Anthony's Nutrition Transformation
November 13, 2014
NYC instructor ANTHONY FRANJOINE made a few changes to his diet that made a huge impact. He opens up about how smarter food choices led to boundless energy that transformed his strength, confidence and happiness…
It feels like I've been on a quest to find the perfect combination of factors to earn the strength and tone of my ideal body for quite some time. Let’s be honest: This journey started the day I walked into middle school and noticed the high school jocks had a little something extra filling out their football jerseys — muscles. I always knew I wanted to look strong, but it wasn’t until I accepted what everyone was always telling me, to get the lean, mean muscled physique I was striving for, I would have to make conscious decisions about what I was putting into my body.
I have a very sensitive digestive system and I was tired of feeling bad all the time! I was also tired of seeing all of the mean-bodied and seemingly confident men and women around me living their healthy dreams. Here I was not putting the right amount of effort into my goals of teaching on the Soul schedule and taking care of my machine, knowing deep down I was capable of much more. Turns out, between weight-lifting, SoulCycle classes and recovery, I wasn't feeding my body enough to support this Olympian lifestyle of a SoulCycle instructor.
This realization forced me to take a step into the unknown: the kitchen! Yes, it was frightening! But I've learned to make quick, easy everyday meals with healthy ingredients: Rice protein smoothies, eggs, avocado, peanut and/or almond butter, berries and greens (I recently have discovered the farmers' market). Lean protein like chicken and salmon, and less prominent BUT still present: beef and turkey, paired with good portions of rice and sometimes sweet potato. I eat every two to two and a half hours and after every workout. I've have learned to balance the food I take in with the activity I put my body through.
And, surprisingly enough, I've become pretty awesome when it comes to avoiding foods that work against me. No gluten for this homeboy: If anything I will pick up some high grain bread, maybe for some bangin' avocado toast (Ezekial bread is my favorite). And I have almost completely cut out dairy because it does not agree with me (bye cheese); I used to do some serious damage on birthday cake frozen yogurt from 16 Handles on a regular basis (sigh), but these days the vegan dark chocolate ice cream from Van Leeuwen fills the void quite comfortably. Almond milk has also proved to be a serious staple in my diet, either in the morning or in a post-workout shake.
My alcohol intake has also gone down. We're all tired of hearing it, but it makes a difference. Aside from what it does to my insides, the amount of time it takes to recover from a night of good old fashion NYC drinking fun was interfering with whatever physical activity I had waiting for me the following day. Of course I still have my cocktails here and there, but keeping my energy up usually takes priority these days. #adult
I stay away from processed sugar, but the weekends are real and so is temptation. Sometimes the only thing that's going to make you happy is a king sized Kit Kat bar and that’s okay every now and then! I get it and I happen to be a repeat offender.
Since making these changes, I have newfound energy and a good mindset to slay my weekly athletic fitness regimen. I fuel to feel stronger, leaner and that makes for a MUCH happier and confident me! Body awareness was a huge "ah-ha" moment for me. I didn't know I was capable of fitting so much activity into a day, and a good part of me thinks I was scared to find out how hard I could push myself. Those personal limits we allow ourselves to believe will always be in our way, unless we shut them down!
Once my body started showing itself as a figure I've yearned for since those high school jocks, and I had energy I only saw in fellow instructors, my form changed completely. I could ride that bike and feel the benefit rather than further exhausting myself. (Yoga was a HUGE help here as well). As I became more honest with myself about the changes I wanted to see in me, I started holding ALL of us in that room more accountable; we showed up for a reason right?
Fellow instructors Michael Vara and Nick Spadaro, along with Corinne Croce at Soul HQ, helped open my eyes to a healthier, hotter version of myself. Mikey wrote me up an extensive and impressive meal plan in a matter of minutes! Now my body can take on more than I ever could have imagined, and it’s just the beginning!
Catch classes with Anthony at Soul 19TH Street, Soul Williamsburg and Soul Union Square, where he's now teaching a new time slot for Soul Owls: Tuesday + Thursday at 9:30 PM!
Questions or comments? Email firstname.lastname@example.org!