How to Snack Like a Pro Athlete

So you think your post-workout nutrition game is strong? You haven’t seen anything until you’ve peered into Gabrielle Reece and Laird Hamilton’s fridge.

The former pro volleyball player and big wave surfer, married for nearly 20 years, have finely honed their food choices—and it shows. (Just watch them as they teach their proprietary XPT fitness method—which blends HIIT, underwater training, recovery, and more—and you’ll see some serious physical prowess that could only be possible with good fueling.)

But that doesn’t mean they rely on lots of processed, lab-crafted powders and bars; most of what’s in their kitchen is simple, fresh, farmers' market fare. “Laird and I try to stay close to the source,” Reece explains. “We both eat animal protein and a whole foods diet. Laird’s the most strict...he’s gluten-free and tries to eat as little sugar as possible.”

The pair also has three daughters—21-year-old Izabella, 13-year-old Reece, and 9-year-old Brody—so their fridge isn’t all Brussels sprouts and broccoli. “There are bagels in our house and things like that,” Reece admits. “Our belief is that [if] the kids never get to have [junk food], it becomes a bigger point of focus. It’s all about blending where they are and where we hope they’ll end up.”

Fortunately for their crew, Reece and Hamilton have an arsenal of recipes that are so tasty, it’s easy to forget they’re also ultra-healthy. During a recent Sambazon açai bowl social at their Malibu home, she filled me in on some of the power couple's favorite snacks and gave me a rare look at their go-to ingredients.

Want to know how this super-fit couple fuels their workouts and their family? Keep reading for a look inside Laird Hamilton and Gabrielle Reece's fridge.


Let’s start with the freezer! First of all, you have a lot of butter in there. Why raw?

It’s not easy to find raw butter, so whenever we do we load up on it. It has all the enzymes, since it hasn’t been [pasteurized]. I understand people’s wariness [of raw dairy] and I respect that, but I personally don’t have an issue with it.

What’s it taste like?

It’s little more pungent [than pasteurized butter]. But when you cook with it, it doesn’t burn or smoke—it reacts really differently.

Bison meat is another interesting choice.

It’s leaner, and generally the way the meat is dealt with is pretty good. You don’t have massive bison farms, so you know the farmers are doing it the right way.

Good point! I also see that you’re fully stocked with açai.

Yes! A Brazilian friend of ours in Kauai used to make us açai bowls, so that’s how we got turned on to it. Laird’s always trying to avoid sugar, and the great thing about the unsweetened açai is it has zero sugar.

What do you put on your acai bowls?

When I make a bowl, I like to use unsweetened apple juice, coconut water, or almond milk, plus banana and a little bit of almond butter for texture. On top, I’ll add coconut meat, hemp seeds, and honey. Laird likes macadamia nuts and cacao nibs on his.


Okay, now I’m hungry! So let’s move on to the fridge. The first thing I noticed is that big box on the third shelf—what’s in there?

That’s a present from a friend of ours who owns a date farm. They’re the best, sweetest dates I’ve ever eaten. We snack on them and sometimes incorporate them into salads.

Yum! Speaking of sweets, is that a giant jug of maple syrup I see on the second shelf?

Yes, that’s for Brody’s oatmeal, mostly. I prefer to use it instead of sugar because it’s real maple syrup—dark and not as processed. Or I’ll take a banana and put a little almond butter on it, roll it in gluten-free granola, drizzle it with the maple syrup, and put cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice on it. It’s so simple and takes two minutes.

Well, that sounds amazing. It also seems like you guys are really into dips—I’m seeing lots of hummus, salsa, and artichoke dip.

If you’re eating really clean, they’re a way to have fun. Right before dinner when I want something to snack on, I cut up cucumbers and dip them in hummus instead of using chips. And with Laird eating really lean, if a meal doesn’t have enough fat [for him], he can put a dollop of hummus on there to round off the meal.

Great idea. You’ve also got a lot of probiotic-rich foods in there.

Laird will have a Bio-K+ [shot] at the end of the day, or after dinner he might do a Gut Shot—there are different flavors, like beet and jalapeno. The whole deal for us is trying to use as many fermented foods as possible. I feel good when I do that, and you hear over and over how good [fermented foods] are for your gut.


They’re essential! What’s in the white bottle on the fridge door?

Aloe vera juice—it can be really good if people are having a hard time with elimination, it can get everything rolling. There are a lot of benefits of taking a shot of aloe. It’s not an everyday thing, just something to do once in a while.

You guys must have the healthiest guts in Malibu. So, one more thing—what’s in the jar on the door with your name on it?

That’s skin cream! It’s from a doctor named Barbara Sturm—she takes your blood, spins it, and makes skin cream for you.

Does it work?

I don’t know, you tell me! At the end of the day, good skin is lifestyle and genetics. You can get the fanciest cream on the planet, but if you’re not getting sleep and you’re eating like shit, it doesn’t really matter.

For more ultra-personal insight into the stars' eating habits, check out the best Refrigerator Look Books of 2016 and the recipes Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen eat at home

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