Get to Know the ZUM Team: Colin McClelland

 

 

Welcome to the ZUM Team, Colin! It’s awesome to have a dedicated Weightlifting Personal Fitness Coach to help members navigate this dynamic, often misunderstood practice. I find it really interesting how people find their way to becoming a lifter. What’s your story?

 

I grew up in Austin and played a lot of basketball and soccer, as well as practiced martial arts. It was through martial arts during college at UCLA that I discovered Weightlifting. My instructor was also a personal trainer and started training Olympic lifts with a prestigious European coach as a way to become more explosive. So I followed suit and started training with him at the UCLA Athletic Center and/or my friend’s garage 3 or 4 days a week. That was back in 2005 or 2006, so I’ve been training over 10 years now.

 

So what does your training look like now?

 

When I moved back to Austin after completing my Philosophy degree at UCLA (yeah, I wasn’t really thinking practically about that one – but hey, I really enjoyed it and it was super interesting to me), I found an amazing coach with an impressive pedigree, Amalia Litras at GrassIron Fitness, and I continued my training her. I still train with her actually.

 

Oh wow! How does that work? 

 

There’s an art to coaching more seasoned lifters, and I really like her, so she gives me remote coaching. I videotape myself once a week doing the competition lifts, and I get feedback. I try to compete twice a year. Together, Amalia and I structure my programming between competition and strength mesocycles.

 

 

I’m guessing that means your decision to join ZUM as a member was all about the lifting platform then, huh? 

 

Yeah, pretty much. I came to Seattle for work in December 2013. I was looking for a gym that had bumper plates, but I didn’t want to lift at a crossfit box. ZUM was close to home and convenient. The rest is history.

However, whenever I’m eyeing up a gym, I’m looking at the trainer certifications. At ZUM, there’s a highly-certified, incredibly knowledgeable training team, so that was something that attracted me to ZUM as well.

 

And now you’re part of that team! What made you want to get certified to coach Olympic Weightlifting?

 

I had a taken an Art of Weightlifting course with Ursula Papandrea. She’s the only female Level 5 USA Weightlifting Coach among other impressive credentials. That sort of lite a fire in me to pursue a certification. I wanted to understand the mechanics of the lifts better. And I’m of the philosophy “no one book; no one teacher,” so I think it’s good to get exposure to different points of view and opinions on whatever the subject matter is. I knew a lot about Olympic lifting, but it’s so technical and there are a lot of body types and a lot of considerations, things that work better for some and others and there are also differences in programming styles culturally – Bulgarian, Soviet, Chinese. I wanted to learn as much as I could!

 

Why coach and teach others?

 

It’s something I really enjoy doing and something I think I’m good at. I taught martial arts as well. Olympic lifts are so technical it’s very mentally engaging there’s always something to think about and refine with clients. We’re constantly navigating the pursuit of perfection that’s always just out of reach except for those very few times when you might hit a PR (personal record).

 

Let’s go back to basics for a second. What are we talking about when we say “Olympic Lifts”?

 

Weightlifting is technically the proper term, but most people know it as Olympic Weightlifting. There are 3 lifts judged on the competition platform: the Clean, the Jerk, and the Snatch. The Clean and Jerk is combined into one movement to get the bar to the Jerk position, but technically they’re separate lifts.

Then there are dozens of accessory and assistance lifts designed to make the clean and jerk and snatch better. So when we train, we often we look to exercises that fix problems with technique and translate the most to the Olympic Lifts. Things like deadlifts don’t really transfer because they are slower and use different muscle fiber. But power cleans, partial cleans, back squats, front squats, shoulder presses are great.

 

In a session with you could people expect to work on those movements in addition to the full lifts?

 

The first thing I do with clients is go through mobility assessment. Most people are tight somewhere. They’ve been sitting at desks all day and have thoracic tightness, shoulder tightness, hips, ankles, etc. We’ll work exercises to increase mobility and flexibility in these area first with the goal being able to move in to the lift progressions. Of course, we break those down into components first too. So no one is going to jump straight into a full Clean or full Snatch.

 

Are you saying there’s more to Weightlifting than just strength?

 

Absolutely! There’s 3 main components of lifting – strength, technique and the mental component. All three have to be dialed in for success. You have to have the strength to lift the weight, the technique to move the bar efficiently and accelerate and receive it into position, and the mental focus and confidence that you’re picking up a weight and you’ll be able to receive it and make the lift. When you’re pulling the bar off the floor in the first part of the lift, it feels like it takes forever, but you’ve got to trust it.

Olympic Lifting is unique because unlike power lifting or body building, you’re not necessarily building size and bulking up, so you don’t have to worry about that as much. There’s a lot of coordination and flexibility required too. You’re creating a firing sequence. How explosively can the nervous system fire and make the muscles contract in a very specific ordered sequence? If anything along that chain misfires or fires at the wrong time – then the lift is over.

 

 

What do you love most about Olympic Lifting?

 

The technical aspect is absolutely what I love about it. That, and it’s a very efficient way to workout. It’s compound movements using fast-twitch muscle fibers and can benefit anything you need to be explosive in – any sport from the hips in a golf swing to sprinting to martial arts.

 

So any athlete can benefit from Olympic Lifting?

 

Any athlete, yes, or just any body because of the flexibility requirements. Most people I know, myself included, couldn’t put a broomstick overhead with a wide grip and squat all the way down with it, so it’s a great way to work on flexibility in addition to strength.

 

I couldn’t agree more! I love it! But now let’s learn a little more about you! What’s something interesting about you that people may not know?

 

I was an actor – television and movies, but mostly television.

 

Cool! Anything we would have seen you in?

 

Scrubs, Navy NCIS, American Dreams, Seventh Heaven, Cold Case, The Rules of Attraction.

 

Favorite tv show?

 

Black Mirror
Arrested Development
It’s Always Sunny…

 

Favorite movies?

 

Could Atlas – there’s so much going on, so much you have to figure out on your own. There’s like 6 story lines. Kind of like Magnolia. That’s another good one, but it’s kind of dated.

Let’s see, I need a comedy too. I’m such a dork, but I’ve gotta go with Hot Tub Time Machine.

 

But it’s delightful! I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed that movie.

 

Ok! Me too! Really surprised.

 

Favorite music?

 

90’s hip hop and rap – old-school stuff

 

Favorite post-workout fuel?

 

Protein shake.

 

Favorite movement/exercise?

 

The snatch, of course. It’s the most elegant and athletic thing you can do with a barbell.

Thinking about that, Olympic lifting is very ying and yang. The snatch is very elegant, the clean and jerk is more powerful/brutish.

 

Any final thoughts or words of advice?

 

I like Dan John’s approach to lifting, he’s a well known strength and fitness coach who has 4 main principles:

  1. Pick heavy stuff up off the ground and put it over your head.
  2. Pick heavy stuff up off the ground and carry for distance.
  3. Do compound movements.
  4. The body is one piece.

 

 

 

 

 

Meet February’s Members of the Month: Amy Leigh Morgan & Trevor Smith

Member of Month Amy Trevor ZUM Fitness community Seattle workout why

 

It may not be an old adage, but we think there has to be some truth to the idea that the couple who works out together, stays together, so we thought it would be fun to showcase a ZUM couple as our February members of the month! Meet Amy Leigh Morgan and Trevor Smith!

If you’re a lunch-time class attendee, you undoubtedly have seen Amy and Trevor getting their sweat on and then sharing some quiet time together afterwards. It might be surprising to know these two sweet, awesome people are self-proclaimed “non-joiners” who had never taken a group fitness class prior to ZUM. Read on to find out what made the difference for them at ZUM and enjoy their banter on their delightful observations about ZUM over the years like the shocking amount of squat and lunge variations that exist. We hope you enjoy learning more about Amy and Trevor, their stories, and the benefits they’ve experienced working out together at ZUM.

 

It’s so fun to you feature you two as a couple as our February members of the month! When I think about ZUM couples, my mind goes straight to you two sitting on boxes chatting after class. It’s always so sweet. I can’t remember though, did you join together? 

 

A: I started first, and Trevor joined shortly after.

T:  We actually hadn’t been together very long. I feel like ZUM was a big part of us meshing as a couple.

 

That’s the cutest. Ok, interview over. Kidding! That’s pretty gutsy to join together early on in a relationship. I always say a relationship must be getting serious if a member invites their partner to join them at ZUM. 

 

A: Yeah, that’s pretty hard core.

T: Honestly, it was kinda a bigger deal than inviting each other to meet our parents.

A: Yeah, that only lasts for a little bit. Gyms…that’s like all the time.

T: Parents are transient. The gym is forever.

 

Too funny! Amy, what was your experience with fitness before ZUM?

 

A: I went to this super weird little strip mall gym in Bothell before moving to Seattle. It was 24 hours, so I got an access card and there was never anyone there – no trainers – just a room with machines and treadmills. I’d go there in the middle of the night and would just do weightlifting on the machines. I had my little circuit I would do 3 or 4 times a week – sometimes more.

 

Trevor, in the past when I’ve asked you this, you mentioned that you “don’t remember the dark days before ZUM,” but what was your pre-ZUM fitness experience? 

 

T: I was a long distance runner. I ran all through college. A few years before Amy and I met, I was training for half marathons. Never got the urge to do a full.  A half is fun because you feel like you achieved something, but you didn’t ruin your body.

 

Ah-ha! See, you were thinking like a ZUM member even before you were a ZUM member. 

 

A: I know, right?

T: But my knees were starting to become problematic.

A: Yeah, your knees were starting to make that noise.

T: Yeah, they made a bad noise -like a crunchy, snappy noise when I went up stairs. About the time Amy found out about ZUM, I knew I had to start to look for some other kind of activity. We started trying classes and that just worked for us.

 

I will always remember meeting you for the first time, Amy. You had this awesome, big furry hat on and such amazing energy. How did you first find ZUM? 

 

A: Oh, man! That was a really good hat!  ZUM was across the street from my job, and I was looking for something close. I hadn’t worked in an office or been on a schedule for a really long time. There was just a lot of structure that I hadn’t had in my life for like a decade or more, so I was trying to figure it all out.

At first, I just walked up and down stairs in my building during breaks, but that felt stupid after a while. So I went across the street because I saw this gym. They gave me the tour, but I remember being on the fence. I’d never done classes, and it felt sorta fancy. I like fancy, but I wasn’t sure I could afford it. I just didn’t know. Then I started my trial and was like, “oh this is amazing.”

 

So neither of you tried and true lunchtime class people had ever done classes before joining ZUM? 

 

A: No. We’re not really class people.

T: No, we’re not joiners.

A: We’re not joiners at all…at all.

 

So what was different at ZUM to make two self-proclaimed “non-joiners” opt in?

 

A: Part of it was the fact that our friends, Arlene and Laurion, who are long-time members, love it so much. I trust them completely, so I figured if they love it so much, and I love them so much, then it must be good. But, ultimately, I think it was just the trainers.

T: Yeah. They were grown-ass professionals.

A: Totally! Grown-ass professionals. I had done a trial at another gym in the area, and it was the worst experience. Everyone was really young. It felt careless and very rote like they were listening to me or paying attention to me or my body or what I wanted at all. And it was a continuous up-sell to a personal training package. Everything about it was gross.

Then I went to ZUM. I loved that everyone in the classes was an adult – the members and the trainers. The trainers were were so thoughtful, especially Derek. I loved that in every class they gave a million variations. Like here’s the next thing we’re going to do, and here’s 3 different levels of intensity from here’s what you do “if don’t think you can’t do anything at all” to “if you’re Sheena,” here’s the extreme version. That felt real sweet. I never felt less than or dumb or intimidated. It always felt fun.

T: Honestly, I love the trainers. They are definitely the core piece for me. In addition to just being pros and super knowledgeable, when they saw something was problematic in my body, like with my knees or posture or something, they were always willing to take a few moments after class to converse with me, but also to tell me what I could do to start a longer program.

A: But for yourself, right? It was never like, “oh, you should come work with me for $xxx”; rather pay attention to yourself for yourself.

T: Right. Like, here’s a thing you’re struggling with. Oftentimes I wouldn’t have even clued into the fact, but at soon as they said it, I was like “oh my god, that’s totally it.” Then they’d offer to meet and work on it. It never up-selling thought. It was always for some fitness goal, which I really appreciated.

 

So, it’s safe to say what you like best about ZUM is the trainers, yes? 

 

A: And the other members. I love that people go to ZUM for…ever. I want to go to ZUM forever. I get to work out with a ton of people who feel like my family – like my gym family. And they’ve been going there longer than me. When somebody new comes in, I always think “oh, I hope you like it! I want you to think this is awesome.”

Similar to what Trevor was saying, it’s very clear that there’s no agenda behind ZUM besides giving me information that will help me do what I want to do better. Nobody pushes me to have goals if I don’t want them. I love that I’ve been coming to Derek’s Monday class for like 6 years and never once has he been like “you should step it up.” I’m in control.

 

You must have some underlying goals though, right? 

 

T: Amy and my goal has always been to have fitness be a lifestyle where we enjoy going and we feel better. It’s never wanting to bench a certain amount or run this fast or anything like that.

A: Yeah, there’s not an endgame.

T: They’re not achievement goals; they’re lifestyle goals. I feel ZUM is perfectly set up for that. If you want a fitness lifestyle where it’s part of your life and just some numbers on a card, then ZUM is for you.

A: If you want to get goal oriented, you can. But with a lot of classes the focusing on mobility and functionality in your daily life, ZUM is beautifully tailored to help you keep moving and stay functional, especially as you age.

It was super alarming the first time my hips didn’t feel right just from life. You know, like I slept weird on my side, and now I’m going to walk awkwardly for 2 days? I mean what kind of old person sh*t is that? That’s horrifying!! But it’s part of life, and ZUM keeps you going.

 

Speaking of that, Trevor, you’ve had some injuries that have taken you away from ZUM. How are things going?

 

T: It’s been rough. First, I took a new job which made it really tough to make it in for lunchtime classes since it ends up being about 2 hours away from work. Then I also realized I have some odd heart behavior. That, combined with low-back pain, put me on the sidelines for ZUM for a while. I had great support mitigating my back pain and avoiding injury at ZUM working one-on-one with Joe and getting great adjustments in classes, but I had one bad sciatica episode that just kinda took me out.

Honestly, being away from ZUM has been a little hard on our relationship. As you mentioned, one part of our workout routine was having 15 minutes of cool-down time together after our workout. Not having that time in the middle of the day is a huge bummer for us. We miss it. I’m continuously trying to figure out how I can get an office downtown, so I can make lunchtime classes more viable again.

 

Amy Trevor cool-down member month February ZUM Fitness Seattle gym why communityI always loved catching a glimpse of you two during your cool-down time. If it’s not too personal, what is that time about for you two, and what are benefits you experience by having this shared experience? 

 

A: Well, first there’s just the shared endorphin state afterwards, right? There’s something nice about knowing you’ve been through this together. It’s also a re-set. If you start out like grumpy in the morning or disconnected or static-y, then you go and work out. You’re literally syncing up during a class being in the same space, doing the same motions. Then just sitting together in a nice, relaxed, post-workout state. It’s just a great way to connect with each other and be like, “oh right, this is who we are.”

T: Amy is a night owl and I am a morning person, so that mid-day 15 minutes was often the only time together we were both fully awake, and we’d just worked out, so we felt great. It was a dedicated time and some days it was really the only time we could connect. Between raising a kid and working and all the other stuff we do, we’re busy. So, that was a non-trivial piece of time for us.

A: Yeah, for sure. There’s something fun about both being sore in the same places from the same workout and being able to commiserate together.

 

I know you guys aren’t super motivated by achievement-oriented goals, but what have been your greatest accomplishments since joining? 

 

T: I’ve felt awesome for 5 years.

A: Yeah, I’m healthier and stronger than I’ve ever been in my life. Considering I’m almost 50, that feels pretty rad. The fact that I can sprint to the bus and not die – that’s awesome. Yup, being able to run for things when I’m late is my biggest achievement.

 

Yes! Training for life, right? What would you say to someone who is new to ZUM or thinking about joining?

 

A: Show up. Just keep going. I’m always trying to get people to join ZUM. Just show up. It’s an awesome re-set in the middle of my workday. Sh*t that’s gotten blown way out of proportion, things that I’ve had way too many extreme emotions about that don’t matter at all – I get to let it all go. I work out, change locations, see people who’s interest in me is not based on anything that I can do for them.

T: When people ask me what works for me, the thing I always try to tell them is see if you can make it as much of a part of your upkeep as eating and sleeping. You don’t eat or sleep with goals – they’re just part of your life. If you can pick fitness up and treat it as such opposed to “I need to look good for bikini season” or whatever, you may have more success. Those people reach the goal and then what? I feel like ZUM gives you the ability to mix fitness into your life like eating and sleeping as a part of life.

 

What’s something interesting about you that we might not know? 

 

A: Well, I’m a certified hypnotherapist, so that’s weird.

 

But awesome. Trevor?

 

T: I make virtual worlds.

 

Ok…also awesome. What’s your guilt pleasure? 

 

A: Cheetos popcorn.

 

Did you say “Cheetos popcorn”? I didn’t know Cheetos made popcorn. 

 

A: Yeah, girl. Cheetos does not make popcorn, but the movie theater does. Regal Meridian movie theaters basically pours Cheetos into popcorn.

T: It’s not just that though. They put the powder in to the popcorn, so the popcorn tastes like Cheetos and then there’s Cheetos in it.

 

Wow – who knew? Sounds like quite the savory treat. And your’s Mr. Smith?

 

T: You took the good one. I like shredded wheat before bed. Not the mini ones – the kind you could make into a raft if you needed.

 

Ha! Nice. Favorite movie?

 

T: What’s the one with Johnny Depp?

 

A: Oh yeah!! Mortdecai! It’s an ensemble film from a couple years ago. So funny! It was panned.

T: Everyone hated it, but we loved it. Very controversial.

A: It’s so good! Totally like a Peter Sellers 1970’s wacky comedy. It’s so funny. We should watch it again.

 

Favorite TV shows?

 

T: Blackish

A: Blackish is a big favorite. And The Magicians. It’s really good – fantasy and sarcastic teen drama – basically Harry Potter for the CW.

 

Favorite music?

 

T: I don’t really listen to music.

 

That’s cool. How about podcasts?

 

T: Yeah, l like news podcasts and the BBC. The Bugel – John Oliver’s old podcast. Amy Leigh listens to a lot of music.

A: A lot of music. Spotify has sort of ruined me for knowing what music I’m listening to. I just listen to my “Discover Weekly” playlist. However, thanks to Spotify, I have been getting into African pop music.

 

So you have eclectic taste. Do you have a go-to happy song?

 

A: I have been listening to this one song, let me find it…

T: Tiny Dancer

A: Hahaha! Yeah, Tiny Dancer. No, this song right now is at the top of my cheer me up playlist – Cash Machine by D.R.A.M. I really love this song.

 

You both strike me as readers. Favorite books?

 

A: Oh yeah, big readers.

T: We both like The Expanse series.

A: I just read a really beautiful book I think everyone should read called All the Crooked Saints. Lovely.

T: What’s Brene Brown’s book?

A: Oh yeah! The Gifts of Imperfection.

T: Anything by Brene Brown.

 

Favorite ZUM class?

 

A: Oh, that’s too hard!

T: Don’t make us choose! Anything at lunch.

A: Yeah, anything at lunch…expect spinning.

 

Favorite movement?

 

T: Woodchopper.

A: I don’t know. That’s really hard. There’s some that I hate so much, but then afterwards I like.

T: Bear crawl, box push…

A: Star jumps. I hate star jumps so much.

T: Tony Moses…

A: Yeah, Tony Moses on star jumps, “you can rest in the air…” Motherf-er….

T: He actually said that to us. Our other favorite Tony Moses quote we use all the time is, “You gotta get right for pumpkin pie”!

A:: Yeah, that was a pre-Thanksgiving workout. “You gotta get right for gravy”!

I do love a good clean and press.

T: One thing we remark on a lot is just how many kinds of squats and lunges there are.

A: So many kinds!

T: We had no idea.

A: It was shocking.

T: There is an infinite universe of variations of squats and lunges.

A: Oh no! Now I’m going to do it sideways on one leg over and over again. Sh*t!

 

It’s so true. Is there anything else you want to share about ZUM and your experience?

 

A: I really like having Aveda in the dressing rooms. I’m just going to reinforce that. That’s great. The dressing room amenities in general alone are worth the membership.

I also really like all the random toys all over ZUM, and how much people are encourage to go do weird sh*t. I love how many unique things you can go in and see people doing – like Steven or Zane doing their thing. When I first started there was a circus person doing her hand work. I’d come in and there’d be a woman balancing on one arm. Um, #workoutgoals. Or like Nicholas who balance-walks up the stair-rails. I love all of that. Or even how you guys are totally cool with Blake and I doing our kick boxing thing. Oh you want to spar? Cool, just sign a waiver. It’s awesome.