Posted 14 July 2011 by Interview:

Francesca Hartman

How long do you spend in the gym during
a typical workout?

Ugh, when I first started to lose weight I had no idea what weightlifting was other than the machine section of gym looked like you needed a PHD to operate. I definitely wasn’t going to be that “gym goer” that obviously looked lost will moving the machines into place, sighing, standing back to stare at it like it was an alien only to finally sit in it and feel awkward while I try to figure out which muscle group it was suppose to work. Lol.
But my husband introduced the free-weight section to me 3 years ago, and now I don’t feel like a workout is complete unless I have slammed that muscle group for that day.

What are you most proud of?

I use to be that “awkward in her own skin” kind of girl, especially when I was considered obese. But I am so proud of making that decision to lose the weight and take my fitness to a new level. I also am proud of the decisions that I made as a young girl that has lead me to have this awesome life now. Sticking with a career that I started at 17yrs old, graduating from college while dealing with combat in Baghdad and now being responsible, as a Drill Sergeant in the army, to train soldiers to fight is a few of the accomplishments I remain humble over but proud to have experienced.

What’s the longest break you’ve had from training?

Break? The only break I’ve had was from a kit kat bar! Haha. Training isn’t just the gym it’s what I’m eating. I try to eat healthy and clean all the time, so I have to watch what I consume everyday whether or not I hit the gym or lift. I do have an “off season” but that just means I eat more of the healthy foods and if I want a few of the goods I don’t get during competition time and I lift heavy on whatever body part I want to build!

What are the biggest obstacles or setbacks have
you had to overcome in your life?

Combat would be the 1st obstacle, adapting back to what us, American’s, consider normal was difficult. I gained a lot of weight because I had a hard time getting out of the house and being active, I would sometimes go a week without getting outside and living life. That’s not a problem I have ever faced in the past 5 years though, now I grab life and live it to it’s fullest!

How do you manage to stay motivated?

My husband is a lot of my motivation, when we met he was a hunk! A big bag of candy lol, but I was a little on the hefty side to say the least, about 60lbs heavier than I am now. I remember thinking how lucky I was that he liked me and wanted to take me on a date, I asked him if he got some sort of tax right off or a discount of some kind by dating the big girl lol. He laughed and told me how much he thought I was beautiful and I was SOLD! Sure enough 8 months later we were married and ever since then I have dedicated myself to staying as fit for my husband and striving to be the best I can for myself also.

How do you deal with cravings for junk foods,
sweets and salty food?

My biggest weakness is chocolate and cheese and bread! I stay focused by remembering that I may need to be in a swimsuit soon, and that I don’t want to ever feel or look the way I used to. I usually drink hot green tea and plain Greek yogurt if I ever get real hungry and I know it’s not time for me to eat.

Who are your favourite, athletes or fitness models?

I adore athletes that have overcome adversity to achieve where they are today.
The Famous Jamie Eason has faced some serious challenges with breast cancer and is one of my favorite athletes, as well as Chady Dunmore who has overcome obesity and is now one of the most beautiful women in the world.

What types of cardio have worked best for you?

For fat burning I absolutely love the stair stepper and for cardio I love spin classes, at one point I didn’t know how to function without spin class 3 x a week lol.

What is your training routine like?

On my “off Season” I lift heavy 5 - 8 reps 3 sets 3 - 5 machines on the body part I am focusing on. I divide up my body parts per day and do 20 min cardio a day before my weightlifting begins. For the division I compete in I have actually had to lose some muscle I gained in my off-season. During my on season and while I’m shedding any unwanted weight I do cardio/fat burning 60 min 5 times a week and light weightlifting 15 - 20 reps 3 to 4 sets 3 - 5 exercises. I usually take Sunday off, for any recovery I may need.

What 3 tips would you give to any woman wanting to get a feminine, CutandJacked physique like yours?

  1. The battle starts in the mind, if you can win that you can beat the battle in the kitchen, then the gym!
  2. Plan ahead, pack your meals for the day put it in an lunch bag and make the conscious decision to only eat what’s in that bag every 2-3hrs.
  3. Find a role model, fitness model or even a relative you want to emulate and start reaching that goal! Research diets and what works for you.

What does your diet consist of?

Great question! I am a 5 - year vegetarian and one of the few in the bikini division. It is so difficult and I have been told so many times that it’s not possible before I started, BUT here I am and I am so happy with my results. The negativity of people in the fitness industry believing it’s not going to gain as good of results as a competitor who eats fish and chicken only drove me to be better in this hobby of mine. I eat complex carbs the earlier half of the day and whey protein shakes and egg whites the later half of the day. I get in tons of veggies and tofu too. It’s tough but I love competing.

If you could teach one thing to every person on the planet about what it takes to reach his or
her physical goals what would it be?

Find out what your breaking point is and reach it every time you workout or every time you devote yourself to a project. To be the best it does require a little obsessive compulsive behavior, stubbornness and overcoming an internal struggle. I am a Drill Sergeant, not just an every day pretty girl stepping on stage, I push soldiers to their breaking point nearly every moment of the day to make them the best and they are so thankful at the end because of the growth they have experienced and obtained. What a shame to go through life never getting to feel that feeling of mental and physical strength. If you have no idea what I’m talking about put on a pair of combat boots and just walk 12 miles in 3 hours with at least a 40lb backpack and a 7lb rifle.


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