We couldn’t be happier to introduce you to July’s member of the month, Vini Gupta! Vini’s been at ZUM about a year now and embodies how patience and persistence leads to incredible progress. Not only is she getting stronger every day and has lost almost 30 pounds since joining, she’s taken up skydiving and recently earned her Class A License!
Be sure to check out Vini’s story to learn more about how connecting with the ZUM coaches helped her overcome her personal doubts and inspired her to strive for consistent improvement – which she now applies to her skydiving. Oh, and you’ll get to see her in action! Vini, you rock!
Vini, I’m so excited to share your story with our ZUM community! Thanks so much for agreeing to chat with me! First off, when you first joined ZUM, what made you want to join a gym?
I moved to Seattle in January of 2017 after completing my Masters at the University of Southern California. The previous couple years had been pretty stressful with moving to the States and getting back into the college culture after a few years in the workforce. It was really difficult to make time for myself. After I settled into my job at Amazon, I thought, “ok, now I have time to work on myself, lose weight, and get fit.”
I thought the free gym in my office building would be perfect – workout after work, shower, head home. But every time I went, I’d hurt my back because I’d do too much, or I didn’t really know how to workout. Eventually, I realized I needed some supervision – someone to tell me how to workout.
ZUM was super close to work and really convenient. I figured I’d go and ask for help so I could learn something, and then I could probably start working out on my own again. But then I loved it so much, I extended my six month membership to a year membership. Now I never want to leave!
We don’t want you to either! We’re so happy you’ve found your fitness home at ZUM. What would you say made you enjoy ZUM so much?
I made friends! All the coaches are super friendly. I discovered it’s so much fun to workout in a group setting. I also loved that I could see my progress. I started with two pound dumbbells and then moved to three pounds. I used to stay away from Jordan’s ZUMx class, because I thought it was too challenging, but now it’s my favorite class of the week. Similarly, I have progressed from Joe and Jordan’s classes to Sierra’s. I find her’s very tough, but I’ve been able to them, so I feel I’ve made a lot of personal progress.
That’s awesome! How about that back pain you were experiencing, is it better?
Yeah! I think Jordan was the first coach I met when I came here. He said he’d always keep an eye on me whenever I was in his class. He would often check-in – “are you keeping your back straight?” He took good care of me. I gradually learned for myself how to position my body, so I wouldn’t hurt my back – keeping my core tight is key!
You’ve touched on this a little already, but is there something you would consider your greatest achievement since joining ZUM?
I lost a lot of weight! I came down to 59kg from 72kg (that’s almost 30 pounds for our non-metric system inclined friend,s) and I’m not going to stop here, because I feel so great!
Wow! Congrats! Tell me more about that, how do you feel different?
Well, my clothes fit a lot differently! Everytime I go shopping I buy a jean size lower which feels super awesome! People notice and give compliments too – that also feels really great.
Back in India, there’s a different idea about fitness – we only go to gym when we have something big to prepare for (like a wedding) or if we want/need to lose weight. People used to tell me about how they would go to the gym and lose however much weight, but I tried and that never happened. I always felt like, when is that going to happen for me? Now it has and it feels super awesome!
It’s also been a huge stress buster for me. While I’ve been at ZUM I’ve gone through various intense production releases at work. But the hour and a half I’m at ZUM, I just completely forget about it. During all those butt burner exercises, I don’t find time to think about anything else.
Ha! Totally! What do you like best about ZUM?
The people! I have made so many friends here. Jordan is there. Joe is there. They’re always so fun! In class they’re always pulling your leg and joking around. It feels more like family, not just a gym.
What would you say to someone who is new to ZUM or thinking about joining?
A lot of my friends ask me how I lost weight, so I keep telling them about ZUM and encouraging them to come to classes with me or at least what classes to start with. Like HardCore – that’s what I started with. They often find it hard, and then I tell them, “Don’t give up! Come twice a week, do both the HardCore classes, and rest for the rest of the week.” Take it easy, but don’t stop coming. It will hurt your muscles, but then you will start enjoying it, and you’ll make friends. Pretty soon you’ll become regular. That’s a great feeling.
Gosh, that’s fantastic advice. Now it’s time to get to know you a little better. What’s an interesting, fun fact about you we may not know?
I recently got into skydiving! I started in April just earned my A license!
Woah! Awesome! So what does that mean exactly?
That means I’ve cleared a certain level of checks and have done enough jumps. I’ve made 29 jumps total – 25 by myself. 6 in one day. I still have a lot to learn, and there’s a long way to go.
29 jumps? Wow! How did you get into skydiving?
Skydiving was on my bucket list, and I didn’t want to do a tandem. That was the only option I knew, but I used to be like, “what do you really gain out of it?” There’s the free-fall time. There’s the landing time. Sure, you feel the the wind and everything but you don’t learn anything. It seemed to me that you were just a passenger on a tandem jump.
Then I met my now boyfriend who skydives. When I saw his videos, I was like, “whoa! You can do it by yourself?” I learned a lot about the sport from him. When we got into a relationship, that was a bigger motivation for me to actually get the nerve up to jump. He was having so much fun going every weekend, and I wanted to have that fun too!
I had a friend who was taking an advanced skydiving course in April, and I signed up too. I didn’t think about it too much because I’d start stressing, so I just did it.
It was a 4 hour accelerated free-fall training program learning all about the sport – safety procedures, emergency procedures, how to handle your parachute and canopy, and then you jump. I jumped by myself, but there were 2 instructors holding on to me until 5500 feet when they left me after my parachute was deployed, and then they coached me via radio until I landed safely.
That’s amazing! You must really love it if you got your license. What’s do you like best about skydiving?
I love so many things about skydiving. Like right before I’m about to jump out, and I have that butterfly feeling. There’s that moment of panic where I think, “what if I fall?” Oh wait, I’m here TO fall. And what’s the worst that can happen? I fall out of a plane? haha
It’s a very challenging sport. If you make a small movement, it does something in the air – you turn, you flip, you make formations. I love that there’s lot to work with and learn. Like here at ZUM, every day we try to improve ourselves – it’s the same idea.
So does your training at ZUM help your skydiving?
Definitely! I have to have a strong back, knees, quads, core. There is so much you can do with your core alone. If I arch, I fall faster, if I round, I fall slower. You know the dead bug exercise? That is that is exactly what you have to do to back fly (fly on your back). So, yeah, these things help.
So inspiring and so flippin cool! I feel like we could talk about this all day, but there’s so much more to you than skydiving. Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I really enjoy reading fiction. I love sitting in nature and reading some silly novel.
Favorite TV shows?
I’m currently watching Community for the second time. It’s really good. .
Favorite music or artists?
I love Pearl Jam. I’m really excited for their upcoming concert.
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s very funny.
Favorite ZUM class?
Slow mountain climbers.
Any final thoughts for us?
I’m really grateful to all the coaches. When I joined ZUM, I did’t have high hopes. I thought it would just be another place I’m trying out. But then I had classes with Jordan and Joe, and that was what hooked me. They were so entertaining, and so passionate about what they were doing. It’s inspiring and contagious.
I saw so many people in class fitter than me, who were still sweating and working hard. There are always progressions for the movements – first progression. second, and third. I would see people around me in class, and I’d think, “I’m going to do it like that! Someday I’ll do progression number 2!” And eventually I did. Keep having faith in yourself that you’re going to be able to do it. Just keep going. You’re gonna be amazed by your progress.