*Lindsay’s Note: Gabrielle Reece is one of the world’s most influential female athletes, former Women’s Beach Volleyball League star and fitness icon. She is Program Creator and Presenter of HIGHX with a commanding presence, passion for healthy living and fitness expertise that makes her a popular public speaker on the subjects of health and wellness, becoming a role model to women worldwide about how to achieve peak fitness, good health and overall well-being for themselves and their entire family. She’s also married to big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton which I think is so awesome. Talk about a power fitness couple! I recently had a chance to do a Q & A with Gabrielle on her new HIGHX workout, her nutrition habits, and balancing it all. Read more below to see what it’s all about!
HIGHX is an organized group training workout in a circuit style execution that offers resistance training, cardio and explosive elements, which also includes balance and proprioception stations along with stretching. The unique element is that the participants are organized in groups or teams while rotating through 8-14 stations in the workout. Teams train at each station once for three minutes. There are six, 30 second mini-sets within each station that include a combination of explosive, followed by recovery, moves, in rotation. Each group has 15 seconds to rotate to the next station until each station has been visited to complete the full workout.
Some of the benefits of HIGHX include the thorough, rigorous and safe all-around concept of the workout, executed in a short period of time. Team motivation, continuous movement, and let’s not forget the loud music! We have a lot of science that supports all the benefits of high impact training, especially as we age.
What’s the inspiration for HIGHX? How and why did you create it?
HIGHX was born out of a community need where I live on Kauai. When the gym closed on our side of the Island about seven years ago, I invited a few of my friends to come train with me. The group grew from eight to 80 and HIGHX was born. Then, I realized that it could be scaled for large groups of people who wanted to exercise regularly, despite a hectic schedule.
Describe the partnership opportunity with 24 Hour Fitness. How did it come about?
I partnered up with Pivotal5/Lifeline and they have been keen on figuring out the best way to launch HIGHX. Fortunately for HIGHX, Lashaun Dale, the vice president for group exercise and 24Hour Fitness showed an early interest in the HIGHX format. HIGHX and 24 Hour Fitness share the belief that the group exercise experience builds strong bodies and a strong community. 24 Hour Fitness is rolling HIGHX out into all of their club markets. With over 400 clubs across the U.S. that serve nearly 4 million members—people of all ages and fitness abilities—we’re able to reach a large population.
Why is the partnership a good fit?
For the past 20 years, I have been very interested in trying to find ways to get the busy person help in finding time to exercise, realistically, and to maximize training time. 24 Hour Fitness is interested in that very same topic, so HIGHX and 24 Hour Fitness are the perfect fit.
Do you have a food or nutrition philosophy that you’d like to share with our readers?
For me, nutrition is such a personal walk. Some individuals feel better eating vegetarian or vegan, while others still desire animal protein. I guess my rule of thumb is to keep it as basic and close to the source as possible. I do my best to minimize my sugar intake. Not only can sugar pack on the pounds, but more importantly it creates inflammation in the body which is really one of the main sources of health chaos.
I try to consume enough healthy fats so I don’t feel hungry or dissatisfied.
People are always talking about gluten and “gluten free” and celiac disease. My stand on gluten is most foods made with it are more processed and can contain a lot of sugar. This is why I avoid a steady stream of gluten in my diet. I’ve read Grain Brain written by an M.D. Among other foods, it discusses the impact of gluten on our cognitive function (how our brain works). So, my relationship with gluten is steeped in these ideas rather than as the popular item-of-the-moment to avoid. Finally, I believe in portion control. If we eat a variety of foods of all types and colors, and we eat until we are just about full, this can be a helpful guide. Avoid too many tan or white foods.
I get this question often and, for me, it’s simple. As parents, we need to be a good example to our kids. They should do active things that are fun. They shouldn’t have to feel like they are “working out,” instead, they should be encouraged to find joy in “playing.” As parents, we just need to set the example because they certainly aren’t listening to us, but rather, they are watching. Of course, limiting time with technology is helpful because it forces kids to “go play.”
The tricky part is the food and sugar— a kid’s currency. I do my best to not let my girls feel restricted so that they binge on chips, soda and candy when they leave the house. It’s always a negotiation. For example, “If you want that cookie, then drink water instead of lemonade.” I have tried to teach my kids about the difference between real food and fun food and it’s a constant dance!
You make a fit and healthy lifestyle seem effortless, but you’ve got a busy career and family. What’s the biggest challenge you encounter and how do you adapt or overcome it?
Like so many things each of are constantly calibrating in life, it’s an everyday commitment. I try not to say “I can’t eat or drink that” but have replaced it with “I don’t eat or drink that.” That way, I don’t feel as though I’m depriving myself. I also try to look at most things in my life (what I’m eating, exercise, relationships, thoughts, etc.) as “how is this serving my greater goals?” This can be helpful in a moment of stress when I want to eat that comforting slice of pie or make a snarky comment. By no means do I want to say that it’s easy. I just know it’s worth it and I try my best to live it each and every day. Some days I do better than others.
What about you? What would you ask Gabrielle Reece if you could sit down and ask her some questions? Post in the comments and let us know!