From Haute Cuisine to Personal Training

Sep 17, 2015
Ashley Ann Lawrie



By the time his marriage ended 5 years ago, Michael Farant had slipped far from the trim and athletic form of his youth.

He smoked, ate too much junk food and had such severe acid reflux it required medication.

“I just let myself go after I got married,” said the 39-year-old.

“I was comfortable with how my life was and I stopped pushing myself.”

Michael had become what he describes as “skinny fat.” This is a state common to people with the slim ectomorph body type who fail to maintain their lean muscle mass. They may look thin, but are in fact carrying around flab where they once had muscle.

So Michael did what many people in his shoes try to do when they find themselves single again – focus on his own needs, take back control of his life and get healthy.

He stopped smoking, adopted a highly restrictive and bland diet to cut the fat, and starting hitting the gym in his building. His workout routine was a gruelling one to two hours a day, six days a week.

Michael soon felt better and looked better, but still, he wasn’t seeing the results he wanted. After losing about 20 pounds, he hit a plateau and realized he needed professional help. Books and the Internet couldn’t provide the guidance he needed to achieve the results he wanted.

He needed to work smarter, not harder.

“I needed a push, guidance with the right science behind it,” he said.

Michael joined FFF after a chance meeting with President Ashley-Ann Lawrie in his restaurant. His goal? Gain better definition in specific areas of his body and add lean muscle.

Those long sessions in the gym were cut back to only twice a week, for 30-45 minutes at a time, under the expert coaching of FFF’s personal trainers.

Michael saw a dramatic difference in only a few months.

“Now I look the way I want to look,” he said. “Before, I was neglecting a lot of key muscles because there were exercises I either didn’t care to do or didn’t know how to do.”

He also learned that you can achieve great results while actually enjoying tasty food.

Before FFF, Michael didn’t allow himself any sweets, fats or “cheat days” in his drive to achieve results. But the key to turning a new routine of fitness and nutritious eating into a lifetime habit is striking a reasonable balance between what you should eat, and what you like to eat.

In fact, restricting your diet too much can play havoc with your metabolism and sabotage your efforts.

Michael’s experience with FFF has inspired him to make a change of career. After years working in Ottawa’s top French restaurants, he has decided to become a personal trainer.

He recently competed FFF’s unique in-house program, Free Form Academy (FFA).

Through this six-week program, trainers at any level of experience or industry certification can learn what it takes to serve clients to the standard of care and attention that has distinguished FFF in the Ottawa market, and get a handle on the business aspects of personal training.

Michael looks forward to the day when he might take the reins as the manager of a new FFF location. But for now, his focus is on what it takes to become a great personal trainer and how he can help clients take control of their nutrition like he has.

“I know what it takes to change a person’s body into what they really want because I’ve watched myself change,” he said. “This is a great way to get out of the restaurant industry. It’s become a passion.”

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