Home Feature Montclair State Student Beats Pandemic Quarantine with Fitness and Healthy Eating

Montclair State Student Beats Pandemic Quarantine with Fitness and Healthy Eating

by Lauren Peacock

Most people resent the lockdown period the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic created, but one Montclair State University student used their quarantine to create a better version of themselves with a new outlook on life.

Kayla Francione, a senior television and digital media major, changed her entire life by creating a new daily schedule, consistent workout routine and balanced diet.

Francione is 21 years old and from Livingston, New Jersey. When she is not in class, she is working on herself.

“I had so much free time during quarantine so I used it to research and educate myself on fitness and nutrition,” Francione said. “I then created a workout and diet plan that worked best for my body.

Francione’s daily routine and outlook on life have totally turned around. Her routine allows her to stay on track. This means no more junk food, no more scrolling through TikTok at 1 a.m. and no more lazy days in bed.

“Now, I wake up at eight in the morning, work out five to six times a week, weight train, cut out all dairy and red meat products and balance out my carbs, proteins and fats in my meals,” Francione said. “In the past, I thought the answer to losing and maintaining weight was just not eating and only focusing on cardio. Now I weight and muscle train, make sure I am in proper form, aim to hit a certain amount of reps and eat more than I ever was before.”

Francione’s healthy and yummy protein pancakes with bananas. Photo courtesy of Kayla Francione

Francione’s healthy and delicious protein pancakes with bananas.
Photo courtesy of Kayla Francione

For Francione, a typical day of eating includes oatmeal with fruit in the morning, a wrap with turkey, spinach and almond cheese for lunch and lean meat with a side of vegetables for dinner. After she works out, she has a protein shake and she snacks on celery, fruit and veggie sticks when she feels hungry throughout the day.

“Before quarantine, I let my fitness and eating slip so much,” Francione said. “I didn’t feel great mentally or physically and I was even having stomach issues. It’s safe to say this is the best I have ever felt in my life.”

Thanks to Francione’s lifestyle change, she has lost over 15 pounds. A key part of her success was throwing out her scale once and for all.

“In the past, I would weigh myself every day and get mad when the number would go up,” Francione said. “In reality, I just wasn’t educated on nutrition and exercising enough. Sometimes the number goes up on the scale because you’re gaining muscle. Now, I count my progress by how I feel, how I look in photos and how I fit in clothes.”

Dani Rosenfeld, a senior psychology major who lives with Francione, has noticed how Francione’s new lifestyle has benefited her.

“Kayla has created a new lifestyle for herself and she looks and feels better than ever,” Rosenfeld said. “I’ve never seen her this happy or relaxed. It goes to show how working out and eating healthy can better your mental health.”

Another successful tool Francione uses to stay on track is her fitness Instagram account. Fitness Instagram accounts are popular tools for personal trainers looking to motivate their followers and show that the process really works.

“My fitness Instagram holds me accountable and makes sure I don’t slip back into my old ways while on a new schedule than my quarantine life,” Francione said.

Kayla Francione talks about her new lifestyle change. Lauren Peacock | The Montclarion

Kayla Francione talks about her new lifestyle change.
Lauren Peacock | The Montclarion

Francione’s fitness Instagram account, @fit.with.kay.19, has inspired others to lose weight as they have always wanted and create a new healthy lifestyle. It currently has over 380 followers and focuses on her meals, recipes and workouts as well as tips and tricks.

Sammie Panico, a senior linguistics major, was inspired by Francione’s Instagram account to change her lifestyle.

“Kayla inspired me to take care of myself and my body,” Panico said. “I started going to the gym again with her and it turns out working out helps me get rid of my anxiety and negative energy.”

Quarantine allowed Francione to put herself on a set schedule and balance out her everyday life. She now inspires others to do the same and put their physical and mental health as their priority.

“It turns out that 80% of losing weight is your diet,” Francione said. “Find a balance of carbs, proteins and fats and keep your diet under control. Start working out, even if it’s small and challenge yourself more and more each day. You can do a walk for 40 minutes on the treadmill one day, then try to run outside the next.”

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