For this month’s ILKB Spotlight, we’re excited to introduce you to Gabi Volino! Gabi has been an important part of the iLoveKickboxing team for over three years, having grown with the company from a first-time student, to an instructor, to a location manager, to her current position as Business Relationship Liaison, where she maintains relationships with large companies to raise brand awareness across the country.
“Initially, I just couldn’t find anything that made me as happy as kickboxing,” Gabi says. “Where I went to work out every day was my happy place, so I thought, why not just make it my job?”
Now, Gabi is not only busy securing awesome brand partnerships that our members love, she’s stepping up her fitness routine for her own wedding this Fall! Here, Gabi shares her advice for anyone who is working hard to look and feel their best for an upcoming event.
As iLoveKickboxing’s Business Relationship Liaison, what do you look for in a brand that complements ILKB’s core values?
We look for companies that are passionate in helping people live happy, healthy lifestyles, and brands that empower men and women. We used to work with David’s Bridal, which was really exciting because we loved partnering up to make brides feel as confident as can be on their wedding day.
We’re currently working with Sweat Angels, which we’re really proud of because it’s for a great cause! Through Sweat Angels, when someone checks in to an ILKB location worldwide, a donation is made to the charity of a month. It’s an easy way for members in our community to give back, and to do it together.
You’re getting married on November 18! Congrats. How are you switching up your workout routine to prepare for the big day?
Honestly, I mainly go to kickboxing! I’ve done every workout there is, and nothing gets me faster results than kickboxing. I can work our every part of my body in an hour, versus going to the gym and doing a million machines and exercises and sets to work out all my different body parts.
What are some motivation tips for brides or grooms who want to look and feel their best on their big day?
I’d say something that has really helped my mindset is working out. It’s hard to find the time, because, preparing for a wedding, you’re so busy. But you should work out because you love your body, not because you hate it. Definitely make sure you’re carving out the time to work out so you can really feel amazing on your big day.
Staying balanced (and sane!) before a wedding is so important. What are some healthy ways to de-stress when you just want to reach for the chocolate?
I’m a huge proponent of meal prepping and having everything prepared. If you’re eating throughout the day, you’ll never feel like you’re starving, which is the time you eat whatever is in sight. Everything looks good when you’re hungry. Eating throughout the day helps me avoid those cravings. But I do keep pieces of dark chocolate with me to satisfy my cravings – dark chocolate is not the worst thing for you. I also have protein shakes. Like I said, I love chocolate, so if I’m craving more than a piece I’ll have a chocolate protein shake. As long as it’s chocolate I’m fine! But at least it’s healthy, and I don’t feel guilty at the end of it.
How big of a role does diet play in getting wedding day-ready?
What you eat is 80% of weight loss and being in shape. For me, Sundays are meal prep day. I set aside 1 to 2 hours to make sure I’m set for the week. I just feel better when I eat well.
Do you have any easy, healthy recipe favorites you recommend for someone who is busy, say, planning a wedding?
My main thing is sweet potatoes. Instead of cutting one in half down the middle and baking it, I peel them and slice them up and cook them in a pan with coconut oil. It makes them a little sweeter, and coconut oil is really good for you. It’s almost like a treat. I’ll have them with asparagus, and a meat – usually chicken.
The spices you use on your food can make your meals so much more interesting, as long as you’re not frying or using vegetable oils. Spicy things speed up your metabolism. S
Spaghetti squash is another easy recipe I like. I’m Italian, and I love carbs and pasta. I use spaghetti squash, which gives me my pasta fix, with fresh tomato sauce and pieces of chicken. It’s almost like chicken parmigiana!
What advice do you have for people who are new to exercise, but are working toward an event like a reunion, gala, or other big social gathering?
Start off slowly. I’m kind of guilty of jumping back into my workouts if I’m sick or otherwise out for a while – I’ll immediately work out 5 to 6 days a week, and it’s harder to get into a routine like that. If you’re new to fitness, it’s best to be realistic. It’s a lifestyle you want to maintain for your entire life, after all. Maybe start with 2 days a week, and have those 2 set days be the same every single week. Once that’s a routine, you can then add another day to that, and go from there. Going from 0 to 100 very quickly isn’t very easy to maintain for someone who’s never done it before. Other than that, remember the reason why yo’ve chosen a healthier lifestyle, and stay positive!