Category Archives: Succeed and Thrive

Meet February’s Members of the Month: Amy Leigh Morgan & Trevor Smith

Member of Month Amy Trevor ZUM Fitness community Seattle workout why


It may not be an old adage, but we think there has to be some truth to the idea that the couple who works out together, stays together, so we thought it would be fun to showcase a ZUM couple as our February members of the month! Meet Amy Leigh Morgan and Trevor Smith!

If you’re a lunch-time class attendee, you undoubtedly have seen Amy and Trevor getting their sweat on and then sharing some quiet time together afterwards. It might be surprising to know these two sweet, awesome people are self-proclaimed “non-joiners” who had never taken a group fitness class prior to ZUM. Read on to find out what made the difference for them at ZUM and enjoy their banter on their delightful observations about ZUM over the years like the shocking amount of squat and lunge variations that exist. We hope you enjoy learning more about Amy and Trevor, their stories, and the benefits they’ve experienced working out together at ZUM.


It’s so fun to you feature you two as a couple as our February members of the month! When I think about ZUM couples, my mind goes straight to you two sitting on boxes chatting after class. It’s always so sweet. I can’t remember though, did you join together? 


A: I started first, and Trevor joined shortly after.

T:  We actually hadn’t been together very long. I feel like ZUM was a big part of us meshing as a couple.


That’s the cutest. Ok, interview over. Kidding! That’s pretty gutsy to join together early on in a relationship. I always say a relationship must be getting serious if a member invites their partner to join them at ZUM. 


A: Yeah, that’s pretty hard core.

T: Honestly, it was kinda a bigger deal than inviting each other to meet our parents.

A: Yeah, that only lasts for a little bit. Gyms…that’s like all the time.

T: Parents are transient. The gym is forever.


Too funny! Amy, what was your experience with fitness before ZUM?


A: I went to this super weird little strip mall gym in Bothell before moving to Seattle. It was 24 hours, so I got an access card and there was never anyone there – no trainers – just a room with machines and treadmills. I’d go there in the middle of the night and would just do weightlifting on the machines. I had my little circuit I would do 3 or 4 times a week – sometimes more.


Trevor, in the past when I’ve asked you this, you mentioned that you “don’t remember the dark days before ZUM,” but what was your pre-ZUM fitness experience? 


T: I was a long distance runner. I ran all through college. A few years before Amy and I met, I was training for half marathons. Never got the urge to do a full.  A half is fun because you feel like you achieved something, but you didn’t ruin your body.


Ah-ha! See, you were thinking like a ZUM member even before you were a ZUM member. 


A: I know, right?

T: But my knees were starting to become problematic.

A: Yeah, your knees were starting to make that noise.

T: Yeah, they made a bad noise -like a crunchy, snappy noise when I went up stairs. About the time Amy found out about ZUM, I knew I had to start to look for some other kind of activity. We started trying classes and that just worked for us.


I will always remember meeting you for the first time, Amy. You had this awesome, big furry hat on and such amazing energy. How did you first find ZUM? 


A: Oh, man! That was a really good hat!  ZUM was across the street from my job, and I was looking for something close. I hadn’t worked in an office or been on a schedule for a really long time. There was just a lot of structure that I hadn’t had in my life for like a decade or more, so I was trying to figure it all out.

At first, I just walked up and down stairs in my building during breaks, but that felt stupid after a while. So I went across the street because I saw this gym. They gave me the tour, but I remember being on the fence. I’d never done classes, and it felt sorta fancy. I like fancy, but I wasn’t sure I could afford it. I just didn’t know. Then I started my trial and was like, “oh this is amazing.”


So neither of you tried and true lunchtime class people had ever done classes before joining ZUM? 


A: No. We’re not really class people.

T: No, we’re not joiners.

A: We’re not joiners at all…at all.


So what was different at ZUM to make two self-proclaimed “non-joiners” opt in?


A: Part of it was the fact that our friends, Arlene and Laurion, who are long-time members, love it so much. I trust them completely, so I figured if they love it so much, and I love them so much, then it must be good. But, ultimately, I think it was just the trainers.

T: Yeah. They were grown-ass professionals.

A: Totally! Grown-ass professionals. I had done a trial at another gym in the area, and it was the worst experience. Everyone was really young. It felt careless and very rote like they were listening to me or paying attention to me or my body or what I wanted at all. And it was a continuous up-sell to a personal training package. Everything about it was gross.

Then I went to ZUM. I loved that everyone in the classes was an adult – the members and the trainers. The trainers were were so thoughtful, especially Derek. I loved that in every class they gave a million variations. Like here’s the next thing we’re going to do, and here’s 3 different levels of intensity from here’s what you do “if don’t think you can’t do anything at all” to “if you’re Sheena,” here’s the extreme version. That felt real sweet. I never felt less than or dumb or intimidated. It always felt fun.

T: Honestly, I love the trainers. They are definitely the core piece for me. In addition to just being pros and super knowledgeable, when they saw something was problematic in my body, like with my knees or posture or something, they were always willing to take a few moments after class to converse with me, but also to tell me what I could do to start a longer program.

A: But for yourself, right? It was never like, “oh, you should come work with me for $xxx”; rather pay attention to yourself for yourself.

T: Right. Like, here’s a thing you’re struggling with. Oftentimes I wouldn’t have even clued into the fact, but at soon as they said it, I was like “oh my god, that’s totally it.” Then they’d offer to meet and work on it. It never up-selling thought. It was always for some fitness goal, which I really appreciated.


So, it’s safe to say what you like best about ZUM is the trainers, yes? 


A: And the other members. I love that people go to ZUM for…ever. I want to go to ZUM forever. I get to work out with a ton of people who feel like my family – like my gym family. And they’ve been going there longer than me. When somebody new comes in, I always think “oh, I hope you like it! I want you to think this is awesome.”

Similar to what Trevor was saying, it’s very clear that there’s no agenda behind ZUM besides giving me information that will help me do what I want to do better. Nobody pushes me to have goals if I don’t want them. I love that I’ve been coming to Derek’s Monday class for like 6 years and never once has he been like “you should step it up.” I’m in control.


You must have some underlying goals though, right? 


T: Amy and my goal has always been to have fitness be a lifestyle where we enjoy going and we feel better. It’s never wanting to bench a certain amount or run this fast or anything like that.

A: Yeah, there’s not an endgame.

T: They’re not achievement goals; they’re lifestyle goals. I feel ZUM is perfectly set up for that. If you want a fitness lifestyle where it’s part of your life and just some numbers on a card, then ZUM is for you.

A: If you want to get goal oriented, you can. But with a lot of classes the focusing on mobility and functionality in your daily life, ZUM is beautifully tailored to help you keep moving and stay functional, especially as you age.

It was super alarming the first time my hips didn’t feel right just from life. You know, like I slept weird on my side, and now I’m going to walk awkwardly for 2 days? I mean what kind of old person sh*t is that? That’s horrifying!! But it’s part of life, and ZUM keeps you going.


Speaking of that, Trevor, you’ve had some injuries that have taken you away from ZUM. How are things going?


T: It’s been rough. First, I took a new job which made it really tough to make it in for lunchtime classes since it ends up being about 2 hours away from work. Then I also realized I have some odd heart behavior. That, combined with low-back pain, put me on the sidelines for ZUM for a while. I had great support mitigating my back pain and avoiding injury at ZUM working one-on-one with Joe and getting great adjustments in classes, but I had one bad sciatica episode that just kinda took me out.

Honestly, being away from ZUM has been a little hard on our relationship. As you mentioned, one part of our workout routine was having 15 minutes of cool-down time together after our workout. Not having that time in the middle of the day is a huge bummer for us. We miss it. I’m continuously trying to figure out how I can get an office downtown, so I can make lunchtime classes more viable again.


Amy Trevor cool-down member month February ZUM Fitness Seattle gym why communityI always loved catching a glimpse of you two during your cool-down time. If it’s not too personal, what is that time about for you two, and what are benefits you experience by having this shared experience? 


A: Well, first there’s just the shared endorphin state afterwards, right? There’s something nice about knowing you’ve been through this together. It’s also a re-set. If you start out like grumpy in the morning or disconnected or static-y, then you go and work out. You’re literally syncing up during a class being in the same space, doing the same motions. Then just sitting together in a nice, relaxed, post-workout state. It’s just a great way to connect with each other and be like, “oh right, this is who we are.”

T: Amy is a night owl and I am a morning person, so that mid-day 15 minutes was often the only time together we were both fully awake, and we’d just worked out, so we felt great. It was a dedicated time and some days it was really the only time we could connect. Between raising a kid and working and all the other stuff we do, we’re busy. So, that was a non-trivial piece of time for us.

A: Yeah, for sure. There’s something fun about both being sore in the same places from the same workout and being able to commiserate together.


I know you guys aren’t super motivated by achievement-oriented goals, but what have been your greatest accomplishments since joining? 


T: I’ve felt awesome for 5 years.

A: Yeah, I’m healthier and stronger than I’ve ever been in my life. Considering I’m almost 50, that feels pretty rad. The fact that I can sprint to the bus and not die – that’s awesome. Yup, being able to run for things when I’m late is my biggest achievement.


Yes! Training for life, right? What would you say to someone who is new to ZUM or thinking about joining?


A: Show up. Just keep going. I’m always trying to get people to join ZUM. Just show up. It’s an awesome re-set in the middle of my workday. Sh*t that’s gotten blown way out of proportion, things that I’ve had way too many extreme emotions about that don’t matter at all – I get to let it all go. I work out, change locations, see people who’s interest in me is not based on anything that I can do for them.

T: When people ask me what works for me, the thing I always try to tell them is see if you can make it as much of a part of your upkeep as eating and sleeping. You don’t eat or sleep with goals – they’re just part of your life. If you can pick fitness up and treat it as such opposed to “I need to look good for bikini season” or whatever, you may have more success. Those people reach the goal and then what? I feel like ZUM gives you the ability to mix fitness into your life like eating and sleeping as a part of life.


What’s something interesting about you that we might not know? 


A: Well, I’m a certified hypnotherapist, so that’s weird.


But awesome. Trevor?


T: I make virtual worlds.


Ok…also awesome. What’s your guilt pleasure? 


A: Cheetos popcorn.


Did you say “Cheetos popcorn”? I didn’t know Cheetos made popcorn. 


A: Yeah, girl. Cheetos does not make popcorn, but the movie theater does. Regal Meridian movie theaters basically pours Cheetos into popcorn.

T: It’s not just that though. They put the powder in to the popcorn, so the popcorn tastes like Cheetos and then there’s Cheetos in it.


Wow – who knew? Sounds like quite the savory treat. And your’s Mr. Smith?


T: You took the good one. I like shredded wheat before bed. Not the mini ones – the kind you could make into a raft if you needed.


Ha! Nice. Favorite movie?


T: What’s the one with Johnny Depp?


A: Oh yeah!! Mortdecai! It’s an ensemble film from a couple years ago. So funny! It was panned.

T: Everyone hated it, but we loved it. Very controversial.

A: It’s so good! Totally like a Peter Sellers 1970’s wacky comedy. It’s so funny. We should watch it again.


Favorite TV shows?


T: Blackish

A: Blackish is a big favorite. And The Magicians. It’s really good – fantasy and sarcastic teen drama – basically Harry Potter for the CW.


Favorite music?


T: I don’t really listen to music.


That’s cool. How about podcasts?


T: Yeah, l like news podcasts and the BBC. The Bugel – John Oliver’s old podcast. Amy Leigh listens to a lot of music.

A: A lot of music. Spotify has sort of ruined me for knowing what music I’m listening to. I just listen to my “Discover Weekly” playlist. However, thanks to Spotify, I have been getting into African pop music.


So you have eclectic taste. Do you have a go-to happy song?


A: I have been listening to this one song, let me find it…

T: Tiny Dancer

A: Hahaha! Yeah, Tiny Dancer. No, this song right now is at the top of my cheer me up playlist – Cash Machine by D.R.A.M. I really love this song.


You both strike me as readers. Favorite books?


A: Oh yeah, big readers.

T: We both like The Expanse series.

A: I just read a really beautiful book I think everyone should read called All the Crooked Saints. Lovely.

T: What’s Brene Brown’s book?

A: Oh yeah! The Gifts of Imperfection.

T: Anything by Brene Brown.


Favorite ZUM class?


A: Oh, that’s too hard!

T: Don’t make us choose! Anything at lunch.

A: Yeah, anything at lunch…expect spinning.


Favorite movement?


T: Woodchopper.

A: I don’t know. That’s really hard. There’s some that I hate so much, but then afterwards I like.

T: Bear crawl, box push…

A: Star jumps. I hate star jumps so much.

T: Tony Moses…

A: Yeah, Tony Moses on star jumps, “you can rest in the air…” Motherf-er….

T: He actually said that to us. Our other favorite Tony Moses quote we use all the time is, “You gotta get right for pumpkin pie”!

A:: Yeah, that was a pre-Thanksgiving workout. “You gotta get right for gravy”!

I do love a good clean and press.

T: One thing we remark on a lot is just how many kinds of squats and lunges there are.

A: So many kinds!

T: We had no idea.

A: It was shocking.

T: There is an infinite universe of variations of squats and lunges.

A: Oh no! Now I’m going to do it sideways on one leg over and over again. Sh*t!


It’s so true. Is there anything else you want to share about ZUM and your experience?


A: I really like having Aveda in the dressing rooms. I’m just going to reinforce that. That’s great. The dressing room amenities in general alone are worth the membership.

I also really like all the random toys all over ZUM, and how much people are encourage to go do weird sh*t. I love how many unique things you can go in and see people doing – like Steven or Zane doing their thing. When I first started there was a circus person doing her hand work. I’d come in and there’d be a woman balancing on one arm. Um, #workoutgoals. Or like Nicholas who balance-walks up the stair-rails. I love all of that. Or even how you guys are totally cool with Blake and I doing our kick boxing thing. Oh you want to spar? Cool, just sign a waiver. It’s awesome.





Meet January’s Member of the Month – Brigid Johnson

 brigid johnson amazon horse riding zum fitness member of month january


As we embark upon a new year and start thinking about our 2018 aspirations, we can’t help but look to our community for inspiration. It’s everywhere, but we’re feeling particularly inspired by January’s Member of the Month, Brigid Johnson, and the success she’s seen over the past year!

Brigid’s goal was to “become a smaller human.” With regular personal training and nutritional coaching, she’s managed to achieve that goal! Her success busted the myth that becoming “smaller” is synonymous with a lower number on the scale. Rather, that number remained the same while she shrunk in her arms, legs and waist – over 11 inches total!

We hope you enjoy reading Brigid’s story and learning her experience as she made small changes to achieve a big goal. May you be as inspired as we are!


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


In 2014, I moved to Seattle from Pittsburgh, where I’d been in business school and had dabbled in personal training. Upon arriving in Seattle, I had a strong interest in kettlebells, so I joined a kettlebell gym and stayed for about 2 years. Eventually, I felt like it was time to try something new, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do – maybe yoga, or spin, or a gym focused on weight training. ZUM was really attractive to me because I had all those options, as well as personal training.


You’ve been training almost the whole time you’ve been at ZUM! Why did you choose personal training?


I really enjoyed personal training in the past, so I knew I wanted to start that up again. When I joined ZUM I connected with Sierra and became her first regular training client. Above all, I wanted diversity, so we played with everything. This included strength training, cardio, cardio bursts, and intervals. She even had me working on movements I’d never done before like squats. I ended up squatting 135 pounds which felt awesome!

I knew I was strong, but I decided that I really wanted to become a smaller human (leaner).Around this time (April 2016), I also joined the Arivale Pioneer Program and began working with a certified nutritionist. It turned out to be a perfect mix.

I changed parts of my nutrition to fit my lifestyle, but I didn’t feel like I was going crazy. Rather it was really helpful having an educated person recommending changes in my diet and an equally educated person coaching me during my workouts.

We took my measurements when I started with Arivale and again in December. My weight hasn’t really changed, but I shrunk a lot – over 11 inches collectively! My legs shrunk, which I’ve never been able to do previously. My arms shrunk. Essentially everything shrunk. That was a really amazing feeling.


That’s awesome! Congrats! I think most of us have an idea of what it’s like to work with a personal trainer, but what was it like working with a nutrition coach? Was it what you expected?


Not at all! I thought she was going to tell me what not to do, but in reality, she told me what to do. I made seemingly simple changes that made a big difference. Every individual is different, but she had me drinking more water which immediately effected my overall energy. I drastically decreased my meat intake but didn’t notice because we focused on incorporating more plant-based proteins I enjoy like quinoa and lentils. I also didn’t realize I had fallen into the habit of having dessert every night. My coach suggested I switch out my evening treat for dark chocolate. Turns out I completely weened myself off having the sugar craving every night.


Good for you! How difficult was it to make those changes?


It’s interesting. Looking back it sounds really difficult, but at the time I was focused on what I could do versus what I couldn’t. One day I just realized I didn’t want that sweet treat anymore. It was all about the small, incremental changes. My whole journey has been. It’s not like I thought “I want to lose 11 inches.” That was never my goal. I just wanted to be smaller, and by making small changes I am – despite the number on the scale staying the same.


Would you say that your physical transformation has been your greatest achievement since joining ZUM? 


It’s one achievement. During my first year of training, when I was doing all the squats, I took my first backpacking trip in the Enchantments. It’s not an easy hike. Out of the three people going, I thought I was going to be the slow one, but I was actually leading the pack with easy. I attribute that to all the working out and strength training.

Yes, I lost inches, but the real achievement is being able to do fun activities.


What do you like best about ZUM?


My favorite part of ZUM is the community. I belonged to a gym for 2 years, and never had that community. With ZUM, I walked in the door and a couple months later, I had a bunch of friends who I look forward to seeing. They’re people who I actually want to spend time with inside and outside the gym. I think that’s a really important part of ZUM. It keeps me coming back and keeps me recommending it to people.

I also really like the games we play – Exercise Advent, March Madness, ZUM Games. Super fun!


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


My biggest piece of advice is to keep an open mind and explore things. ZUM is unique. My mom visited me for a month and worked out with Sierra while she was here. She commented on how she does all these crazy things and no one judges her at ZUM. We have a lot of people here who do crazy movements that are really good for you, but may not be done at other gyms or in online programs – like the monkey bars. So embrace everything ZUM is along with the community. Try out the classes you might be unsure about and have fun doing it! You’ll be surprised by how people join in with you.


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


I’ve been a regular horseback rider since I was 12. I do both Hunters and Jumpers, riding twice a week in Woodinville. I love building a relationship with an animal while being able to escape and think about something else completely to escape. It’s so fun. Not to mention, thanks to strength I’ve developed working out, I have increased control over my body and have been a more effective rider.


What is your guilty pleasure?


Probably baking. Although that may not be a guilty pleasure outside the gym world. 😉


Favorite tv show?


The Walking Dead which is why I like the Outlast class. I think it’s a really interesting life problem. If you woke up tomorrow and there were zombies everywhere, how would you survive? You’d have to get really creative!


Favorite movie?


Forrest Gump


Favorite music?


Country. I really like Kip Moore.


Favorite ZUM class?




Favorite movement or exercise?


Kettlebells. I have a series I do with double-arms swings, single-arm swings and snatches. Do you want to know why I love kettlebells? When I use them I feel like Bowser from Mario Kart swinging that thing around his head. They make me feel very powerful and strong, so I gravitate toward them.


Any final thoughts for us?


Great progress is made one step at a time. You don’t have to go tackle the world, you can tackle it piece by piece and keep going. That’s true with a lot of things in life, but especially with fitness. And I love ZUM. It’s a great place to be.


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.

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!



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.





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.



Meet June’s Member of the Month – Brian Tracy


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


When I joined back in January 2014, I was experiencing very subtle issues with my left leg and hip, and I basically wanted to do more yoga and strengthening. My friend Kirsten had highly recommended ZUM, so I joined and started doing regular yoga classes and Joe’s Hardcore class in addition to riding into work. That was standard fitness routine until the spring of 2015.


During that time when I was working out at ZUM, I was also seeing different doctors and having MRIs. They thought my leg and hip was a lower back issue that was causing some nerve problems in my left leg and weakness in my lower left leg. So, I was working through these physical issues with doctors, physical therapy, and ZUM.


In April 2015, a doctor wanted me to get a MRI on my neck and brain, just to rule it out, and they found something in my brain. It actually took almost a month to diagnose the problem. It was a brain tumor. That was a crazy month, to say the least. I ended up getting connected to the UW Medical Center and a neurosurgeon there, who was really amazing.


The evening after I met the neurosurgeon and scheduled a biopsy to poke a hole and see what kind of tumor it was, I had a seizure. So that really did a number on my left leg. Luckily, things were really moving with my doctors at that point, so I had the biopsy the next week, they figured out what type of tumor it was, and came up with plan for treatment. From June 2015 until July 2016 I did proton radiation and chemotherapy. So far the treatment results are the best as can be hoped for.


To add to everything, my wife, Kim, was pregnant when I was diagnosed. So about half way through my treatment, on November 11, 2015, our daughter Rosemary (Rosie) was born.


The diagnosis was certainly chaotic and crazy, but once we knew what it was and had a game plan for treatment, I felt a lot better about it. I really looked at my situation and realized I didn’t want to fight the tumor. My neurosurgeon told me that every brain tumor is unique to the person – it has never happened in the past and will never happen again in the future. That resonated so much with me. I realized this tumor is part of me. I don’t want to battle it, fight it, and kill it, because I would be battling myself. I want to figure out how to continue living and thriving with it. So, that’s been my attitude going into treatment, through treatment and even now. Of course, Kim being pregnant and knowing we were bringing a kid into the world during all of this, made it easier for me to focus on the good things and being positive. I wanted to bring a kid into a household that’s happy, loving and hopeful; not scared, fearful and anxious; so that’s what we did!


So where are you in your recovery?


Doctors and other cancer survivors I have talked to say it takes about as long as your treatment duration to recover from its effects, and I’m almost a year past treatment, so I’m getting closer. It’s been a slow steady increase of energy – the cumulative fatigue from chemo was rough. My leg is also getting stronger which is awesome!


As of April, I’m back on my bike and riding outside after riding all winter on a spin bike, which is amazing! I’m back to my addictive cycling self. My cycling goes way back. In college, I rode a lot – road bike racing, commuting, recreational riding, some cyclocross. I actually got back into biking (2014-ish) when my leg started having problems because I couldn’t run, backcountry ski or standup paddleboard as much. Before the seizure I was cycling maybe 100 miles a week on average, so it feels so awesome to be back on the bike!



Since joining ZUM, what results have you achieved?


My time at ZUM has been pretty funky with everything that’s happened. Before I was diagnosed, ZUM helped my body maintain strength and be able to do what I wanted to do. Now, it’s helping me get motivated to rebuild physically. ZUM supports me as much mentally as it does physically. I’ve really been enjoying the meditation class and the community it’s created. It’s motivating me to stay positive and be more active.



What do you like best about ZUM? 


The uniqueness. High-quality yoga classes, meditation, non-traditional fitness classes. ZUM isn’t your average gym.



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


It’s a cool place; there’s cool people. ZUM is a community-based gym. It’s definitely worth trying out to see if it’s right for you.



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


Olbiteride Team Brian TracyThis is the second year I’ve organized a team for Fred Hutch’s Obliteride. Last year we had 12 riders on my team and raised over $6000. I was also asked to speak before the 25-mile ride last year. It was a cool experience to feel the support.  I didn’t have much expectation for the event, but there was just great energy surrounding the ride and the whole event.


Joe came to watch the race and has been really committed to ZUM supporting Obliteride and my team this year. There will be opportunities coming for the ZUM community to get involved. It’s super exciting!



We’re really excited about the ZUM community joining and supporting your team too! If any members want more info, they can check out the team page here. How did you get involved with Obliteride?


I first heard about it from a friend at work. She introduced me to the director of Obliteride at the time, Amy. Amy was really interested to hear my story and my perspective of looking at my cancer in a positive light, thus she asked me to speak, and I decided to sign up knowing the 2016 ride would be at the end of my treatment.


For those who may not know Obliteride is an organized cycling event that raises significant funds for Fred Hutch cancer research. So it’s important to me because the results of this research may save my life someday.  I’m not expecting a cure for cancer will be found anytime soon, but more treatment tools to keep people like me alive and thriving is very possible.



And now for something completely different….what’s your guilty pleasure?


Candy  – Swedish Fish are probably my favorite. And potato chips. If we’re not talking food, I love cool gear. I’m already scheming to get a new bike. I see it as a good sign that I’m getting healthier!



Do you have a favorite ZUM class?


Meditation. For sure.



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


ZUM is a comfortable place for me. Members have asked about my limp wondering if I’ve had an injury. When I tell them, “Nope, I have a brain tumor,” they’re cool about it. I’ve learned that’s not always the case out in the world. I really enjoy the community too. Seeing familiar faces of friends, family (my cousin is a member), and co-workers is really cool.


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.