Meet April’s Member of the Month – Gaylin Laughlin


Back when you first joined ZUM, what made you decide you wanted or needed to join a gym? 

Upon arriving in Seattle in 2012, my first priority was to get healthy. I had just moved from LA and was very unhealthy, but I was in a new city and committed to making a complete lifestyle change. I saw a posting for a personal trainer in my building who ended up being ZUM independent trainer, Chris Zilliax. We worked out in my building, but he mentioned he also trained at ZUM. I thought I’d check it out, so I took a tour. After seeing the space and meeting everyone, I was hooked!

Since joining ZUM, what results have you achieved?
After meeting Chris, my lifestyle changed completely. Working out led to me making other healthy choices which resulted in my losing 100 pounds, feeling more confident, and living fully present in the moment. When an opportunity came up to raise money for a charity close to my heart by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, I had no qualms to do it and no doubts that I could. With the support of many people, including Chris, and everyone at Zum, I did!!!
Now, I’m not afraid to tackle anything. Everything changed. As Chris says, I “move in the world in a different way” – in my mind, body, self-awareness, relationships. A new me has been exposed and I’m happier and healthier than I’ve ever been.

What do you like best about ZUM?

The people. Chris, obviously, since I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him.
It’s not a gym to me. ZUM is where I go to be my true self. Everyone here has a story and is inspiring.
I also love the wide variety of things I can do at ZUM.

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

Every time I see someone taking a tour, I want to run over and tell them how great of a place ZUM is, and they’ll get so much more out of it than exercise. You never know how far you can go until you’re challenged and get challenges.

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

I’ve traveled all over the country to see Dave Matthews Band in concert – New York, Chicago, Texas, and Florida among others. People often ask what my favorite DMB song is, and I always have the same answer. “That’s like asking me to chose my favorite molecule of air to breath; I need them all!”
Also, a couple years ago I was inspired to become a certified cycling instructor.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Watching a movie while snacking on popcorn with real butter.

Do you have a favorite ZUM class?

I have to give a shout out to the awesome Julia and her awesome BoxFit class. There are a lot of great classes at ZUM, but Julia’s BoxFit will always be my favorite.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your ZUM experience?

There’s never been a time when I didn’t feel better walking out than I did when I walked in. I love that ZUM is a family. People really care about each other. It’s not about treadmills and ellipticals (they’re fine, of course). ZUM is about FUN!!

Care for your lower back: 4 things you can do.

About 4 years ago I took a class and at one point, the class participants had to perform some form of baseball slide on a mat. Run and go prone on a mat. I was up, ran and with speed hit the mat prone. Mid- way into my slide, I felt pain shooting from my lower back. I played it cool but, was a bit concerned. After moving around a bit, I knew for sure that I needed to take a break from physical activity for, at least a few weeks. Getting home was a pain; Couldn’t walk fast and I couldn’t sit. On the bus ride home I quickly got to thinking about how to take care of this. Here are a few things that I did to help diminish pain and help accelerate the healing process.


1: Go horizontal- and when vertical, try standing as opposed to sitting. As soon as I got to my place, I just needed to lay on the floor with my knees bent and feet flat on the floor. I had hyper extended the lower back during the slide and to give more detail, I had a stiff low back to begin with. When I needed to send e-mails, I was standing most of the time. I could not sit for extended periods of time.


2: About a week later, I was feeling better and started mobilizing the low back. It was easiest to start lightly rotating. I was laying down again and for this movement, It just required me dropping my bent legs side to side. I later progressed with picking up my feet having the thigh perpendicular and lower leg parallel to the ground and dropping the legs side to side. This improves the R.O.M. (Range of motion) but also has an added benefit of working the internal and external obliques.


3: Flexion and extension of the low back. I tried sitting after a couple of weeks and it wasn’t as bothersome. So I started to mobilize the back in a different way with the abdominal curl up. Have your feet grounded and back on the pad so that you are in an incline position. As you come up, think about peeling off of the mat- trying to leave the lower back on as long as possible. When you are seated, get tall through your spine before coming back down. Keep in mind, get tall but do not over extend! When you come down, act as if you are rolling out a carpet with your spine, one vertebrae meeting the mat (L-5,L-4,L-3, etc.) The abdominal curl up from the sit-up bench will help facilitate movement of the spine because your spine will be flexing and extending. Through this move try to keep the feet grounded.


4: Side bend w/ Reach. I like doing this against the wall because I have an easier time making sure I’m not overworking my lower back and can concentrate on the quadratus lumborum contracting on one side and stretching on the other. This movement happens through the frontal plane; a plane, for most of us, don’t get a whole lot of movement through. Get your back against a wall and contract the abdominals. Your heel will be about 1 foot away from the wall. Next, bend your torso to the right while maintaining contact with the wall. As you continue to laterally flex to the right, get your left arm to reach over head. When you bend to the left, you will reach overhead with your right arm.

As wIth anything, if you feel any discomfort and it gets worse, STOP! Also, do not rush through it. Some movements might be a bit too advanced if you just recently sustained an injury.

Start out slow and eventually try aiming for 3 sets of 15 repetitions of all the movements.

More from John:

Meet March’s Member of the Month – John!

John Williams ZUM Fitness


Back when you first joined ZUM, what made you decide you wanted or needed to join a gym? 

It was a dark summer night when I found myself in the back of an ambulance on Rte 2 in Leavenworth. I couldn’t feel my fingers, my blood pressure was 180/120 – it was pretty scary. I’d been a “bucket of stress” for some time. My mother had recently passed away; one of my long-time employees had just left my company heightening an already stressful work environment; I was striving to be super dad, super husband, and super boss simultaneously. I thought I was doing everything I was “supposed” to do, but by putting everyone else first, I wasn’t taking care of myself at all. And there I was with my body essentially shut down on itself.  Gratefully, I ended up being totally ok.

When I returned to Seattle, I took a mental inventory of what I needed to do to fix how I was ignoring self-care. I decided to walk downstairs from my office and check out ZUM. I’d never been much of a gym guy. I was more of weekend warrior skiing and cycling. But I needed to make an investment in my health and be pushed a little at the gym. I joined and started making appointments with myself to go to classes. If I didn’t, it was too easy to succumb to client requests for noon-time meetings. I started saying “no” to my clients, and you know what? They were able to make other times work and the sky didn’t fall. So, I made it to my classes, and they kicked my ass for about 3 months. It was worth it though, because you can’t just bear stress, you’ve got to get it out!

Since joining ZUM, what results have you achieved?  

Overall, better health and sanity! Working out is routine now. I miss it when I can’t do it. I miss feeling sore (in a good way) and the stress release. I’ve also really improved my mobility and strength which has had positive chain reaction helping improve back pain and other body ailments I’ve had to work through.

What do you like best about ZUM?

It’s really hard to say. If I had to pick one thing, it’d have to be the coaches. They’re so much more than employees at a gym; they’re my peers. They’ll email with me outside of class to make sure I’m  feeling supported, answer questions, listen to feedback, and share life. A close second are the people – the members. There’s a great camaraderie that develops from a shared experience in class. We’re all going through the same “pain” at the same time.

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

You’ll work hard, but you’ll feel good. And like ZUM’s tagline says, “it’s good to feel good.” I love that!

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

Last year I successfully navigated the Pond Skim Challenge at Stevens Pass. It was awesome to cross that off my bucket list. Next up is to ring a cowbell at a European ski event.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I really enjoy craft beers.

Do you have a favorite ZUM class?

Derek’s Xcelerate on Mondays at noon. I always have a standing appointment with myself for that one!

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your ZUM experience?

ZUM has had such an impact on my life, that it played a big role in choosing to renew my office lease in the building. That’s saying something coming from a someone who was never a gym guy.

Get to Know the ZUM Team – John

traine, team , ZUM, John Gracia


It seems impossible that it’s been almost 5 years since you joined the ZUM team! How did you first come to ZUM?


Well, I met Joe in a bar and the rest is history.


Wait, what?! That was not what I was expecting to hear!


Ok, there’s a little more context to it than that. It was a young professionals networking event at a bar. We chatted, connected talking about New York, and exchanged info. I came and checked out ZUM. The summer of 2012 I participated in an internship with Brian and Elia and was hired from that.


What’s been your favorite thing about working at ZUM?


Working at ZUM has fostered self-growth that will help me the rest of my life, both professionally and personally.


What about the most rewarding part?


The unexpected appreciation from clients and members. I’d loved receiving an email or having conversation where they’d express how grateful they were to be able to do the things they wanted to do. I could be having a really lousy day, but that would always lift me up.


Do you have any funny stories from your time here?


Ha! Well, one time in the men’s locker room after a shower, I was in my towel and realized I’d left all my clothes in the trainers’ room. I had no choice but to leave the locker room and run back there in my towel. Luckily it was a quiet Saturday, so I didn’t get caught. That was the last time I made that mistake.


That’s too funny! So, what’s next for you, John?


To be honest, I need to take time and do some mental healing. Ever since I arrived in Seattle years ago, it’s been non-stop hustling. I got an apartment, got a gig, met Joe, came to ZUM and did the internship which I was determined to get one of the 2 house trainer positions from, so I busted my butt showing my dedication by going to a ton of classes like 5th Element with Elia and Brian. Then I had to work hard to build my business. The only vacations I took were to plan my wedding, so it was just a different kind of work. I burned myself out, so there’s nothing on the immediate agenda. I need to rest, take care of myself, process everything and figure out what’s next.


Do you have any parting words of wisdom for our members?


Don’t miss out on opportunities to connect and have a relationship with someone. Tell people how you feel. It’s ok to express yourself; it’s not weak. Put yourself out there and be vulnerable – let people know they’ve had a positive impact on your life. It’s a waste not to.


Good Morning ZUM

Zum Fitness in the early morning hours

A pulsing, relaxing rhythm brings me out of my slumber. I hit the snooze button. The CD screeches quietly to a halt. 5:00 am. This hasn’t been my wake-up time in over a decade.

I started waking up early when I decided to study the business side of fitness: sales, marketing, profit margins, and systems for taking care of members. Then I started the general manager position, and found that I wasn’t going to get consistent exercise unless I did it before work. So now my morning starts with meditation, some journaling, and mindset affirmations before I head to ZŪM for a workout. I get up early to take care of myself.

Going to ZŪM this early has it’s advantages: light traffic, few cars in the parking garage, and the quiet early morning vibe. But I’ve also found the morning ZŪM experience to be nourishing and enjoyable, with that same energetic feel that it has through the rest of the day.

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Meet February’s Member of the Month: Deepak!

member of the month, community, deepak, amazon, february

Back when you first joined ZUM, what made you decide you wanted or needed to join a gym? 

When I moved to Seattle from Atlanta (Go Falcons!!), I didn’t know anyone and stopped playing soccer regularly. Awhile later, I was asked to play in a pick up game, and I found myself feeling sluggish and fatigued. I was determined to get my speed and conditioning back, so I could run as fast as the 18 year-olds! I started looking for a gym that would be convenient and fit into the flow of my day. I tried other gyms, but I would go 3 or 4 times and then stop altogether. I expected the same thing to happen at ZUM, but it turns out, I really love it!

Since joining ZUM, what results have you achieved?  

I’ve definitely gotten stronger, but I also feel like I’ve become more confident both at work and in my personal life. It’s also taken all my work-related stress away. I work for Amazon, so that’s saying something. 🙂

What do you like best about ZUM?

It’s a fun place to be! I like the open set up of the space. Classes are awesome. The trainers are open and encouraging, with subtle expectations, but they always encourage you to work at your own level and increase weight and reps as you are able while maintaining proper form…and it works! All of a sudden, I realized I was reaching for heavier dumbbells!

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Meet January’s Member of the Month – Carly!

members, zum
Back when you first joined ZUM, what made you decide you wanted or needed to join a gym? 

I came over to ZUM from Allstar Fitness about 4 years ago after getting really fed up with my experience over there, so really I was just looking for a better gym experience. However, back when I first joined Allstar Fitness in 2007, I really wanted to get back into shape after ending a long-term relationship. Then I met my husband, who was incredibly active, so I ended up working out to keep up with him. Once I got into the habit of working out, I felt so good I couldn’t stop. The only time I’ve taken a hiatus was after the birth of my son, Travis.

Since joining ZUM, what results have you achieved?  

I think my biggest achievement has been getting to the gym for early morning classes! That’s a first. I’ve been working out for a long time now, so I don’t necessary think in terms of “results.” It’s more about how I feel. I will say that at ZUM, I developed an appreciation for yoga I didn’t have before which feels like a positive result. I think it was a combination of excellent instructors and my maturity that helped me be able to view yoga as an equally important practice for me as the more quick-paced, active, strength and cardio classes. Now I’m able to appreciate slowing down, turning off life, and connecting to my breath.

What do you like best about ZUM?

ZUM is great! I love the variety of classes, and it’s so friendly and welcoming. I’m not going to lie, I also love the locker rooms and the hair products. Not having to bring everything with me is huge! Also, the people here are awesome. Everett needs to work on his music, but I still like him.

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Getting to Know the ZUM Team – Cosetta

Cosetta Romani, Seattle, Yoga, best, instructors

How did you begin teaching at ZUM?

My husband Ivo, who provided some fitness equipment for the first Zum facility on 5th Ave, first introduced me to ZUM. I actually began as a participant taking Joe’s class primarily. I loved ZUM’s approach to movement and the community, and quickly developed friendships with many of the staff members.

Although I loved the bright white, warm, cozy mindbody space at the old location, I only practiced yoga there a handful of times. Peter asked me to join the ZUM team as a yoga teacher when this new facility was opened, and I have been teaching here ever since.

It’s difficult to imagine ZUM yoga without you! You’ve really been instrumental in cultivating our yoga program. How has that experience been for you?

Thank you. Yes, classes used to be very small and yoga was not the first thing members sought out. As yoga grows in popularity, more people have begun to understand the endless benefits of this practice. I still think though that some members are still a little shy to walk up the stairs to the body-mind studio. There’s this beautiful space to discover up there, but the climb can be intimidating. Be courageous and come join us! As we’ve grown yoga at ZUM, we’ve tried to create a diverse team with a common thread of knowledge, expertise, and passion.

And what a wonderful job you’ve done! Speaking of passion, how did your passion for yoga first begin?

Again, I was introduced to yoga by Ivo. A business opportunity presented itself that would move our family from Italy to the U.S. He came over about six months prior to get settled in and prepare the new foundations for me and our son Manu to join him. During that time, he was excited to learn that yoga was much more accessible in the States than in Italy. We had practiced a few times, but there was only one yoga studio and it was a 20 minute drive, so we didn’t go often. Ivo called and said, “Yoga is everywhere here! You’re going to love it!”

Upon arriving in Seattle, I dove right in, practicing 4-5 times/week at a gym in downtown. One day an instructor didn’t show up, and the manager asked me to teach class. I was terrified, but I taught anyhow and it felt like a natural thing. In fact shortly thereafter, I began a 3-year yoga apprenticeship with Lee Atwell in Magnolia. I ended up working at the studio for 5 years. Then in 2007, I went to LA to study with Shiva Rea, completing over 800 hours between teacher training and teaching assisting.

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Welcome to the ZŪM Blog

After almost 15 years of being in business, we at ZŪM Fitness are excited to launch our first blog program! Our goal with this program is to support our mission as a company, strengthen our community, and provide interesting, useful, and educational content.

Our mission is to inspire our community to succeed and thrive in their health, fitness, and well-being. The blog posts will support our mission by addressing questions like “how do I gain strength?”, “are squats good or bad for the knees?” and “what are proven ways to reduce stress?”

ZŪM is the home of more than 30 fitness professionals, with a dozen that have more than 10 years experience in their craft, and we will share the fruits of this knowledge and experience. We will educate, entertain, and give useful and practical approaches to enjoying life with more strength, energy, and vitality.

We want to know what YOU want us to blog about. Check out our new “blog box” in the Community Area upstairs and let us know. Just write your requests on one of the cards next to the box and drop it in!

Welcome to our blog!

Yours in health, fitness, and well-being,

Joe DeShaw

Joe DeShaw
ZŪM general manager and personal trainer