ZUM Games 2017 Recap!

Another epic ZUM Games is in the books! About 20 brave racers participated in this year’s Games logging miles around downtown and completing tasks involving anything and everything from footballs and volleyballs to squirt guns and watermelons everything in between!
Thanks to everyone being such great sports and congrats on a job well done! An extra shout out to this year’s winners:
  • 3rd Place: Kendall and Nelius
  • 2nd Place: AJ and Zane
  • 1st Place: Alex and Calvin

It was a great time, and we are already looking forward to next year ZUM Games!

Calvin and Alex testing their volleyball skills.

Steve and Hugh testing their core while tossing a slippery watermelon.

AJ is armed and ready!

This year’s winners Alex and Calvin!

Our 3 man team: Rohit, Paul and Michael taking a little water break.

Joe coaching Madison!

Kim shaking out ping pong balls!

Nelius and Kendall mid-watermelon toss!

Deepak making elephant bowling look easy!

Sidewalk glute bridges!

Re-imagining Group Fitness: Large Group Training

Occasionally it occurs to me how wonderful a place ZŪM is and how easy it is to take for granted some of the choices we’ve made in creating a special kind of fitness environment. In fact, it recently occurred to me that maybe some of the choices we as a management team make are not fully communicated to the membership. We take for granted that our members know why we do what we do.  I’d like to address that now…


Why do we have trainers (whom we call coaches), at ZUM…and why do we have them on the floor most of the day?


This may seem like a question with an obvious answer, but it is something we’ve put a lot of thought into.


Personal Fitness Coaches are the heart of our fitness team. They are on-site to support everything that we and our members do, not just to work with their clients.


Traditionally, trainers allocate most of their time in individual or small-group training sessions. While that’s a part of what our team does, they also provide guidance in the form of reviewing members’ programs, clarifying or dispelling commonly-held beliefs, providing help with new or unfamiliar equipment, or offering ideas for new ways to keep our members excited about their work-outs.


Coaches are also a resource to help members find the most appropriate and safe classes for any goal or experience level – from the highly athletic and dynamic to the restorative and centering.


There is a reason we call our instructors and trainers ‘coaches’.


ZUM’s philosophy that each body and individual has different needs and different goals is evident in our training programs AND in our group fitness classes. At ZUM, individual achievement isn’t limited to one-on-one training, but spans into our class formats. That’s why most of our classes have our coaches at the helm, and why they can be found walking the class area to offer exercise modifications and to correct our participants form.

They are coaching. They coach in their personal training sessions, their conversations with members on the floor, and in the classes they lead.


There’s a big difference between an instructor and a coach. In traditional group exercise classes, instructors typically present exercises and lead the group in a “follow the leader” and “one size fits all” format.  However, at ZŪM our philosophy leads us in a different direction.  Our idealogy leads us to prescribe for you the exercise that’s right for you at that point in your development – both in intensity and type.  Your coach is prepared and encouraged to modify each exercise to fit you.


While we’ve always approached our classes as group fitness training opportunities for our members, we are embracing the coaching in reimagining and renaming the group exercise program at ZŪM – from this point forward: Large Group Training.


Making the most of these opportunities is in your hands. Let us assist you in finding the group training class that’s right for you. I encourage you to set up a complimentary 15-min. Orientation and exercise program optimization session with one of our coaches.  You can also just walk up and talk to one of our coaches about your goals and what other activities you are doing outside of our classes.



You can always utilize the Baseline evaluation or our 15-minute Orientation and workout plan optimization with a trainer to determine which classes are most appropriate for you.


Part of our commitment to you and your success is ensuring a safe, roomy space for both you to work through movement without restriction, and our coaches to provide optimal instruction.

We also know that choosing a class based on need versus schedule might mean a bigger commitment on your part. If you are expecting to train with us in a class, you expect to have a spot in that class when you arrive.


This fall we are introducing “Click to Your Coach”. This program, running through the MindBody app, will allow you to plan your sessions and guarantee a place in our more heavily attended classes.


Having a reservation system in place for our more populated classes will take the uncertainty out of your workout. Your coach will be better able to provide individual attention, ensure safety and room to move. You will have the assurance that the time you set aside for you will be successful and fruitful.


Meet September’s Member of the Month – Jerry O’Leary!


There are few members who embody the essence of ZUM more than Jerry O! Not to mention, few members who have been around longer! Learn more about Jerry’s experience at ZUM and how the ZUM community has helped him stay active and engaged as he’s matured and encountered the physical changes.


How did you become one of ZUM’s original members? When you first joined, was there something that made you decide you wanted or needed to join a gym? 


My story goes way back before the beginnings of ZUM. I had back surgery in 1986 and was looking for a way to rehab. I was referred to a few people who were all working at Sound Mind Body in Fremont.  I went there to meet these people who gave me both rehab and an interesting community. They then went on to become ZUM, and I followed becoming one of the first members!


Over the past 15 years as a ZUM member, I’m sure you’ve had quite the fitness journey. Will share a little about that with us?


As a person who went from middle age to late-middle age, I have had a long arc of changes in terms of my physical capacity. I’ve had 5 knee surgeries, multiple shoulder problems – none of which were related to ZUM, all of which were helped because I was at ZUM and had people who could care for me.

I had been a runner and had to stop running, so I had to redefine what I was as an athletic person. What was  going to be my athletic expression? I no longer could run; I no longer could play tennis. I learned, for the first time in my life,  how to use a gym facility to accomplish fitness goals and still feel like I was doing something fun and challenging.

My ZUM journey has been learning to feel good about myself with whatever momentary limitations I have, doing what I could do in a way that was challenging and interesting that ultimately brought me back to a level of function and performance. That to me is the essence of the ZUM community – the encouragement of all the trainers and members who I’ve met. People who see you and comment “it’s good to see you back working out.” That’s what keeps me coming back to ZUM.


How are you feeling about where you are currently in your journey? 


I’m discovering that the limitations that come with age are not redefining my value. They’re redefining how I approach what I do.


What do you like best about ZUM? 


The community. When ZUM functions as a community, it’s a really satisfying place to be involved. The possibilities of learning how to function in the community are things that I take into my whole life. When I see the way that I can have a positive or negative impact in a simple setting like a gym, it opens my eyes to how I can behave elsewhere.


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


You don’t have to be distrustful of any of the trainers. The training opportunities and class opportunities are so well cared for and cultivated that you can enter with confidence. You’ll get out of ZUM what you put into it. If you treat it as a community and are open to being responsive to the people around you, it’s going to be a great community. If you close yourself off, it will be a great community that you’re not participating in.

It can be as simple as saying hello and acknowledging the hard work you see someone do – it makes the experience more rewarding for everyone. People appreciate knowing they’re seen. We become the encouragers of each other to get the most out of the community.

There can be a phony – almost fraternity/sorority type of belonging that a lot of places try to engender, but I love that ZUM has enough room for me to not participate in things that I don’t want to, but enough things that I can choose something to participate in.


What’s fun fact about you that we might not know? 


I lived for a year in Guatemala and 3 years in Costa Rica working in Columbia while Pablo Escobar was in power.


You travel a lot, where are some of your favorite places you’ve been?


London, Barcelona, Prague, Budapest. I’m more of an urban traveler than country traveler, but one of my favorite trips of all time was a 3 week drive in Ireland from Dublin down to Bray and then west to Shannon, meeting my people. The Irish people are just so friendly and so welcoming.


What’s your guilty pleasure?


Guilt and pleasure don’t go hand in hand for me.


Favorite Movie?


Yossi & Jagger – a small independent Israeli film. I like small, character driven movies.


Favorite TV Show?


As of a year or so ago, I don’t own a TV. It was the best gift I gave myself during election season.


Favorite Seattle Performing Arts Organization?


The contemporary dance company Whim W’him! They never repeat anything. All their performances are one-offs, so if you miss it, you’ve missed it. They’re season starts this weekend with the choreographic shindig where the dancers pick the choreographers they want to work with. I believe it’s the only company in the country that does something like it.

I also love everything ArtsWest puts on, but find it tough to get out there.


Favorite music?

It’s always something I just discovered. The surprise of discovering something and realizing this beautiful art was out there waiting for you, and you just had to look for it. Currently it’s Odesza.


What are you currently reading?


Tears We Cannot Stop – A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson. It’s intense because it is having to confront things I haven’t seen, that makes me feel bad that I never saw it. It makes me confront my privileged as a white man.


Favorite ZUM class?


Used to take classes all the time, but private training ended up working better for my schedule. Now that I’m retired, I look forward to exploring classes again.


Favorite exercise/movement? 


The one I didn’t think I could do. Lately, I’ve surprised myself with the mobility around my artificial knee.


Is there anything else you want to share about your ZUM experience?

I come back to community. The more members I meet, the more staff I interact with, the richer the experience seems. Take advantage of the that – reach out and engage!



Thank You, Lydia!

team, trainer, seattle, ZUM, fitness


After almost 12 years on the ZUM team, Lydia Zwiebel is saying goodbye to embark the next chapter of her career – a Shoreline-based training and outdoor class business of her own, Outshine Fitness. We will miss having Lydia’s talent and positive energy at ZUM, but know she’s going to rock Outshine Fitness! Upon hearing Lydia was departing, I sat down with her to learn more about her time at ZUM, what she’ll miss most, and what the future holds. I hope you enjoy a little time with Lydia as much as I did.


How did you first find your way to ZUM?


I was a trainer in Seattle working at a spinal cord injury clinic in Redmond and getting really tired of the commute, so I stared looking at other places. I was totally intrigued by ZUM and the sand pit. I was really nervous during my interview and while training Molly, but it was super fun. Once I was on the team, I felt like I was instantly welcomed into a family by the house trainers, members, front desk staff, yoga instructors – everybody,


You’ve played a lot of different roles and taught a variety of classes over the years, right?


Yeah, I was a house trainer for years before becoming an independent contractor. I started out teaching cycling, playing a lot of hard rock during my rides. As I recall, Bronwen was not a fan. 🙂  I also taught Body Definitions. Then there was Ski and Snowboarding Conditioning which was super fun! I developed Paddle Power too – long before paddle boarding was trendy. I rented long boards and we met in Madison Park for a dry land training followed by paddling around Lake Washington on surfboards. Then I led a stand up paddle board class in Ballard too.


So awesome! I forget sometimes that you’re super bad-ass and into surfing and other cool things. 


Ha! Yeah, I’ve always super active and found myself drawn to less-traditional sports like BMX bike racing, soccer, skiing, snowboarding, and surfing. It was my passion for movement and physical activity that lead me to pursue training. It’s my love of the outdoors that’s inspired the development of my new business – Outshine Fitness.


Tell us more about Outshine Fitness!


We’re so lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest where we can be outside 12 months out of the year and enjoy the diversity of all four seasons. I want to encourage people to appreciate that and soak it in while working out outside, so Outshine Fitness will primarily focus on year-round, outdoor, high intensity interval classes. I’m hoping people will embrace the spirit of adventure and be open to experiencing the added benefits of working out outside – cleansing fresh air and connecting with the elements and nature.


Sounds incredible! We really excited for you, but really sad to see you go! You must have a lot funny stories and fond memories of ZUM after 12 years. Would you share a few with us?


One of the funniest things I can remember was one time when a member forgot her workout pants, but that wasn’t going to stop her getting her workout in. She walked right up to the cardio loft (in the old space) in just her underwear. I could not stop laughing. I told Joe, who ended up approaching her and telling her we have a lost and found full of clothes she would be more than welcome to borrow. I loved the way we handled it as a team…and that she was comfortable enough at ZUM to just workout in underwear.


Another thing I loved was on Fridays we used to have monthly all-staff workouts. They could be anything – yoga with Cosetta, hip hop with Brian Bucsit, movement with Elia. They’d bring in people from the outside too for things like gyrotonics or break dancing. For the Hawaiian themed ZUM Games, we learned a traditional Hawaiian slap dance and performed it for all the members. That was amazing.


One of my all-time favorite ZUM memories is from the Western-themed ZUM Games. Our manager at the time somehow arranged for a mechanical bull to be at ZUM as the final challenge for the top qualifying teams. 2 guys I trained were among the top teams and got to ride the mechanical bull. They got bucked off right away and blamed me for insufficient core training. Apparently, my mechanical bull training was not up to snuff.


Such great memories! A lot has changed for you personally over your tenure at ZUM too.


Yeah, my life has changed a lot. I was dating my husband when I started at ZUM, but we bought a house, got engaged, got married, had two kids, and, most recently, our dog who’s been with it through it all just died. Quite a journey.


What will you miss most about ZUM?


The stand out thing for me is the people who make up ZUM: the members, the staff. It’s such an eclectic group – all kinds of people from all walks of life who all seem to have a common spirit, humor, and appreciation for movement and wellness. I know that’s what I’m going to miss most about ZUM.


As you begin this new chapter, what are you looking forward to the most? 


Getting outdoors, soaking up the beauty that’s around us here in the Pacific Northwest, and embodying the spirit of adventure! Less time commuting, less time in a car and more time to focus on what really matters like my family and practicing what I preach.