Get to Know the ZUM Team – Jordan Sahlberg

Jordan Sahlberg ZUM Fitness Trainer


How did you find your way to ZUM?  


As many of you know, a couple years ago Joe began plans to open his own private training studio. As his studio got closer to reality, he began searching for a trainer to work with him. I applied for the position, went through the interview process, and, fortunately, got the job! Of course, Joe ultimately opted to stay at ZUM and step into the role of General Manager, so I followed suit and became a professional fitness coach at ZUM.


Here you are over a year later teaching classes, training clients, and creating goofy nicknames for members and staff alike. You’ve been an awesome addition to the team! What do you like best about working at ZUM?


Easy, the people.  Both clients and coworkers.  I love the people and the environment they create.


Couldn’t agree more! What got you into fitness and personal training?


I was always active as a kid. I grew up playing soccer, and I was out experiencing the outdoors as far back as I can remember. My dad took me out hiking and camping all the time. Being active was a huge part of my life, so fitness had a real practical application for me.

Academically, the body fascinates me. Breaking down and studying human biomechanics and physiology and how they relate to physical performance is one of my favorite things. I also love working with people, so personal training seemed like the perfect combination!


Speaking of the outdoors, you are known as quite an avid climber often going out every weekend! How did you get into climbing?


Again, my dad inspired me. As a kid, I remember him climbing Rainier, and I declared, “I’m going to do that when I’m older.” When I was 18, we did just that. Rainier was my first big climb and really ignited my passion.


Do you have a favorite climb?


There are so many!  Trying to pick a favorite climb is like asking someone to chose their favorite child.  I love skiing Mt Baker every spring and summer. But my favorite mountain to ski is going to have to be the North side of mount Adams.  Love that place!


What’s the craziest thing that’s happened during all your outdoor pursuits?


I’ve had my fair share of crazy things and close calls, especially when I was younger.  I would say being buried in an avalanche and chased by a bear are the two that come to mind most readily…not at the same time though – thank goodness!


What? Are these crazy adventures the inspiration for your entertaining cuing in your classes?


Ha! Maybe! While it’s not really a cue, when I am incorporating something like mountain climbers or a running-in-place exercise, I make up a story and tell participants to imagine being stocked by a bear or a mountain lion.  Each time the movement gets more difficult, I yell at them that the bear/lion is getting closer! I usually add in they’ve lost a shoe but keep running, and they have to jump a fence to get to safety.  It’s a silly, ridiculous tale I tell to provide some levity and unexpected humor while exercising.


What’s something about you we might not know?


I’m working on a whisky distillery start up.


That is surprising! How did you get into that?


I grew up brewing beer. I was 16 when I brewed my 1st batch (my parents had a home brew kit and they thought I was joking when I said I was going to use it). I really enjoyed the process and kept churning out batches well into college. I grew to love whisky, so much so that when I graduated from grad school, my family gifted me a membership to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. I had access to high quality scotch whisky and I grew to love it even more and began hatching plans for my own distillery.  I have since made two separate trips to Scotland for business and pleasure.


What’s your guilty pleasure?


Very easily whiskey. However, if we’re talking food, I love good-quality, fresh rosemary bread. I’ve been known to each a whole loaf with butter after getting back from a long excursion.


Do you have any words of advice for our members?


I would say, “don’t be afraid to use me as a resource.” I do a lot of personal training, but my job isn’t just to do that.  It’s to act as support for all of our members in whatever ways that I can.  Feel free to send me an e-mail with any questions you may have about anything related to your personal fitness goals. Feel free to talk to me in the gym when I’m roaming around.  I can’t claim to have all of the answers, but I might be able to point you in the right direction.  I’m always happy to help and my door is always open.


Meet July’s Member of the Month – Alex Levine

Member of the month, alex levine, ZUM Fitnessm July


Back when you first joined ZUM, what made you decide you wanted or needed to join a gym?

I grew up in Moscow, Russia, and had always been a pretty active kid playing a lot of soccer. When I moved to the States when I was about 14, life was hard, and I didn’t have the same luxury of time to be active. I was working a lot and going to school. I tried to play soccer while at Roosevelt High School, but I just didn’t have time.


In college, it was more of the same, if not worse. I was getting my electrical engineering degree from UW and living a very unhealthy lifestyle. When I was 19 I decided to try to get back in shape and joined ZUM. I had some success with the help of my trainer (Tony Francis) over the summer, but I fell off the wagon when school started up again. I was working really hard, studying a lot, spending hours in the lab, working on projects until early hours of the morning and then eating pizza – not making healthy choices. Even though I had a ZUM membership, I wasn’t using it regularly. I’d go once a month or so and not really do anything.


By the end of college, I was 200 pounds, about 35 pounds heavier than healthy for me. It was hard for me to do anything physical. I remember attempting the monkey bars at a park, and I was so weak, I could barely do make it 2 bars – a far cry from the 5 times down and back I used to be able to do as a kid.


It was really difficult to get back into physical activity having lost so much strength and flexibility, but I knew I had to do something because, I was also starting to experience health issues: high blood pressure and low energy. I didn’t know where to start. Intellectually, I knew what to do, but I didn’t know how to do it, how to move properly, and I felt overwhelmed. I started taking Hardcore with Joe (around 2009). That was really my “in” to getting moving again, giving me the guidance and knowledge I needed to feel successful and begin to make progress.


I discovered how deconditioned I was and how hard every movement felt (I couldn’t even do a squat properly!), so I decided to work one on one with Joe retrain my body to move. He really helped me break down movements. It would take me about a month to learn proper from before I could actually progress a movement. I’m so glad I was patient thought. I built a really solid foundation and learned to love working out again. I can’t live without working out now. It’s a tragedy if I go a week without going to ZUM!


Since joining ZUM, what results have you achieved?

My first goal was developing endurance, which I was able to achieve through classes. However, one of my biggest accomplishments has been the increased flexibility I’ve developed that has allowed me to get in to Olympic lifting. It’s been interesting to experience the practical, day t- day implications of increased flexibility too. For example, I was just in Hawaii and I felt much more comfortable swimming in ocean against the waves. It was a surprising, but cool to feel the difference with the increased flexibility in my back. Also, my posture has improved. I’ve built strength in my core and back to feel comfortable sitting longer and maintaining good posture. I never thought that would happen for me, as someone who sits in front of a computer all day long.


What do you like best about ZUM?

The environment. The trainers. The classes.


What would you say to someone who is new to ZUM or thinking about joining?

Go to classes, get a trainer, and stick to it. I’ve been there. It’s really hard to get started. That’s actually the one thing I regret – not working with my trainer Bill earlier.  It takes a long time to make working out a habit and part of your lifestyle. Motivation is the key for long-term success and working with a trainer really helps you stay motivated. A trainer also helps create a good, safe structure to approach working out, making sure you’re moving properly to decrease risk of injury, and they’ll build programming for you to do outside of your training. The guidance and support is invaluable, and I wish I’d done it sooner. It’s totally worth the money.


What is a fun fact about you we may not know?

Since my early teens I have been obsessed with the probability of extraterrestrial life. Nothing excites me more than hearing about new planets being discovered.


What’s your guilty pleasure?

That’s easy – pizza! I always prefer making my own to, but when I don’t have time to, Delancey and Via Tribunali are my favorites. And dark chocolate!

I do love making my own pizza though – I make my own dough and everything. I like to keep my pizza simple, but I have fun experimenting with different toppings and bases.


What’s your favorite TV show?

X Files is my all-time favorite, but I love Game of Thrones right now too.


What’s your favorite music to listen to?

So many! My tastes really vary. Everything from Vivaldi and Tchaikovsky (Joe knows about this) to Metallica and from Keiko Matsui to Dj Sash and Hardwell and Eminem to complete the circle.

For working out, I prefer to listen to upbeat electronic music as it keeps me energized and focused.


Is there anything else you’d like to share about your ZUM experience?

I love the multitude of different things you can do at ZUM. Before I got into Olympic lifting, I had no idea you could work with a trainer on those movements at ZUM. There are so many different trainers with different areas of expertise who can help you work on just about anything! That’s the really special thing about ZUM – really talented, knowledgeable trainers with a deep understanding of the body mechanics and physiology. I’ve been a member of other gyms, and the trainers at ZUM are just on a whole other level.