Spotlight Interview | Gabrielle Reece on Body Image, Longevity, & Smoothie Bowls

“Are you having fun? Are you doing what you like to do? Do you have the freedom to move about the way you’d like to? Are you curious?”
~ Gabrielle Reece

Are you on a learning quest and curious to know what propels legendary former professional Women’s Beach Volleyball champion Gabrielle Reece? You’ll find her rocking out in a HIGHX circuit training to obnoxiously ridiculous rap music with her group class, mixing up her favorite SAMBAZON smoothies and… simply being herself, giving her best each day, living her life to be an example for her kids and to motivate those in her sphere and beyond. As a tall athlete myself, she sure has motivated me since I read her first book in 1997! I am truly honored to catch this boss babe for an interview as she shares her positive healthy vibes with us plus her favorite smoothie and bowl recipes below… Read on, it’s deliciously inspirational and a game changer.

Health + Fitness Expert | New York Times Bestselling Author | Wife + Mama |
Inspiring Athlete + Human | Fashion Model + TV Host
Amanda Kriebel: Hi Gabrielle! You are a motivational health and fitness expert, remarkable athlete, plus a leader and role model for women. Who inspires you to be who you are?

Gabrielle Reece: The collection of people around me. Living with Laird is inspiring because he is always on a quest to learn more and eat better and is always open to new ideas more than I am. Directly living with a person like that helps me stay inspired and motivated. But there are so many people that I have the opportunity to be around that teach me, like movement specialist/trainer Dr. Kelly Starrett. Since I became an athlete, my college coach inspired me in a myriad of ways and even my teammates. When you work with people day in and day out who work really hard and give their best even when it’s not going great, these are the things that keep you inspired to do your best. I try to surround myself with people like that. They aren’t perfect, but they are continuing to learn each day and give their best each day.

AK: YOU are inspiring! You and Laird have incredible discipline. Where does that discipline come from? Do you have any tips for someone lacking discipline and motivation?  

GR: It’s simple, people don’t realize that the difference between the perception of someone like me and somebody who says they aren’t motivated is that I’ve put a system in place to be successful. None of us are STOKED everyday. Ultimately you have to have people around you that at least on some level are like-minded, not everybody of course, but just enough people so that you have that system around you to create an environment where you think “I can get it done. ”If I don’t want to eat that food, I don’t keep it in my house. If you go out and you’re drinking, that may end up in mindless snacking. It’s navigating a landmine and saying I’ll construct my life in a way so I can be successful. People have to realize it’s day by day and if you fall off the horse, don’t beat yourself up, do the best you can the next day. I say guilt is a wasted emotion. It doesn’t really change the outcome of anything. It’s not great to beat yourself up, it’s not productive. Once we navigate the eating and moving right we have to understand 80 percent is the food, if you are putting in the time to train, the food should serve you and your goals too. Not to focus on “I can’t eat that,” rather it’s “I don’t eat that.” You are in charge. When you love and respect yourself so much, you’re going to demand your food serves you and what you are trying to accomplish. Also notice “am I eating because I’m stressed out, or I am bored, or love sick, or whatever it is other than to fuel the machine?” People can get stuck in that and it’s very natural, who doesn’t? Everybody can relate!

“It’s navigating a landmine and saying I’ll construct my life in a way so I can be successful.”

AK: Do you have any traditions with your kids to promote a healthy lifestyle with them?

GB: Kids don’t listen. It doesn’t work and it’s a struggle every day. But they are watching. Try to be the best example and put fun around it. I don’t talk about training with my kids, I talk to them about balance, which means balance with their school, friends, family time, and electronics. And make exercise about fun and play, and not, you have to train or workout. How do they get the joy of that discovery on their own? And how as a parent, do I stop trying to force it or control it, but see it as how can I cultivate and nurture that. It’s a challenge everyday, and I suck somedays and I do OK others. I don’t know I’ve ever killed it, I’ll be honest. It’s a constant calibration and one that we aren’t so good at sometimes.

AK: Your gorgeous 6’3’’ presence is a combination of strength and beauty on the outside and the inside! You are the creator of HIGHX and XPT training, tell us about these programs:

GR: HIGHX is the team, group fitness class that I created about nine years ago. The good thing about HIGHX is has resistance training, proprioception and balance, cardio and a little bit of stretching, and you have teammates. So when people say I don’t have time, you have accountability for the days you don’t want to show up. It touches upon a lot of cornerstones of fitness.

XTP is the fitness program that I have done with Laird and it shares some of our more extended training, our pool training and breathing. It’s very specific and a broader snapshot of what we are doing.

AK: As women we sometimes look in the mirror and focus on our flaws. It’s so important to see and appreciate what we DO love about ourselves, our body, and our whole being. What do you love most about your body right now, and why?

GR: I love my left knee because it works really well. I have a fake knee in my right knee and I’m still in the process of getting it to function better. My left knee, I joke, you can be beautiful, wealthy, young, powerful and famous for that matter, but wow, my knees are working! I’m proud of my left knee! I generally try to focus on the impression of myself and how that feels versus inch by inch. If the overall seems healthy and vibrant, my skin and hair are looking good, I’m trying to take in the impression because the more I can do that I feel like that’s what people see anyway. I don’t judge other people by their crows feet or cellulite. I judge them on their impression and do they feel happy? Do they look you in the eye? For me that’s what I do. When I start to look at myself on the outside, I go, what’s going on with you internally? It’s like me trying to find a way to find all my flaws and pick on myself so that means I have something going on inside and I’m frustrated or irritated or something.

“When I start to look at myself on the outside, I go, what’s going on with you internally?”

AK: What tools/techniques do you use to keep you grounded amidst the juggling act of life with your career and home with the kids and a husband plus traveling?

GR: The number one thing is to notice it before it arrives at my front door, so I can see it coming and I say, “OK, I’m either doing too much right now or I’m too wound up about it.” It depends on how you are approaching it. When I start to react to things instead of respond to things, I’ll do an active meditation to change my perspective.

Simple things like this, I know it sounds ridiculous, but saying “I have to go to work” is so much different than “I get to go to work,” or “I have to go to the grocery store” versus “I’m going to the grocery store.” Even the things in your everyday speech that create an unnecessary layer around things. The fact that I go to the grocery store and buy what I need and want for myself and my family and be able to pay for it, is not such a bad thing. Do I like the grocery store? No. If I never had to step foot in a grocery store and somehow everything miraculously landed in my fridge, I’d be fine with that. Work can be an adventure, instead of “I have to” work, but “I’m going to” work tomorrow. It’s trying to see things as opportunities not as “have to’s.” The same thing with the family, I’m going to be honest, my kids are very strong willed and they are tough to deal with, as all children are. God forbid something happens, I wouldn’t be worried if they are sassy or not listening. So it’s me trying to cut it off before I get there. And listen, when you’re crazy, go straight to bed.

AK: When you look at a photograph of yourself when you were younger, if you were to write a letter to her, what advice would you give her knowing what you know now?

GR: I would have told myself to stretch more and never take one thing personal. I talk about this a lot especially with women, we take a lot personally. It’s not usually about that. And speak your mind in a loving way, but be direct about your feelings.

AK: Cameron Diaz’s latest book: The Longevity Book, focusses on the science of growing older with resilience, health and happiness. What does longevity mean to you?

GR: To maintain vitality, mobility and independence. Laird always says “don’t lose your youthful enthusiasm.” It’s not just one thing, but trying to stay open and it’s harder for me than him. I don’t think it’s about the color of your hair or wrinkles, but rather, are you having fun? Are you doing what you like to do? Do you have the freedom to move about the way you’d like to? Are you curious?

“Don’t lose your youthful enthusiasm.”

AK: I loved both of your books! What was the driving force to be an author and write your first book, “Big Girl in the Middle?

GR: I used to do a lot of writing for magazines and for me it’s a really nice way to connect with people. At times when I’m being filmed, it’s about how you look, your hair, your make-up, but writing gives me the opportunity to have a direct conversation, and not be distracted by the other person or other elements. I can write in my bathrobe, you don’t have to be how am I performing? It’s more about how am I feeling and I‘ll communicate that versus how taut are my buttocks, or how shiny is my hair..

AK: In your second book, “My Foot is Too Big for the Glass Slipper: A Guide to the Less Than Perfect Life” is fun and raw! It’s about being perfectly imperfect, to endure and enjoy the struggle, to be the queen, and not the princess. Love that! What is a typical day in your fairytale life as a queen:

GR: The idea that your life reflects who you are on the inside is the ultimate for every person, male or female. I ask myself: Does my partner reflect that? Where do I spend my hours? Each day is an opportunity to reflect who you are inside, and do my friendships, relationships and work feel authentic to me? The opportunity to be yourself in your own life is a big one.

AK: You’ve had great wins in your career on the court and in the game of life but along the way there have been challenges and losses. How do you analyze the obstacles, continue to learn from them and turn it around and be positive?

GR: First of all, everything we’ve done is in the past. I’m a person who is about today, not too much tomorrow. It goes back to perspective and also I don’t try to be who I was. I just try to understand who I am and who I would like to be and make my life go that way. The worst thing we can do is not accept change; change is inevitable. I would be perpetually frustrated, my kids are going to grow and they will move out, there are those phases. It’s also a level of acceptance and navigating so that the best day of your life hasn’t even happened. Why not?

“I don’t try to be who i was.”

AK: Is there a “game changing” standout event, or cherished memory that was a turning point in your life?

GR: Game changing has been the people that have been willing to invest time in me, so coaches and friends. Those have been pivotal influences and things in my life, it’s not one event for me. Maybe if I was a football player and I had won the Super Bowl, yes, but its the ones that helped me change direction.

AK: You recently hosted an event “Train Like a Warrior” at your home to launch new SAMBAZON vegan protein and superfood packs. I can’t wait to try them!  What’s your favorite food, that you can’t live without?  Also what are your favorite SAMBAZON recipes?

GR: Coconut oil! I cook with it and use it a lot of different ways and even in my smoothies.




Sambazon Original Superfruit Packs
Unsweetened Almond Milk or Unsweetened Apple Juice
Scoop of Cashew Butter
½ c Frozen Mango
½ Banana
1 tbsp Hemp Seeds

Toppings //

Fresh Coconut Meat
Gluten Free Granola
Raw Honey


Open your superfruit packs with a knife, cutting it across the middle, or use a pair of scissors to cut it across the top. Break açai into your blender, add all other ingredients (minus toppings). Blend for at least 45 seconds or until everything is fully combined. Pour into a bowl and top with: fresh coconut meat, gluten free granola, raw cashews or almonds. If you can’t find fresh coconut meat, try shredded coconut meat.




1 Sambazon Performance Protein Superfruit Pack
1 c Unsweetened Apple Juice or Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 tbsp Peanut Butter
1 Banana
optional: ½ c Frozen Mixed Berries


Open your superfruit packs with a knife, cutting it across the middle, or use a pair of scissors to cut it across the top. Break açai into your blender, add liquid, almond butter and banana (berries, too, if you’re using them). Blend for at least 30 – 45 seconds. Pour into a glass and sprinkle with cacao nibs and hemp seeds. Be sure to use a reusable straw!

Delicious! We are going to mix these up right away! Thank you for sharing your inspiration, time and recipes with us Gabrielle!

Cheers to the quest of life~

Amanda Kriebel

Connect with Gabrielle: Instagram // Website // TEDMED: Can you still hang 10 when you are pushing 40?

READ more of Amanda’s inspirational Spotlight Interviews:

Professional Surfer Carissa Moore

Self-Love & Taking Risks with Yoga Girl, Rachel Brathen

Elena Hight: American Olympic Professional Snowboarder

Affectionately described by many as a yoga scientist, Amanda Kriebel is an innovative Doctor of Physical Therapy and Yoga Teacher who humbly claims to be a student of life. Contact her to schedule and appointment in person or via Skype. Learn more about her and her exclusive videos: | Facebook | Instagram @amanda.kriebel | YouTube Channel