widely known online as “fran” of heyfranhey, francheska is no stranger to the curly-haired world. with healthy natural that flows down her back, she’s learned a thing or two about taking care of her hair but her journey to life long health came about sudden and called for a total lifestyle overhaul. from being bedridden for over half a year to learning how to heal her body through food and exercise, she talks candidly about how she turned her life around got the body she wanted and how she feels and looks much better for it in the end.
have you always been into fitness and exercise?
“i’ve always been athletic and sporty. i played basketball and ran track in high school. i was always interested in challenging myself. i started changing my diet in the last five years because one of my kidneys started malfunctioning and i kept getting infections. i literally wok up one day and was just sick. it started out with kidney stones that came out of no where which then started getting lodged which then caused my bladder to become blocked; it was a snowball effect. my kidneys took the hardest hit. i couldn’t even walk for eight months. the medication my doctor gave me was really for pain maintenance and didn’t do much for me. i was bedridden for 8 months and during that time, it put a lot into perspective for me. i had a lot of time to think. i had just finished college, i’d just started working and then, bam, i got sick. i was thinking, “was it something i did in college?” you know? the drinking, the unhealthy college food – from the pizza and popeyes to the regular “college junk” and just being a college student and doing that for four years straight. and then i started thinking about my upbringing – my family’s food which was lots of take out and the typical island food diet which is pork based and lots of red meat. i think college was the tipping point that changed my body for the worse. during all of this, my boyfriend was a vegan and finally was able to introduce me to the lifestyle he was living and juicing. i was open to it because i was sick and not getting better. i started with juicing to heal myself naturally. i started researching herbs, teas and acupuncture and started going to yoga and started healing myself through meditative and physical activity. i started zeroing in on the toxins in my body and within three months i was healed.”
juicing has become the “it” thing for now. i’m a big proponent of juicing myself because it has done wonders for my skin and energy levels but i still have to ask, why do you think the juicing worked for your personal journey?
if something works i’ll stick to it 100%. when i started researching juicing and i saw how other people changed their lives through juicing i was intrigued. the thing is, i noticed a changed in the first day. i felt like my mind was becoming sharper, my fog was clearing and within a month of juicing i could walk properly and go outside. the results did it for me. seeing it, feeling it and experiencing it first hand. it changed my life. my skin was great. my hair started growing back because my hair was so thin. i look back at pictures of myself when i was eating junk and my complexion was different and is much better now.
my morning “coffee” is juice [which is] is usually a green smoothie. i usually do kale and a handful of spinach with fresh fruit like mango and blueberries or a pear with a banana or papaya and dates. then i add a tablespoon of ground chia seeds and flax seeds and some almond milk. my green juice, which comes in somewhere later in the day either in between lunch and dinner or with my dinner, is usually all greens like romaine, celery, parsley kale, spinach and an apple, lemon and ginger to break up the taste. i don?t buy juice. the only ?juice? i buy is harmless harvest coconut water.
so what’s a typical day like for you when it comes to food and eating well?
when i first wake up i drink a liter of room temperature water. it helps me to not eat poorly throughout the day and it sets the tone for the rest of the day. it’s obviously also good for my body and digestive system. after that i have my green smoothing or green juice. two hours later i’ll have greek yogurt with goji berries and nuts sometimes. for lunch it’s a huge spinach salad with walnuts, almonds and maybe some avocado. two and half hours later again, i’ll have another snack which will be fruit or another salad but snack size. for dinner i’ll eat quinoa with sauteed kale, black beans or kidney beans with yams. i also drink a cup of green or oolong tea after each meal because it helps with my digestion. i also make sure that through out the day i don’t drink less than three liters of water. i have a little liter jar that i got from the drug store. it’s bpa free and i fill it up throughout the day to keep tabs on my consumption.
eating well is always important and is 80% of the results of how we look, so how do you take care of the other 20%, the workout?
i like diversity so i’ll bike anywhere from 10-15 miles once or twice a week. i do bikram yoga two to three time a week for 90 minutes. i run central park once or twice a week because it’s six miles around. it took me a while to get to the six miles but now i can run it with ease. at home i do P90x. i have weights at my house too but sometimes i go to the gym as well. when it’s nice out i do some hiking or kayaking to change it up. i’m not someone who likes to do the same thing and that way my body never plateaus as well. i’m not a naturally muscular person so i have to stay on top of my muscle building. i’m naturally really thick and it’s surprising when people see me because i’m small in person but if i were to stop working out, i’d get really big. i’m 5’6″ which is not tall. i can get up to 150 if i’m not working out. when i’m eating well and working out i maintain a healthy and stronger body at 125 lbs. it’s a leaner body. at 150 my muscle mass is not very…tight. i feel better at 125 in the sense that i have more energy. i don’t think it’s this particular number, i just know by looking at my body; i can gauge it. and it’s not at all about the weight. i just know that when i’m around this weight, i’ve been putting in work and it shows. it’s my healthy weight. when people ask me my weight i tell them not to worry about it. you have to figure out your own body type what your own healthy weight. no one shouldn’t feel winded climbing stairs unless you are elderly or have a medical condition that impedes that.
i agree. the proof is in the nakedness as i like to say. it’s less about the number. i personally don’t own a scale and find that i gauge my body better just by looking at myself naked. you mentioned that juicing has helped to keep your skin clearer. how have you been maintaining that?
i use almond oil to clean my face. it has been amazing and i’ve been doing this for a year and half. my skin is combination and in college i used all the drugstore stuff. yes to carrots, johnson and johnson, you name it, but none of it really worked where it was “my thing” like the oil cleansing worked. i don’t wear makeup so i needed something that worked well enough for me to feel fully confident having bare skin. just buying almond oil has been great because i can can buy 16 oz and it lasts for a long time.
with such an active workout regimen, how do you take care of your hair?
actually, when i’m working out, i don’t really think much about my hair. i wear a bun or if i have a wash and go i just put it up into a ponytail. if i’m in twist i’ll put it in a bun. lately i’ve been working out with a hat on. i feel like i’m more focused in a hat! i’m in the zone with my hat on so i’ve been wearing a braid and a hat. i take some peppermint oil and i mix it with jojoba and i put that on my scalp to keep my scalp clean. i wash my hair once a week which is what i do normally anyway working out or not, and this gives me a good three days before my hair is straight up gross. for the most part, it’s never been a problem after working out. i break up the salt from sweating with the oil on my scalp after working out and i’m fine until my next wash.
your abs are just a little cray in a good way! what’s your favorite ab workout?
i don’t really do ab work. i know that sounds crazy but a lot of my abs are from my diet. i don’t eat processed food, there is not a lot of salt or sugar in my diet and i drink three liters of water every day. my stomach does not produce a lot of fat anymore. that really is where i see the difference in my abs. if i really want to tighten up more, i’ll do planks. two minutes plank three times a week really gets the job done. i tell people all the time, you have to eat well. if you want a muscular stomach you train for it. fat in your midsection comes from diet. you don’t have to kill your neck everyday to get a flat stomach.
what is one important think that you think can help to keep women on track with their health goals?
i don’t believe in setting numbers because it can create a slight obsession. it’s not about a number, it’s about a regimen you can stick to that feels good and you are happy about and you can see the results. it’s a lifestyle. i don’t believe in setting specific goals. i tell people get rid of your scales. i get naked too. get naked get in front of a long mirror. look at the front the back the side and if you don’t like something fix it. getting on a scale does not say anything. there was a girl recently at the park running way faster than me and she was much bigger than i am. it’s not about the number its about your endurance and ability. all body shapes are awesome i don’t focus on that. just focus on being healthy and everything else will come together.