Adam Joseph Francique: Making Moves Throughout His Community
aDAM francique CREATED THE bODY pRJCT, a program providing free community workouts, to give back to the neighborhood that raised him. He talks more about learning to trust yourself in order to do the meaningful work.
Adam Joseph Francique Sr.
Occupations, affiliations, and projects.
PEOPLE WHO DO FOCUSES ON THOSE WHO TAKE ACTION TO PURSUE MEANINGFUL LIFE PASSIONS. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU TO “DO”?
My mother is a Haitian born immigrant. She struggled to get to America as a teenager when officials denied her paperwork. After finally entering the country and not knowing any English, she made her way. She finished high school, started her family, completed college, and raised two boys as a single mother. I often tell myself that my mother didn’t migrate to America for me to sit still. She came here for a reason, for a change. I know that I must do to give purpose to her even making it here. Also, I do because I’m not the most vocal. I don’t often speak up when it comes to things that need to be changed. I often see more power in thinking, finding a solution, and doing it on such a ground level that only a few may notice. My trust cannot lie in politicians, so I admit that I am often hesitant to vote, but I still do. My trust lies in my hands. I know that I can put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard and figure out how to tackle one problem at a time. I trust that!
How did you get into fitness, specifically running?
When I made a career change from public relations to education, I found that I had more time to go to the gym and live a healthier lifestyle. After going for a run one night, my high school friend invited me out to a Monday night run with We Run Uptown (WRUCrew). It was amazing to finally be a part of something outside of work—that year I ran my first marathon. I’ve been running with them for 5 years now. I have 6 marathons under my belt, with more marathon goals to come.
what accomplishments are you most proud of?
I’m most accomplished of being a father. It’s probably going to be my most worthwhile experience when I’m old and done with it all. My son helps me with everything else: building a community (for him), staying young (for him), working hard (for him), staying fit (for him). The list goes on and on. I put him first in all of my accomplishments, but still know that others will still benefit from it as long as I stay true.
Why do you think it's important to educate and share fitness with others?
Honestly, it’s not that important. Fitness is just the entry point—it’s merely just the entry point. Running wasn’t my life. Friends I made through running became my life. I mentor at a program called adidas BEYOND, where we use running to change the lives of high schoolers. We aren’t running all day. Right now all we are doing is working on a giveback program to their school community. As a captain at adidas Runners NYC, we start with running and end somewhere so far from it. In short, as leaders in the community, we should put less focus on the sport and more on the people behind the sport. I’m talking mental health, poverty, self-image, etc.
Let's talk more about community—how does it play into what you do?
My community is everything. I just downloaded this phone app call “Citizen.” It notifies you of crime, emergency calls, and disturbances in your proximity. It’s very helpful but as these notifications started to pop-up, I often became weary about raising my family here. I live in Washington Heights where it’s filled with so much culture, energy, beautiful food, people, and more. Prior to that I lived in Inwood, which is a part of The Heights, but a little quieter. I grew up south of The Heights in Harlem, the home of the Hustle. All of these neighborhoods helped shape me, but here—I am doubting to even raise my 3 year old son of color here. Afraid to see how he would be a product of his environment. Quickly those thoughts of fear turned into thoughts of motivation to not flee the community that raised me, but to find ways to change the community from within. It started selfishly with the thought of my son, but when developing The Body PRJCT, I had hopes that it would reach someone else’s son or daughter, then to the parents, to the teachers, to the elderly, to the store owners, to pretty much everyone that could move their body.
#1 motivating mantra to get through tough moments.
“I’m not supposed to be here.” I didn’t find most of my current talents at a very young age, so I know that where I am today is a blessing. With knowing that it’s a blessing to be able to do in so many different ways, I usually can’t stop. It keeps me so motivated to find other things to do. It’s almost like catch-up. Time will continue even when my time will come to stop doing, so my job is to do as much as I can and setup the next person after me.
What’s your favorite thing you’ve learned so far this year?
I learned how to legitimize a business. Probably the scariest part of owning your own business is the business part of it, tax, LLC, legalities, etc. It’s scary and most stop at the sight of the government. I’m happy that my partner and I didn’t—we looked fear in the eyes, did our research, and took risks. The only way extreme change can happen is if you perform extreme activities.
What’s your favorite lesson you’ve ever learned?
There is always a way to do. Figure it out.
What's your go-to song to put you in a better mood?
Better mood? Better mood to me is often a motivational and/or doing mood. The song that takes me there is “Eminem – Lose Yourself.”
Favorite method for logging any kind of inspiration.
I just started to journal during meetings which evolved into me journaling my ideas and thoughts in general. Ideas of inspiration come so often living in NYC, so I carry my journal with me at all times.
What’s the best piece of advice that you can give someone right now?
Find one person other than yourself, and do something long lasting for them. We often try to change the world and get overwhelmed at the type of work that entails. Just find one. Change the life of one person and you have done enough.
Who are your heroes?
My mom is my hero. She did it all. I’m really proud of her. I just started telling my mom I love her. We had an amazing relationship growing up, but I wasn’t open enough to just say I love you. It was probably a little after getting married and especially after having my son. I never really told my mom I’m proud of her, and I think me now truly grasping the extreme actions she went through as a teenager, adult, and single mom, me saying “I love you” is me saying, “I’m proud of you.”
By "do-ing", you create your own unique legacy. How do you want your legacy to look?
I want to be remembered as someone who wanted to provide for his community through sport.
Do you have a favorite moment since starting The Body PRJCT?
My favorite moment of The Body PRJCT was during the second Summer when trainers started to volunteer their time to see my vision through. That’s when I knew I had something. It went from my heart and mind to someone else’s. That framework will help The Body PRJCT one day be in other boroughs, cities, states, and countries.
What’s the next goal?
Find a winter home. I’d love to get a grant to rent a space for at least a year. This space will be a revolving door of fitness, mindset, culture, free for residents of Uptown. They come in for 12 weeks at a time, learn as much as they can about themselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and then move on to make room for the next group. When that first group moves on, they hopefully move on to race, to a gym, or to a group run.