Franco Saycon’s fitness journey started with his desire to find a healthy balance.
“I have friends who are on the opposite ends of the spectrum, and I realized I couldn’t be like them,” he said. “Some are so disciplined. Then I also have friends who eat and drink like crazy and don’t exercise at all. I wanted something that would work for me and, more importantly, make me happy.”
He found that in a mix of exercises, plus being more mindful of what he eats.
“I’ve always enjoyed moving, but it wasn’t holistic. I was a serial dieter and didn’t really exercise as much as I should have,” he said.
Saycon, 34, has a lot on his plate—he’s the public relations director of Yellow Brick Media, one of the owners of The Palace Manila, and his other businesses include Slayathome.ph and Joe’s Brew Beer—but he always makes time for a workout. In fact, he just finished shooting on-demand videos for Ride Revolution that you can find on ondemand.riderevolution.ph.
My fitness routine: I try to do spin classes at least four times a week. I try out different stuff on the Equinox+ or Peloton App.
Favorite workouts: I love group exercises. I like cross training. Some of my favorites are spin, VersaClimber, boxing, yoga, even hiking and just walking around. It’s just much harder with gyms and studios closed now.
Where I work out: I’m a member of Kerry Sports. But for the entire pandemic, it’s really just at home.
Fitness essentials: The first thing I bought when the pandemic started was a stationary bike. None of the local studios had online classes so I was just doing peloton or classes online abroad, but now there are a lot of online live classes available.
A yoga mat, some light dumbbells, boxing gloves and a punching bag. I swear by the Peloton App, The Equinox+ App and Swork It.
My workout playlist: Lots of electronic dance music and club music that I miss. Lots of pop playlists, too. My friend and The Palace Manila business partner Mond Gutierrez curated a Fitness Playlist on Spotify that you can check out. It’s called Club Cardio. It’s so fun!
My diet: I’m not strict at all. I am now just mindful of what I eat and I try to balance it out. I always make sure I have lots of veggies to keep me full.
What I usually eat in a day: I don’t deprive myself of anything, I just try not to indulge on consecutive days. I balance it out.
Like last night, I knew I was going to have a big steak dinner and lots of drinks, so in the daytime I just ate something lighter and had more veggies. Then today, I went meat-free. I made pesto pasta with protein noodles.
What’s off-limits: I eat everything. If I want ice cream, I will go and satisfy that craving. In the past, I’ve had such awful experiences overeating substitutes in hopes of avoiding having something I was really craving for. In the end, I ate more of that substitute and was still craving for that certain something and would still end up eating it.
Cheat days: It’s more of a cheat meal. Then I’ll have a veggie smoothie and something lighter for the other meals.
What keeps me motivated: It’s really about feeling good about myself. This whole pandemic has been and is still very stressful for everyone. Elle Woods (from “Legally Blonde”) could not have said it any better: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.”
How the pandemic affected my fitness routine: I had to adapt to doing things virtually and even doing things by myself. It was easy to just order in and pig out, so eating healthier sometimes felt more like a chore. I am also an emotional eater so I really had to be mindful of what I was consuming.
Other fitness secrets: I think not every form of exercise is for everyone. You have to find something that you really enjoy.
Enjoy your food but do it in moderation, and this sounds so cliche but eat a lot of veggies, fruits, and drink lots of water, it will keep you satiated.
Tips for people who want to get healthier: First, you have to examine what health means to you. Health isn’t just about working toward achieving a certain size or weight. It’s a holistic state of being. It’s also your mind and your outlook.
Set health-related goals that are for the long run, which are more sustainable rather than something short-sighted and easy to quit.
Coming from someone who is a stress eater, I would also encourage everyone to examine their relationship with food.
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