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FITT Q&A: FRANCHESKA MARTINEZ – MAVEN OF MOVEMENT

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RYAN DEER

JUL 14, 2020

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IMAGE VIA @FRANCHESKAFIT | INSTAGRAM

In a recurring series, we’re talking to inspirational people doing amazing things in Austin’s fitness scene. Today, we’re connecting with Francheska Martinez, champion of “FUNctional” movement.

This Miami transplant can really whip a kettlebell at Onnit, but she gave us some inside scoop on primal movement, breathing like Navy SEALs, and what it’s like being one half of a fitness power couple.

WHERE DOES YOUR LOVE OF MOVEMENT COME FROM?

I’ve always been an active person, in my hobbies... my background in dance. But it wasn’t until college that I really started focusing on my body. I loved being able to improve, whether through my diet, taking weightlifting classes, and pursuing exercise science courses. That was the spark.

BUT THE TYPE OF MOVEMENT YOU LIKE ISN’T “MAINSTREAM”.

I’ve had a history of injuries and have scoliosis. As I got deeper into fitness, with weight training and bodybuilding-type exercise, I kept having little issues. I ended up getting an office job out of college, and I was experiencing a lot of back pain from sitting.

So, I did a little soul-searching and it influenced me to take a more holistic path into fitness. I was already into some unconventional-type stuff and was told I should look into Onnit, who has affiliate gyms all over the country. I got a job at one of them, where Onnit’s continued education programming was big.

HOW’D YOU GET DRAWN TO AUSTIN?

I studied little by little. And I was meeting people. One day, I was in my gym’s lobby and I couldn’t believe the head coach of Onnit was there — this was a celebrity to me, this was like my Bruce Willis.

And then I heard about the “Primal Swoledier[Onnit kettlebell coach Eric Leija] online. My uncle, who was a gym owner, was inviting him to host a workshop… which I didn’t attend. Coincidentally, we met at a bar, hit it off, and that was history. Four months later, I moved to Austin.

WHERE DOES YOUR UNIQUE STYLE OF TRAINING COME FROM?

At my first job, I was introduced to Animal Flow. They would teach it to me, and I’d replicate it easily because of my background. So on my way to Austin, I stopped in Orlando to get officially certified — level 1 and, eventually, level 2 as well.

It’s so attractive to me because of the creativity but, at the same time, finding strength in the movement. Working out, to me, is finding the sweet spot between getting stronger and maintaining overall health. That means plenty of mindful and meditative movement.

@francheskafit | Instagram

SO WHAT’S SOMETHING MINDFUL AND MEDITATIVE THAT WE CAN DO AT HOME?

Breathwork has been a huge thing for me — for my fitness, my performance, my life, my mental health. One of my favorite exercises is box breathing. It helps you strengthen the deeper muscles of the diaphragm by doing an isometric hold at the top and bottom of your breath. I immediately feel a whole sense of calm start radiating through my body.

ON THE FLIP SIDE, SOME OF YOUR WORKOUTS ARE INTENSE. HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN YOUR IDEAL LEVEL OF FITNESS?

I think the hardest thing is being consistent with the rehab and recovery work I need for all the mileage I’m putting on my body, but also mentally. Aside from filming workouts, I’m doing my own training, teaching group classes at Onnit, and I’m also the cameraman for Eric’s workouts.

One of my tiny tools for success is positive self-talk. Coaching myself as if I were someone else, really putting in the emotion and being nicer to myself, helps me stay accountable.

SO WHEN YOU’RE PUTTING CONTENT OUT TO 200K PEOPLE, WHAT KEEPS YOU GROUNDED?

The easiest way to stay true to myself is to remember that I’m not going to feel one mood all the time. We’re dynamic creatures, and people have this idea you always have to show up a certain way. But it’s more about showing up as you are. For me, there’s not a lot of pressure in that.

WHAT ABOUT SELF-CARE?

I’m really into podcasts. And it gives me time to go about whatever extra self-care I need to, whether it’s going for a walk, a bath, tidying my space, if I need a stretch or self-massage, or just to tune into my breath.

@francheskafit | Instagram

AND WHAT’S ONE FEEL-GOOD FOOD FOR YOU?

Honeycrisp apples, the most bougie apple of all time. And I have a little bit of a dairy intolerance, so the hardest part of that is… cheese is amazing.

WHAT ABOUT EATING IN AUSTIN?

I’m kind of a homebody, but one of my favorite things is brunch. I’m a sucker for American classic brunch — somewhere where I can get pancakes, french toast, maybe some hash browns, eggs, and coffee, preferably a latte.

Hillside Farmacy is my favorite for that, and because of COVID, they have been closed. So that has been rough.

WHAT’S KEEPING YOUR SPIRITS UP IN THE MEANTIME?

Memes never fail to raise my spirits. It’s the millennial in me shining through.

You already forwarded us your favorite workout playlist, but who’s your in-house DJ if you could pick anyone?

I’m actually going to go with another fitness person, Massy Arias. She’s one of my OG influences. She’s a Dominican trainer from New York, now in LA, and she’s really badass. And I think we share a really similar taste in music.

DESCRIBE YOUR IDEA OF A TOTALLY PERFECT SATURDAY.

If it’s totally perfect, I wake up and my house is clean. I start off with movement, stretching, and hydration.

I’ll go for a hike at the Hill of Life [off Barton Creek Greenbelt trail]. We hike two miles down until we reach one of the hidden creeks there, where I’ll swim around when no one’s around. I’d go to Hillside Farmacy for brunch with a girlfriend, tan at Barton Springs, and get Home Slice Pizza for dinner.

The perfect ending would be going to Blue Starlite Drive In and getting popcorn.

@francheskafit | Instagram

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 5 FAVORITE SPOTS IN AUSTIN?

1.) Onnit Gym.

2.) Barton Springs.

3.) Lake Austin. I love going wakesurfing.

4.) Cosmic Coffee. That is where I like to work… and live most of the time.

5.) Driving the 360 highway in the Hill Country, blasting music, and enjoying the scenery. I do it every Wednesday.

WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST ATTRACTIVE ABOUT THE CITY OF AUSTIN?

There’s a good balance in life here; we’re well-rounded but healthy at the same time. And I think it 100% shows in the food culture. I’ve never seen a concentration of farm-to-table restaurants like there is here — you’ll have five on one street. Plus, all of them share where their food is from.

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Work on your mobility and celebrate movement with Francheska on Instagram, or catch her at Onnit Gym when normalcy returns this summer and fall. Need some tunes for your next sweat? Throw on Francheska’s handpicked playlist with tons of modern Latin hits. Discover that and more from local faves on Fitt Austin’s Insta.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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