Roxy Francisco, also known as “Roxy Thunder” in the fitness world, changed her life through exercise and improved nutrition. Now she is doing the same for others in Mid-Michigan.
Roxy Francisco coaches people daily at Title Boxing Studio in East Lansing. She inspires healthy living to her clients through fitness and nutrition. For many, she’s the epitome of “passion” in the gym, but her fitness journey isn’t as a clean cut.
Francisco grew up in the Philippines. As a child, she spent most of her time playing video games and described herself as a “science nerd.” She weighed roughly 200 pounds at age 14.
Francisco said her family, specifically her father, lived a similar unhealthy lifestyle to her growing up. Then, when Francisco was 17, her father died from cancer.
“I had a great childhood when it comes to family and the only thing that destroyed our family was my dad’s passing and it’s because of bad health,” Francisco, now 39, said. “I just thought, I don’t want to suffer because I saw how my dad was suffering and that affected the entire family.”
Things changed for Francisco. She not only adapted to a life without her father, but for the first time, adopted a workout schedule and researched nutrition to practice healthy eating.
“I wanted to learn how to be healthier not just because of...peer pressure to look good and to be a certain size, to me, my driving force and my motivation wasn’t really that,” Francisco said. “It was for longevity, for my future family. I was thinking I want to get healthier from inside, out and if I look good then great, that’s a bonus.”
Francisco moved to the United States after finishing college. She worked in software design before making fitness a career.
“I became so passionate about fitness and helping other people because I realized how it helped me in my own life,” Francisco said. “I understand the struggle of someone who hasn’t worked out before...I always try to meet my clients where they’re at in their life.”
Since then, Francisco, who goes by “Roxy Thunder” on her fitness page, has spread her health expertise to others through personal training.
With her background, Francisco strives to help people live a healthy lifestyle, regardless of where they’re at in their fitness journey. During the COVID-19 pandemic, that became especially helpful for clients like Cathy Westrin, who felt like her health was starting to take a back seat due to stay at home orders and gyms closing.
“With COVID, I’ve just fallen into a little bit of a funk,” Westrin, 51, said. “...So just being in that positive environment when she’s training you...and her creative approach to working with different muscle groups...got me empowered to want to continue on.”
Francisco’s passion resonates with her clients, such as Jessica Farhhat, who trained with Francisco at Conquest Gym in DeWitt.
“I just liked the fact that she was so passionate about it,” Farhat, 32, said. “She would always tell me how she was seeing a difference in me with my energy. Maybe I didn’t notice a change, but she did...and hearing those things like that just made me feel more confident.”
Ashley Garcia, a high school student from DeWitt, trained with Francisco while preparing to compete with Team USA World Karate Corporation in Dublin, Ireland in 2018. Garcia walked away from that competition with three world titles.
“She (Francisco) really helped my stamina a lot for that,” said Garcia, who described Francisco as a “older sister”. “She’s always there even if it’s not working out, if it’s just life stuff, she’s always there to help.”
Amtul Quazi, 49, always wanted to be healthy, but never knew the right way. When Quazi started training with Francisco, she noticed a difference in the way she was able to perform exercises.
“When I joined Roxy (Francisco) I felt a huge difference in me and now I know how to do the exercises in the right way,” Quazi said. “I feel so good when I go there and I want to go there because of her. She makes you a special person.”
A special person, because to Francisco her clients become her friends.
“Of course we train...and they start telling me about their life struggles and what they're going through and that gives me a way to really bond with them,” Francisco said. “For me to it helps me training them because I meet them where they're at physically and I meet them where they’re at mentally.”