All posts by rnagy

2023 New Years Super Class & SO MUCH MORE

Kick off 2023 with a great workout and your friends from the U. We are hosting our next Superclass on January 1st, 2023 at 11 AM. Sign ups are live here.


The first Superclass of the year will be prior to UF opening for 2023. I have listed our holiday hours here at as well.


  • Dec 24th 10AM-2PM.
  • Dec 25th Closed.
  • Dec 26th 9AM-4PM.
  • Dec 31st 10AM-2PM.
  • Jan 1st Noon-4PM (with superclass only at 11 AM).


As with all of our Superclasses we will have a mix of cardio and lifting. We are also offering this class free to everyone, member or non-member. So bring a friend and have some fun with us New Years day. One thing we do ask of you is to donate to the West Penn Burn Center. The reason we are asking for to donate to this cause is because we have seen a string of fires recently and we would like to help those who have been affected by these tragedies.


Yours in Strength,


Todd Hamer


PS Happy Holidays.




The Strength Project

Hamer may be making me write a blog on my birthday… but it’s only because we have some very exciting news to share with all of you!


Starting January 9th, we are kicking off the 2023 Strength Project here at Union Fitness!


What is this “Strength Project” you ask? Here are the details below:


  • The Strength Project is a 10-week challenge for members who are looking to explore more of our classes. Entering this challenge will include your chance to win some awesome prizes.


  • This 10-week challenge will begin on January 9th and will run until March 17


  • During these 10 weeks, you will be tasked with taking at least 30 total classes here at UF
    • The stipulation is that you can take any of our Powerful classes, however we ask that you take at least – 3 RYDE classes, 3 Yoga classes, and 3 Cardio Lab classes total – accounting for 9 of those 30 total classes.
    • We ask that you please be sure to both sign up and sign into each of the classes that you take, so that we can keep track of who was present in each class and make sure to give you the credit that you deserve. If you don’t sign in, we can’t tell whether you were taking the class or not, so you may not have that counted towards your total!


  • Everyone who completes the Strength Project will be given a Union Fitness T-Shirt


  • Everyone who completes the Strength Project will also be entered to win one of three prizes:
    • 3 Free months of our NEW Wellness Plus membership.
    • 1 Free month of our NEW Wellness Plus membership.
    • $50 Gift Certificate.


  • Starting from now until January 8th, you can sign up for the Strength Project on MindBody. It will be set up just as if you’re signing up for one of our classes, and it will be a class sign up on the day of January 8th.
  • Bring a friend! If you have a non-member friend interested in joining us, they can buy in to the strength project for 250 dollars. This will give them 3 months of training. For each friend you bring you will get another entry to win our prizes.


We are looking forward to tracking all of your class progress over these 10 weeks and seeing how many you are able to complete! Please be sure to sign up on MindBody and to let us know if you have any additional questions, comments, or concerns.



One Year At Union

This month marks the end of my first year at Union Fitness, so I wanted to take this time to speak on the knowledge and wisdom I’ve obtained here, note goals in the upcoming year, and give thanks.


The time I’ve spent at Union has given me much in lessons and learning. I learned that trusting in the process is key to progress. Whatever your journey may be, whatever your goals are, and however you pursue happiness, it is crucial that you believe you will succeed. Yeah, sure, it is true that consistency and support will aid you in achieving your goals. Although, without internally knowing that you can/will be better for your efforts, your self-confidence will suffer, leaving room for wasted time and energy in doubting. We are all going to make mistakes, as they are a part of the journey, so don’t doubt yourself. Keep going.


The next lesson is something I still struggle to do, but I do see myself getting a lot better at asking for help. I find it tough to do this because, as a survival technique, self-sufficiency has been my default setting when navigating new and old experiences. Though there are places and times for this tactic, no one can do everything alone. Some questions cannot be answered from within; some needs cannot be resolved from our own resources. When you put the work in to understand yourself in a compromised position, you can understand your needs to be met and how to meet them. Then, you can convey your vulnerability to people who are there for you, people that care about you. I know this is easier said than done, but always worth the emotional labor.


Making use of the wisdom I’ve assumed this year, I want to keep working to achieve my goals to compete in a full powerlifting meet, acquire certifications in several massage therapy and fitness fields, and continue to seek physical and emotional growth. I have much more to learn, and I’m pretty excited about it all. So, watch out for me!


I thank every part of the staff at Union Fitness and all its members for their ongoing support and investments they make in me. I am forever grateful. As this is the manifestation of the beginnings to another great year, all I ask is that you continue to believe in me. We’ve got work to do, and we’ll make it great together.



Why I Love Failing Lifts

We have all heard the quote “we learn from mistakes, not from success.” And when I dissect this quote, I think that part of it is right and part of it is wrong. We absolutely learn from mistakes, but on the contrary, I believe we learn from success too.


We learn from mistakes because once we make them, we can figure out what went wrong and improve those missed steps, so we don’t repeat them. But when we succeed, we also learn. We learn what works. We learn what we are capable of and what we need to continue to do to keep succeeding. Both failure and success will always be key parts of our journey, and without the other we cannot continue to grow.


I take this approach with my training. When many of us think of a “failed lift” we naturally think of it negatively, but that shouldn’t be the case. For one, failing a lift is proof that we are training to our maximum effort, you’re giving 110%. If you never fail a lift, you know you aren’t getting uncomfortable enough. Uncomfortableness is where we grow, in lifting and in life.


My favorite thing about failing a lift, is that once I fail that attempt, I know I can pull apart what went wrong, what I can fix, and when I can attack that weight again with a better chance to be successful. That weight isn’t going anywhere, it will be there when you’re prepared to challenge it again.


I also love when I fail a lift, and somebody in the gym who is stronger, has been training longer, and is more knowledgeable than me can tell me exactly where I went wrong and how I can fix it. The best part about lifting is we always have room to get better and continue LEARNING, and that growth never stops. We keep fighting the battles and we continue to win as we get stronger and as we continue our journey. When you find yourself no longer failing lifts, you are too comfortable. Learn from your success and learn more from your failures.


Take pride in the failed lift, it means you’re pushing for more. And to me, that is elite. 




2023 UF News

As we are all seeing from Spotify wrapped, 2022 is coming to a close. With the end of the year we here at UF are spending time on two important issues. First and foremost we are judging your Spotify wrapped and wondering what that music is you are listening to (jk, maybe).  The second thing we are working on is our new plans for 2023. Here is a short list of things we will be doing to end 2022 and kick off 2023.


  1. First ever members get together. We will host this December 21, 2022 from 7-9PM in the performance lab. Bring a small treat to share and we will have some fun together. We may even have a few things to give away.
  2. Return of the strength project. We are in the process of making changes to how this program was run in the past. Keep your eyes and ears open for ways to improve your fitness and life through this popular program.
  3. 2023 kick off superclass. We will kick off 2023 with one more superclass. This class will be January 1st, 2023 at 11 AM. Sleep in then roll over to the gym and have some fun with us to kick off 2023. We will then open our doors for all members from 12-4PM on New Years day.
  4. Powerlifting is still here at UF. We will be hosting two meets again this year.
  5. United not divided workout. We are proud to work closely with our friends at LEG1ON Training on this great workout. This year we will have 4 gyms coming together to host a workout. Time and date to be announced soon.
  6. Last but not least. You! We are here to serve you and we are always looking for ways to improve. Please stop by anytime and tell us your goals and how we can help you.


There it is. 2023 is almost upon us and we are ready to make it a strong year.


Todd Hamer

Curt’s Meet Prep Nutrition

I’m currently 10 weeks out from my next Powerlifting competition. During this time, I always adjust my diet to fit my goals and needs for strength, hypertrophy, and recovery. Below is a sample of my day to day nutrition intake for the last few months leading into a competition. This is still very similar to what I consume even outside of competition prep, just with slightly increased protein and carbs. Keep in mind, this is what I’ve found to work best for me and my body. When I consume food, it is simply to nourish my body for performance, and rarely for actual enjoyment, which is why it is very simple and routine. I don’t always enjoy this, however, it’s just one less variable that I have to worry about as I’m focused on being the best athlete that I can be. 



24 ounces of water

4 whole eggs

Diced potatoes

2 pieces sourdough bread

Greek yogurt

10 ounces of black coffee



24 ounces of water

Crockpot chicken breast:

Chicken breast with salsa

White rice

Black beans



Pre workout snack:

24 ounces of water

Cream of rice

2 splenda packets

Drizzle of honey


Intra workout:

Granite intra workout w/ BCAAs, EAAs, Cluster Dextrin, and Electrolytes

Post workout shake:

4 ounces of milk

8 ounces of water

2 scoops of Whey protein

1/2 cup of oats

1 banana

Handful of strawberries


Dinner (Monday & Wednesday):

24 ounces of water

Taco bowls

Ground beef

Hard shells

Shredded lettuce

Diced tomatoes

1 Avocado

Shredded cheese

Taco sauce


Dinner (Tuesday & Thursday):

24 ounces of water



Zucchini & squash 


Dinner (Friday):

24 ounces of water

New York Strip or Fillet

Roasted potatoes



Dinner (Weekends):

24 ounces of water

Occasional beer, wine, or cocktail depending on occasion

Leftovers or a fun restaurant date

Night time snack:

12 ounces of water

Greek yogurt with Granola



Where’s the Confusion?

Last night Erica (my wife) and I were discussing why people don’t reach their goals. First and foremost people don’t come to the gym consistently. As Curtis wrote about recently we must not just be motivated we must have discipline. Step one is taking the first step everyday. Just arising and beginning the day with some movement is the first step toward success. The problem is that many people start and then hit a wall due to confusion. Today I will hopefully help remove some of that confusion.


Here are tips to remove confusion from your training and maybe your life.


  1. Create goals. Have an idea about where your are going. Too many people come to the gym only to spin their wheels. Set some sort of goal and be ready to adjust, yet start with a goal.
  2. Create a plan. The worst plan that’s run with consistency is better than the best plan not run with it.
  3. Overcome obstacles. I promise you that you will miss a training session, have a bad training session, or have hiccups along the way. None of this matters, just show up again tomorrow.
  4. Get your diet right. This is one area with much confusion. It should not be that confusing, veggies are good, fruit good, protein sources good, and candy not good. Do not fall into the trap of social media. If someone says something too good to be true, then it is too good to be true.
  5. Give yourself a break. No one is perfect and stop looking at people who lie for a living. If someone is trying to sell you an image then they are probably not being 100% truthful.
  6. Find small wins. Small wins add up to bigger ones. If your meeting runs late and you have to shorten your workout then do it. But still do something!
  7. Sleep and drink water. These are two of the most underrated ways to achieve any goal.


This is all I know after more than two decades of studying this information. What I do know is that if all you do is follow these basic rules then your chance of success will increase. Additionally, you’ll feel better about your health.




Cardio for the Heart-io

There are endless opportunities to engage in cardio (aerobic) exercise in our everyday lives. You could get your heart rate up by using the stairs instead of the elevators, taking a bike ride, coming to UF and using the ellipticals, rowers, etc. By participating in regular aerobic exercise, we are encouraging our hearts to work smarter and not harder. What I mean by this is that when we perform aerobic exercise, our heart is working overtime to pump blood throughout the whole body to the places we need it the most. By conditioning the heart to pump blood more efficiently while exercising, this makes it easier for the heart to pump blood more efficiently while at rest, and as a result your blood pressure will decrease. With exercise and consistent training, the heart will be performing its essential functions while being under a lot less stress in the long run. I also want to highlight a few of the other benefits that come along with aerobic training and exercise in general:


  • Lowers the “bad” cholesterol levels – exercise works to eliminate the “bad” cholesterol also known as LDL by increasing the “good” cholesterol in the bloodstream otherwise known as HDL.


  • Decreases the risk for type 2 diabetes – exercise can increase insulin sensitivity which means that the body will require less insulin to control its blood sugar levels. The muscles also extract glucose from the blood during exercise. This helps to prevent blood sugar levels from rising too high.


  • Triggers the release of “feel good” chemicals in the brain – This includes serotonin, norepinephrine, endorphins, and dopamine. These are some factors contributing toward what helps us to be in a good mood and feel mentally healthy in general.


  • Reduces inflammation – exercise causes muscle cells to release a protein called IL-6 which has anti-inflammatory effects


  • Decreases the risk of heart disease and stroke


There are so many other benefits to aerobic training, but I just wanted to highlight a few today to get you thinking about how important and beneficial it is to incorporate this into our daily lives.



Lay The Smackdown on Seasonal Affective Disorder

My friends, welcome to Pittsburgh’s cold and dreary gray season. With this change of season, decrease in sunshine and drop in social interaction, many people feel the effects of SAD. What is SAD you ask? SAD is Seasonal Affective Disorder and is defined by the Mayo Clinic as a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you are like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, zapping your energy and making you feel moody. These symptoms often resolve during the spring and summer months. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer and resolves during the fall or winter months.



Here are some signs and symptoms of the dreaded SAD.


  • Feeling listless, sad or down most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy and feeling sluggish
  • Having problems with sleeping too much
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty


Here are 4 signs and symptoms related to Fall & Winter SAD.


  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Tiredness or low energy


These 4 signs and symptoms are specific to summer onset seasonal affective disorder.


  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Poor appetite & Weight loss
  • Agitation or anxiety
  • Increased irritability


Some main factors that come into play that may cause seasonal depression are disruption of your internal clock (circadian rhythm), drop in serotonin levels and decreased melatonin production due to the decrease in sunshine.



Have no fear, there are some ways to battle these seasonal blues.

One way is exercise, which can help decrease depression by increasing endorphins, serotonin, and can clear your mind. Exercise can also improve your sleep and energy levels. Your body gets the movement it craves, which can help it relax. Movement is medicine and moss doesn’t grow on a rolling stone. Some other helpful tools to combat SAD are Light Boxes, Behavior Therapy, a well balanced diet, stepping outside to get some fresh air and sunshine or scheduling social get togethers with friends.



Don’t let the lack of sunshine get you down, come drop in to Union Fitness and let us assist you in combating Seasonal Affective Disorder. We can get you moving and grooving.



Stay bright my friends,



Physical Therapy at Union Fitness

Union Fitness is a unique facility as we offer so many different options. If you want to drop a few pounds we can help you with that. If you want to get stronger, we know a few people that can help. Maybe your goal is to become a world class lifter, we have been known to dabble in that too. On top of all of that fun stuff we also have some fun in our cardiolab classes, and we have a few hundred athletes that are here everyday to get better.  Now we are adding in new component to help you succeed in life.


Welcome Precision PT to UF.


Mike Allen is a Physical Therapist with years of experience including training athletes as well as normal people like myself. Mike has been looking to expand and so we found a partnership. Mike will be using our facility as his home base in the city. He already runs two successful PT clinics north of the city. He will run all of his services in our gym. Mike will be taking appointments through his PT company and he will use our massage room for assesments and use the entire gym for his rehab.


Now if you are in need of PT you have more options. Also, don’t forget we still have massage available.


Todd Hamer