“We challenge ourselves by encouraging each other to work on our weaknesses and not just our strengths.”
-Eric + Francheska
Every couple has different habits and has its own forms. Every day we have a new opportunity to become a better version of ourselves, to conquer our fears, to fall in love.
I’ve been wanting to talk to you about something I’ve been doing for a few weeks. My husband and I decided to reset our habits, as individuals and as a couple. We became more conscious about how we treat our bodies. As a couple, it is very easy to maintain unhealthy habits, and to encourage the same destructive patterns. We wanted to focus on a long term change instead of a quick fix, this time it didn’t feel like a sacrifice but more like a reward. We understood the importance of valuing and honoring ourselves; there is no path that doesn’t require courage and patience, meaning we need to trust our intentions and free ourselves from the excuses and embrace the obstacles. Exercising with your partner will always be a healthy option, there are a numerous reasons why this is a benefit for your relationship, from increased quality time to a stronger connection, better sex, and accountability.
The first time I went to Onnit Academy I took my first class with Eric Leija. I was very impressed by the passion and excellence of his teachings. It goes far beyond getting “fit” it’s about getting to know how powerful you are by conquering your mind, your fears, and self-sabotage by listening to your body, your instincts, and exceed your own expectations. Francheska on the other hand, will take you to the most basic and primal movements with her animal flow practice. Together they are an amazing duo, they break the rules by using unconventional tools, and methods that will make you see what’s really inside of you.
Today, I want to share with you a very important interview with this amazing couple. Read on and learn how being primal in life and in your relationship will give you back your true power.
Who are you and what do you do?
Eric: My name is Eric Leija, also known as the Primal Swoledier on social media. I am a personal trainer and kettlebell specialist at the Onnit Academy. I also do coaching online on my website EricLeija.com.
Francheska: I am Francheska Martinez, currently 24 years old, from Miami, Florida. I am a personal trainer and stretch therapist. Right now I am focusing on building my own brand online, as well as helping with Eric’s platform.
What is the ideology behind what you do?
Eric: I like to help people reach their fitness goals while staying strong and durable so that they can live long and prosper.
Francheska: I’d like to think of myself as someone who isn’t so dogmatic. I think that bodyweight movement should be only limited by what you are capable of safely doing. Meaning that as long as you’re able to move functionally in a range without injury, then it can and should be done. However, when it comes to weight lifting and bearing load through movement, then I like to adhere to certain safety guidelines to avoid and pain or injury.
As a couple, do you feel a stronger connection by exercising together?
Eric: Yes, because we become very competitive.
Francheska: I think it brings us closer together and reminds us that we can overcome any challenge. It also helps us be better coaches because we are able to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses better, allowing us to create better programs, and modifications when needed.
How does having the same fitness goal improve your relationship as a couple?
It strengthens our relationship because it holds the other accountable. If we are both able to grow together and get stronger together, then it creates an environment of growth which keeps the relationship fresh and healthy.
Is it true that couples who train together stay together?
We are still figuring that one out! But we’d like to think so! It allows us to bond and grow together in another aspect. Seeing each other’s progress is really encouraging; it
reminds us that we still have to focus on growth and development in our relationship as well.
How can you make a solid relationship with yourself first?
Taking alone time to focus on yourself is incredibly important in a relationship. Doing something that you enjoy doing by yourself is crucial for keeping things interesting and developing your own interests and hobbies that can also be shared in your relationship as well.
How do you motivate each other?
Eric: Watching Francheska smile through all the pain encourages me to suck it up and conquer my inner doubt.
Francheska: Eric likes to give me a big cheesy smile as I walk into the gym. He then proceeds to take his shirt off and start flexing. What more motivation does a girl need?!
How does the other person inspire you?
Eric: Francheska’s graceful movement inspires me to be less stiff. I try to integrate more mobility work to help with this.
Francheska: Eric inspires me with his passion and dedication. Even if Eric is tired, sore, or busy, he makes his training a priority. He never makes excuses about “not having enough time.” Nor does he allow temporary pain to take him off his track. He’s the real deal.
How do you challenge each other to stay out of your comfort zone?
We challenge ourselves by encouraging each other to work on our weaknesses and not just our strengths.
What workouts are your favorite to practice together?
Kettlebell and bodyweight flows are our favorite workouts to do together. We always learn things from each other since we have both move differently. We like to add mobility work into our flows to make them more well-rounded and challenging.
What’s the biggest lesson you have learned from one another?
Eric: The biggest lesson that I have learned from Francheska is to not be so dogmatic with my training.
Francheska: Eric has taught me not be such a perfectionist with my training. There is a time and place for perfection, however progress is always more important!
In what way does the other person make you stronger?
Eric: She’s light enough to pick her up and throw her over my shoulder so I can do some walking lunges. I hate loading bars and re-racking weights.
Francheska: Eric makes me stronger because whenever I want to give up, or skip a workout, I always envision what Eric would do. Which is persevere, NOT complain, and maintain proper form!
What steps have you taken to love yourself first, and how has that improved your relationship?
Eric: Staying hydrated from the moment I wake up helps me have a better day, which helps me be nicer to my clients, friends, and Francheska who has to deal with me everyday.
Francheska: Loving myself for me has always come down to self-care. If my body isn’t feeling well, it transfers over into my mood. So I try to be aware of my limitations in training, and tend to my problem areas, like my shoulders which tend to hold onto a lot of tension. A good sauna session and decompression usually does the trick for me, which helps me be less cranky.
How can you stay focused and motivated to achieve your goals?
Eric: Proper rest and recovery can go a long way. This includes sleep, active recovery, hydration, and nutrition.
Francheska: Keeping things fun a is how I like to stay encouraged when trying to reach my goals. Practicing moderation rather than extremism usually helps me stay focused. I try to enjoy the journey rather than fixate on a specific goal.
What piece of advice can you give to couples who want to start this path together?
To stay focused, and to remember that life isn’t a fairytale. You’re going to get annoyed with each other, but you will become stronger together! In your workout session, try to define some roles, one of you could be the “coach,” and the other the “client.” If you have two “coaches,” you may be taking a bigger bite than you can chew!
What exciting projects do you have going on?
We are currently working on Eric’s launch of his Daily Workout Subscription on EricLeija.com. The workouts will encompass all of Eric’s weekly training including warm-ups, strength training, conditioning, active recovery, as well as cooldowns. Check out his website to train with Eric and learn more about kettlebell training specifically. We are also looking forward to leading more in-person workshops together to continue making a positive impact in the world.
Follow Eric + Francheska