Turf: Peter Shmock's Picks


If passersby notice the sign on the building in north Belltown, they probably assume a trendy club lies behind the charcoal facade. They're right insofar as ZUM is a clubbut it's a health club, not a dance club, and a health club radically unlike the typical fluorescent-lit jungle of gleaming machines and pulsing disco music. That's because, in the typically understated words of its founder, PETER SHMOCK, ZUM is "a place for people who want to take care of themselves." Shmock (the "h" is silent) has been helping people do just that for more than 20 yearsbut not schlubs like you and me. He was and remains one of the most in-demand personal trainers for professional athletes in the Puget Sound region, several Seattle Mariners still among them. Why did someone of Shmock's stature in the fitness field decide to provide a facility open not just to the buff and body-proud but also to the routinely out-of-shape? It has a lot to do with Shmock's own life experience. As a driven University of Oregon Olympic shot-putter, he learned about the destructive side of pushing the body to its very limit. "Gyms are full of equipment made specifically for 'building bodies' and people using them to push weights until they can't push anymore," he says. "I understand that, I understand the urge to be 'a doer.' But that's not the only way to be. There are other waysnot better, just other. The trouble is that our culture doesn't support the way of doing less and being quieter. I think of myself as a recovering doer. I try to get people to look at physical conditioning not as aiming for some ideal but as a matter of working toward a body that's there for you when you need it." Appropriately, ZUM has a cool, minimal, Zen aspect, with its bare exercise rooms opening off a dim central corridor and a stark-white "meditation room" atop the structure. But Shmock is quick to put the kibosh on any New Age woo-woo. "I'm not interested in being anyone's guru. More like the maitre d' or quarterback of the operation."Roger Downey ZUM: 2235 Fifth Ave., 206-443-3933. PETER SHMOCK'S PICKS BEST PLACE TO EAT: "For a light meal, tapas at the Harvest Vine; for a full meal, Dahlia Lounge." BEST PLACE TO VISIT WITH OUT-OF-TOWNERS: "On a sunny day, go sit on the west side of Discovery Park and watch the sun go down; on cloudy days, George Suyama Architecture Studio and Gallery." BEST PLACE FOR OUTDOOR EXERCISE: "Walk or run through the Arboretum followed by a sit on a park bench." BEST ACUPUNCTURIST/BODY WORKER: "Ed Antkowiak: Japanese-style body work/therapy." BEST ONE-DAY GETAWAY: "The Inn at Langley" (on Whidbey Island). BEST THREE-DAY GETAWAY: "The Free Stone Inn in Mazama" (Mazama, Wash., on Highway 20). info@seattleweekly.com

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