In this Spartan Fit franchise, we sit down with our Spartan FIT Coaches to get their best fitness advice and discover what makes them tick. Next up: Gabe Snow—for him, it’s all the mind-body connection.
At 30 years old, Gabe Snow has seemingly lived several lives. He’s been a 270-pound defensive lineman, a competitive bodybuilder, a full-time model, and a trainer at some of New York City’s top gyms. And through all of that he’s developed a laundry list of fitness certifications in performance nutrition and strength and conditioning.
The education piece is huge for him, which he fell into almost by accident after getting constantly injured in football. “I needed to find new ways to gain strength, speed, and durability while not overtraining,” says Gabe. “My injuries were my greatest [asset] in terms of educating myself.”
Now, as a Spartan Master Coach, he’s ready to share all those learnings with you. “I believe our body should serve as the vehicle our mind gets to ride in on our journey through time,” he says. “So if that means taking it off road and through the mud from time to time, do what's right by your body. Respect it and train it to grant your mind access to the beauty of life.”
See what it’s like to train with Gabe for yourself—his workouts are live on the Spartan Fit app. But first, get to know him more here:
Q&A with Fitness Coach Gabe Snow
On Training, Performance & Fitness Philosophy
SPARTAN RACE: What’s your training philosophy?
GABE SNOW: My approach is: "Do it light and do it right." I believe in allowing the brain to lead the body, that training with form first allows your body to adapt not just properly but more efficiently.
I believe in using dynamic movement to challenge the body first and then using loads (weights) later in a program, and that increasing time under tension is much more effective than increasing weight load. We want to stress our bodies in order to evolve but not in an overwhelming manner which I believe many of us are guilty of doing. I don't care how much a client increases the amount of pounds or kilos they push or pull but mainly on how they control the weight. It’s the quality of each rep that I'm looking for. Control, stability, and pliability is what matters most to me.
SR: What about when it comes to nutrition?
GS: My philosophy is that all diets, in essence, work, it's just a matter of finding which type of nutrition plan is most sustainable for each individual while remaining relevant to our goals. As of now, I eat the same meals about 70% of the day and leave dinner and the weekends flexible. I have been vegan, I have eaten red meat five times a day, I have done it all. So now I do my best to keep my brain and body fed with the foods I know do right by both my mental and physical health.
SR: What inspires you?
GS: What inspires me changes drastically day to day, but what sticks most days is being gracious and appreciating the fact I get to use my body in so many ways. I have had some dark days in the past both physically and mentally that have inhibited me from performing or moving in the ways I wanted. Waking up with eyes and lungs and an able body is enough to inspire me to shake off the days where I'm feeling unmotivated. Using the words "I get to" rather than "I have to" is a tool that keeps me thankful for this brain and body I GET TO USE.
SR: If there was one thing you could change about the fitness industry, what would it be?
GS: Everyone is always quick to judge or criticize someone else's form, goals, and achievements. I believe the fitness space should be a literal greenhouse for humans where we all grow together. Different plants can thrive under one hot and humid roof, why can't we? This is something that keeps Spartan so close to my heart: we all show up to tackle the same obstacles in our own way and all that matters is helping each other get across the finish line.
SR: What trends do you see bubbling in fitness?
GS: One thing that is trending which I am tremendously thankful for is joint mobility. For so long, we all have placed too much emphasis on strength and muscle building and ignored movement patterns and using movement as medicine. There's nothing fancy about some good old multi-planar programming but it sure as hell will increase your quality of life and training.
On The Mental Game & Recovery
SR: How do you work on your mental fitness?
GS: Mental fitness is truly what I prioritize most for myself and my clients. I believe the brain leads and the body follows. Meaning a strong, fit body requires an even more capable mind. We are only as resilient as we allow ourselves to be. This doesn't mean being "tough" all the time but to be elastic with ourselves. I use the five-minute journal to keep me honed in on the things in my life I am thankful for and to keep me present. I believe gratitude allows us to live a much more full and peaceful life. I also have a breath work coach who has helped me break through mental barriers. Breath work and journaling have changed my life.
SR: What does a recovery day look like for you?
GS: My recovery days change week to week. Some days are truly RX REST, so mentally and physically tuning out, beginning with sleeping as long as my body allows. Other recovery days are more active, like a light bike ride or doing joint-by-joint mobility work.
SR: What does being Spartan FIT mean to you?
GS: Being Spartan FIT means that you are prepared for everything at any moment in terms of fitness and life. And that you have the physical and psychological ability to face any obstacle in your way. Whether it's a dumbbell, a barbed wire fence, or an emotional trauma, you are capable and confident in your ability to tackle it.