Category Archives: Life Health

Toria’s Goals

We are already 2 weeks into the New Year, and today is page number 13/365. Many of us use this start to a brand-new year to get their mindset in the right place and to set some goals to reach. For some, it is a challenge to self-reflect and get your mind in the right place to determine what goals you want to achieve. However, I feel that it is important to do this in the sense that we all could benefit from the motivation and drive it takes to achieve these goals. Goals are fun since they can be absolutely anything, and we can set them to be a one-time thing, short term, long term, or even for a lifetime. I am going to share my top 5 goals for the New Year with you:


  1. Continue to build resilience.
  2. Develop new leadership skills.
  3. Have a solid regular training schedule.
  4. Increase my frequency of cardio sessions.
  5. Create better reading habits.


I have cultivated a crazy amount of resilience in the past year, and I would like to continue to stay strong and build resilience throughout this New Year. With my new position as Director of Business Operations here at UF, I will need to be a leader. I have been in leadership positions before, but not with any of my full-time jobs, so I am excited to learn from the others here and to continue to develop my own new leadership skills. I have fallen out of my regular training schedule almost completely, so I would love to set a solid schedule for the New Year. Cardio has never been my friend, but I would like it to be. To change this, I will increase my frequency of cardio sessions and hope that it doesn’t completely destroy me. Finally, I would love to create better reading habits for myself. I used to read a fair number of books throughout the year, and recently I have fallen off that trend.


Remember it is never too late to set your goals. As Mahatma Ghandi once said “The future depends on what you do today.” It may not be easy, and you will probably run into some obstacles along the way but without any change now, nothing will be changed for the future.



Bicycle Times.

Nothing says Pittsburgh winter like cycling. I am here to tell you that you are invited to ride your bike to DC with me.  No, I will not ride in the middle of the winter. For those who don’t know there are two trails that connect, to run from Pgh to DC. I have ridden it many times, and have led groups on it. Here are some details.



May 25th-May 30th. The ride takes 5 days and each day averages 68 miles.  We get rooms in each town we stop in and get showers, dinner, and a possible libations.


Who’s riding?


Great question as I have done this with one other person and led twenty-five. So we will see who joins us.


How will we get back?


Depends on group size. Larger groups, we all chipped in and rented a touring bus. Smaller groups, we get picked up by friends or CeJ.


How good do you have to be at riding?


This is not a hard ride. The steepest grade is 1.5 percent. It follows the old railroad tracks so isn’t too bad. It is more mentally fatiguing than anything else.


How do I sign up?


Talk to Todd Hamer.


So get in RYDE class and get ready to ride with me.


2022 and Still You.

Welcome to 2022. One of my favorite ideas is a quote from the great Albert Einstein. To quote Einstein, “People like us who believe in physics know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” His point was that time is non-linear and we are not just moving from one moment to the next. This idea ruined my childhood, as it made me realize that Doc Brown was incorrect in Back To The Future.


As with many of my ramblings this may or may not have anything to do with health, strength, or fitness. Yet, I do believe it has to do with all of the above. The calendar has changed and we are now in a new year, yet you are still the same you. Is this a good thing, or a bad thing? Only you can answer this. I am just here to pose the question. Self reflecting is something that I try to do daily and I am now asking each of you to join me. Set some goals for not just this year, set goals for a lifetime. I am going to share my short term goals with you.


  1. Run 30 miles this month. As a former runner I want to get out a little more.
  2. Perform 1000 pull ups.
  3. Lift at least 20 times this month.
  4. Only consume alcoholic drinks once a week, and no more than two drinks.
  5. Finish 4 books this month.
  6. Find at least one new volunteer oppurtunity.
  7.  Build at least 3 more Lego creations with Tenzing.


To add some context to my goals, I already reach, or I’m close to many of these. The running is one goal I felt would benefit me mentally. The reading goal is close to what I am already doing, yet putting a number on it should help keep me honest. As for the Legos, Tenzing loves these and we build them often. So make sure your goals include personal and fun goals as well.


Oh yeah, and about the drinking goal, I have a glass of wine most nights while preparing dinner. On a rare occasion this will turn into two glasses. I can honestly say I feel no different with or without these drinks. What I can tell you, is that I want to make sure I don’t rely on the drinks and make it a crutch.

Red Eagle Crossfit Relief

If you have been watching the news you may have noticed that Kentucky recently had some terrible storms. In the holiday spirit we would like to help a gym that was directly hit by these storms get back on their feet.


We contacted Red Eagle Crossfit. Red Eagle is located in Mayfield, Kentucky and everything they had in the gym, as well as the building was ruined from the tornado that ripped through town. We felt this was an opportunity to step up, and show how the strength community supports each other. Red Eagle is planning to rebuild, and hopefully open their doors again. The link for their Go Fund me is here. 


In addition to posting the Go Fund Me we are asking for you to drop a dollar, or some change in our fundraising bucket. This will also be something we will bring up during our  kick-off for out Ryde classes.


In the spirit of the season we ask that you consider donating to this great cause, and helping a family who owns this business.

Science Stuff You Should Learn

In the world of health, strength, and fitness there are numerous confusing terms. As one who has spent 20 years in this industry I blame myself, and those in my profession for this confusion. I and we must do a better job communicating science. Today I want to give you some basic terms, acronyms, and phrases that may help you.


  1. EPOC- EPOC stands for Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. It’s a very simple concept, that I will try to explain in easy terms. Imagine if I asked you to meet me at the parking garage. If you walked to 300 yards and I sprinted there when you arrived I’ll still be breathing heavy. We would have done the same amount of work (work is defined by displacement, so we both are equal in these terms), yet I am still winded. My body is still trying to overcome the changes in energy systems, yours is chillin. This is EPOC in real terms.
  2. Basil Metabolic Rate- This is how many calories your body burns by just sustaining life. There are a multitude of BMR calculators online. Age, sex, bodyweight, conditioning levels, and many other factors will affect this. Good rule of thumb if you are active then add a zero to the end of your bodyweight, and that’s a decent starting number.
  3. HRV-Heart Rate Variability. With the proliferation of smart watches I have seen a lot more people checking their HRV. In basic terms this is the time consistency of the time between heart beats. Think of it like this a good HRV is if your HR was 60 beats per minute and your heart beaten at 1.00 seconds then 2.00 seconds and continued this way for 60 seconds. Rule of thumb if your HRV is good then you are ready to train hard!
  4. RPE- Rate of Perceived Exertion. RPE was originally developed as a score of 6-20. The idea was 6 meant rest and heart rate would be at 60 BPM, whereas 20 meant full go, h and HR would be closer to 200. Now in lifting this isn’t even close to correct. RPE scale is now an easy 1-10 scale. The idea is 10 being as hard as you can do an activity and 1 being little to no work. The issue as I see it is that RPE is too subjective. IMO it should be looked at in the context of the training as well as using our next phrase, Velocity Based Training.
  5. VBT- Velocity Based Training. VBT is simple as it looks at fatigue as how much velocity drops on a given movement. With VBT There are a ton of rules of thumb as to how to use it. Yet, IMO VBT should be tied to RPE so that lifters can better use both of these ideas in their training.
  6. “Don’t fake the funk on a nasty dunk” Shaq. How does this pertain to strength and fitness? It doesn’t, yet it does. My man Ethan just told me I need to work this phrase into today’s blog, and any chance to use this quote is good for me. I will add that a closer reading of this phrase means, come into your session today with a positive attitude and prepared to not just fake it, but to work HARD.


Happiest of Holidays and a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU!

Todd Hamer



Holiday Season Tips

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holiday season is upon us and we here at UF are excited for the new year, while also celebrating an exciting end to 2021. Here are some tips (and some ways we can help), for a strong end to 2021, and stronger start to 2022.


  1. Bring someone to the gym for our free week. If you have anyone coming from out of town, bring them to the gym Dec 23-Dec 31st for a free week. Have a friend who doesn’t train, bring them over. This offer is for anyone who is not a member and they do not need a member with them. This is an open invite for all to come try UF for one week. This membership will be an unlimited membership so please help others discover the beauty of strength.
  2. Give yourself a break. Yes, holiday parties will involve cookies and libations. Just get back on it the next day. It’s OK to be human.
  3. Keep your sleep schedule. Sleep is one of the most important acts humans do. Through all the adaptation we have seen as humans, the body has never changed how much rest we need. So try to stay on point.
  4. Get ready for SPIN! We are adding spin back to UF. Starting in January we will be having spin classes as well as our normal cardiolab classes. So try something new here at UF.
  5. Drink more water. Before the cookie tray hit the water fountain. Water will help reduce our urges, as well as just generally making us better.
  6. Serve others. Servant leadership is very important, especially at this time of the year. Do some good out there, it will come back to you ten fold.


Thank you for reading my rants about how we can improve ourselves and others. Now let’s all go out there this holiday season and share the love.



Winter Fest and Bike Ride

This Sunday December 12, 2021 UF is participating in two awesome, and impactful events. One of our goals is to always be a good neighbor, while helping the local community. Keeping this in mind we want to invite everyone to these two events this weekend.


  1. Bike ride for Will. We are hosting a bike ride from UF to Highland Park, once a t Highland Park we will be honoring out friend Willy T with a memorial. If you wish to join is please be prepared to ride 10 miles to Highland Park and 10 back to UF. This ride is open to anyone we just ask that you sign up on our website. 
  2. The second event that we will be hosting on Dec. 12th is the Spring Hill Winter Festival. This is a local event with food, prices, family friendly events, and libations for the adults.  This event will be from 4-6PM at the WBU Event Space and Spring Hill Brewing. Click on the link for more info about this event.


Happy Holidays and thanks for being a member and friend of ours here at UF!

Soak Up the Sun with CeJ and Sky

Soak up the Sun my friends,


In these chillier times make sure you escape your dark caves and grab some fresh air and Sun for some great health benefits.


When your skin is exposed to sunlight it hits cholesterol in the skin cells to provide energy for the creation of Vitamin D. Sunshine is the best way to promote Vitamin D levels since there is so little in many of the foods we eat. All we need to boost these levels of Vitamin D is 10-30 minutes 3 days a week out in the sunlight.


Sunshine and Vitamin D promote; the reduction in Type 2 diabetes, promotion of insulin production, boosts immune system (sunlight charges our health battery), lowers blood pressure (vasodilation of our blood vessels that that reduces blood pressure). Sunshine also improves mood and battles depression by the production of serotonin, the happy hormone. Sunshine promotes weight loss, so let’s get those buns out in the sun. Vitamin D promotes better bone and muscle health with the absorption of calcium. Sunlight affects the pineal gland that produces melatonin to promote quality sleep and battle depression.


Quick story short, make sure you still go out and get some sun!


Stay bright my friends,



Ride for Willy T

A good friend of ours here at UF died recently in a bicycle accident. As active people, we all know that there is risk in everything that we do. We assume this risk because life is supposed to be an adventure. In the words of our friend, “Life is a journey, enjoy the ride” Willy T.


In honor of Will we are going to do a bicycle ride on December 12, 2021, at noon. We will ride from UF out to Highland Park and back. This ride will be a chance to get people outside, make drivers and cyclists aware of bike safety. We will also be giving a shirt to Will’s awesome widow Jessie.


If you are interested in joining us for this opportunity sign-ups will be on our website and MindBody. Please consider participating in honor of Will and Jessie. If anyone is interested in donating please donate to, Pittsburgh Literacy Program. 


Thanks again for being a member of UF and supportive of us, and each other. Now let’s ride, and honor a great guy and my favorite lawyer Willy T.

Superclass, Burn Your Turkey

We held our annual Thanksgiving Superclass again last week. First  and foremost THANK YOU. We had over 35 people attend, we raised a few hundred dollars for a needy family, and we had bags and bags of canned goods donated for the needy.


One of our goals here at UF is to create a place where the community can come together. Being a “gym” is easy, improving our community is the real work. We have hosted Superclasses at different times of the year for different purposes. Each of our Superclasses has been used as a fundraiser. We have worked with too many charities to mention.


The Superclasses are not just a feel good event. These classes are also an opportunity to burn some calories and do something different for yourself. Often UF is seen as a “powerlifting” gym. Yes, we have some great, and very stronger lifters, yet we take pride in being so much more. No matter what your reason for entering UF daily we are here to help you reach your goals. I have listed out some things that we do that you may not know about, and may interest you. Try something new and do something different for yourself.


  1. Yoga Classes. We have over 8 classes a week. Haley leads our Yoga and her team does an amazing job.
  2. CardioLab Classes. CardioLab is the ultimate kick your butt class. Whenever I take a class I just pray I don’t see Steph, as I know she will have too much positivity and enjoy destroying me with a big smile.
  3. Powerful is our flagship class. We offer 4 hours of powerful a day. Powerful is a lifting class that is based upon the power lifts. Curtis and CeJ do a great job planning these classes.
  4. Blitz. This is a lunchtime class (and it is free to all members). Blitz is a 30 minute lift/cardio session. I know some members use this as a recovery session between lifts.
  5. Multiple yearly outdoor events. We have hosted runs, bike rides, and outdoor classes. We will be announcing a very special December ride soon so keep your eyes peeled.
  6. Talk to one of us about your goals. No this is not a class, yet we are here for you. Our staff is here to help you. Use the people in here to help you in anyway we can.


This is just a short list of ways you can improve yourself here at UF. Our goal is to make the hour you spend in UF the best hour of your day. Now go do something to burn some calories.