Gabrielle Reece is not only a volleyball legend, but an inspirational leader, New York Times bestselling author, wife, and mother. The former professional beach volleyball player and Nike’s first female spokeswoman is the definition of athleticism. Though California born, Gabby was raised on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands and didn’t take up volleyball until she moved to Florida when she was in the eleventh grade. Gabby won an athletic scholarship to Florida State University where she played two seasons before accepting offers from the modeling world.
Despite the allure of modeling, Gabby returned to the FSU campus and set two school volleyball records that still stand today. Together with her husband, Gabrielle Reece created Extreme Performance Training (XPT) based off of their daily lifestyle regimens, which has continued to inspire men, women, old and young, all alike, to lead a fit life. Gabrielle Reece, for the first time ever opens up about how she feels passionately about evoking a sense of self-motivation, towards fitness, in people of all ages and from all walks of life to become stronger and healthier, only in Women Fitness’ Winter Issue.
You joined volleyball when you were in the 11th grade, and soon set school records in both career solo blocks and total blocks. This led to you being named the Dodge National Athletics Awards’ “Most Inspiring Collegiate Athlete,” and Rolling Stone magazine’s “Wonder Women of the Year”. Tell us more about your spectacular journey and how it all began?
I fell into volleyball when I moved from the Caribbean to Florida. I was 6’3 in the eleventh grade so that was a popular trait and I was fortunate enough to go to Florida State on a volleyball scholarship and that is where I had the opportunity to work with a great coach and get some attention.
If you ask me about this journey I had some really key people, coaches and friends that came around just at the right time and really changed the trajectory of my whole life and one of them being my coach in high school and the other being my college coach, Dr. Cecile Reynaud. But it was a strange time when I started playing volleyball, my freshman year at Florida State, . I then started modelling and combining the two for the duration of my college career, it was a little bit of a different path, but one that made a lot of sense for me.
I think sometimes when you know the difference, when you don’t have an opportunity and then you get an opportunity, you really learn to not take advantage of it and you also learn to cherish it and recognize it as an opportunity.
You are a professional volleyball player, best-selling author, host, sports announcer, fashion model and actress. How do you manage such a remarkable multi-dimensional lifestyle?
I think that at the end of the day if we look at most women’s lives, they are living a multidimensional lifestyle: they’re working, they’re moms, they’re friends, they’re training, so even at their own levels, they are athletes.
So I don’t think I do anything different, I think that the platform I do it on might be a little bit different. But by the nuts and bolts on that, I think some of it is good fortune, like if you’ve got to model, it was something to do with genetics and timing. In sports, it took a great deal of work and dedication and I think the other stuff is just as a natural extension of things.
I’m really interested in writing I just applied the same discipline that I had in sports to everything else and it’s just having the ability to recognize what is the most important thing that needs attention right now and so instead of trying to do everything all at once I think I’ve gotten very good at focusing on the task at hand and that even means in my personal life like sometimes if I haven’t spent enough time with my children or my husband I recognize this and sort of put everything else aside.
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