Posts by: Derek Butler

Derek Butler

Why I Enjoy and Embrace Exercise When I Vacation


(How to Love Dumbbells in Costa Rica)

I need a break. So do you, right? We all have a desire–no, a duty–to our souls and bodies to rest and recover. The stress that everyday life brings us builds until it’s far too painfully obvious that we would benefit from some time away. I inevitably look forward to getting away, preferably to a tropical spot, and just sitting. Sleeping. Reading. Eating and drinking. Meeting new people. Listening to music. And exercising.

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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.


Group Ex at ZUM – A Thoughtful Approach


“Fitness is not about being better than someone else…It’s about being better than you used to be.”


I have no idea who said that, but turns out it’s a major driver of the philosophy of not only ZUM’s fitness training, but also our group exercise offerings.  Our focus is on helping you identify your weaknesses, no matter how slight they may seem, and building them so they become strengths.


Our classes are creative, thoughtful, and especially diverse in their approach and goals!  This diversity is central to producing a well-rounded ideal of fitness that strives to reduce or eliminate the pain or ability-derived compromises many of us feel we have to make in day-to-day or athletic endeavors.


Having watched how members have used our classes over the last 15 years, I can confidently say I’ve witnessed the most success when they’ve frequented a variety of classes, as opposed to consistently attended only 1 or 2.


Have I got the point across yet??  We want you to utilize as great a variety of our classes as you can – Best part: they’re free with your ZUM membership!


We do our best to structure the class schedule so you have diverse offerings that, combined, will give you a well-rounded stimulus.  This diversity will allow you to recover more effectively, and make your body feel stronger over time, not run down.


I’ve compiled a few sample weekly-class plan suggestions that you can utilize no matter what time you tend to come in to ZUM.

Type-A.M. Crowd

  • Monday – Yoga w/Biola @ 7:00am – A great way to get in touch with your body to start the week.
  • Tuesday – Hardcore w/Joe @ 6:30am – Find your center, and move in all of the fundamental planes.
  • Wednesday – Cycling w/Liz @ 6:30am – A nice a.m. ride with Liz’s sweet and gentle encouragement…not really.
  • Thursday – Rest – This is your trainer speaking…

Choose option A or B – Do what feels right for your body.

Option A

  • Friday – Push/Pull/Power w/Erik @ 7:30am (Just what the name says – Apply force, build strength.
  • Saturday – Go for a walk outside or rest
  • Sunday – Yoga w/Molly – A little challenge with your ZEN??

Option B

  • Friday – Yoga w/Julie – Gentle, focused, and imperative.
  • Saturday – Weigh Crazy w/Tony – Time to push a bit in this advanced class that focuses on Olympic and weight-lifting fundamentals.
  • Sunday – R E S T

Mid-day Break Crowd

  • Monday – TRX Strong w/Mary @ 1:10pm – All about results. Mary will push you by using everything at her disposal to improve your function and strength.
  • Tuesday – (Mo)bility w/Mo @ 12:30pm – Gain dynamic flexibility and body awareness while you encourage your body to get ready for the next challenge.
  • Wednesday Yoga w/Annie @ 12:00pm – Om….
  • Thursday – Cycling and Abs w/Liz @ 12:00pm – Pretty self explanatory.
  • Friday – Pilates w/Mo @ 11:00am – Re-establish and strengthen your core stability.
  • Saturday – Weigh Crazy w/Tony Moses – Get up a bit early and move with Tony M!
  • Sunday – R E S T

Rush hour – Evening Crew

  • Monday – K.O. w/Kellsie @ 5:20pm – Boxing skills from a ring veteran. Fun for all levels.
  • Tuesday – Pilates w/Wade @ 6:30pm – Strength and Core focus. You can’t go wrong.
  • Wednesday – P.E. 101 w/Jordan @ 5:30pm – Focus on the fun in fundamentals. Games, challenges, and a little competition.
  • Thursday – Hardcore w/Jordan @ 5:30pm
  • Friday – Outlast w/Sierra @ 5:30pm – Challenges, games, movement, Sierra.
  • Saturday – R E S T – Your body needs and deserves it.
  • Sunday Yoga w/Molly @ 9:30am – Bo(OM).


If you’d like a more personalized approach to your class and workout programming, reach out to me at  I would be happy to answer questions or set you up with a trainer to give you some advice on which classes to take, and how to integrate them into your fitness program.


Remember, almost everyone’s goal is to become stronger, not to beat yourself down – they are not one in the same.  Make sure your workload reflects this.