The first time you meet Fran it’s undeniable: she is a power house.
Trained as a professional dancer, Fran grew up in Chile and recently graduated in Musical Theatre at Laine Theatre Arts. As well as having a huge appreciation for the arts, Fran’s other big passion is the health and fitness industry. Fran created her blog Healthy Fit Fran a year ago, with the purpose of inspiring other women and young girls to be confident, strong and live a healthy lifestyle. Since then, she has met some incredible influencers, and past collaborations include Adidas and Women’s Health Magazine.
Fran’s passion for sport and health has been a part of her life since its early stages. As a teenager she was a professional swimmer, where she won several Chilean National titles.
“Dance and movement are part of my life and always have been, even from the early stages of my childhood. I always had a very extensive after school curriculum (think gymnastics, athletics, tennis, etc). I come from a family of sports athlete parents who always encouraged me and my siblings to try new things and to be active.”
A fun fact you may not know about Fran is that she is a quadruplet: “throughout my teen years it was hard to follow my own path as we all did practically the same thing, but as I grew older I realised that my passion for dance was much more than just a hobby”. After a lot of hard work, determination, tears and sacrifice, Fran eventually boarded a plane ready to leave her family behind in Chile and start a new chapter in England.
There she became a Zumba Instructor, working at some great studios and gyms around London, but after a few years things started to change for her: “Even though it was a fun dance class, I was not in love with it anymore. With so many Zumba instructors all over London, I just wanted a change.”
“Motivation is about having that same drive and passion that I had a few years ago when people told me that I was crazy to think that I could become a dancer.”
In April 2016, a trip to New York gave her a whole new outlook about the dance and fitness industry. There she had the chance to meet her biggest inspiration, Nicole Winhoffer (Celebrity trainer, Creator of NW METHOD, Ex Adidas Global Ambassador and Ex Trainer for Madonna): “after spending two weeks dancing and training with Nicole and others celebrity trainers, I was pumping full of inspiration and ready to become one of them. The problem was that at that time I did not have a clue about how I could make it possible – I did not even have a concept.”
After spending hours thinking up a new dance concept – Fran wanted something different, exciting and powerful – things started to click. The words ‘simplicity’ and ‘repetition’ helped her create what she calls HFF CARDIO DANCE. Fran was lucky to have a ‘guinea pig’ studio in Sutton to try out her classes (which were always jam-packed), and used social media to upload some of her videos to create a buzz.
“HFF CARDIO DANCE is running, though it’s still in the very early stages with lots of work to be put into it. However, thanks to social media there has been a big boom of interest for the concept to keep on growing.”
Late in 2016, Fran suffered a serious knee injury that required her to take a step back.
Being only 22 and never really having a major injury, she did not suspect she would end up with something that would affect her career and future.
The normal post recovery time of an ACL Reconstruction is around nine months. “In one way, I look at this as an opportunity to grow in other areas that I would like to get involved with. I’d like to establish more of a professional profile and a name for myself in the wellness industry; I’d also like to focus on growing as an influencer, but most important of all, I want to become a ‘voice’ of inspiration and motivation for other women… someone who can speak about reality and someone others can relate to.”
After her injury, something that Fran noticed was just how quickly the body can recover: “I am now three months post-surgery and being able to see how I slowly gain more strength and improve day by day is very satisfying. I remember being eight weeks in and unable to straighten my leg or go down the stairs, but after some time and hard work, my body proved to me that I could!”
Despite recovering from her serious injury, Fran is now busier than ever. She was able to use her network connections to find a job in London that could help her through the process of recovery, whilst staying in touch with the fitness industry. She is now working at Tribeca Studios; “I think that one of the very amazing things about social media is the ability to create contacts and network with others.”
As 2017 is just kicking off, we ask Fran about her favourite trends from the past year.
“I would say that my latest fitness trend is all about ‘body experimenting’; being original and creative when doing exercise and trying new things. I don’t find going to the gym and just using the machines very appealing; there is so much more we can do when it comes to exercise. Let’s allow our bodies to find movement, strength, coordination and awareness by thinking outside the box. Give me an empty space (a studio) and a mirror and I will create. I like fitness workouts that involve thinking… In other words, a brain workout – such as boxing, yoga, animal flow and body weight exercises.”
When it comes to other trends she has seen over the past year, Fran also has a clear idea of what not to endorse on Instagram:
“What I see daily is this obsession with becoming a ‘bikini model’ – it seems to be the latest trend on Instagram and in the fitness industry.
Not that I don’t agree with becoming a bodybuilder or a fitness model. Be whoever you want to be! But what sometimes bothers me is the message behind these posts: every day I see multiple girls posting about their journey, stating that it is a healthy way of living.
The reality is that most of the time it is NOT: to live under a strict diet, count your macros, and have a dangerously low body fat percentage is not a healthy way of living. Nor does it promote a healthy relationship with food and fitness. I do hope this will be something that will fade out, that people will realise how hard it actually is to achieve that type of lifestyle. It is not for everyone.”
We live in a society where social media is playing a huge role in what we see day by day, and we are being bombarded by the media with images of beautiful bodies and seemingly amazing lifestyles.
“What we see on our phones can be damaging if we don’t have a clear mindset of what life is about. It is time to twist things around and use social media as a platform to inspire, help, motivate and to be real.”
As she still has at least six more months of a very specific training regime, Fran’s focus is on holding on tight and waiting until she has enough strength to prevent any possible injury: “The hardest part of my recovery has to do with not overdoing it, and taking everything one step at a time.”
With plans to focus on her recovery and develop Healthy Fit Fran as a brand, she is willing to listen to her body’s needs.
With rest and reassessment, Fran believes it is essential to learn how to treat our bodies with respect and care: “we only have one chance to make the most of our incredible bodies”.