Gillian Gibree keeps ocean ready through a steady combination of exercise and diet. Photo credit: Shadow Van Houten

Gillian Gibree keeps ocean-ready through a steady combination of exercise and diet. Photo by Shadow Van Houten

For Massachusetts native Gillian Gibree, the ocean has always been home. While Gibree’s childhood summers on Cape Cod may not bring to mind images of white-sand beaches and crystal clear waters, they were the beginning of her lifelong passions and eventual career. As a brand ambassador for Ocean Minded and Roxy Outdoor Fitness, as well as a standup paddle instructor and owner of the San Diego-based Paddle Into Fitness, Gibree spends her days on the water. And if she’s not teaching workshops or SUP-based yoga classes, she can be found competing in different water-based events.

With a schedule like this, it’s no surprise that Gibree takes her fitness very seriously. Aside from her usual paddle efforts, Gibree adds yoga and other fitness moves to her ocean workout. While some of these are done on the sand, others are done on the board in the water. “I got into SUP yoga about four years ago,” she says in a post on Ocean Minded’s website. “SUP yoga has helped me achieve my fitness goals because the unstable surface makes poses more challenging, and basic poses like plank will trigger different muscle groups than they would on land. … SUP yoga can be done by everyone, as long as you keep your practice basic and modify poses for the board. You will get the cardio and strength benefits from the paddling side, and the flexibly and coordination with the yoga.”

No matter if you’re a dedicated water person, or have never set foot in the ocean, Gibree’s moves can be adopted by all fitness levels at all locations. Diehard SUP fans can start incorporating these moves on the board or the sand. “To me, there is nothing like working out at the beach,” Gibree tells GrindTV. “Listening to the surf, feeling the sunshine, and having the soft sand under my toes makes getting my fitness on that much more exciting.”

Landlocked folks, on the other hand, will be happy to note that these exercises can also be done in the comfort of your own home—just perform them without a paddle or using a one- to three-pound weight bar. Some of Gillian’s favorite SUP yoga poses are listed below, in Gillian’s words, but they can just as easily be adapted to dry land.

The workout

Side plank crunch

How to do it: Begin in a side plank position, with your right hand planted firmly in the sand, shoulder over wrist and left arm pointed towards the sky. The body is in one long straight line of energy from the crown to the toes, with ankles stacked. Inhale your breath and move the left finger tips overhead, creating a crescent shape with the body, all while lifting the hips high and engaging the obliques and abs. Exhale your breath and move your hand back to center, crossing it underneath the ribcage. Next inhale while you move back to center, and repeat these steps five times, then switch sides.

Step one of the side plank crunch as performed by Gibree. Photo credit: Shadow Van Houten

Step one of the side plank crunch as performed by Gibree. Photo by Shadow Van Houten

Step two of the side plank crunch as performed by Gibree. Photo credit: Shadow Van Houten

Step two of the side plank crunch as performed by Gibree. Photo by Shadow Van Houten

Lunge twists

How to do it: Start with feet together, paddle behind your back, and forearms resting comfortably over the top of the paddle. Step the right foot forward, and lunge into a 90-degree angle, making sure the knee doesn't go past the ankle. Twist the torso to the right on the exhale, while drawing the back knee lower and parallel to the ankle. Inhale to step the left leg to meet the right and repeat on the left side. Complete five rounds on each side.

Gibree starts the lunge twist with the paddle resting comfortably behind her back.  Photo credit: Shadow Van Houten

Gibree starts the lunge twist with the paddle resting comfortably behind her back. Photo by Shadow Van Houten

Step two of the lunge twist as performed by Gibree. Photo credit: Shadow Van Houten

Step two of the lunge twist as performed by Gibree. Photo by Shadow Van Houten

Burpies
How to do it: Start by standing tall with the paddle overhead, and then jump as high as you can! Bring the paddle down to the sand, plant your palms, and jump the feet back into plank pose, with the torso in one long, strong line with the core engaged. Hold for one breath, and then jump your feet back to your hands. Grab your paddle and jump high in the sand again. Repeat 10 times.

The burpie starts will a squat to jump high jump before she moves to the ground and jumps her feet back out into a plank position.  Photo credit: Shadow Van Houten

The burpie starts with a squat before Gibree jumps as high as she can and then moves to the ground and stretches her feet back out into a plank position. Photo by Shadow Van Houten

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Part two of the burpie. Photo credit: Shadow Van Houten

Part two of the burpie; photo by Shadow Van Houten

The final move of the burpie before Gibree moves back into the squat to start all over again. Photo credit: Shadow Van Houten

The final move of the burpie before Gibree moves back into the squat to start all over again. Photo by Shadow Van Houten

Modified warrior 2: Virabhadrasana 2


How to do it: From three legged dog, sweep the right foot through between the hands. Drop the back knee down to the board while keeping the back toes tucked for stability. Lift the arms up to shoulder height and stretch the fingertips away from each other, creating lines of energy alongside the arms. Relax the shoulder blades down, widen across the pelvis, and bring the right knee over the ankle. Remain here for three breaths.

Gillian performs the warrior pose. Photo credit: Shadow Van Houten.

Gillian performs the warrior pose; photo by Shadow Van Houten

Bow pose: Dhanurasana
How to do it: Begin by lying on your stomach, with arms overhead and forehead down to the board. Bend the knees, reach back, and grab the ankles while flexing the feet. Exhale out. On the inhale, lift the thighs off the board, creating both length and height in your “bow” as you press the legs and chest away from each other. With each breath, you will rock gently back and forth, allowing prana to flow freely. On the third breath, release the ankles and rest on your board.

Gillian Gibree. Bow Pose. Photo credit: Shadow Van Houten

Gillian Gibree performs the bow pose; photo by Shadow Van Houten

Feeding yourself well

One of Gibree’s go-to foods is her homemade almond milk on an açaí bowl loaded with goodies that pack a flavor and wellness punch. Cinnamon is just one of her secret ingredients. “You probably didn't know cinnamon was good for you!” she says. “Studies have shown that just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol and have a regulatory effect on blood sugar. It also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.” Here are a few recipes Gibree enjoys, in her words.

Recipe for Gillian Gibree’s açaí bowl

Healthy and delicious! Photo credit: Shana Siler.

Healthy and delicious! Photo by Shana Siler

1 frozen Sambazon açaí packet
1 frozen banana
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 tbs hemp seed
1 tbs coconut oil
1 tbs raw cacao nibs

Blend and serve in a bowl topped with the following ingredients: granola, any fruit—I prefer blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and kiwis, and cinnamon!

Recipe for homemade almond milk
Blanch the almonds
Bring about 1 cup of water to a boil in your pot. Drop in 1/3 cup raw organic almonds. Let them boil for about three minutes and then pour everything through a metal mesh strainer so that the water pours out and you're left with just the almonds. Pour the almonds out onto a plate and let them rest for a few minutes until they are cool enough to touch with your hands. Once the almonds have cooled, rub off their papery skins and discard the skins.

Blend
Put the blanched nuts and 2 cups of fresh water into your electric blender. Blend them until you've crushed as many of the nuts as you can and the milk is creamy, white, and thick. A higher proportion of water produces a thinner milk, and a higher proportion of nuts produces a thicker one. It all depends on your preference!

Strain
Pour the milk through the strainer and set the pulverized nuts aside. You can strain the milk twice if you want to be sure you've gotten out all of the little particles of nuts. And that's it. You now have homemade almond milk!

The toppings are where Gibree gets creative with her Acai bowls. Photo credit: Shana Siler.

The toppings are where Gibree gets creative with her açaí bowls. Photo by Shana Siler

Music to move to

When Gibree isn’t listening to the sound of crashing waves, she likes to rock out to the following mix:

For more on Gibree, click here.  And click on the following links to check out some of the products from Roxy and Ocean Minded that Gibree is wearing in the photos (including the Malia sandal.)