One on one with Gillian Gibree
Gillian has been inspirational in my paddling journey. Her encouragement led me to get out of my little reservoir in Utah to broaden my perspective at the Pacific Paddle Games. We got to catch up this week. These days balance is very different for Gillian. When she was single, she had a flexible schedule. She could focus solely on herself, her business, modeling, and training. Now she must be diligent with her time. Her newborn son Noah recently turned six months old, but Gillian is still up every couple of hours during the night. Family comes first. She has to schedule time with the nanny, time to work, and time to workout. After having gotten sick, Gillian really knows to listen to her body. On a trip to Mexico, Gillian got really sick from SUP surfing in dirty sewage water. It took about a year to get better. She has to make the call every day on how far she can push with the lack of sleep. Some days she has to take it easy and go for a hike with Noah and Lola her miniature pitbull.
Athletes must push their limits with training and competition, but unless they take care of themselves they will eventually crash. Travel is very taxing for athletes. Gillian used to travel a lot. She would be on the road for six weeks in the summer. Travel is exhausting in and of itself, but then it is compounded by time zone changes, different climates, different foods, and poor sleep. Lack of sleep really affects performance and overall health. Without quality sleep, you and your body cannot recover properly. You have to commit to yourself and be diligent about taking care of yourself every day. Balance out the days when you push yourself with days to pull energy and nourishment back into your system.
Motivation is easy, do what you are passionate about
When I asked Gillian what helps her stay motivated, she said, “Staying motivated is easy when you do what you are passionate about.” Gillian always liked what she did with Paddle Into Fitness (Gillian is the founder of Paddle Into Fitness, a certification company that offers open water, SUP Yoga and SUP Fitness trainings.) Now she is excited about the new organic, vegan, homeopathic skin care line, Jai Ven Skin, she and her husband Dr. Noel Santana Aguilar are starting. Noel has his Ph.D. in biochemistry and homeopathy and has 25 years of experience in the skincare industry. They are also creating a podcast together called “The Whole Human Experience” on integrative wellness, for mental, physical, and spiritual wellness. Their podcast will highlight many of her passions like exercise, holistic nutrition, and various healing methods.
As a competitive athlete and fitness model, Gillian followed a routine of breaking her body down, training endurance, strength, and power, and was very conscious of her diet. Eventually, she was totally spent and burnt out. Gillian pointed out some of the current and popular fitness programs, are also designed to break people down with extreme measures or intense weight lifting. Her focus has shifted now on promoting longevity. She wants to be functioning well for a long time – so she can surf when she is 80. She wants to help people stay healthy for the long term, to wake up feeling good for themselves, their family, their career, and for their life.
How does she tie it all together? Gillian explained that it is more than just exercise and diet, it is also mental, emotional, and spiritual fitness. If someone is doing hill sprints, high intensity interval training, or paddling, make sure to do some recovery. Be diligent about giving yourself what you need after some intense training. Combine different tools and skills to help your body and mind relax and recharge. For example a restorative SUP yoga class would be a great way to recover with deep breathing exercises and stretches to lengthen and release any tightness in the muscles that were taxed during training.
We all need inspiration
Gillian is a successful athlete and business women. Who is she inspired by? She answered, “Gabby Reece.” Gabby is a mom and an athlete and still runs a business with her husband. It appears that she has a good work-life-sport balance. Seeing Gabby Reece doing it makes Gillian stay motivated in her endeavors as an athlete, mom, and entrepreneur. No matter how successful you are, you need motivation, inspiration, and positive role models to keep the fire and passion burning inside. Thank you Gillian for your time and thank you for inspiring me and our readers to keep pursuing our passions.