Stretching Limits

Multinational yoga & travel fan Franko Briseno, on the motivational power of short shorts

This post is part of a series of Queerty conversations with models, trainers, dancers, and, well, people who inspire us to stay in shape–or just sit on the couch ogling them instead.

Name: Francisco (Franko) Briseño, 29

City: London (born in Guadalajara, Mexico)

Occupation: Events Executive

Favorite Gym: The Gym Battersea, London

Favorite Work Out Song: “Scream” by Usher (yeah, such an old school)

Recommended Work-Out Foods: An energy bar, bananas and coffee for an early workout, and pre-workout by MyProtein.com for the late ones after work.

Best Workout Outfit: Really short shorts (of course), a sports t-shirt and long Adidas socks.

How do you balance staying in shape and having fun? Working out is my favorite hobby, I do that for fun, I workout for at least 13 hours a week (including yoga and weight lifting), on a weekend I usually hit the gym before I hit the pub.

When did you discover the power of yoga?

Two years ago, I set myself the goal to do a scorpion pose (handstand) as a New Year’s resolution. So I joined a yoga studio and started practicing Dharma Yoga, this type of yoga includes lots of variations of handstands and backbends. Long story short, I ended up falling in love with the practice when I realized I was becoming more flexible and how it was helping me release the stress of the events from work. I ended up forgetting the reason why I even started this journey and made yoga part of my weekly workout.

How does doing yoga prepare you psychologically and emotionally?

As mentioned before, I work in events, corporate events to be exact, being part of a team that organizes conferences around the world comes with a very stressful price. Especially now during COVID-19, when we are trying to run virtual and live events in the middle of a pandemic, adding the fact that we can’t go to the gym to de-stress as we are in lockdown. Yoga has also helped me to focus and be grateful for other things in life, such as my body, family and friends. The pro of yoga is that not much equipment is needed and can be practiced anytime in your own house, I find that really convenient.

How often should we practice?

It depends on your goals, whether you need to release some stress, become more flexible or challenge yourself to do some handstands. I currently practice three times a week as I’d like to become more flexible since I already have mastered the scorpion pose. Some advanced yogis practice around five times a week but one good practice session per week is a good way to start.

Related: International dance star Dosu on the power of breakin’, and heading to the Olympics

So many of us—particularly gay men—feel a lot of pressure to maintain a certain gym build, or to avoid carrying extra weight. Can yoga be a substitute for the gym?

I personally find different benefits from each of them, I believe they both compliment each other, one gives you the nice pumped chest and rock hard bum and the other helps you to find inner peace and become bendier, this last benefit makes you also really popular amongst the community.

Are there specific poses that help us burn calories/fat, more than others?

Long planks and a good Rocket Yoga practice, is a faster-paced yoga variation with lots of planks and handstands, you will feel the burn throughout the whole workout.

For those of us that do like the gym, are there specific areas we should focus on to supplement our yoga practice?

Core exercises! Lots of crunches and planks are always a great combination to compliment your yoga practice.

I know from your Instagram you’re a man that loves travel. What do you love about it?

It may sound really cliché, but I really enjoy getting to know other cultures, I enjoy traveling to unusual countries and towns where you can find locals only and try their unique dishes.

How does traveling keep you mentally, physically, emotionally?

Traveling is my getaway, I’ve been through really bad experiences and it just reminds me how lucky I am for being alive, it makes my life really interesting and it keeps me going. I personally enjoy traveling alone to have time for myself and truly enjoy the experience at my own pace.

What destination surprised you the most? There is an island called Failaka island near Kuwait, this island was bombed in 1991 and currently it is so apocalyptic, you can see the abandoned supermarkets, gas stations, cars and schools, some of them with bullet holes. Such a surreal experience!

What do you keep on your nightstand?

My eye mask of course as I like a good beauty sleep, the book I’m currently reading (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F#ck by Mark Manson) and a big box of tissues, because you know…

Bonus Pics: