Fitness Lessons I Learned From Charlie Francis

By Charmaine Gooden

In 1991 Charlie Francis and his wife Angela (né Coon), were my personal trainers. It was 3 years after the controversy surrounding Ben Johnson’s Olympic performance. I was the Health and Beauty editor at Chatelaine and hired Angela, then a fitness model, for an editorial story on building great legs. Charlie accompanied her to the shoot. He was approachable and direct with a certain calm and strength that was easy to be around. I seized the chance to learn from Charlie, one of the world’s most gifted elite coaches and Angela, an Olympic hurdler. We worked together for months, and under their tutelage I reached the peak of my physical ability. The transformation was chronicled in a photo spread and feature story. They were a generous, inspiring coaching team and I treasure the experience and lessons learned to this day.

Some of his tips were:

• Do a full warm up of light cardio, stretching, abdominals, and leg swings.
• Use a medicine ball to build strength and speed.
• Mix and match indoor and outdoor activities to head off boredom.
• Exercise without music for better concentration.
• End workouts with a bracing hot/cold shower to stimulate recover.
• 8 hours sleep for rebuild muscles.
• Eat a balanced diet including red meat once a week to lose body fat without starving.
• Spend less time at the gym, more time enjoying life.

Thank you Charlie. Francis passed away on Wednesday.