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5 Fitness Tips From Gabby Reece and Laird Hamilton

Two sports icons on how they make their lives, their marriage and their fitness goals align


Video: Power Couple Finds New Ways to Stay Fit After 50

Like any midlife married couple, surfing superstar Laird Hamilton, 59, and beach volleyball legend Gabby Reece, 54, have to carve out time to stay fit. After raising three kids and launching their own clothing brand and beverage line, Hamilton and Reece have adopted five lifestyle strategies — ideas that could help you get leaner, stronger and healthier.

1. Make fitness automatic

“No one ever says to themselves, ‘Maybe I’ll brush my teeth today.’ They just do it,” jokes Hamilton. If you give yourself the option of skipping exercise, you’re going to skip the exercise. To stay on track, Hamilton and Reece make exercise a scheduled, structured, preordained part of each day.

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2. Give yourself a six-week window

“I call it a ‘window of faith,’ ” Reece says. “Commit to something — whether it’s walking every day, doing resistance training weekly, getting to bed earlier — then just ride it out for four to six weeks, with no expectations. It will remind you just how adaptable your body is when you just stay the course.”

spinner image couple laird hamilton and gabby reece standing side by side in front of their backyard pool each holding kettlebells
Volleyball legend Gabby Reece, 54, and pro surfer Laird Hamilton, 59, at home in Malibu, California.
Jeffy Lipsky

3. Emphasize unwinding

“Stress affects your body on every level and can completely reverse the effects of eating well and exercising,” Reece says. Adding ways to manage your stress throughout the day — meditation, deep breathing, delegating tasks — can go a long way toward getting even more from your exercise and diet efforts.

4. Remember how you’ll feel later

“I’ve never felt bad after doing something active — but will usually feel regret when I’ve passed on the chance to be active,” Hamilton says.

5. Don’t exercise or diet too hard

“Look at activity, nutrition and any approach to health and wellness like spokes of a wheel,” Hamilton says. Despite being professional athletes, he and Reece see nutrition, sleep, stress management and regular checkups as essential parts of an overall wellness strategy. “Everything should be in balance, and never lean in any direction too harshly,” Hamilton adds.

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