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Gabriella Ripepi
How Competitive Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Took Me Around the World and Back Home Again

Gabriella Ripepis Stats When We Talked with Her πŸ’ͺ

29 years
170 cm
67 kg
(148 lbs)

Follow Gabriella on Instagram

πŸ‘‹ Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training

Hello! I’m Gabriella, I’m 29 years old, but I feel like if I’m forever 20.

I was born in Southern Italy in a beautiful city called Reggio Calabria. After many years living around the world, 2 years ago I decided to come back home and to open my Gym.

I started training thai boxing when I was 13 in my home town and I kept training the discipline until I moved to Milan to get my master degree in communication and marketing.

Once in Milan, I kept training with kick boxing, boxing and I competed in kickboxing in several competitions.

In that period I had a lot of free time to train while balancing my life studying and training; so at 21 I also started training Brasilian Jiu Jitsu.

I was so lucky back then because I was able to train in one of the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academies in Italy. It took me one year to decide to focus in just one sport and to start competing in this discipline since white belt.

Since when I started combat sport, I always trained bodybuilding at the gym and always used to go running.

After I graduated at University I started travelling and competing. For the love of my sport I moved to California wich is the best place in the world to train Jiu Jitsu.

I lived there for 2 years, working in the marketing field in the biggest sports club in the world and training BJJ twice a day.

I had great experiences there and I made one of the biggest accomplishments in my life wich was to compete at the world championship.

At that time I wasn’t planning to become a trainer or work in the sport or fitness industy like a coach or to become a gym owner.

I wanted most to work in Sport Marketing and be a Jiu Jitsu athlete, but after my contract in the USA expired I come back to Italy and I started to think about becoming a sport professional instructor.

I started to have the dream to become gym owner not long time after I met Francesco Fragala in 2015, when he was still a professional rugby player.

Today Francesco is my fiancè, my business partner and a really amazing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitor. From 2015 we started our education in Sport becoming Fipe Personal Trainers, CrossFit Coaches and Brasilian Jiu Jitsu Purple belts.

After several years working in different gyms in Northen Italy we decided to open our gym In Southern Italy and to become the fist BJJ Gym in the region @mybgym.

Today I’m a CrossFit Trainer, a Personal Trainer, a Weightlifting Trainer, a Jiu Jitsu coach and also a 200 h yoga teacher.

I spend my days teaching CrossFit Classes, Jiu Jitsu Classes, Boxing Classes and Yoga live and online Classes.

I’m also an active competitor and this year was the best of my life ranking first in the world ranking no gi in one of the most important federations in the world and ranking third in the world ranking gi.

⏱ Describe a typical day of training

Train because it’s fun and it’s the best long lasting present you can do to your body, mind and soul

I train 2/3 times a day at least 6 days a week. I train Jiu Jitsu and yoga every day, 3 times a week powerlifting/weighlifting, 2 days a week I do Crossfit Wods.

If I miss one of these training sessions or I have free time I do cardio. Running is my favorite thing to do because makes me feel athletic, strong and fit.

I train the same way all year and I try to make my weight stable. For Brasilian Jiu Jitsu competitions I have to usually cut 3 kilos wich is really easy adding great rolling rounds, a bit of more cardio, more hiit or metcon wods and cutting the extra food, like Nutella from my diet.

Last year was the most challenging year for me having a competition every month.

The hardest part was balancing Jiu Jitsu with heavy lifts. I usually stop lifting heavy 3 weeks before competing and I start rolling more and making more CrossFit wods.

So I spent long time last year without lifting heavy, also because training hard for Jiu Jitsu competitions stress the body a lot and injuries can happen.

When I focus on something I prefer to put all my efforts in just one discipline and do it in the best way I can, also because with a good training plan I can keep myself strong, fast and fit.

So I love to keep track of my workouts writing everything in my agenda.

I use to train technique with my boyfriend before competitions but also I do sparring with my students which help me to get ready for competitions.

πŸ‘Š How do you keep going and push harder?

As an Instructor it is in my mood to be motivated. I want to inspire people and be an example for my clients and students. Also I focus on goals time to time, so it’s cool for me to keep on going until I realize them.

I choose a challenging sport where the learning process is really slow and it takes about 10 years to go from white belt to black belt.

So this is the secret, my desire to improve and become black belt!!

As an athlete my desire is of course to become World Champion. As a teacher my desire is to see more and more people approach the disciplines that I teach and offer in my gym. As a gym owner my desire is to be able to have a bigger, nicer gym with more clients.

All these desires are achievable only through my motivation, my daily practice, the study and dedication that I put in my work.

My secret? I surround myself with positive people, I create an environment where the same passion is shared and where there are always positive vibrations.

In my 15 years of training I never happened to not be motivated. Not even a single day.

I have always continued to study and when I was a little tired of the discipline I was doing, I engaged in something else that could help me to achieve my goals anyway.

πŸ† How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

My present is great! This season was the best for me and I was able to compete in the best tournaments around the world.

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Last year I decided to become part of an International team wich made the things great for my Jiu Jitsu academy. We are part of a Social Project and we have a lot of higher belts guys that come to our academy to spend time with us teaching and training.

My goals for the next 5 years are:

  • Win one European or World championship as purple belt adult
  • Win one European or World Championship as brown belt Adult or Master 1
  • Win one European or World Championship as black belt Master 1
  • Open a bigger academy and have 50 students who train Jiu Jitsu
  • Moving on in my Yoga Journey and start a Yoga Business in my city
  • Get married and become a mum!

πŸ€• How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?

I have had a lot of injuries during my journey and I always went back to train harder.

You want to know a fun fact? I broke my nose during one of my last boxing sparrings and I broke my ankle one of the first weeks of training BJJ.

Injuries often are signs that you are taking your body to do something extreme, but of course they also sometimes just happen and you can’t do anything about it.

The most of injuries happens during training. This is why my advice is to choose an experienced and qualified trainer. His role can really make the difference, but you also have to learn to listen your body.

I had many break downs during my career and every injury small or big changed me. Most of the time they made me afraid which is not great for a fighter.

So, knowing how bad is to get injuried I try to work to prevent injuries. I like to practice yoga to prevent injuries. With yoga I work on my mobility, flexibility, and strength.

I study the fysiology of my body, I discover how it works and I learn how to listen to my body.

I’m proud to be sponsored by the pain cream Active Drop that helps me a lot when I have muscolar pain. It allows the muscles to loosen up giving good blood flow and circulation and helps the recovery process.

🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?

I always try to be an example to my students so I try to keep my body healty and balanced with a good diet, without using a lot of supplements that most of the times make me and my body feel my weird, blown and not natural.

I use only BCAA, Vitamin B, D, Omega 3, Zinc, Magnesium, Potassium all year long.

I’m from southern Italy so we use the mediterranean diet. It’s a lifestyle, rather than just a list of foods.

At the base of the food pyramid there are many vegetables, some fruit and cereals. Going up, we find the milk and low-fat derivatives (such as yogurt), extra virgin olive oil to be eaten raw, together with garlic, onion, spices and aromatic herbs instead of salt.

Towards the top of the food pyramid, there are the foods to not be consumed every day, but weekly: they are the ones that mainly supply proteins, among which we should favor fish and legumes with at least two portions a week each, eggs 1 to 4 per week, and cheeses.

At the top of the pyramid there are finally the foods to be consumed in moderation: two portions or less per week for red meats.

Finally the desserts, to be consumed as little as possible, But I eat a lot of gelato! I love it!

I’m also an active member of the Team Brioche Project. We are a no flag community that shares the same passions Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Weightlifting, Yoga and Icecream.

If you want to support my gym that suffered of the covid situation you can do it buying one of the best rashguards ever. Half Sumo’s “United We Stand” initiative is partnering up with the academies to create a gear to help them in this time of need.

I’m lucky because I don’t like to eat outside at restaurants. I like cooking and I cook really light so I always feel sick after restaurants. If I have to, I go for pizza or sushi, but I always prefer gelato for cheat meals.

I don’t have special days for cheat meals, but I consider beer my cheat drink. I like beer, but I try to drink no more than one every 2 weeks. I drink a lot of water though.

πŸ‘ What has inspired and motivated you?

My mom inspires me, my grandmother inspires me, my grandfather inspired me, my brother ispires me, my fiancè inspires me. Same with my aunt, my friends, my ex coaches, and my clients.

There are a lot of people that inspires me and motivate me. I can find motivation even in my dog because I’m super positive and I try to find the beauty everywhere.

Looking inside myself for some years, I started to motivate myself and I want to be the one to inspire myself and to inspire others.

Culture is one of my most important sources of inspiration. Hence authors, writers, philosophers, musicians, and artists also inspire me.

I always watch the sporting events of my favorite fighters who always keep me motivated.

✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?

Don’t be lazy, no one will make your life magnificent except yourself.

Start Now. Start now to do whatever you wanna do! Don’t be lazy, no one will make your life magnificent except yourself. You can’t waste your time. It is precious.

Surround yourself of positive people.

🀝 Are you taking on clients right now?

Finally I’m back to teach at MYB GYM after 2 months of pause due the COVID19. I regularly teach CrossFit, Yoga and Functional training or movement classes.

I can’t wait to go back to teach Brasilian Jiu Jitsu too, but for now we can’t do contact sports.

During this Pandemic I started teaching online yoga and functional training classes.

I’m always open on having new clients. I like to help people improve themselves, the thing I like most about my job is seeing people experience positive changes.

I work with people of all ages and create personalized programs for everyone. I always prepare classes based on my clients, because I take into account how different each person is and how everybody has different needs.

Online I offer group classes or one to one classes. Write to me to know more.

Soon I will also have a site where you can buy packages or book lessons, but for now I have a lot of work to do and the site is under construction.

πŸ“ Where can we learn more about you?

You can find me on Instagram @rebel_bry_. I also have a gym Instagram profile @mybgym.

1 thought on “How Competitive Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Took Me Around the World and Back Home Again”

  1. I believe that this athlete is strong not only in the body but also in the mind and I believe that the experience gained over the years in which she has worked away from home has changed her horizons and made her stronger.

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