Four months later, she’s lost 20 pounds.

Apr 18, 2017
Ashley Ann Lawrie


When life feels like it’s spiralling out of control, you need an anchor, something to hold onto to set things right.

For 29-year-old Natasha Zabchuk, that anchor is Free Form Fitness.

Last summer, the web project manager suffered a physical assault that left her desperate to “keep me away from myself.” She started working 14 hour days, followed by heavy drinking and heavier eating.

“I realized I wasn’t going to end up in a good place if I didn’t do something about this,” Natasha said.

She had been a client of FFF for three months in 2012 and made great progress in that short time. She lost 15 pounds, hitting her target of 135, before deciding she had learned enough to continue training on her own. But in the years that followed, her fitness habits waned and her weight crept up again. It only got worse after the assault. By last November, she weighted 170 pounds.

“That was too much weight,” she said. “I thought ‘what is happening here?’ There are people in my family who are overweight and I don’t want to be like that.”

One day, Natasha walked past FFF’s Wellington location and made the decision to come back. She realized how much of an anchor it had been for her – something consistent and reliable that she could depend on to challenge her in a positive way.

“I knew the FFF team would help me to improve my physical body and my nutritional health – tangible things I could just glom on to,” she said. “Having that structure provided a strong foundation for me to work on my mental health.”

Four months later, she’s lost 20 pounds. More importantly, Natasha has achieved the emotional healing she needed. She is even considering competition in the future, inspired by a girl friend who is a powerlifter.

“Lifting heavy is my favourite thing,” she said. “I want to feel strong. As a woman, you are always at a physical disadvantage.”

Trainers Michael Farant and Danielle Lithwick have also put her on track to healthier eating. Natasha only has the occasional drink now and manages her food intake with MyFitnessPal – an app that makes it easy to plan meals and track what you eat through the day.

Natasha has also discovered how much of a time-saver it is to do her meal prep for the week ahead of time on Sunday. She was also a vegetarian, but on the advice of her trainers, she’s realized the benefits of eating meat once a day to balance out her protein intake.

“I trust my trainers,” she said. “They are always super friendly and approachable – as much as you want them to be. I can come in and say, ‘push me as hard as you can.’ With other clients, I see they spend more time talking during a session because that’s what the client wants and that is awesome, too. You get out if it what you put into it.”

Natasha now finds herself a role model of others – her success has inspired co-workers to do more about their own health.

“I’ve had a really good impact on a lot of people at work who have noticed how I’ve changed,” she said.

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