Four years ago, Jessica Zanca had what she calls “an eye-opening experience” that started her on a path to physical and emotional transformation that would eventually put her on stage during bodybuilding competitions.
“I had my own business and was working full-time, and was a single mom, so I took care of my daughter, but not myself,” recalls Zanca, who says she was unfit and out of shape at the time, despite always having a passion for fitness. “I woke up one morning and thought, ‘What am I doing with myself?’ So I decided to go back to school.”
Zanca enrolled in massage therapy school, with a focus on massage techniques designed for sports rehabilitation and increasing functionality, as well as spa and relaxation. She also started going to the gym in Aug. 2010, where she says a fellow customer suggested she look into bodybuilding. “Over the course of eight months, I went from a size 14/16 to being a contestant in a bodybuilding competition,” says Zanca, who entered her first show in May 2011.
“Outside of the gym, I would research everything I ate and got down to the science of how certain foods work in the body,” she says. “I focused on recreating my meals for performance, and how they affected my health and fitness levels.”
Zanca had recreated herself. This past February, she joined Chronos Body, Health & Wellness, located in Metairie, as a massage therapist, but she quickly added personal training, group fitness and weight-loss consultation for the Ideal Protein program to her list of offerings.
“I truly love Chronos; this is where I’m supposed to be,” says Zanca, whose clients range in age from 20 to 75. “My goal is to get clients to where they want to be, to where they feel healthy and feel good about their bodies. My clients know they can call me anytime, and there are no silly questions.”
Zanca says her different roles at Chronos help her to “get people from massage to fitness, and then from fitness to weight loss,” so she is able to help people achieve their best results. She also says she can relate well to her clients because of her own weight-loss journey.
“I tell my clients to not judge me by my looks,” says Zanca, who still does bodybuilding shows throughout the year. “I want them to understand that if I can do it, they can do it, too! I want to help them have the courage and determination, because what helps someone in mind, often helps them in body.”
While a great deal of her focus is on exercise, Zanca also is a weight-loss consultant for clients, and one of her roles is to help people navigate New Orleans’ many food temptations and achieve that balance. “Life happens,” Zanca says. “I drink wine; I drink beer, but I do it occasionally. You are going to be put in situations where there are temptations. It’s best to think ahead and make sure that most of year meals are healthy and balanced. Before you head to a party or restaurant, eat something healthy, so you’re only having the bad stuff in moderation. I tell people to eat correctly to live properly.” chronosbhw.com