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.
Anything on the History Channel – also a guilty pleasure
The Rock is a classic. The music score makes it.
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!
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.