Meet December’s Member of the Month – Shavonne Tate

ZUM, member, December, community, Seattle, gym, fitness,


Have you ever met someone who just radiates and makes you smile every time you see them? Our December Member of the Month Shavonne Tate is definitely one of those people!  Shavonne joined ZUM a little over a year ago after relocating from Chicago. She’s been an awesome addition to our community – always putting in a lot of effort in classes and on the gym floor and not afraid to acknowledge and encourage the others’ hard work too!

It’s hard to believe that not too long ago, Shavonne was overweight and knew very little about fitness. Through grit and determination, she made some big changes in her life that have had made a big impact. We guarantee you will be inspired by Shavonne’s fitness journey and love getting to know her in this interview. She’s as authentic and hilarious as they come. Enjoy!


First off, tell us about how your fitness journey began, Shavonne!


My fitness journey began when I was 208 pounds back in Chicago in 2011. My boss, who was overweight too, went to a health camp for two weeks, and I was inspired to create my own mini weight-loss challenge in the office – complete with a weigh-in station in the employee kitchen and everything. I was super serious about it.

I just started by walking. I would walk home from work about 2 miles. I also started changing how I ate. I would walk to Trader Joe’s to pick up a kale salad for lunch and back again. Just by making these simple changes, the weight started to come off. I lost about 10 pounds in a month!

I love food, so when I started to eat the way I used to, I put on weight again. Immediately, I realized I needed to find something that I liked and would keep me motivated to keep moving. I found a Groupon for Crossfit studio literally walking distance from my apartment. I knew nothing about Crossfit – nothing. There were no intro classes. I just jumped right in – a team WOD (workout of the day) nonetheless. I was put on the team with the boot-camp style trainer. I hated her. That workout ended with me in tears and almost getting sick, but I don’t like to be defeated, so I went back and tried it again. It was so hard, and I hated every minute of it, but I kept going back again and again. I ended up loving that boot-camp trainer the supportive community. Four months into it (while eating well too), I had lost 44 pounds. I felt stronger, my body changed – I couldn’t believe it! I ended up doing Crossfit for 3 years in Chicago. I only stopped when I moved here.


Is that when you joined ZUM?


My office has a small gym, so I didn’t join right away. I wanted to lose some weight and get healthy again, but found I really needed community and support to stay motivated. I searched gyms in the area and discovered ZUM.


What made you choose ZUM as your new fitness home? 


It was really the great care and coaching I got from Joe and Jordan – along with the great community.

I was dealing with a back injury from an old accident that was aggravated by the 20 pounds I’d gained back. I met Joe, explained to him what my issues with my back, and he knew exactly what was going on and how to help. It was amazing. He gave me one thing to correct on my form, and it made all the difference. I don’t have any pain in my back when I workout anymore.

After meeting Joe, I just fell in love with him. He’s the sweetest guy – he’s like Uncle Joe. For real. All of you guys – Jordan, Joe, Rick, Tony, Derek – everybody makes sure they know people. You know our names and make sure we don’t get lost in the shuffle. If we need help, everyone is there no matter what. Rick was even giving me career advice the other day. Joe will see me move a certain way and offer a correction. Jordan checks in every now and again to see how my back is doing. It’s just an amazing community. That’s what motivates me.


What results have you achieved since joining ZUM?


Being able to workout without the back pain is amazing. I don’t know how much, but I’ve definitely lost weight. My clothes are fitting differently and I feel better and stronger. I still do my best to make good choices in my diet, but I love food. I’m going to eat what I want to eat. I just try to be mindful. n

I’ve been able to shift to holding my self accountable for my own workouts and progress. When I first joined, I would take boxing and HardCore, and that was it. After getting back into a routine, I started to come in and workout 4 days a week. I’d incorporate some of the Crossfit lifting I’d learned, work on some of the movements that Joe and Jordan gave me, try workouts I find online – I just put in the work. And the result is seeing my body changing and strength coming back.


What do you like best about ZUM?


The best thing about ZUM is even if you’re working out by yourself, it still feels like a community. Trainers check in, other members are encouraging – everyone is supportive and roots each other on regardless if you’re in class or doing your own thing.

Not to mention everyone is so knowledgeable.  All the trainers are certified and have text-book training, but also lots of experience. But they are still growing, learning, open to being coached themselves, and supportive of one another. For example, I love that Joe takes Rick’s HardCore class.


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


I evangelized ZUM to a co-worker who recently joined. I told him what I like best about ZUM (other than the convenience, obviously) is that it’s a real community and everyone is so smart, so nice, so helpful and so supportive. And it’s everyone – the trainers, the instructors, the front desk – everyone!


Is there a fun fact about you we may not know?


Hmm…well, I can literally have a conversation with anyone. And I think I surprise people sometimes – my personality and my humor doesn’t match what they expect from my appearance. I’ve been told I have a serious look. Me? Serious? Oh, please!!

I love to sing and do karaoke. Love to rap. My go-to karaoke song is Drake’s Headline. Hip-hop is my favorite – I know a lot about hip-hop and music. Actually, I tried managing a singer in Chicago for a short while.

I’m scared of pigeons. (Who isn’t. I’m not fan of any birds.)

I’m pretty decent cook. Soul food is my specialty – baked mac n cheese and candied yams.


What is your guilty pleasure?


I love sweets. Chocolate cake is my favorite. There’s a restaurant in Chicago called Protillo’s. They use mayonnaise as an ingredient, but it’s the best chocolate cake ever. Then they came out with the cake shake where they put the cake in a chocolate shake – oh man.


Favorite tv show?


Cosby Show
Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Three’s Company

70’s, 80’s and 90’s sitcoms were the best! I literally binge watched All in the Family. That doggone Archie? He cracks me up! It’s so funny to me.


Favorite Movie?


Boss Baby is my favorite right now. A movie I can watch over and over again (and have) is Friday. It’s hilarious!!


Favorite Book?


There are No Children Here by Alex Kotlowitz. It’s the story is about two young boys forced to grow up too soon.


Favorite music?


Hip-hop. I like thoughtful, conscious hip-hop. Talib Kweli, Common, Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, 2Pac, Nas.


Favorite ZUM class?




Favorite movement or exercise?


The clean.


Heck, yes! A girl after my own heart. Any final thoughts for us?


One of the things I’ve come to learn from a good friend is to be comfortable with my decisions. For example, I say “I have back fat,” and my friend asks “do you like your back fat”? “No, I don’t like my back fat.” “Well what are you going to do to fix your back fat? If you don’t want to do anything to fix your back fat, that’s fine. If you want to fix your back fat, you have to do something.”

The point is to own every decision you make. If there’s something you want to do, do it. If you don’t do it, then be ok with not doing it – be ok with not changing.

If your goal is to get healthier, get healthier. But if you don’t, be ok with not being healthy.

Find balance in everything you do. Be ok with the decisions you make whether good or bad. And don’t talk; just do.

Oh, and the Golden Rule is the best thing ever created. That’s what I live by.


Meet November’s Member of the Month Erwin Park!

Barely a day goes by at ZUM without Erwin Park swinging into ZUM for a class. Whether it’s K.O, crossfit, Playground Express or whatever happens to fit into his schedule he rarely skips a day, but it wasn’t always that way. For a long time, he worked out on his own but found by joining classes and creating community, his workout schedule became more consistent and yielded better results. It’s pretty incredible to see someone who joined out of sheer convenience become such a great ZUM ambassador, so we wanted to learn more about Erwin and share his story as November’s Member of the Month. Enjoy!



First off tell us a little about yourself, Erwin!


I was born in New York, grew up in Puyallup, except for 2 years when I lived in Korea during my father’s 2-year sponsorship to teach falconry at the Air Force Academy. I studied chemistry at the UW, and after years working in commercial real estate, joined Madison Bay Commercial in 2016 and now own the firm. We do commercial real estate brokerage and strategy consulting.  It’s been really fun, but also challenging – in a good way.


How long have you been a ZUM member?


I thought I joined in 2011, but my photo on the slideshow says 2010, so I guess about 7 years!


When you started back in 2010, what made you need or want to join?


Honestly, convenience. My fitness fluctuates based on how easy it is to get to the gym. I was working across the street when ZUM moved in to it’s current location, and I thought, “Cool! I’ll go there.” It was hard to beat the convenience of a gym across the street. Then I got sucked in.


What was it that sucked you in?


Convenience. Haha! Seriously though, the coaches and community.

I started out strong coming everyday for about a month, and then it dropped down to once or twice a month. Back then I’d work out on my own at 5 AM and really only interacted with Tony Moses and Olivia because they were the only staff there during those hours. Eventually, I started taking classes which created community. It was the community that really helped me get back into a solid routine after years of sporadic workouts.

Its really helped with my skiing, hiking, and the occasional happy hour. 😉


What results have you achieved since joining ZUM?


I didn’t join with a goal in mind, but I can definitely tell a significant increase in strength and energy. I could barely do a pull-up and now I can!  Not to mention the friendships I’ve made over the years. It’s the community factor that keeps me at ZUM. But more than anything, I think my greatest achievement has been the mental assurance if someone invites me to go for a run, hike, or other outdoor activities I can agree without hesitation. I get to live life to the fullest. That’s way bigger and better than being able to do pull-ups now.


I love how multidimensional your achievements have been – so awesome! But about those pull-ups…I’m guessing taking VIRJ crossfit classes has really helped with those. What has your experience been with crossfit at ZUM?


First of all, all the coaches are very careful and constantly correcting form to make sure you won’t get injured. They’re also great at encouraging you to push yourself and challenge what you think you’re capable of – in a safe way while listening to your body, of course. That’s not exclusive to crossfit though – that’s how ZUM approaches fitness in general. It’s just a different class format.


What do you like best about ZUM?


The people – the community. I hear a lot of people say that, so it sounds cliche to say, but it is what it is. I guess if a lot of people say it, there’s a got to be truth to it.


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


Just keep showing up. People are friendly. If you show up open to connecting, you’ll find community at ZUM too.

In addition, no matter what fitness level you’re at, the team at ZUM makes you feel comfortable, so you’ll keep coming back and progressing. Sometimes it can be hard to take that first step; there can be a sort of hesitation, which is totally understandable. But ZUM allows you to feel comfortable and encourages you no matter where you are in your fitness journey.


Is there a fun fact about you we may not know?


Oh so many things…

I have a phobia of amusement park rides. I don’t know where it came from; it’s just a thing. But give me a pair of skis and I’m all in – go figure.

I’m on the board for Urban Artworks – a non-profit which commissions public art throughout the cities (like the utility boxes) partnered with the juvenile court system, and I’ve volunteered 11 years once a week with Community for Youth, a Seattle high school youth mentor-ship program.

Also, I meditate every morning. I get everything ready to go, set my time for 10 minutes, meditate and then head out the door. I’ve become a more centered person. It’s been life changing. I experience fewer ups and downs and can go with the flow a lot more than before.  About a year ago, I had a conversation about how it makes sense to “workout your mind” the same way you workout your body, and I’ve been doing it ever since.


What is your guilty pleasure?


Moosetracks ice cream. The Safeway brand for now because it’s the only place I can find it consistently available.


Favorite tv show?


Game of Thrones is a given.
Vice News
Anything on the History Channel – also a guilty pleasure


Favorite Movie?


The Rock is a classic. The music score makes it.


Favorite Book?


The Malcolm Gladwell series – Blink, David & Goliath, and The Tipping Point. He makes you think.

However growing up, I think I read Robinson Crusoe 100 times. I loved that book!


Favorite music?


Whatever fits my mood at the time. It can be any genre. I actually listen to the radio a lot.


Favorite ZUM class?


Crossfit, K.O., and Playground Express!


Favorite movement or exercise?


No, they’re all miserable. I’d say push-ups.


Any final thoughts for us?


There was a quote on the wall about Kaizen – making small steps to make incremental changes. That resonated with me. That’s how I like to approach change and growth for myself and also kind of reflects my journey at ZUM. Progressing from someone who joined out of convenience, to someone who now works out 5-6 times a week and meditates daily. It’s all part of the journey.


Meet October’s Member of the Month – Renee Grant-Bluechel

zum member month october breast cancer

So many of our members have powerful stories about their fitness journeys and October’s Member of the Month is no exception!

Meet Renee Grant Bluechel! Renee has done a lot of awesome things in ther life – multiple Ragnar races and marathons, summiting Mt. Rainier, and even a stint as Chuck E. Cheese in college. Perhaps most amazing of all, she is a 2-time breast cancer survivor.

Renee sat down with me to chat about her ZUM experience and how her battle with cancer has impacted her approach to fitness and life. Her story is an inspiring one, well summarized by her final thoughts in this interview, “Don’t wait until tomorrow. Do it today.” Enjoy reading more about Renee.


When you first joined ZUM what made you want or need to join a gym?


I had just started working at Nordstrom. Not only was ZUM convenient, but it was an awesome, boutique-style gym where I could get personalized attention with fun classes in a cool atmosphere. Fitness is really important to me as a two-time breast cancer survivor. I battled breast cancer in my 20s and 30s. Those were really eye-opening experiences for me. Fitness has to be a priority, because I want to live a long, healthy life. I need to take every measure I can to build up my defenses and be the strongest person I can be. It really bothers  me when I see people when I see people aging riddled with aches and pains – I don’t want to be that person. I want to be 70 and running marathons. So I figure if I’m healthy and strong now, it’s only going to set me up for success in the long run.


So inspiring! Fitness has clearly been important to you for a long time, but what results have you achieved since joining ZUM?


Number one, fitness has never been about a size or a number on a scale for me. It’s about feeling healthy and good about myself. My best accomplishment has been feeling stronger and more confident as a person. On the physical side, I’ve been able to knock out more push-ups than some of the boys, summitted Mt Rainier, and completed ultra races like Ragnar.


Awesome! We’re super proud of your for your recent Rainier summit! Tell us more about it!


The first time I ever visited Seattle before I even moved here, I was struck by the beauty of Rainier and determined it was a hill I had to conquer. But I never trained for it. I’d never done any climbing or hiking of any sort. One day I decided, I want to do this before something happens down the road, and I don’t have the ability to do it anymore. I don’t want to look back and say “woulda, coulda, shoulda” when I was healthy. I decided this was the time, called up my friend Annie saying, “hey, let’s climb Rainier,” and she said “ok.”


What do you like best about ZUM?


At first I was going to say Derek because, he’s my trainer, but honestly, it’s everyone at ZUM – all the trainers, all the staff. Everyone makes me feel so welcome. It’s like you’re my friends – you know my name and you care. And not just about me – about everyone. You care about everyone and make everyone feel welcome.

That’s the environment I’m really looking for. I’ve joined a lot of gyms in the past, and there’s a lack of personalization and community. I feel like I know everyone at ZUM – the staff, as well as the members who come in when I do. I at least know people’s faces, and we can smile at each other on the gym floor, wave at each other on the street, talk to each other if standing in line. There’s an automatic bond.

ZUM’s my happy place. If I’ve had a bad day or a bad week, I can come in and let that stress go and unwind, I’m always more mentally energized when I leave.


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


Dive in! Take some classes and really enjoy yourself! Let loose. Don’t be afraid to fail, don’t be afraid to look stupid. No one is judging you. Everyone is there to support you. Taking classes at ZUM is like having your own personal trainer, because you get such focused, personalized attention – the corrections, the coaching – it’s really unparalleled to any gym I’ve ever been to.


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


I was Chuck E. at Chuck E Cheese during college. The costume was about 5,000 degrees, but that wasn’t the worst part. It’s a big mouse head with awkwardly placed eye holes, right? You have all these toddlers running up to your knees. You can’t hear them or see them, because you have tunnel vision, so Chuck E. starts walking and knocking over kids like they’re bowling pins. The kids are looking up at Chuck E. like “what did you do to me?” and Chuck E. isn’t supposed to talk, so Chuck E. has to mime “oops, clumsy me!” And it’s hard to do the YMCA in that outfit.


Hilarious! That is a super fun fact! I wish we had photos or videos of that! What is your guilty pleasure?


I believe in everything in moderation. I don’t deprive myself too often, but I will say it’s a toss up between Scotch and marathons of adventure reality shows like Alone. They drop these people out alone in the wilderness and see how long they last. It’s awesome.


On that note, favorite TV show?


  • Ballers
  • Ray Donnovan
  • Game of Thrones – but I fell way too far behind, so now I’m waiting for the series to end and binge the whole thing.


What’s your favorite movie?


People will make fun of me…The Wizard of Oz.


There is nothing wrong with that! Mine is The Sound of Music or My Fair Lady, so we can own our nerdiness together. 🙂 Favorite music? 


  • Grateful Dead – Touch of Grey
  • One Republic – I Live
  • One Republic – Good Life


Favorite book? 


I just read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – loved it! I love Born to Run. I’ve read it multiple times. There’s about 10 books on my night stand that I’ve started, but haven’t gotten to far into.


Favorite ZUM class? 


Derek’s Monday Xcelerate class is my absolute favorite, but it’s tough for me to make it. I also love Joe’s HardCore class on Tuesday nights, but I train during that time now, so I don’t get to take either of my favorite classes.


Favorite movement or exercise?


  • Push ups
  • Romanian Deadlifts


Any final thoughts for us?


Don’ wait until tomorrow. Do it today.

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.


Meet August’s Member of the Month – Neha Nariya

Member fo the Month, ZUM, Downtown Seattle, Fitness, Neha Nariya


Back when you first joined, what made you choose ZUM? 


I joined back in 2008! I had just moved back to Seattle from Philadelphia and was looking for new gym home. To be honest, the old ZUM location was really convenient for me, and I could walk there after work. However, I did shop around, and I really liked the culture and atmosphere at ZUM. Everyone was there to workout, but it wasn’t a meat market. It was all about where you are in your journey, not about everyone needing to look a certain way. And everyone was so nice. I was also looking for a gym with really good classes, because I’m not a self-motivated fitness person. I really loved ZUM’s classes and great instructors. It was a cool, unique space too!

After I got engaged, my fiance (now husband) Sandeap joined as well. A couple years later, my sister Nisha also joined.


Why do you work out?


Initially when I joined back in 2008, I wanted to maintain my physical body I’d worked so hard on with vigorous workouts in Philadelphia. I was absolutely able to do that at ZUM with classes and personal training. I trained with Lydia for years, Ren for a bit, and now Mo. Over the years, the reason I work out has changed. Now I workout because my body needs it. It’s about strengthening my body and getting a stress release, not about weight loss.


What results have you achieved since being at ZUM?


This is tough since I’ve been a member so long. Although it’s not a traditional “result,” something that’s really benefited me over the years at ZUM is the support I’ve felt at ZUM. It’s kept me motivated and moving forward. Regardless of where I was on my physical body journey, I’ve always felt supported at ZUM.


What do you like best about ZUM?


The people. The energy. Not going to lie, the locker rooms are amazing. The fact that there are Aveda products, keypad locks, and towels, so I don’t have to worry about bringing those things is huge! That may have swayed my decision to join back in the day. 🙂

But seriously, the people are awesome. The trainers are awesome. Everyone is really supportive. Trainers aren’t about the “hard sell.” They will help you modify a movement or correct your form in class or out on the gym floor whether you’re training with them or not. They really care about you.


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


It’s awesome! I would usually use the locker room sell first. But really, the classes are awesome, the people are awesome…and there are Aveda products in the locker room.


What’s a fun fact about you we may not know?


Well, Sandeap and I just had our first child, Devan! I think we may be the first ZUM members to be engaged, get married, and have a child while being consistent members. That’s kind of fun!

I’m a pretty good cook too. Sandeap and Nisha are always requesting my chole – an Indian chickpea dish.

I’m also a true Seattlite! We’re pretty rare these days. Along with being a Seattlite, I’m a huge Huskies fan – my whole family is! We’re excited to get Devan in on the fun this football season!


What’s your guilty pleasure?


Food? But l don’t feel guilty about that at all. Maybe binge watching shows on Netflix.


So what are you bingeing? What’s your favorite TV show?


Oh, there’s too many to choose! We’re breaking this down at least a little. For a comedy, Seinfeld is a classic. It’s hard to beat it. Curb Your Enthusiasm is pretty great too, and currently I’m loving Blackish. Drama? Battlestar Galactica, The Wire, This is Us…there’s just too many. Right now we’re bingeing Being Mary Jane.


What’s your favorite music?


We’re pretty eclectic. We like a little bit of everything: Bollywood, hip-hop, pop, rap. Nursery rhymes are getting up there; lullabies. 😉


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


ZUM has seen a lot of change over the years. For me, going through the ups and downs of these changes as community really solidified a feeling of family. ZUM really is a family, and that’s something I love about it.





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.