, whatever, restless, that they just find a place, so it's a hand on an arm, "I love you. It's got nothing to do with you. I'm just raw." And I think that has been helpful certainly. And occasionally, I had it yesterday with him, we went and hiked the sand dune, and we were talking, and he said something to me in a way that was so combative for absolutely no reason, and I was like, "Why are you saying it to me like that?" and I go, "I'm not going to waste any time with this, I love you and I'm not going to deal with this." And I could see him just be like, "Oh." So, there's also, you learn ways to be like, "Oh, here's the electric fence, err in", you hit it and it's cool, I don't need to get emotional to stand up for myself, but that's not going to work for me anyway.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. And wow, a lot of trial and success, figuring this stuff out. You just mentioned five years by the way, and it's kind of in that year three to year seven.
GABBY REECE: Seven, yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: This is where things start to... All the hidden stuff starts to really be shown.
GABBY REECE: Yeah, the rubber hits the road. Sure.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Because we have a lot of romantic ideas about marriage, and unfortunately, again, these marks are pretty consistent, but we often don't communicate and teach these things to our kids, for example, that are getting married, we pay... Maybe we're paying or whatever for these illustrious weddings or whatever, but what's getting invested into the actual marriage? And obviously, having some coaching and some insight and some education about how to make a life work with another human, like that's a big ass deal.
GABBY REECE: It is a big ass deal, and it can be an almost near impossible deal. And there's a lot of, again, biological reasons why it works, but you have to then fine-tune it to... 'cause first of all, we probably weren't supposed to live mostly this long, we didn't have all these outside forces, for example, even the amount of exposure to other people that we have. Right, so there's just so many more things that we have to contend with that maybe we weren't actually supposed to win this concept of being together to sort of survive to make a family and such. So, I think it's... I think it also starts with the individual. It's like really figuring out how do I most days make myself feel pretty good? People have to ask themselves that question and figure out what those things are, and if it's shopping, it's going to be a problem, but it's like if you could have a practice in place that it starts at least for you, that you know how to make yourself feel that way because I love my husband and he is very special and dynamic, but there is nothing he could do to make me happy. Nothing.
And so, that's really still on me. Now he enhances my life and the richness I have in this experience with another person, and kind of in that nitty-gritty way. It's immeasurable, but I think it really... We've got to teach our children, it's on you first, and then, we can go from there for sure.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. So how does, from your experience, fitness, focusing on your health, how does that transfer into other areas of your life? We talked about this a little bit at the beginning, but also, you've now worked with and trained countless people. How do you see that for other people as well? How does that transition from focusing on fitness and go into other areas of our lives?
GABBY REECE: I always say it's just about the organism. So, for example, we do pool training, hopefully you and your son will come and give it a go, and believe me, I have people who don't love the water. It's okay.
SHAWN STEVENSON: I'm already there.
GABBY REECE: I have a boxer from Detroit that was at my house like two weeks ago, who doesn't even swim, but it's fine. I mean, NBA guys who don't swim, they jump. But my point is this, I tell them, "Listen, we're in the pool. It's objective. You're dealing with fear. You have no air. There's tasks that we put in place that the only way you can do it is if your mind is right," and the water is an objective representation of that. It's not my opinion, so I can say to you, "Okay, we're going to go there and back with no breath with weight," and the first time you may not make it, but the second time you did. The only difference was your frame of mind, right. Okay, your eyes were more narrow, you were more relaxed, your jaw, even how tight you're holding the weight burns oxygen. All these little leaks that we have as people holding tension and stress and all these things. So, my whole thing around fitness is I'm trying to make the organism more efficient. I'm trying to make the organism more sensitive, and so it's great. You want to bang iron, you want to run around a track, you want to do CrossFit, whatever, you want to swim, whatever the myriad, and hopefully, you have a combination of a bunch of things, Yoga practice.
It's so that I can function in my day-to-day life better, that the organism is more in-tune and more efficient. I think a lot of people get it wrong with like, "Oh my biceps, my packs," all these things. My sport, which is cool, but I think it actually is a bigger thing than being fit, it's being effective, it's being efficient, it's being resilient, it's being intuitive. Like you feel your body more, so then you feel the world around you more. And being in the space, I went to college in 1987 as an athlete, so I have been in the space of movement for a minute, and what I've realized is it's so less about being fit and so much more about the other things and trying to tap into the best version of myself. And so, when I see people, it's like, "Hey, cool." Whether we're going to use that on the basketball court or you're going to use it in the office, or you're going to use it when you're having a conversation with your teenager, it's still all coming from the same place. Now do you get more specialized, you're an athlete. Sure, that's, of course. But it's... At the end game, it starts with us, this essence, this person. I don't even want to say this gender, this age. It's just this essence that we have to then be all these things.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. I think the marketing for exercise has really messed up people's desire to do exercise because it's so based on superficial things.
GABBY REECE: Sure.
SHAWN STEVENSON: So, I'm on a mission to reframe all the... Like you just talked to about...
GABBY REECE: But that's not sexy.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, that's the thing.
GABBY REECE: What I just said is not sexy, it just isn't. I mean, you have to really do it long enough to understand that, and so at first the thing that grabs people... I joke with women all the time about the ice tub. I go, you know mood elevation, hormone regulation, and then I joke, and I go, "It also has been known to maybe be good for cellulite." I'm doing it, obviously. And they're like, "Oh, okay," you know like, "Oh, you know how to talk to me." So, I think it's also trying to meet people where they are, but it's an unfair bill of goods that we sell 'em, if you... It's like, "Oh, if you bang iron and eat this food, you're going to look like that." That's probably not going to happen. So that's where it's unfair.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, yeah, I agree. Yeah. This is the thing too. It's about efficiency, it's about communication too. You've got to pull people in through the thing that resonates with them, and I think that something beyond the superficial keeps people long-term.
GABBY REECE: Both when you feel good. Like you sleep better, whole food tastes better, and your energy is more consistent and somehow, you're not as pissed off, and I always call it also distance from the edge. So, the edge being my emotions, my reactions, maybe I'm sitting in this chair and I appear to be calm, the reality is, I'm probably four inches away from being aggressive and aggravated and angry all the time. That's probably more in my nature, is this sort of intense kind of R, and so all I'm trying to do is have distance. And that movement and that food gives me more distance to decide how I want to react. And so, I think for people, when they start to really get a sense of that, it can... They go, "Oh, I understand why I'm doing this." But if an issue, it's like, "Hey, you need to lose 10 pounds, 15 pounds, whatever." Great, it's cool, but it's a trick.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, for you, it could be irritation, for someone else could be depression. For someone else it could be anxiety or losing track of a sense of value, whatever, creating that distance between you going into that place. That's powerful.
GABBY REECE: Yeah, yeah. And you have to do it and also know yourself. When I get overwhelmed or something puts me on my heels, I don't get quite anxious, I get aggressive. And so, I'm like, that's not... 'cause that's fear. So, who am I kidding? And I don't want to live like that.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. Now, you said... You said this R word a few times.
GABBY REECE: What's the R word?
SHAWN STEVENSON: Resilience, throughout this conversation, and...
GABBY REECE: Number one. Adaptability and resilience. What are we doing?
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, it's so tied to life itself. And recently in our history as a people, we've seen, and again, you've been around and in the world of wellness for a long time, it's a athlete as just like human being here on planet Earth. Recently, we've seen what can be portrayed as or seen as a lack of resilience, and right now we're at a... I feel a really interesting point as a species, because certain things that are required for healthy expression of our genes or whatever case might be, to build that resilience is being more and more siphoned from our species. So, what do you think about the current state of our society?
GABBY REECE: It's a big question, and I won't say I'm often confused 'cause I feel like there's things where even a certain realities are being up is not up anymore, down is not down. I'm like, okay, this, we didn't have to debate certain things prior to the last three or four years. I think that the phone and technology... I will start with this; I think we're in a transition. And transitions are uncomfortable. I don't know what the other side of the transition is, but that's what I feel like this is, or I'm choosing to think this so that I can absorb observe it more rather than just go, "What the hell is going on?" And also, to keep an open mind because part of is the way my brain was hard-wired, the way I grew up. I'm trying to stay open to go, "Well, maybe we're moving into something new and different that I don't understand." However, nature is savage, to work is savage, to try to accomplish anything is difficult, so I think where there's a disservice is for people to think that Uber Eats is going to show up and drop off food at your house, and everyone you think, and feel is going to agree with every thought that you have and belief is total bullsh*t.
And I think that if you can't hear things that are different than what you think and feel without getting really upset, then we have done a disservice to the group below us. And also, part of me feels like something about it feels a little on purpose, and I don't understand why and where it's coming from, but it feels like a neutralization, a softening and also a distraction. I feel like there's a lot of feuding over things while other things are happening, that feels like a really big distraction. So, there's a part of me like I don't buy any of it in a way, but yeah, I certainly worry for my children, my youngest daughter is in high school. The telephone has made everything really easy, it's like, "Oh, I customize everything, everything shows up for me. I don't have to wait for anything." So I'll be interested because no matter what, nature is still doing what it's doing, our biology is still the same, we haven't changed our biology yet, so I feel like we're going to have a lot of either unhappy and sick and frustrated people that wouldn't have the skill set to work their way out of it to the thing that they want for themselves.
So, I don't know. And it makes me think that we still have, and certainly my generation, a job to do, to be good examples. That's the other problem. There's a lot of bad acting adults. If you look at politics and all this feuding, the adults aren't acting particularly well. So, you've got, you know, kind of a group below that's sort of frustrated and anxious. And then you have the group above that's, they're acting pretty sh*tty, it's like, there's not a lot of great examples out there. So, my hope is, those of us who feel like we could at least show up and try to be positive, whatever that word means, or hold a line, how about that? That we're trying to hold the line and impact maybe the, at least the people in our sphere. But yeah, otherwise it's going to be a rude awakening for sure.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. Yeah. You just said something really profound, tying in nature to all of this, because you're just saying nature with in and of itself is savage.
GABBY REECE: Savage.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And something's always eating something. But also, there's a principle about nature in all of life that most things take time. You know, you can't just plant a seed and yell at that f*cker to like you know, start, "Give me some fruit," it takes time, and it takes conditions. And we've devolved to a sense, to where all of these conditions for us to match the reward is, it's a mismatch, right? So, everything is on express when in reality, even that food getting delivered from DoorDash, like it took, we'll just say that you're ordering something that's higher quality, maybe it's some grass fed, whatever. It took time for the... That grass to grow, for the animal to consume it, for the animal to grow, and all the different, the conditions in the environment, the list goes on and on the, the processing, the shipping, the yada, yada. There's so much that goes into that.
But we have this immediacy and then we start to bleed that over into other areas of our lives. And also coupled with that we're pulling away movement. We're pulling away things that our genes would expect us to do to get to those things. I'm saying all this to say that yes, there are people that can leverage those moments of expediency to like, I just made, "Hey guys," you know, it's like somebody, you know, he's just turned 20 years old. "I made a million dollars last month by whatever with this algorithm on," and they're selling this life to other people, right. That this can happen to you too. Here's a spoiler alert for a lot of those guys. It disappears just as fast as it came. And for those that... And also, for the most part, 99.9% of people aren't going to achieve those same results. So, we're living in a distorted reality. And I think one of the most important character traits that we can instill in our kids and the next generation is patience.
GABBY REECE: Oh, patience. It's already hard enough to come upon before TikTok, and now their brains are getting hardwired. It's 15 seconds to eight seconds. Again, I see it with my youngest daughter. Again, I wonder, I heard this quote that we don't live in the world we were born to. So, I'm open to this concept that are we merging with technology? I don't know, I'll be dead certainly by the time it happens. But the thing is, is our biology, like you said as it is today, cannot handle the world that we're living in. I talked to a young man who just graduated from MIT recently, this gentleman, his name's Christian, and he was saying he's all, of course, he's totally in tune with this AI thing. And he goes, but my hope is it actually takes a little time because what we would need to... 'Cause then he was saying, oh, jobs that people don't want to do, right?
And so, I go, yeah, but the problem is in this moment, who we are, we don't self-regulate. What percentage of people self-regulate? Very few. Right? So, you're going to have a group of people that'll be like, "Awesome, I'll take the check and I'll watch, you know, I'll lay on the couch." And he's like, "Yes, that's why I'd like it to take time 'cause then maybe we would train younger people to then think about other things. So, the importance of learning or growing things or the myriad of things that would make this, you know, utopia, let's say if AI took over all the jobs nobody wants. 'Cause my thinking would be like, "No, we need to do those jobs, we should do those jobs," all that, but I have to get over myself. So, if I looked at it that way, I thought, okay, that would make more sense to me, where you would then be able to raise people.
But you can't just like, throw social media at them and then make everything easy and it's not, like you're saying it's not a good bridge. So, I am curious, but patience is going to be, that's why they need a passion, because I think when we understand that part of what's going to really make us feel good is that we have a purpose. And whatever our purpose is, it's still going to take work and time and patience. And so maybe rather than saying, okay, we want to teach you patience, maybe we want to drive you to try to figure out what your real passion is, can you quiet the noise around you to ask yourself like, "Hey, what do I want to do?" And I do believe in human beings that way, regardless of their age, that if they really found something, all those lessons would come with that.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. You're dropping like serious, like transformative ways of being that lead to, I'm just going to say the word, you just said another key word, curious. Like if we could just cultivate a spirit of curiosity, especially in these turbulent times, because multiple times now you've said something to the effect of like, you know, I don't know, you know? This could be this, this could be... Versus what we tend to do, especially when it's inflammatory or something we don't agree with, we just latch onto it and we miss out on the fact that we might be wrong or there might be some growth in this, there might be a solution, there might be... But also, it might be totally messed up, right? But you're just not attaching yourself to that thing. And I would imagine, again, it's going to bring you more peace. Because also there's a lot of unrest that people are experiencing too.
GABBY REECE: Yes. And I'm not going to lie, I really like to lock everything down. I want to put meaning on everything. I want to put everything in its place. My natural personality is to just be like, this is how it is, this is right, that's wrong. All of that. And I can actually say that the journey of a relationship and having children has made me look at that and go, that's not going to serve anyone, including myself. And so, the whole point of trying to be a better human would obviously, once you've learned something isn't working to stop doing it and you know, 'cause then you're kind of an idiot, right? So, it's sort of like, I really don't want to be an idiot. I'm okay saying, I don't know. I'm okay not being the smartest person in the room, but I really don't want to be an idiot, make new mistakes, do something else. So, if I have any level of 3D success, it's because I'm a person who probably tried to look at something and go, all right, what do I need to learn from this? Even though it's uncomfortable.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. Yeah. I've got a quick break coming up. We'll be right back. I've got some very bad news for you about vitamin C supplements. Most people have no idea that typical vitamin C supplements are made from corn syrup or corn starch derived from GMO crops. The synthetic ascorbic acid found in most vitamin C supplements is structurally similar to naturally derived whole food sources of vitamin C, but they are not the same thing. Whole food and whole food concentrates of vitamin C have hundreds of other bioactive co-factors that make vitamin C work miraculously in our bodies. While synthetic vitamin C is the very definition of a one trick pony. In fact, by being devoid of essential co-factors, synthetic vitamin C supplements can be outright harmful to your health. For instance, a 2013 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association internal medicine, found that participants taking synthetic vitamin C supplements had twice the risk of developing kidney stones.
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To go back to this point again with things taking time in nature, same thing with fitness. You go to the gym the first time and we'll just say you haven't taken care of yourself for decades and now you want to go and you're inspired, maybe it's something on social media, and that first workout, like when your body isn't changing even that first week or that first month to the degree that you want for a lot of people, again, it is grounds for quitting, because the patience isn't there. But here's the thing, there are changes happening beneath the surface. And also, over time, we're talking about decades of investing in something. You pick up all these different skill sets and a level of resilience. And I want to go back for you to the beginning, because I'm curious myself, what got you into this world in the first place? Why volleyball in the first place?
GABBY REECE: Honestly, okay, I'm 6′3″, so let's just start with the most obvious thing. I moved from the Caribbean to Florida my junior year of high school. I was 6′3″ at 15. And so, they were like, "You are going to play volleyball and basketball." And I do like physical motion a lot, but I wouldn't say I was like this crazy tomboy girl growing up. I was always active and living on an island. I think I was also looking for a family, a tribe, a place to fit in, you know? And certainly, athletic girls are more similar in certain ways. And really, and I've said this, I really like who I am in that environment, I respect myself, because it's an environment that you are uncomfortable, you have to work hard, you're getting sweaty, you're learning something new. You go to practice one day and you couldn't do it and you sort of could do it a little better. All of that really turned me on a lot. And so, I thought, oh, I like myself in this environment, and because it's positive stress.
You don't need to go out and like party or pick a fight with somebody. We're looking, always looking for stress. I think, we're looking to get into it, right? It's just nature. So why not find this stuff that's not going to ruin your life and maybe could be fun. And so, that was initially why volleyball for sure.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Wow. So, there was some natural selection involved?
GABBY REECE: Sure.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And also, you know, it's going to get anchored through other things. And so, you finding, that's powerful like the need or the... Which we all have that need for tribe, for connection, for family and finding that. And here's a cool thing about today with technology, is that you could find people who are into whatever weird thing you're into. Some people are super into Pokemon, and so you could find Pokemon and like other people that are like you, Pikachu stands and the whole thing. And so that's one of the benefits. But from that how do we go from indoor volleyball to beach volleyball?
GABBY REECE: There was really no choice. I could've... So, when I graduated college, I had become a decent player indoor, and you go to Europe and play indoor professionally, that was your only option or was never the plan. I moved, I was living in New York and going and college in Tallahassee. So, I was modeling in New York and playing ball for Florida State, going back and forth, back and forth. Then when I was done, I was like, "Okay, I don't really want to live in New York City." So, I moved to Miami. At Miami, I picked up the beach game, never played. And after about a year and a half, I had a woman there named Barbara Bierman. I'll never forget her. She's like, "You should move to California and try to play professionally," and it's so good when you don't know better. I was like, oh, okay. I moved.
It's like, you know, Beverly Hillbillies, I like moved up my car and moved to California and at that exact time a Four-on-Four tour started on the beach, which was a much closer game to indoor. So, it was already going to be better faster, if that makes sense. And that's how I ended up on the beach. And I loved it. I really loved it 'cause it was this interesting hybrid, also the surface is a little more forgiving. You get more powerful, but yet less pounding. And then now you're around some real badass girls. Like, these are no joke ladies. These aren't like, oh, yay, division one college, which is incredible. These are all Olympic players and indoor Olympic players, and these are women, and these are serious, these are serious, powerful humans. So, it was great. It was really great.
It was, there was a lot to learn. And I like this idea. There's moments, and people who've done sports understand this or music maybe, where every once in a while you hit it perfect, you just, there's a moment where it comes, you can win and you can play well a lot, but every once in a while there's this precision that happens and shows up and you think, oh, okay, I'm going to enjoy that. Because it doesn't happen often, even when you're in those moments, and there are certain athletes maybe it happens more for. But I was... I really enjoyed that. And I enjoyed going to practice. It wasn't fun, but again, this goes back to I'm putting myself in environments where I'm bringing out the best in myself. It's like being married to my husband. I was a not the best girlfriend, let me tell you. Before I met Laird, I was not a good girlfriend at all. And here I put myself with a person who then brought up the better sides of me. So, there was probably a lot of that. And listen, volleyball's a fun game.
SHAWN STEVENSON: That's awesome.
GABBY REECE: It's a lot of fun.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Wow. So obviously, I mean, the accomplishments are crazy, during that time period for you, you were on all these magazines, with the modeling stuff and with the beach volleyball stuff. And you experienced something except, I mean, lots of things exceptional, but some things that were unprecedented. And I want to ask you about this, about your working with Nike.
GABBY REECE: Oh. I wonder why you're asking me about Nike.
SHAWN STEVENSON: I mean, I kind of got the stuff on.
GABBY REECE: I'm joking. You have a giant swoosh over your head.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And so, here's the thing. There were some iconic shoes already with different... Related to different athletes. But you were the first woman to have your own shoe designed with Nike.
GABBY REECE: Yeah. I was very fortunate. I was given a designer named Tinker Hatfield, who might be one of the most famous designers at Nike. I didn't know that at the time. He's the one who did quite a lot of the Jordan, Air Jordan. And so, listen, when they put you with somebody who is very, very talented, he's brilliant. You're headed... It's a good chance for success. And I was a good communicator about what I wanted in a shoe. And my category was not volleyball, it was cross training. That was that notion in the beginning with Bo Jackson, if you really want to get back into it, which is this idea of like, I'm going to do a lot of different things, which is what, how people train and certainly athletes. So, this is called good fortune and good timing. And that's the other thing of life, is you can have quite a lot of things going your way, but if you're not able to recognize good luck or good fortune you're silly. So, I had... That was what that is.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. All right. Yeah. Yes, absolutely. There's that. And it's creating the conditions where good fortune can show up.
GABBY REECE: Absolutely. Listen, I was... Yes, I was a good... I'm a good steward. Let's just say that. I would be a person that if a company at that time was sort of like, "Hey, could we work with somebody that would kind of show up." I definitely was really diligent. I'm always like that. Even now, I take showing up really, really serious. And if you look at most people who have an arc of doing something, that's probably a pretty common trait.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Wow, man. I literally was thinking about that on my drive over to the studio today, I was really just thinking about that in depth and contemplating that. It's so important to me, my word, and also being congruent and showing up, I couldn't ask any more of a person. If you just do that, we're good. Mistakes, turbulent times, just show up. That's so important and thank you for sharing that because I don't think that gets talked about enough, especially in a culture where again, you could appear a certain way, but do you actually show up when you say you're going to do it, and consistently.
GABBY REECE: Yeah, and that's everything. I will say this for anyone, parenting, 'cause there's no way to do it right, and we never feel like we are getting it right, but a big part of the gig is show up and somehow that will really take care of so many things in the long story, because imagine even kids will see and be like, "You know what, my mom is so annoying, but she shows up," or whatever story they have, so I think that that is... And I mean show up with your eyeballs present, not, okay. I'm phoning it in, and my body's here and my spirit's not, it's like, yo, show up.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, yeah. And it activates for me an even stronger superpower or resonance with people when you are present, especially today, when there's so much... You have an entire world right there in your pocket, and so for you to be present with somebody that really means something. And so, you had the first iteration of your shoe with Nike, and I think the second one that you had actually outsold Air Jordans for a time period.
GABBY REECE: It did, but I think only a month.
SHAWN STEVENSON: So, what?
GABBY REECE: Oh okay.
SHAWN STEVENSON: You don't downplay, that's amazing.
GABBY REECE: Are we going to hold on to that?
SHAWN STEVENSON: It's crazy.
GABBY REECE: It's probably the end of his cycle and my shoe just came out or something. Yeah, listen, Laird says this quote. And by the way, I know why we're talking about this. And I had no idea. I was like, this is great, but I'm sort of a work horse. I'm sort of a blue-collar girl, don't go too high, don't go too low. It's just 'cause I know it's theater. Part of it's theater, I always knew that, and I think... 'Cause maybe growing up in the Caribbean, it's like there's a part of me that's pretty simple in a certain way, but Laird heard this quote from, I think it's a Navy Seal, it was like "Never let your dreams... Never let your accomplishments be greater than your dreams." So, it's not about not enjoying something, but it's about also... You're going to live and die in that. That's connected to identity. And so, how do we go like, "Man, I'm so grateful and this is so cool that I'm going to enjoy it," and anyway, because then you don't want the greatest moments to be back there, it's going to be different, and there might be some sweetness that I can never replicate like playing ball.
And that's okay too, but it's still not just attaching to it, but the shoe, yeah, it was bad ass. I could be like, I'll give you... To me the coolest thing about the show, I'll tell you right now, when we did the show, one of the colorways was a black shoe, and I have very big feet. I have a size 10 in men's, 12 and women's. And at the time they go, "Well, Nike did not make black shoes for women, so we made the first shoe colorway black for women." That was cool. 'Cause it's like, girls are training, they want to wear... We end up wearing men's stuff, so it can be kind of that part of ourselves. And so that was really fun.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, that's awesome. And I love that. And the thing is, I feel the same way. I'm much more... I'm really good at celebrating other people. And because it's perspective. And so, yes, sometimes I'll have those waves of like really that was... I can't believe I did that, and then the cool thing happened, and at the same time, I'm not lost in the sauce, I'm not lost in that. But this also speaks to how you're able to accomplish so much, because you have that sense of perspective about it, for some people, they achieve something and then they fall into depression, because that was everything and/or they're never satisfied as well to an extreme, because they're not able to embrace the cool things that happen, so it's just a perspective, like you said, I think you said even keel about things.
GABBY REECE: Yeah, and the satisfied part might not be come from... 'cause I have a lot of friends, especially if they're professional people, they didn't build a real life, so the problem is you got to keep going into the other thing and the next thing in the next 'cause your real life is probably not that developed, and that's sometimes the conundrum, like how do I pursue, achieve, accomplish, get and somehow have energy and time to build a real life? 'Cause otherwise you're just going to live in the accomplishment over and over, because that's where the real life is. So, I get that. I really get that. I want to say though, something that maybe is part of it, and I've had to reflect back on it is there's always a part of me though that is paying attention to where I am and also maybe where I think I'm trying to go, which is good and bad, because if you're going to be a LeBron or Michael Jordan or Tiger, you're almost going to live and die by that. I was never willing, with the exception of maybe my family, to live and die by anything, and so within that makes it easier to detach from it. So, I don't want to make it be like, oh... I don't know if that makes sense.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
GABBY REECE: And I know a lot of athletes or entertainers or performers where they will live and die by it, and that's usually where the real greatness comes from. I was really good. I don't know that I was like that. And so, I want to just make that differentiating point because it's understanding everything has a cost.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, yeah, that's powerful. It's identity and tying it to a certain thing, for sure.
GABBY REECE: Yeah. And maybe people like that, there's a different calling. I had a calling. But maybe they have a different calling. I live with somebody who's really married, like Laird has a calling, but what's very fascinating to me about him is he can be the absolute best at what he does for real and take my daughter to school every day. I don't know how he does it. I try not to get in the way, I just try to support it, but he's one of the rare people I've seen, that's why he has also a life.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. Wow. If I could glean anything from that, I would imagine it has something to do with finding the joy in these things. But by the way, this doesn't mean that they're easy, but...
GABBY REECE: No, I'm not saying, he's like yay, I'm not saying hi, but he's understood something that he knows in the long run he will be better, and that even means better on the wave, if there's some kind of other balance.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Wow. I want to ask you about being a parent and being in a relationship, and all the years that I was working with people in a one-on-one context, teaching classes, all these things, a really consistent thing for parents, especially for moms, was putting themselves last, putting themselves in the back burner, self-sacrifice, even if it wasn't conscious, and there is some nature involved there, and this is where we get into our ability to understand nature and also to look towards evolution, like what could we do to push things forward. And so, for you, how have you approached or adapted to being a mom and still making your health and fitness a priority?
GABBY REECE: I'd say this is where I'm a little ruthless, I would say, is whether one of my kids were babies, whether it was seven minutes, if I had it, I was going to take care of myself. So, what I've gone into my life understanding for me personally, not everyone is like this, and it may not work for them, but for me, it was me first, then weirdly my marriage, 'cause I'm in one, and then my children. Now, that's not to say that they're not always first, of course, they run the... It's their world, but as far as making sure I'm trying to really take care of myself, and that doesn't mean long periods of time, it could be 30 minutes, it could... As they get bigger, it's more making sure there's that quality time with my partner, and then of course, you're there to serve your children. And I've... Of course, I had to compromise it all the time, but that was always the target and kind of what was my manual, I was driving for. Because I knew if I wasn't happy, I wasn't going to be very good for Laird. And if we weren't happy, our house wasn't going to stand particularly well, and so better to give the girls these examples.
But, yeah, it doesn't mean there aren't days I'm not mumbling under my breath like all these people. Or the other thing I've learned, and I will say this, 'cause again, it's easier, if people have very small children, I want them to give themselves a ton of grace and the faith that it's going to kind of level out, it's the way it is. You're sleep-deprived and you don't get a moment to yourself, and that is totally a natural. But I still found ways where I could, especially in the training, whatever trained. But the other thing is that there are days I have work, we have companies and businesses that I'm at my desk and I can see... I see the road and I see the calendar and I go, "Oh yeah, I'm not going to get to it today." And I let it go. Just let it go. My eating will be extra tight that day, just chill out, because being like, "Oh, God, another day, I don't get to train on." That's not, that's insult to injury. Let it go. So, I've learned to make peace with that too.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Wow. Yeah, that's powerful, because obviously, another word tied to parenting is guilt, and I know that a lot of people experience that because we're always monitoring measuring how much are we missing our kids up basically.
GABBY REECE: I know.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And because there's always going to be this sense of self-sacrifice or sacrifice somewhere, but I want to circle back to this because you said this thing, and I haven't heard anybody else say this outwardly, people might operate like this, but besides my wife saying it to me that your relationship was first, because again, when we're in inundated with this idea. And because you said it, we're in service to our kids.
GABBY REECE: It just will happen.
SHAWN STEVENSON: So when my youngest son was born, I remember her telling me, he's just a little baby, she was like, "You're first," and I was like, I didn't know how to take it because I'm just like, "Isn't he... " I know I'm the back seat now, but I'm just going to have to deal with it, but no, it's because our relationship being strong makes the parenting, dare I say, easier and/or more resilient, more adaptable, all the things when we have a strong unit.
GABBY REECE: Yes, and what I will say is this, I am... Being married, I'm surrounded by a lot of good men, a lot of good men, good people, and what I have learned is the wisdom, true masculinity male, it's this floating in and out. So, I've seen with Laird multiple times where he does have a need, but he's understanding, "Gabby's nursing him. This is what's happening." But I being his partner, I'm trying to also understand, and I can say I'm tired and I've had a baby, or I could say like, my guy needs some physical affection and I don't mean hugs, like homie needs to get... He needs sex, like you need sex. It's just part of it. And women can say, "Well, that's not fair, and it's not right," and it's like, Okay, yeah. But you're in this relationship and this person has been super cool and understanding, figure it out. And so, we started... The kids arrived because, out of our love and affection and desire for one another, and also, they're going to leave and build hopefully very big independent lives from you, which means you might be just the two of you. And what do you want that to look like?
So, could you nurse that and take care of it and tend to that garden sometimes more than others, but definitely pay attention to that, and some people, it's on a priority. And I totally honor that. I also will say this because people, they don't understand, I am married to an alpha male, and so I wanted that. I wanted somebody who acts like that, who acts protective, and there's just these dynamics that I wanted. I chose. So, with that, it's sort of like maybe grow up and understand what you're dealing with, it's like having a big dog, you don't just walk your big dog everywhere because it's a liability. So, I wanted an alpha, and with that, there's... Laird's pretty clear about his needs and wants, and they're not unreasonable, and also what he's willing to show up on his own to participate in, it's like I could do that. And if not, then you could get a guy that wants different things, but I don't want to be the alpha in the relationship, I'm already doing that everywhere else in the world.
And a lot of people, it makes them uncomfortable to talk about it. And it's not that I don't care, it's okay, I'm talking about my house. And if you are with an alpha male, I think it's probably pretty consistent what I'm saying. I don't think it's unique. Otherwise, there are betas. And that's beautiful too. Why not?
SHAWN STEVENSON: There's a great stand-up special called Beta Male, is Nanjiani. I think it's Kumail Nanjiani. Everybody should check that out. It's hella funny. But this is about what is. And you said this earlier, this is your choices, your life structure, and I love the fact that you just mention this, which we don't think... We think a lot of stuff in life happens to us, but you chose. We choose a lot of the things that we put the environment that we're creating, the situations that we put ourselves into, but then oftentimes when we make these choices, we drop the sense of responsibility for those things and then we transition that into blaming.
GABBY REECE: Yes, and my husband was super obvious when I was dating him, it wasn't like it turned when we got married, it's like I knew. And that's what I... I was like those... It's like, those are the problems I want to be solving. That's the price I want to be paying. I'll do it. And so, sometimes everyone wants it to all fit in these packages and it shouldn't. It's unfair and it should be like this, and it's all that. It kind of is what it is, and it's like, what situation do you want to be in? And I personally like it, doesn't mean every situation doesn't have challenges and dances, but it's sometimes easier when you're willing to participate in making it better. That's the other thing. If I want the relationship to be a certain way, why don't I act that way? And hopefully he's making the same choices, which so far, he is, and I think that's what people... They think that you can make somebody, or... No, you can be your best and help that they're going to be their best. And by the way, if it doesn't work, if in five years Laird's sitting on the couch and ignoring me and doing whatever, I might be like, "Hey, you know what, maybe this is... We're good."
So, I'm not talking about being a doormat either. I've talked a lot about being of service in a relationship, all relationships. In friendships, you drive your car. Yeah, go. Go in front of me. Be of service. That is the strength. And people really, especially when it comes to male-female relationships think, Oh, that's a weakness. It's like, no, I'm not choosing someone who's taking advantage of me or walking all over me, but I would like to be of service, or why bother? And so that's what I've learned is the real strength.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, yeah. Just one last piece here that should be obvious, but it's not unfortunately.
GABBY REECE: Okay.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Which is the things that matter in our lives, we have to invest in them, we have to put time into them, and unfortunately, we might say or even have a superficial belief that our relationship is the most important thing besides taking care of ourselves, but are we actively investing in it? Are you learning? Are you... 'Cause again, a lot of us even getting into relationships without any kind of modeling or awareness of how this stuff works, so are you learning about this stuff, are you learning about yourself? Are you learning about your partner? And investments go a long way, and I want to ask you about... You mentioned this earlier, but this training modality, so it's XPT.
GABBY REECE: Oh, XPT.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Can you talk a little bit more about this, particularly? Because again, you've done all kinds of fitness. Why is this so remarkable, first of all, what is it? And why is this so valuable?
GABBY REECE: Well, so XPT sort of the breath move recover, and then you'd add nutrition and something else, but the whole thing came from an experiment. Laird was trying to figure out ways to train in his off-season to be better in the water. I grew up in the water, and so we were kind of his crash test dummies, and so in a nutshell, you can do hypoxic and cardio training, you can do ballistic training, and you can do it without really crushing your joints, quite frankly, and you have to deal with yourself, because when you're air... When you have less air or you're running out of air, but you still have to make good decisions, so how do I put myself again in that positive stress over and over and still have to make good decisions. So, we have that component. We have a breathing component, there's a breathing app, we incorporate HIIT nice, like so many people, we've been doing that for probably about 10 years, so the whole idea would be like if you are going to recover, participate in recovery, so using breath or using sun or using ice or the combination.
The movement is important, so there's a movement aspect. And then the pool though for me is one of the more interesting components because I think it can help, certainly selfishly myself, train much harder, much longer, not only in the duration of time I'm training, but for years, and we have a ton of athletes that do it as well. And what I want to say about training, and you know this from your own experience, it's about a lot of different things. I do HIIT training. I think Dan Garner, do you know Dan? He's a nutritionist, he worked with Andy Galpin, Dr. Andy Galpin. He said something that really stuck with me and I'm going to say it. "When anyone talks in absolutes, run." And so, training is a constant and it's like doing things and changing and doing, so this is one way. And what we say about XPT too is, there are certain fundamentals that are going to be forever and universal, but we're trying to still learn and grow, and so to tweak and add modalities, but the pool training is very unique, I will say, and...
'Cause most cardio also takes a certain toll on your body, and this is a way that you can do a lot of cardio and not crush yourself. And if I was a jumping or ballistic athlete, I would put my butt on the pool, I wish I had known about it when I was competing, which of course I didn't. You always get it after because it's pretty extraordinary. I can go and do 400, 500 jumps in the pool and get the benefit and not feel just beat up.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Can you give some more examples like that? So, you're under water, are you fully submerged? Can you share?
GABBY REECE: So, there's a 35 exercises-ish. So, let's say on the deep end 10-12 feet, I'll take a single dumbbell and jump off the bottom and then use my hand to come up to the top, I take a breath on the in when I'm up, so take an inhale, on the way down, you're letting all your air out. So, let's say, I could say, okay, set a 10, then I could... Let's say someone was more advanced, I would have a dumbbell 20 or 25 pounds for me, for Laird, let's say 35 or 40, and I do something called an ammo box, so let's say I come to the surface after doing 10 jumps, I get rid of my CO2 really quickly and fast, grab my 20 or 25 and do to the width of the pool like maybe 35, 38 feet there and back, no breath.
SHAWN STEVENSON: So, are you walking?
GABBY REECE: No, I'm swimming.
SHAWN STEVENSON: You're swimming. Okay.
GABBY REECE: So now I'm on the top, so I've been ballistic.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Okay, got it.
GABBY REECE: Now I'm doing task completion but trying to manage my oxygen. So, I'll swim with one arm, hold the weight close to my chest, so I'm hydrodynamic. I'm just under the surface, 'cause you want to be just under, to be on the top drag, so you learn all the ways to be efficient. There, turnaround, switch hands, swim back, then maybe you come to the service, grab your dumbbell, start dumping again, or there's warm up sequences I have here, I have two light dumbbells and I do a jumping jack, so I jump up and I kind of do this big circular motion, and then my head comes out, I'll do a 100 in a row. It takes about seven minutes. That might be a warm-up, but it's also a mental game. Can I be patient? Can I wait? At 50 I might go 50 more. It's like all of that stuff.
There's times you're doing drills, walking on the bottom. What do you think? I feel like I'm out of air and I'm only a third of the way through this drill, literally. And you have this moment where you have to go, "Alright, what are you going to do? Like, what are your thoughts going to do?" 'Cause your thoughts burn oxygen. Because if my eyes opened too wide, I'm burning more air, so how do I end the moment of stress go, "Okay, down, regulate." And what you also start to realize, 'cause you get the relationship with feeling quote out of air, that it's your CO2 intolerance, that you're actually having to build your, what they call the BOLT score, your CO2 tolerance. So just by letting a few bubbles out, it can buy you a whole length of a pool. So, it's sort of all these different things.
I have an incline on my pool where I'll just do heavier weight, ballistic squat jumps, not very deep, maybe it's seven or eight feet, so you're coming out, you're coming out, so you can load them up, and then there's a ton of drills, even in three and four feet. So, there's these different gears I say, I like it when I teach people to talking on the phone. So, you're on the phone, you're in a business deal, these are your ballistic movements, and you're like, "No, that deal is not good enough, and this and that." And then all of a sudden, your six-year-old comes in with a drawing for you, "I made this for you,"' and you have to switch gears, and so ballistic up and down to task completion, you better slow it down. So, it's again, the organism learning to shift very quickly. So, it's things like that. But it's... Listen, there's parts of it that are really freaking hard, but never hard on your body in that way.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. Wow.
GABBY REECE: You're going to find out.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, I'm going to find out. It's so remarkable, like you just said, if you would have known about the jumping capacity.
GABBY REECE: I could have been so good and not hurt myself so much.
SHAWN STEVENSON: We live and we learn, truly.
GABBY REECE: I know.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And just to speak from experience, fortunately, when I lived with my grandmother, we had the neighborhood swimming pool we could go to, and then even when I lived in the inner city, we had a rec center for us, tent. And so, we were able to just have access to a pool, but actually knowing some things to do. And again, I didn't grow up with a pool or near water, and having access to a pool today, after experiencing an injury, I can't even tell you how much it helped me to, number one, reduce pain and also accelerate the recovery because I got those muscles to be able to fire without that gravity, and for example, like tearing a calf muscle and then being able to actually take steps, I couldn't take steps. Just on the road, I was like limping, the muscle fire correctly, but in the water and walking slowly, I could get it to fire.
GABBY REECE: Yeah. And you get that support from the water.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Right. And being able to do... I couldn't do calf raises standing outside the pool, but in the pool, especially the deeper I got, I could get up on my toes. And so, taking those things because then your brain and your nervous system is not. It's not even always the muscle itself, it's a safety thing, and creating safety signal. And if you really know your body, especially again, the years that you invest, you know when you're okay to do certain movements, but your brain and nervous system could be trying to protect you.
GABBY REECE: Right, as they should. We have Christian McCaffrey and a kid, Ronnie Stanley, we had a lot of ankles last year, and it was interesting to watch them be able to be explosive without that fear of, "Oh, when I land, I'm not... It's not going to be really, really brutal." Yeah, no, the water is a gift, and I would encourage people to... It's not about swimming, 'cause swimming for a lot of people is boring, it's hard too, by the way, swimming... For swimmers, hats off to you. But you can use the water in a real way, and it's... Metaphorically, I always say to people, especially people who are a little reluctant to the water. Think about water when you develop a relationship with it. Water, everyone thinks pulls you down, but when you develop a relationship with water, you realize it can also hold you up. And when we can get that, it's soft, oh, it's hard. Like how do we learn to drive ourselves, our bodies through water, it's really an interesting exploration for sure.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Well, this has been a great exploration, hanging out with you and learning. And you've been teaching people for so many years, a wide variety of health and fitness modalities, and also creating things as well, programs and nutrition, and also you have a show as well, that's just like freaking awesome. You have some of the most incredible people on your show. Can you let everybody know where they can find your show, connect with you, or more information about your nutrition products and things like that?
GABBY REECE: Well, first of all, thank you for having me. And can we say that when we first met, that I said to you that, "Oh, I was thinking about you," and then you pulled out your notes, and I was on a list of a few people that you, I guess, thought you were going to reach out to.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, I'd just write your name down that day, and then we ended up meeting each other.
GABBY REECE: Yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Crazy pants.
GABBY REECE: It is crazy. Yeah, so The Gabby Reece Show, I know, really original. My whole thing was like, and even we have a food company, Laird Superfood, how do we democratize health a little bit? Because the other thing is sometimes you get into it, you go, "Oh wait, this shouldn't be for only people who have the resource of time and money." So the hope with the show is interview these very best people, but try to bring it to an actionable kind of sixth grade level, because there are so many things as you know, because you're talking to people all the time that are out there, whether it's in fitness or in medical care or science, that is available to people right now, and maybe they don't even know, so that my hope with that is, I call it also forced learning, which is what you're doing, where I'm reading tons of books and having to talk to people and learning more, and I'm trying to figure out how to keep that pocket of my life open. So, what I love about the show is learning from other people, but it also really keeps that forced learning going any way I can.
And that's my hope, is just that there's some value that something... Someone hear something, and they go, "Oh, I have a friend who could use that, or I could use that." And also, without getting into it, it's also from a female's point of view, a little different. 45% of my audience is male, but I am a female, and a lot of times I feel like the space is talked by men more, which is great, but I also think as a female, having navigated being a mom and even gotten pregnant and gotten back in shape and whatever, it's like just another voice out there, but making the content... 'cause good content, good information is gender-less obviously, so it's ultimately committing to the communication of the information.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, I love that. Force learning, I just shared there for the first time. And this is so crazy that even just us meeting and my drive over here and the thought process that I had, and also for the first time, I just shared... We just crossed our 10-year anniversary of the show.
GABBY REECE: Congratulations.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Thank you.
GABBY REECE: That's amazing. Congratulations.
SHAWN STEVENSON: This and that, it's very, it's weird because...
GABBY REECE: It’s great.
SHAWN STEVENSON: But I shared 10 of the biggest lessons that I learned in 10 years of creating the show, and one of them was that this show kept me accountable, it gave me force learning. Every single week, regardless of what's going on in my life, I'm going to show up and I'm going to be prepared. I've been diving into your world, and whether it's reading a particular book or it's doing research for solo show, it's kept me every single week. I'm improving, I'm learning, and being able to then concentrate those things and to share it with others, and so I love that force learning. And where can we do that? Everybody think about that, where can you give yourself that accountability? Because all of this stuff, it's about your mindset, that drives the outer stuff, so whether that's through relationships, whether that's through creating a certain anchor in your life of putting on Gabby's show when you're doing your morning walk or whatever the case might be, but finding ways that you are constantly showing up, forced learning. I love that. And again, so people can subscribe to your show and also, where are you on social media too?
GABBY REECE: Gabby Reece. So, I'm on Instagram, I think I'm on Facebook. I don't know that I run that part of it. I do, do Instagram Reece with the C, and I have a website that also will have all the information from the show, so if people want specific content or a product that maybe was mentioned by somebody. The other thing is, and I know you know this, and now I want to end by saying something we say in our houses, there's only one first day, and you're talking about when people get started, they don't see the... It's that first day, just get through that first day, if people haven't tried it. And it's not about changing everything all at once, so if someone's trying to improve their eating, it's not about like, okay, everything you love is gone, it's just making those small steps, but it's really about the practice.
It goes back to what we started with, which is the people around us, the environment, and just having a practice, because you and I could have all the information right here in our brains, and we might know. And I use that word lightly. But if we don't have a practice in place, you can't be successful, so for anyone listening, it's like, hey, just do the best of putting a practice together, 'cause that's actually more important sometimes than the information.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Absolutely, absolutely. Besides that, it's theoretical.
GABBY REECE: Yeah. And talk to anyone who does it, it's like they spend more time doing it. Trainers have no time to train. So, it's normal. And I think in this time that you mentioned being so kind of funky and sensitive and hysterical, actually, there's a lot of hysteria, is we all need to be a lot stronger and a lot kinder, and we'll get through it.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, those two things are not synonymous, by the way.
GABBY REECE: No, they are the real ones. They go side by side.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Absolutely, yeah. Wow, this is awesome. Thank you so much coming to hang out with me.
GABBY REECE: I appreciate you. Thank you.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Awesome. Gabby Reece, everybody. Thank you so much for tuning in to the show today, I hope you got a lot of value out of this, so many nuggets to extract from this conversation, forced learning, where can we put in place structures in our lives that force us to improve, that force us to stay curious, to stay an eternal student, how can we create structures in our lives that enable us to proactively keep learning and keep growing. Also, something that really jumped out to me during this conversation is knowing oneself and also having the audacity to try to know others and to understand others and to create more intelligent interactions and strategies in our communication so that we can lead our families in our communities to the places that we truly want to go, rather than constantly butting heads, which butting heads is going to happen, alright, we're going to get some cams out there on the streets from time to time, and that's okay.
But if we really want to move the ball down the court, if we really want to keep on evolving as a people, we've got to work together, we've got to be more understanding. I've said this before, one of my favorite quotes of all time is from St. Francis of Assisi, and he said that, "We need to seek first to understand and then to be understood." And I'll tell you what, being in a state of health, in a state of higher fitness, it makes it easier to, as Gabby talked about, create that space, create those levels between our best self and our much more reactive, more primitive self, whether that more stressed version of ourself that shows up is the person who tethers into vast irritation or anxiety or depression, we're creating levels that create a buffer between our best self and when we land in that spot by working proactively on our health and fitness, making understanding and patient easier to access, especially when we need it most.
If you got a lot of value out of this, please share this out with your friends and family on social media, tag me, take a screenshot of this episode, tag me. I'm at Shawn model on Instagram and tag Gabby as well and let her know what you thought about this episode. She'll be keeping an eye out. So do that. Alright, I'm going to keep my eye out as well, and I really do appreciate that when I see the sharing of the show on social media. And also of course, you could send this directly from the podcast app that you're listening on to somebody that you love, and we're just going to keep the good times rolling. We've got some incredible master classes and world class guests coming your way very, very soon, so make sure to stay tuned.
Take care. Have an amazing day, and I'll talk with you soon. And for more after the show, make sure to head over to themodelhealthshow.com, that's where you can find all of the show notes, you could find transcriptions, videos for each episode, and if you got a comment, you can leave me a comment there as well. And please make sure to head over to iTunes and leave us a rating to let everybody know that the show is awesome, and I appreciate that so much. And take care, I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering, great content to help you transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.
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