Category Archives: Fitness

Monthly Challenge

For the month of December we are offering all of our members a chance to challenge yourself, as well as us here at UF. There will be 4 different options and scoring sheets are hanging outside of our cardio lab. With these challenges you can complete them in the gym or tag us on instagram and we will put your score up for you. The winner of each challenge will receive a free massage. For those of you who are not ready to come back to the gym we can save your massage for a later date. Here are the challenges.

 

Challenge 1, Erg 2k Challenge.

 

For this challenge the goal is to do as many 2K’s on the Erg (rower) as you can during the month. The rules are simple. Row 2000 meters and that is 1 point. Row 4000 that is 2 points  etc. If you row 3000 today and 3000 tomorrow that is still only 2, 2 k’s. So please be honest as we are on the honor system.

 

Challenge 2, Bike 3 mile Challenge. 

 

For this challenge you just have to ride 3 miles on an airdyne bike. Similar to the first challenge you will just be asked to do the ride, then record it. Also, similar to the first challenge this must be done in 3 mile increments.

 

Challenge 3, Ski Erg 2k Challenge.

 

Read challenge one and do the same thing on a ski erg.

 

Challenge 4 Pull Up Challenge.

 

This is the simplest challenge. The goal is to hit as many pull ups as you can in the month of Dec. These can be done anytime and anywhere. Just record how many you have done.

 

As I stated earlier the scoring sheets are posted in front of the cardio lab. Some of our staff will participate in these challenges as well. If you do any of these challenges at home just tag Union Fitness and we will add your score in for you. If you do anything here just record it on our score sheets.

 

Now let’s get back to training!

 

 

 

 

 

Union Fitness Labs Presents, The Virtual Bumpy Turkey Bowl & Burn

Gobble Gobble to all of our Thanksgiving Bumpy Battalions!

 

With everything going on we had to call a hot route into a Red 7 audible…if you don’t follow that one, then you should take a quick peek at Wedding Crashers backyard football scene to hype yourself up and “would you just go stand on the other side please?”

 

Sometime during your Thanksgiving feast, Macy’s Day Parade balloon critique, Foosball cheering, Planes Trains & Automobiles marathon & mid-day nap, come jump on our Instagram and sweat the gravy train out with our Virtual Bumpy Turkey Bowl & Burn workout. We will have it posted in the morning so you have all day to get the deal done.

 

If you haven’t checked it out yet, please click on our Thanksgiving donation blog. The proceeds will go to a local business and our first responders.

 

We are thankful for all of you and the amazing things you do!

 

Come catch me on the flippity flop and let’s get bumpy on Thanksgiving.

 

Cheers,

 

CeJ

Nutrition Tips For Thanksgiving

The holidays give a lot of people anxiety when it comes to eating, being fearful of overindulging, not being able to control their intake, or for some, not sure how to approach any holiday while still enjoying the foods they love. My simplest piece of advice that I can offer always reigns true for anything in love, eat mindfully but allow your space to indulge without guilt, how do we do this? Well if you keep following along you’ll find out.

 

Thanksgiving is probably one of my favorite holidays, mainly because I get two in one year. As a Canadian we celebrate Thanksgiving in October however also being American, we celebrate this holiday but in November. From the pie to the stuffing to the gravy, this holiday is all about the food and I’m here for it (sometimes I end up in a food coma, actually let’s be honest, I always end up in a food coma around Thanksgiving).

 

As always, my tips are just suggestions and in no way do you need to follow them head-on. I’m simply sharing what I share with clients who struggle with this holiday and want to also stay on track with their goals while enjoying all the amazing food that sits in front of them.

 

Fasting for Thanksgiving is a big no-no, you do not need to fast for this festivity unless you are someone who already follows an intermittent fasting schedule. Instead, let us look at the day this way:

 

  1. Enjoy a high protein, low carb, and fat breakfast
  2. If your Thanksgiving dinner sits in the early afternoon, instead of having lunch, make yourself a high protein, low carb/low fat snack.

 

          • If anything, people struggle with getting enough protein in on this day so having 1-2 meals or one meal and one snack that is high in protein will set you up for success.

 

      3. For your Thanksgiving meal, the following is a suggestion:

 

          • 1/4 protein, 1/2 carb, 1/2 vegetable, 1/4 fat (can be included in protein/carb). Within this structure, you’re still hitting all your core groups and you can visually see on your plate where each macronutrient sits.
          • For dessert, if there are many different kinds sometimes I’ll opt for smaller portions to allow more space for a variation or if I’m more prone to want just apple pie, 1-2 slices is the perfect amount for me (I’ll never skip dessert, it’s the best part).

 

Remember, these are just suggestions to get the most out of your holiday without feeling like you overindulged. However, if you’re someone who doesn’t struggle with these feelings then please disregard my suggestions or follow them if you want to also stay mindful of your goals. Everyone is different and we all have different relationships with food, that is why what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for the next person.

 

If anyone needs any extra advice or wants to reach out to speak on the holiday, feel free to DM me on my personal Instagram. I’m always available for a little chat, especially since I’ll be spending the Holiday virtually with my family.

 

Have a great Thanksgiving Union Fam, much love,

 

Jocelyn

Updated Thanksgiving Workout

We are doing our best to keep everyone safe during this time and we appreciate each of you for understanding our decisions. We have decided to open on Thanksgiving day for 2 hours so people can still train and keep some normalcy to their lives.

 

We will be open from 8AM -10AM on Thanksgiving day. During this time we will have workouts posted in the cardio lab, strength lab and the performance lab. We will also have a coach in each area. We invite you to come by and do one of these workouts or come by and do your own workout.

 

We will be raising money for a very special cause. This year we are partnering with a local deli that will make food for first responders. We will be accepting cash donations on Thanksgiving day. We hope you will take part with us while supporting a local small business,  and help those who are working extra hard to keep each of us safe. More details will be available on Thanksgiving morning.

 

Thanks and we hope to see you Thanksgiving morning for a different kind of turkey burn.

 

Todd Hamer

 

Turkey Day Class

Hi all! The best time of the year is upon us, and although events and gatherings are looking a little different, we are doing our best to bring some normalcy and holiday cheer.

 

Union Fitness is presenting its 2nd Annual Thanksgiving morning super class workout, and we are inviting you to start your day with us! The class will start at 9 am and go until 10:30 am, with one hour of work split between both lifting and cardio. To make this event possible and safe, we will be following all state regulations and setting up the event in the way that works best. We ask that those who choose to participate agree to follow what we have planned. Here are a few precautions we will have in place:

 

  • As a gym, we have been requiring temperature checks upon arrival and a mask to be worn for the duration of your visit. We will be doing the same for this class whether or not you are inside or outside.
  • We will have hand sanitizer and wipes provided in each area and have a 10-minute transition time to wipe down all items used.
  • We will be capping the class at 32 people, with no more than 8 people stationed together in each workout area throughout the gym and performance lab.

 

We will be offering this as a free class! All we ask is that you bring a food item or clothing/blanket/gloves as a donation. If you have any questions, please reach out. We look forward to having a fun workout together to start off the day of yummy eating or whatever you may have planned for Thanksgiving 2020 🙂

College Athlete Training at UF

UF has added some very experienced staff over this past year. Our new staff have come heavily from collegiate strength and conditioning. Here is a list of places that our staff have worked prior to coming to UF: Bucknell, WVU, RMU, Mizzou, Clemson, Pitt, VCU, George Mason, George Washington University, The Citadel, Carnegie Mellon, YSU, NY Mets, Morehead St, Ohio St, University of Maryland, Akron, Salisbury State and trained athletes from the professional ranks, as well as multiple olympic medal winners.

 

In addition to our new staff we have added a new Performance Lab (PL). The PL is our addition that houses indoor and outdoor turf. This new area also has a garage door leading to our outdoor space.

 

With all of this available to us we began training teams from Chatham University and Point Park University. We are now offering training to collegiate athletes who are home during their respective winter breaks. The details are as follows.

 

Winter Break Training Details:

Nov 30th-Jan 8th daily at 1 PM.

The program will be run by one of our coaches and we be 1-1.5 hours long. 

The program will focus on speed, strength, and conditioning.

The cost for the program will be 90 dollars.

 

If you’re looking for a fun, challenging training experience that will benefit your athletic career, look no further. We have the most experienced staff in the Pittsburgh area when it comes to training athletes.

 

Weekly Wrap Up

Happy Friday everyone, we hope you all had a great week, got in some good sweats here with all of our awesome instructors and enjoyed some of the beautiful weather we randomly had (even if it was mostly rain but still warm none the less).

 

For this weeks recap we have some changes happening within Union that we want to keep you in the loop on:

 

CARDIO LAB

 

Tuesday 6:00AM, Steph Stahovic

Tuesday 5:30PM, Cody Miller (starting Tuesday, November 24th)

Wednesday 6:00AM, Jocelyn Lemay

Friday 6:00AM, Matt Grayson

 

MOVEMENT

 

MOVEment will be moving to 5:00PM on Friday evenings only, continued to be taught by Jocelyn Lemay.

 

YOGA

 

If you haven’t noticed yet we have two new instructors joining us, both Meagan Gnibus and Lauren Sweetnich will be covering classes on an as needed basis. We are very excited to welcome them to Union and be part of our staff!

 

Also, we have started to utilize inside of Nova Place for our yoga classes. MindBody will reflect the location of each yoga class, be sure to check your MindBody Application for any room changes or ask our front desk staff to show you where yoga is being held if you have never taken a class on our Nova Yoga Deck.

 

Have a wonderful weekend and we hope to see you this weekend in our Cardio Lab and Yoga classes.

 

UF Team

Setting Goals and Measuring Progress

Regardless of the time of year or what is going on in our daily lives, it is important to have set goals. These goals can be associated with life, fitness, your health, or a combination of the three. If we lack goals, it becomes hard to make progress and continue to grow as humans. Although setting goals can be a simple task, there is a process to doing it, and many things you want to keep in mind along the way in order to achieve them. Below is a system that I use with myself, along with anyone that I work with in order to reach our goals and continue on the road of progression and growth.

 

Establish a big goal: This is where you want to establish your big long term goal. What is it that you want to accomplish in six months, a year, two years, etc. There doesn’t need to be a time limit placed on this. Just write it down and keep it in the back of your mind. It’s important to make sure that this one is realistic. However, it should be challenging and should force you to grow as an individual. 

 

Establish your small goals: These are the small victories that will ultimately lead you to your big goal. If you only focus on your big goal without a plan of attack, then you will have trouble progressing and staying motivated. These small goals should be very obtainable, but again, they should push you and challenge you into staying motivated and on track. Small victories add up into big wins over time.

 

Make sure your priorities match your goals: Your daily lifestyle must match your goals if you want to achieve them. If you bust your butt in the gym, but stay up all night eating chips and watching Netflix shows, then you certainly will not be checking off those small or big goals. Everything you do outside of the physical work should be setting you up for success. This includes who you spend time with, what you eat and drink, your quality of sleep, managing your stress, etc. If you make these areas your priority, then it will be much easier to achieve your goals.

 

Ways to measure progress: Progress isn’t always measured by weight on the bar or on the scale. As a matter of fact, it should rarely be measured that way. Measuring the small factors is a great way to stay motivated, focused, and on track. With exercise, progress can be measured in many areas including but not limited to:

 

How many times per week you’re able to exercise.

The duration of your workout.

Your rest periods between sets and exercises.

Adding sets and/ or reps.

Increase in flexibility and range of motion.

Form and technique improvements.

Body measurements.

 

Daily checklist: I stole this one from Jared. Every day make a checklist of 3 things that you need to do in order to reach your goals. Just like we listed above, this can be getting 8 hours of sleep, drink a gallon of water, stretch or meditate before bed, etc. If you can check your 3 things off every day, then you will certainly put yourself in a great place to achieve those goals.

 

At the end of the day, have fun and stay positive. Approach this process as a learning opportunity as well as an opportunity to grow as an individual, and good stuff will happen. Stay strong, friends.

Jocelyn’s Training Log

For the last few weeks, I’ve been posting some of my training pieces and breaking down my mindset, something I’ve been working on heavily. Being positive and focused isn’t enough these days, you need to understand how to challenge yourself without teetering on the line of being overconfident because the bar loves to break an ego real quick.

 

Going into this session I was tired, not entirely sure how it was going to go but I started by focusing on getting my PT/mobility work done before my primer. This allowed me to prep my body for what was to come and focus on how I was feeling. Regardless if you’re an athlete or going to take a Powerful class, as humans we need to be hyper-aware and self-reflection keeps us in an understanding between body and mind (if you don’t journal, try it – I have a past blog post on this BUT stay tuned for another mindset journaling one soon).

 

After I had finished my PT/mobility and did the primer I had a better feeling of how to attack this session, below you’ll find a typical Strength/Conditioning session:

 

STRENGTH

Front Squats 5×2 (every 3 min)

Start at 70% of your 2RM and build each set

*worked up to 197# for a double then hit 200# for a single and failed my second rep

CONDITIONING 

6 Rounds

Every 5 minutes for MAX weight

3 Power Cleans starting weight 70% of your 1RM (building here)

2-6 Unbroken Ring Muscle-ups

400m Sprint 90%+

:90 REST IS A MUST

*125/135/145/150/152/155

*ALL sets of RMU: 3 UB

 

I’ve never front squatted 200# let alone 197# for two and I’m proud of that because clean & jerking 200# is one of my goals. I try not to compare my numbers to anyone else but myself because we’re in the business of building ourselves up, not knocking all the hard work we’ve done. I think a lot of people get caught up in comparison which in all honesty is very hard to do. I remember when I first started training competitively and how I felt, now as I’ve grown into my own as an athlete I find that comparison is few and far between. The only thing that stands between me and the bar is myself and in regards to mindset, if you want to do anything in life you have to believe in yourself.

 

After the front squat the boys and I moved into our main training piece, I was texting with my coach previously and mentioned that I was going to try and hit 3 unbroken reps for all sets of my ring muscle-ups. I remember clear as day in the middle of the workout regretting sending that text because now I had to hold myself accountable to my words (which I did, thankfully but not without struggle). This is what I mean when I talk about mindset because on my fourth set that last rep was very hard and all I was thinking was throwing my hips as hard as I could to get that last rep, giving up was no option and with that mindset, I succeeded.

 

I ended up power cleaning 155# for an unbroken touch and go set of three, my max power clean one rep is 165#, and being able to do three RMU unbroken for six sets left me feeling on top of the world. It’s been a very long time since I’ve PRed any lifts and made huge gains on my muscle up capacity, I attribute it to doing everything else outside of my life right.

KISS in the Age of HIT

KISS is it. No not the band. I know CeJ looks like he could be a member of the band circa 1977, yet let’s be honest here, they only have one good song. Now that I have alienated most of the Yinzers who love KISS, let’s talk about training. KISS is an acronym for Keep It Simple Stupid. This is one of the best things I did as a strength coach to improve my coaching and my athletes.

 

How many periodization models can you name? Conjugate, concurrent, western, tri-phasic, block or even 531. The confusion in training can be too much for many people. I know I often made this mistake. I was speaking to our own Cody Miller the other day about how often I have over-complicated my programming (for myself and my athletes). While I have never been a huge fan of HIT training as a year-round training style, I do believe we can learn a lot from these people. Look at Marty Gallagher, Dr. Ken Leistner, Mike Mentzer or even Arthur Jones.

 

HIT

 

For those of you unfamiliar with this style of training, it is simple, short, and hard. Even the great Dorian Yates used many of HIT’s methods to build his impressive physique. Dorian was known for having one of the best backs in the history of bodybuilding. Yet his secret to training was simplicity. HIT stands for High Intensity Training (in their case intensity is used as a mindset not % of 1 rep max). HIT training sessions are generally short with low total sets and most sets being taken to concentric failure or beyond. Training can be done as often as 5 times a week but generally, it is done 2-4 times per week.

 

I am not advocating to change your regimen to entirely HIT training, but I am claiming that too many overthink their training and do more thinking than working. I even look at Dr. Micheal Yessis’s 1×20 program as a continuation of HIT training. The difference is Yessis doesn’t train the athlete to fail. Yet it’s still one hard set of work and then moves on to the next exercise. This style of training does have its place in the gym and should not be ignored.

 

Moral of the story

 

When in doubt, train harder. Over my two decades in the iron game, I have seen too many people searching for the answer when the answer is more hard work. Build some sweat equity and push yourself to somewhere you have never been. I know I don’t have the answer yet I know hard work is never wrong.

 

– Todd Hamer