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Fitspiration Of The Month: Joanna Preysler-Francisco

This mom of 3 feels her fittest and most confident at age 50! Find out her secrets to staying glowingly fit here!

Joanna Preysler-Francisco is girlcrush-worthy for many reasons. The multi-hyphenate mom of three embodies what it's like to be a modern mom, and an accomplished one at that. If she's not busy being a designer and entrepreneur (she and her husband Raul Francisco are the power duo behind fashion and art boutique OTHELLO, and Provenance Art Gallery), she fills her time hosting and attending events, and being a family woman, bonding with her loved ones through travel, food, and fitness.

While women (especially mothers) these days are encouraged to pursue what makes their heart skip a beat, but finding time to work on their fitness sometimes still proves to be a struggle. It's because of this that her love for fitness truly caught our eye. "Growing up, it [fitness] was practically a religion in our home—my dad was a naturally gifted athlete", Joanna shares. She goes on to say, "That love of activity and sports is so ingrained in me, I cannot imagine not having that freedom of movement, that rush of endorphins—so much so that I grew up not being a TV person."

Joanna Preysler-Francisco Joanna Preysler-Francisco | @joannapreyslermanila

We are so intrigued by how Joanna keeps a toned and tight figure at 50, that's why we at Metro.Style chose her to be our Fitspiration for the month of May! Scroll ahead to find out how this talented, passionate woman is able to feel her most confident and strong at this point in her life, and how you can get inspired to live your best life, just like her!


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Metro.Style (MS):  Tell us about yourself and what you do now, what your passions are, and how you keep fit.

Joanna Preysler-Francisco (JPF): I have always been athletic and into sports.  Growing up, it was practically a religion in our home—my dad was a naturally gifted athlete. He had a black belt in judo, excelled in boxing, but his heart was with horses: he was a show jumper, did dressage, and was Asia’s best polo player at one point. So you can imagine our home. There were always punching bags, weights, equipment, activities, and conversations about sports.  

I started playing tennis at age 9, was in the soccer team and swim team in grade school, and was really a tomboy! I was competitive and did several different types of sports a day—we were triathletes without even knowing it! I would even bike all around our village, while my friends went in their cars, I would use my bike!  That love of activity and sports is so ingrained in me, I cannot imagine not having that freedom of movement, that rush of endorphins—so much so that I grew up not being a TV person.

To me, not exercising if I’m physically able to, is tantamount to giving up on myself, on my health, and reflects a lack of effort and discipline to improve my genetic predisposition. I have always told myself: I will have the body that I deserve. You get what you give. I tell my kids: it is a rule in my house to train. There’s no punishment, no reward—but it proves your strength of character, discipline, and focus. Even on the days that it’s difficult, embrace the suck and thank yourself later. It’s the best feeling!

MS: How has fitness influenced your life?

JPF: Training everyday, sometimes twice a day, has taken my health and fitness to new levels, and I have been able to harness that energy and focus to other aspects of my life. My sense of accomplishment has given me more confidence and strength as a 50-year old woman, wife, and mother of 3. It has shown my kids that anything is possible if they work toward a goal. That in athletics, as it is in life, you must first win the battle in your head—once that mental barrier is broken, anything is possible. It's the building of physical and mental strength.  

I am a NAUI-certified Scuba diver with over 250 dives in my log, and I did my first full marathon at age 42. Yes! 42 kilometers at age 42. We had planned to do 1, just to up the game on our running. Raul and I had done countless fun runs (10km, 16km), and about two dozen 21-kilometer runs. So we said: let’s go for the real deal and be marathoners! So we did it. When that was done, I said “let’s not be one-hit wonders. Let’s do it again!” So we did it a second time. Then I said “come on, three-peat!” So we did the 3rd, which was the Paris Marathon. 

I did my first full marathon at age 42. Yes! 42 kilometers at age 42.

That’s just how we roll—we motivate each other, respect each other’s need to do what we need to do, and we support each other! Of course, part of it is the desire to stay physically appealing to one another too! Haha!


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MS: Describe a day in your life, and how do you mange to squeeze in time for a workout.

JPF: Time is a function of choice. There is always time to work out, it’s just a matter of making time and setting your intentions the night before.  The last thing I do before sleeping is: I prepare my workout clothes for the next day. That sets my intention and you better believe I won’t cop out on myself! Pre-lockdown, I would take my son Diego to school everyday—rain or shine—and head straight to my gym. That routine was set in stone.

On certain days of the week, I would have a 2nd workout after work. Now that we are on lockdown, my routine remains. This is the way I’ve designed my life and extraneous circumstances will not change that. Of course, I work from home too, and cook all meals for my family.  At home, we have a water rower, two indoor cycling bikes, and a whole weight room with dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls. Cardio and strength training is part of my daily routine. 

As you see, keeping sane during lockdown means: making time for myself & having a schedule. We are still very busy with running our businesses from home, plus having the 3 kids here 24/7, and have learned to embrace this time and be grateful that we are healthy, safe, and well. We all work out together as much as we can, then do all our individual workouts after. Just this morning, I was upstairs doing my strength training on Zoom; my husband and older son Mio were doing their push-ups; my daughter was spinning, and my youngest was rowing. All of us in different parts of the house but active and united in our desire to stay fit. Then we talk about it at lunch!

Joanna, fit at 50! Joanna, fit at 50!


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MS: Tell us about your support system and what motivates you.

JPF: Some of the most favorite people in my world are the friends I’ve developed through training together. A certain closeness and bond is fostered when you help each other achieve goals, encourage each other reach your personal best, and cheer each other on. The friends I’ve made are the least judgmental—they know we all have our personal fitness journeys and goals, and everyone comes in with their own history that we may not be aware of. So we accept, encourage, and help each other. 

Even now during lockdown, we check on each other daily—we send each other food, protein bars, positive thoughts—and we work out together on Zoom. It’s a caring COMMUNITY—one built on health, wellness, acceptance, and all things positive. They’re the best, and I know these are friendships I will cherish for a long time! My 26-year old daughter Monica is a spin instructor, and has been such a part of my journey too. I am in all her classes, front and center, with my sister Karina. Monica and my sister—we are three peas in a pod. We could have fun together even if we were stranded on a desert island. Just give us music, three spin bikes, and some cute workout clothes, and we are good to go! Kidding aside, they are my ride or die. It’s great to have a daughter & a sister that are like built in best friends. Our relationship has so many levels & dimensions and they are truly Gods gifts to me. Together, they are worth more than 10,000 friends combined!

My training is my daily prayer to God, my heart’s desire to see my children’s children, to grow old physically and mentally strong.

Joanna with husband Raul

My husband and my two sons—they are my protectors, my motivators, my boys! They are the ones I love to baby, and they are the ones who talk amongst themselves when they know I need extra TLC and come through for me. My boys are my true North. They are the ones I want to be good for–they inspire me to be better; my daughter and my sister—they are my south, east, west, my shallow and my deep!

My life is so full of love and happiness—with my friends from training, my sister, my children, and my husband. So you ask what motivates me? It’s this life that I love.  The life Raul and I designed and walked into together. The life I want to LIVE and ENJOY for a long time, God-willing. God helps those who help themselves. So I am helping myself. My training is my daily prayer to God, my heart’s desire to see my children’s children, to grow old physically and mentally strong. I’m doing my part, the rest is up to God!

Photos courtesy of Joanna Preysler-Francisco.


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