Francisca Dennis, a real life Wonder Woman, graces the cover of Oxygen Magazine looking this fantastic after having six children, running a business, and taking care of four dogs and three horses. If anyone had an excuse to not be in peak shape Francisca certainly has one. It takes precision, dedication and focus to manage your life so successfully. Francisca loves inspiring people and wants to share how she balances her life and achieves such a beautiful, healthy physique. So if you have been making excuses for not being your personal best, read on and see how Francisca's story can help you.
GABRIELLE REILLY: What do you do to keep motivated and how do you do it with 6 children?
FRANCISCA DENNIS: Behind my motivation is basically a deep passion for training. I love to push myself and always improve. Competing is also a great motivator. I like to win ;) I'm very competitive so it's great to visualize getting that trophy, which helps give me a lot of drive when i'm feeling wiped out.
Representing for the mommies and "older" women out there is always an incredible bonus. The feedback I get is always so wonderful and motivating in turn for me.
I manage my training by scheduling it before they are even out of bed.
Any other training is done either at night, or when they are in school.
GABRIELLE REILLY: Any tips for balancing fitness with a busy life with children?
FRANCISCA DENNIS: It's all about scheduling...
Diet has to be planned and so does your training to save time and make the most of your workouts.
Planning your meals at the beginning of the week and doing "bulk cooks" keeps me on track when it gets crazy. My meal plans are available on-line on my website www.franciscadennis.com
GABRIELLE REILLY: What weight/cardio training do you do in a week?
FRANCISCA DENNIS: I do cardio about 5 days a week, mainly running, stair climbing, and incline speed walking
My weights I do also 5 days a week... I break up my training by body part..
Mon: Chest, bi's
Tues: Legs, abs
Thurs: Back, tri's
Saturday: Light cardio or make up session
GABRIELLE REILLY: Do you have days when the last thing you want to do is step foot in a gym?
FRANCISCA DENNIS: Lol, yes, I feel that way after a big show where i've spent months and months preparing and sometimes training 3 times a day..Breaks are very good for you mentally as well as physically.
Fortunately, I don't feel this way for long, and I start missing the training "high"
GABRIELLE REILLY: How many calories do you consume a day off-contest?
FRANCISCA DENNIS: Im not a calorie counter... I eat approx 6 meals a day and balance portions with clean carbs and lean proteins and lots and lots of water.
GABRIELLE REILLY: Do you have allocated binge days/meals?
FRANCISCA DENNIS: There are no cheat or binge meals during contest prep... but off season, I will usually take a couple meals per weekend out to let myself eat what I want.
During the week, I find it much easier to stick with my diet.
GABRIELLE REILLY: What do you do when you feel like breaking your diet?
FRANCISCA DENNIS: I try to banish all the "bad stuff" from my cupboards when i'm nearing a show. The temptation is too great after strict adherence for months. BUT, if this food is around and I can't avoid it, and im feeling particularly weak, I will just remove myself from the temptation.
I find if I don't let myself get hungry by eating every 2 1/2 hours and drink frequently throughout the day, the cravings hardly come at all.
GABRIELLE REILLY: What is your favorite healthy food?
FRANCISCA DENNIS: I'm a big fan of roasted sweet potatoes and Allmax's Isoflex Chocolate peanut butter Protein shakes!
GABRIELLE REILLY: For parents out there concerned about their children's health and obesity what words of advice would you offer them on fitness, motivation and diet for children?
FRANCISCA DENNIS: Kids often imitate and take on the habits that they are familiar with.
If parents have bad habits of poor snacking/eating and limited activity, kids generally will too.
Encouraging the kids to ditch the DS, turn off the Xbox and put down the tv remote is much easier when alternative activities are offered.
I find my kids are much more likely to get active outside if I go with them... so it's really making a commitment to spending that quality "activity time" with them.
As far as diet goes. Kids don't do the grocery shopping, parents do. Don't buy, (or limit) the crap food, and kids can't eat what's not there. Offer healthy alternatives (frozen grapes, homemade granola bars, fresh fruit etc) It's not rocket science.
GABRIELLE REILLY: What age do you think is ideal for children/teenagers to start lifting weights?
FRANCISCA DENNIS: I would encourage all kids to do exercises such as sit ups, push ups, lunges, calf raises as young as 8. (these exercises use your own body weight) and are generally very safe. (a jungle gym, or trips to the park are usually great training sessions)
Heavy free weight training and machines, I don't really encourage until later in the teens. Even then, with supervision and proper training.