How teasing brought this 16 year old to FFF

Feb 16, 2017
Ashley Ann Lawrie

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It’s challenging enough being a teenager without being concerned about your body image.

But Zac Kittur stood out in a crowd for reasons he didn’t like. At 16, he was already six feet tall, a rather thin six feet – he only weighed 100 lbs.

Part of it had to do with genetics, the rest had to do with the fact he was a confessed picky eater.

His build made him the subject of teasing by his peers. While most everyone else enjoyed warm sunny weather in the summer, Zac worried how other people would view him in shorts and a tank top. He lacked confidence and didn’t have much strength to go with his height.

“People could see how sick I looked,” he said.

Zac wasn’t sick, but he was a classic example of the ectomorph body type – a tall, thin build with stringy muscles. People with this body type find it hard to gain weight.

His mother had heard great things about Free Form Fitness from a friend and thought the team could help.

That was a year and a half ago. Zac is now 18, finishing his Grade 12 year and planning to study law in the tradition of his mother’s family. He’s grown another inch since he started, but he’s also added about 50 pounds of lean mass.

How did he do it? Hard work and dedication. He’s been coming in to FFF’s Kanata location as many as five times week. His team of trainers keep him sweating with a customized routine of weight training designed to grow muscle, with big compound movements like squats and dead lifts.

But most importantly, they help him keep on track with his nutrition. Zac has had to train himself to just eat more and toss back lots of 1,000-calorie smoothies.

But someone with Zac’s body type can’t just gorge on any form of calorie for healthy weight gain, any more than anyone else can. It has to be the right combination of calories that will give his body the fuel it needs to grow, from lean protein sources, healthy fats and wholesome carbs.

“When Zac started with us, he would train hard, but wouldn’t eat enough,” said trainer Monique Vautour. “He wouldn’t have the strength to lift or he would get dizzy and nauseous. We had to be pretty persistent to keep him on track.”

But the effort has paid off.

Zac has put on plenty of mass and added some definition to his lanky frame. He’s past the halfway point to his target weight – 180 lbs.

“Sometimes it was tough to get here, to find the energy and motivation, but I did it and when you see it through, you always feel better for it,” Zac said. “I’m a lot stronger. I’m a lot more muscular. My friends see the difference and comment on it. My parents, too.”

His progress has redefined how he sees himself and interacts with others.

“It’s been therapeutic to come here. I feel more confident. I feel more comfortable in the summer, going out swimming or going to the park.”

The key has been to set reasonable, obtainable goals. His success has even inspired his mother to become a FFF client, too. And it’s given him greater empathy for others facing their own challenges.

“I’ve had friends come up to me and tell me about their own self-image issues after seeing what I’ve done,” he said.

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