Fit With Franco creator, Franco Alves strives to help local residents find the motivation to work out and establish a healthy lifestyle. To help at least one person, every day, is his own daily motivation.
Alves is an International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) certified Personal Trainer and Group Instructor at the Island Country Club. Additionally, he has his own clients. Alves’ community involvement and volunteer work helped him establish connections that led to work over the years.
Born in Portugal, Alves moved to the U.S. at the young age of four with his sister and mother. Having played just about every sport from baseball, boxing, football and ice hockey, he found his passion with fitness early on in his high school years. At first Alves began to train his teammates and friends. He noticed that he excelled in biology and physical education courses. This evolved into a full-blown career, and Alves eventually ran a gym in Massachusetts with 500 members, offering personal training programs. In 2009 he moved to Marco Island. Alves has over 30 years of continued success through fitness.
No matter the fitness level, balance is a huge focus in all Alves’ sessions with clients. This holds true because Alves’ grandmother fell and hit her head as a moped sped by when she was 82-years-old. The accident left her blind. She soon lost all her independence, while still perfectly able-bodied. This accident, which has troubled him since, has helped mold a program that helps elders regain their freedom.
“I am always thinking about ways to help people keep their balance and stay in control of their motor skills,” Alves commented. “That’s kind of an underlying mission for me. Helping people keep their freedom and independence. Any person that I can help regain even one percent of their motor skills is a victory no matter how small.”
To begin a program with Alves, a client must first establish why he/she wants to embark on a fitness journey. Then Alves will coordinate a suitable program based on individual needs and availability. For some, it’s losing 10 pounds, for others it is health-related, so it is rarely a “one size fits all” approach. Once a goal is met, Alves helps determine new goals to continue to challenge and improve personal growth. Whether short-term external factors or long-term internal factors motivate a client, Alves likes to bring out the best in every individual.
Alves meets his clients where they are most comfortable, as he believes that fitness is never limited to a gym.
Alves’ wife Kate and children Max and Bianca often workout together and lead an active lifestyle. Kate is quite the athlete herself as she has participated in three triathlons and his son Max is involved with soccer. His daughter Bianca has a form of high functioning autism commonly known as Asperger’s syndrome. Alves trains with Bianca weekly with a variation of workouts that help her with coordination and balance. She had physical and occupational therapy and in less than a year and a half, and has graduated from both. Bianca also goes to horse therapy and can now mount a horse from the ground without any assistance or stepladder. To say he is a proud dad is an understatement for the family man, and he is hopeful for the future.
“There is a saying my mother used to say, ‘Sail on, sail on forward is Lisbon,’ meaning the vessels were returning back to Portugal,” Alves recalled. “No matter what, just continue and don’t give up.”
Progress is a lifelong journey as Alves continues to learn new physical activities for his clients. He is in the process of being certified in self-defense and kickboxing to add more to his fitness classes.
From Monday through Friday, you can find Alves at the Island Country Club’s gym for individual or group sessions. Off season, Alves works with about 10 clients in addition to his four year-round clients. He also regularly corresponds with his clients in Massachusetts.
For the future, Alves plans to publish a fitness book that focuses on balance, agility and the neuro-muscular connection. Other plans include a fitness camp for kids (ages 2 – 14) that will vary in levels of intensity per age group.