Walk for Mental, Physical, & Emotional Well-Being 

The fitness industry is full of different training methods that are “backed by research” and “scientifically proven.”  A dominant trend over the past decade is the promotion of higher intensity training approaches like Crossfit, Insanity, and P-90X.  No doubt these approaches can help people reach fitness goals, but they must be balanced with moderate intensity approaches to prevent burn-out and injury. Walking is arguably the best moderate exercise, with proven physical, mental, and emotional benefits.


Walking: the most ancient exercise and still the best modern exercise.

Carrie Latet


Regular walking and other forms of moderate exercise has tremendous positive impact on your health with very low risk of injury.  Over time, walking makes your heart and lungs function more efficiently and keeps your blood vessels relaxed and flexible, qualities that lower blood pressure.  It also regulates your blood sugar to keep the risk of diabetes in check, while reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke by 32%One study even showed that a daily walk can add seven years to your life.  Walking is movement medication.

Perhaps the most potent way walking benefits your health is that when you’re walking, you’re not sitting.  A lifestyle of sitting an average of eight hours a day is associated with a 90% increased risk of type 2 diabetes, along with a higher incidence of heart disease and cancer.  Unfortunately, the average American spends nine to ten hours sitting each day.


Consistent walking can also contribute to losing and managing weight.  Here’s a guesstimate of how many calories you burn in a mile walk, according to a Harvard Health Publication:

120 lbs = 85 Calories
140 lbs = 95
160 lbs = 105
180 lbs = 115
200 lbs = 125
220 lbs = 135


Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.

Henry Thoreau


Have you ever gone on a walk when you’re stuck on a problem, or left in the cold by your muse as you wait for inspiration to spark, and return to your desk with greater clarity and innovation?  The better question is how often does this happen to you?

Stanford University research has found that walking boosts your ability to find solutions to problems and gets the creative juices flowing.  Some of the highest regarded thinkers in history had a regular routine of walking, like Charles Darwin, Soren Kierkegaard, and Fredrick Nietzsche, who said “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”  Facebook front-man Mark Zuckerberg has been known to hold walking meetings, as did the late Steve Jobs of Apple.  To bolster the mental benefits of walking, research shows that it protects against dementia and improves sleep quality.

These mind-clarifying benefits come whether you are walking on a treadmill at ZUM or walking in the beauty of the Arboretum.


The best remedy for a short temper is a long walk.

Jacqueline Schiff


Needing to ease a bout of anxiety, deal with some anger, or make yourself feel better on a melancholy day?  Walking can help.  It gives you time for nurturing connection, with yourself or with someone else.

Walking has been an potent ally in helping me through a few big changes I’ve had in the last couple of years.  A simple technique I use to enhance the calming effect of walking is to put my attention on the different sensations I feel and the things I see as I walk.  I notice how my feet connect with the ground, I feel the rhythmic, automatic swing of my arms and the fullness of blood flow in my fingers.  The gentle breeze on my face.  The varieties of smells.  Sometimes I just feel my breath flow in and out of my nose.  When I catch myself indulging anxiety-ridden thoughts I just bring my attention back to all of these simple but wonderful experiences.


Walk to be healthy, walk to be happy.

Charles Dickens


Walking nourishes your health in ways that intense exercise doesn’t, and can’t be overlooked in its time-tested contribution to our health and well-being.  It invigorates the body and nourishes the soul.  There’s no better activity to welcome you to our Feel, Perform, and Look Your Best challenge.

ZUM Fitness in the heart of downtown Seattle

Meet May’s Member of the Month – Anthony Dickson!


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

I had been a member in the past and enjoyed it, but when my office moved further south, it became inconvenient. I had to settle for a pretty bare bones gym closer to my office. It was kind of like the “Average Joe’s Gym” in the movie Dodgeball, but it was a means to an end. My wife, Erin, remained a ZUM member and after my bike accident, she encouraged me to work with Tony Moses, so I came back.


Wait, bike accident? Could you tell us more about that?

Sure! I’m a life-long cyclist. I’ve always loved it in all its forms – mountain biking, cycling, road riding, racing. I ride for fun, for fitness, for competition, and travel. It’s a huge part of my life.

Last August, I was feeling really awesome having just come of a great ride at the Breck Epic. It’s a 6-day mountain bike race at high altitude. My goal was to use the Breck Epic ride as a fitness builder as I trained for cyclocross season, and it had gone so well that I was feeling super stoked that I was right on track to have an awesome season.

One afternoon, I decided to squeeze in a quick training ride and got hit by a car. I’ve been riding for 25 years, and I’ve gotten bumped and knocked over here and there, but I’ve never been blown up all over the road…’till now.

I didn’t really know how bad it was until the EMT told me I was headed to Harbor View while I was strapped to the board in the back of the ambulance.

I was going about 28 mph down Dexter when a car turned into me and I flipped up and over it. My knee took the impact of my fall, driving my femur into my pelvis – blowing it up, but, thanks to the shock, I had no clue any of that had happened. My knee was split open and my kneecap exposed, but other than that, I couldn’t see much – just some bruises. So, moments after my accident I’m thinking, “ok, I’m gonna need a few stitches, but other than that I’m fine. I’ll be back on the bike in a couple weeks max.”

Before I know it there’s a giant fire truck, 4 cop cars, and 2 ambulances on the scene. They strap me to the board, load me in the ambulance – the whole nine yards. As any Seattleite knows, there’s 2 options of where they’re going to take you: Swedish, which means things aren’t too bad and you’ll likely be discharged within a few hours, or Harbor View, which means you’re probably pretty messed up. So, that’s how I knew it was worse than I thought.

I had CAT scans and X-rays. They drilled a hole in my knee to put my leg in traction so it wouldn’t move into my pelvis. It became clear pretty quickly this wasn’t going to be 2-week recovery. Nope, I had an acetabular fracture and ended up needing 9 screws, 2 plates, 60+ staples, and 10 stitches.

Recovery has been slow and challenging, but you learn to celebrate the small victories and take it one baby step at a time.  Without the support and care from Erin, recovery would be impossible. She’s been incredible – an absolute angel. I’ll never be able to repay her for everything she’s done for me and the way she dropped everything to take care of me. She’s also the one who encouraged me to work out with Tony after I was frustrated with the prescribed, overly gentle physical therapy.


Wow. That was no small accident. It’s pretty incredible that you’ve come this far so quickly. Do you think you’ll ride again?

People ask me that all the time…YES! Of course! It’s my passion, my outlet for stress, a mental release. There’s no way I’m not going to ride again.

In fact, I was back on a bike within 3 months of my accident. I was feeling particularly motivated one day, so I set up my trainer outside. Of course, just as I was getting ready to hop on, it started raining. I was so disappointed. Then 5 minutes later the sun came out (I swear on that one spot like in a movie) and I seized the moment. It was just 15 minutes of a very easy ride, but it was the most amazing moment – emotional, but amazing.


I imagine it would be! Thank you so much for sharing your journey. How has ZUM impacted you since rejoining? What results have you achieved?

 I’ve definitely been able to get strength back way faster than I would have with the prescribed physical therapy or on my own. Working with Tony has been a huge factor in my progress. His personalized, varied approach to our workouts keeps me motivated – it’s certainly never monotonous! And then his sensitivity to where my body is on any given day combined with his ability to shift seamlessly between training and massage and just the fact that he clearly actually cares about me has been incredibly beneficial.


What do you like best about ZUM?

I think it has to be the community of like-minded people. From the training staff to the members, people at ZUM are all serious about health and fitness, but in a thoughtful, caring way. The community feel is fostered by comfort and care in every detail of your ZUM experience from the kindness at the front desk when you walk in, to the training staff and the other members, to the equipment, the décor, the showers, and the products in the locker room – it’s all critical.


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

 You won’t regret it. It’s worth every penny. You’re joining an experience, not a gym. All the trainers and instructors are super talented, but it doesn’t matter if you work out with a trainer, take classes, or work out on your own; or whether you want to have fun or knock out a serious workout – there’s something for everyone. It’s so many different things at once.


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

Every year I do a huge, momentous cycling event to keep me going. Last year it was the Breck Epic, in previous years I’ve done the Cyclocross Nationals and the Tour de Friendship in Thailand.  This year I’ll be riding for 9 days in the Giro d’Italia on my new custom bike – my gift to myself for coming back from the accident.

I’m also a food and coffee snob. I enjoy wine and bourbon. Of course, I love travel! I think it’s important to approach life with a sense of adventure. So, when I travel, whether it be for work or pleasure, I always make the most of my time exploring off the beaten path. I try to cycle if I can too! I keep a bike in Hong Kong, so I can ride when I’m there. It’s really cool to connect with the global cycling community.


What’s your guilty pleasure?

Bourbon. My favorite is Noah’s Mill. Also, stealing from Erin’s store, Hammer & Awl in Madrona. She’s always complaining about employee theft, and since I’m the only employee… ?


Do you have a favorite ZUM class?

Not really, since I’m not a big classes guy. But I’d say Tony’s Weigh Crazy, because Erin loves it so much. She always goes, no matter what.


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

 I think it’s a testament to ZUM and its importance in my and Erin’s life that when we decided to become small business owners and open Hammer & Awl, we had to make some changes here and there to make the business possible, cutting ZUM from our routine was never on the table. Nope. No way.

Get to Know the ZUM Team – Wade Brill


You have a really powerful story about how you found your way into fitness and wellness, but many people might not know how your passion for helping people in this way began. Would you give us a little insight into the trajectory?

Of course! My passion for fitness and wellness began with a combination of life events that sparked a wake-up call for me. First of all, I grew up in a family that was extremely passionate about exercise and eating well. My mother mediated and influenced one of my biggest food values – eating your veggies.

My whole family was into yoga, but I decided I wanted a different path, so after being introduced to Pilates in school when I was 14, I decided that would be my practice. I became addicted by Pilates’s ability to make me feel internally long, strong and centered after every class. My love of Pilates continued to grow, so when I was about 19, I became certified in Mat Pilates through Power Pilates after one of my instructors encouraged me.


That’s pretty young! Did you know then that you wanted to teach Pilates and pursue a career in wellness?

Not exactly. I taught off and on while in college at the University of Michigan. But my real wake up call to the wellness world, came in 2010 while I was studying abroad in Argentina and was diagnosed with cancer – Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

I flew home to NYC to start 6 months of chemotherapy. In the midst of going through chemo, my family and I suddenly lost our mother due to complications with her 10-year battle with Leukemia. This “life interruption” made me realize how precious life is and sparked me to truly listen to myself, find my inner passions and power, and live the life I want to be living.


That’s an incredibly sobering, yet powerful realization. How did wellness factor into it for you?

I experienced first-hand the power of wellness as an active practice. In order to help manage my anxiety and support my mental, physical, and soulful body, I deepened my meditation practice and made working out part of my daily ritual. Through meditation, especially, I survived and thrived while going through chemo and grieving my mom. The experience made me passionate about helping others discover the power in caring for themselves.

So, I finished chemo, graduated from Michigan a semester later than all of my friends, and decided to move back to Argentina by myself – a place I fell in love with before getting sick. I started my own Pilates and meditation classes in Buenos Aires, teaching mostly to the expat community. My favorite being Sunday evening sunset Pilate’s class on my roof.


What a brave move that sounds like resulted in an incredible experience!

Yes, it was amazing. Not to mention, I met my fiancé, Quintin while I was there too! However, as much as I loved working with people physically and mentally, I was craving more tools to be able to support people emotionally too. So, after a year and a half in Buenos Aires, when Q wanted to move back to his hometown of Seattle (as a Manhattanite, I had no idea where Seattle was, by the way), we moved here, and I decided to go to coaching school at iPEC to further develop my skills to support people caring for themselves holistically.


It sounds like you do a whole lot more than just teach Pilates?

Yeah! In addition to teaching Pilates and meditation, I spend a majority of my time working with 1-1 coaching clients, running group coaching programs or facilitating corporate workshops around the country. I specialize in supporting busy professionals by strengthen their mindfulness muscles, so they can make more intentional choices in life.


That’s fantastic! You mention teaching mediation. We’re thrilled to have your Monday Morning Mediation class on the ZUM schedule!

Me too! I’m so excited to finally be able to offer a regular mediation class to the ZUM community. Meditation has become the foundation of my life in a very realistic way. It’s the cornerstone of my morning, allowing myself to ground my mind, body, and thoughts, so I don’t let my monkey mind or external thoughts or forces rock my boat. I’m thrilled to create space for ZUM members to explore mediation and develop their practice.


Can you tell us a little more about the class and what to expect?

The class is designed to help you ground in mind, body, and breath before your work week begins. You’ll feel more centered before noise, priorities, and obligations pull you away from being fully present in the moment as you move through your week. The goal is to emphasize the importance of being present. When we detach from thoughts from the past or future, we experience incredible freedom and clarity and are able to just fully be.


Who can benefit from meditation?

Everyone who has an open mind! People who are looking for help managing stress, improving sleep quality, and dealing with anxiety – to name a few specific examples.


What would you say to someone who is new to meditation or might not think it’s for them because they can’t imagine quieting their mind?

That’s great! You’re not supposed to shut the noise down. You can’t stop the waves from coming, but you can learn to surf.  Come experience it and try to stick with it. When I first started meditating it took about 6 months before I really began experiencing the benefits. A lot of people don’t keep practicing because they don’t experience immediate feedback like they do when they workout; however, daily ritual and sacred time for yourself is invaluable.

That’s another reason I was so excited to start a meditation class at ZUM. I’m passionate about helping people prioritize themselves.


It sounds like that’s at the heart of everything you do professionally. 

For sure. When people don’t prioritize themselves, they don’t have energy to give to those they love. My goal is to help people fill their cup of self-care. Within all my work, I emphasize that self-care isn’t selfish, it’s smart.  It’s about taking control of what you can (what you feed yourself, how you treat yourself, move your body, what you surround yourself with, and how you restore) and being able to let go of what you can’t.

If people want to learn more, they can check out my website – they can get a free guided meditation to try on your own if you can’t make it to class. There’s also info there about my upcoming group coaching program Summer of Self Care. It’s a great opportunity to support you gaining that summer glow and feeling your best from the inside out.


Get to Know the ZUM Team: Tony Moses



When did you first start working at ZUM?


April 1st, 2007.

Wow! 10 years?! That’s incredible! What initially brought you to ZUM?


I had been the fitness director at another gym in the area, but it wasn’t the right fit for me. I spent about 3 weeks researching other gyms where I might be interested in training. When I came to check out ZUM, I knew it was the place for me. The energy at the old location really spoke to me. It was laid-back and stress-free, not your typical sales environment with quotas to meet and supplements to sell to your clients like where I’d been in the past.


When you first joined the ZUM team, you were a house trainer, right? Please tell me you started teaching your signature Weigh Crazy class right away.


Yes, I was a house trainer until I became an independent contractor in 2012. No, back when I first started, the trainers were all required to teach 2 classes for 6-8 week segments. I didn’t develop Weigh Crazy until 2009. Initially, it was at 5:30am. It was horrible – way too early! There were about 8 regulars; never more than 12. Amazingly though, the class hasn’t changed that much. In 2014, I changed the format to what it is now where I teach the same movements for 2 weeks to give members the opportunity to really make gains and push more weight in a manageable, safe way.


Weigh Crazy class at ZUM Fitness in the heart of downtown SeattleIt’s pretty cool to think you’ve been coaching people to “Jump!” and “Re-lax!” for so long! I know your class is many members’ favorite thing at ZUM, but what is your favorite thing about training at ZUM?


It’s a tough question, but one thing that’s always so amazing to me is that people trust me with what I believe is the most important thing in their lives – themselves; their bodies. It’s humbling and awe-inspiring.


It’s clear how much you care about the well-being of your students and clients. Was providing another element of care why you added massage to your repertoire?


In a way, yes. When I first started working at ZUM, I observed a trainer who was also an LMP (Licensed Massage Practitioner) work with his clients on the mat. It was really interesting watching him incorporate two different modes of body work at the same time.

Personally, I have a history of low-back pain and hip tightness. I had been working with a Thai massage practitioner on these issues, and I attended a basic-level class she offered in 2013. It was during that class that I received clarity that massage was something I should be doing, so I went to school and became licensed in 2014.


Did it feel like a natural progression?


It was very logical, Having worked with bodies and being an athlete myself so long, many aspects of the training were easy and simple.


Has massage changed the way you approach your training?


Great question. Philosophically, I used to think of functional training as moving functionally, as one would in every day life – standing, kneeling, bending over, etc. I would never train a single muscle just for the sake of training it. In massage, however, there’s more emphasis on muscles and joints having unique “jobs” functionally, almost like links in a chain. I work things now I wouldn’t before to ensure individual muscles can activate when called upon and to strengthen the weakest link in the chain.

Practically, I mix massage into sessions with my clients when they’re hurt or have chronic issues. If they do a movement that triggers something, we’ll go over to the mat, do 5 minutes of massage work, and then try the movement again to see how it’s changed. Often times the discomfort lessens, they’re able to get a  deeper range of motion, pain decreases, and there’s a visible change to the movement.


What are the benefits of incorporating massage into our training?

  1. Increased range of motion/mobility.
  2. Less physically discomfort.
  3. Increased access to your body (perhaps in a different way).
  4. Decrease stress by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system.

Look, if you believe in holistic health, massage has to be in your regimen in some form. If your body feels beat up, one two-hour session once a month or every 2-3 weeks is great. Massage is also preemptive, prophylactic and precautionary to help prevent injury. As with everything, consistency is key to help us be and perform better.


So what should can a person expect from a massage with you? What’s your style?


My style is deep tissue with a therapeutic intent. Meaning, I’m going to cause you a great deal of discomfort, but in exchange for those 2 hours of discomfort, you’ll receive days, weeks, months of decreased pain and increased mobility.

I’m also trained in relaxation massage, so if that’s what you want, I can make that happen, but most people need specific help. There’s power in consciously shifting your idea about what massage can be in addition to a soothing, stress relief.


Do you have any words of wisdom for ZUM members?


60 minutes of massage is beneficial only for relaxing. If you have specific issues 90 minutes or 2 hours is the way to go, especially if you want other areas focused on beyond those trouble areas.

Also, being comfortable on the is the goal. Wear what makes you comfortable. Just use common sense.


Ok, time to get to know Tony Moses, the man behind the legend. What’s your guilty pleasure?


Tony running with the bulls in Pamplona!

A Top Pot Apple Fritter and/or “The Cookie” at Metropolitan Market.


It’s common knowledge you’re an avid traveler. Do you have a favorite place you been?


Cuba, Verona, Italy, and Barcelona. The beach in Barcelona is fantastic.


Do you have a favorite film?


I’m really into South Korean film right now. In particular the Vengeance Trilogy: Angry Vengeance, Old Boy, and Lady Vengeance. It’s crazy. It’ll have you freaking out.


Favorite TV shows?


The Americans and Game of Thrones. And travel related cooking shows that focus on the cultural aspect of cooking and food.


Favorite books?


I never remember book titles. There a mystery author I enjoy, Carlos Luis Zaphon. His book The Shadow of the Wind is a particular favorite because it’s set in Barcelona, and I love feeling that connection of reading fiction set in a place you’ve been. Being personally familiar with the setting draws me in and helps paint a more vivid picture of the action.

How about a favorite quote?


“The only things we can’t do are the things we’ve never tried to.”


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: http://www.thestrengthsource.com/

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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