Category Archives: Life Health

Importance of Mobility

What is mobility and why is it important? When it comes to a definition, mobility can be defined as potential for movement or the ability to get from one place to another. In other words, the ability to move with purpose. However, in the fitness world, mobility is commonly thought of as a person’s range of motion or flexibility. Words like external rotation, internal rotation, sit and reach, abduction, adduction or other fitness related terms are commonly thrown around to describe a person’s mobility. But what is the obsession with mobility and how does it impact us as humans?


In short, without mobility, we cannot move our bodies the way they were intended to move. For example, if a powerlifter has poor ankle mobility, then they may be unable to squat to proper depth. This lack of mobility in the ankle can lead to a compensation in other parts of the body that can lead to larger problems. In a worst-case scenario, it can lead to a severe injury or possibly a major setback in a person’s training.


At the end of the day, if you do not use it then you lose it. Staying active, exercising, stretching, and moving our bodies the way they were intended to move leads to a more pain-free joyful life. So if you have spare time during the day, take the time to do some mobility exercises that will keep you moving through your older years. Down below are some of the stretches and exercises that I have begun to incorporate more into my daily life if you want to give them a shot!


  1. Deep Squat- Sitting into a deep body weight squat
  2. 90/90s with a reach
  3. Scapular Wall Slides (aka Wall Angels)
  4. Knee Dips from a Deep Squat Position
  5. Shoulder CAR’s
  6. Hip CAR’s
  7. Thread the Needle
  8. T-Spine Wall Rotation
  9. Childs Pose
  10. Cat Cow
  11. Prone Press-Up



Hamer’s B Day Trip

We each celebrate our birthdays in our own unique ways. Some people party, some people eat cake, I ride my bike. Today, I hope you will take a trip with me on my bike (figuratively and maybe one day literally). This year my good friend Nick Showman decided to jump in on the ride with me.


I began riding multi-day rides in 2010 when my father and I decided to ride from my house in Pittsburgh to his house in DC. I have basically done this ride or a similar ride every year since. Every year I consider not doing it and then someone calls and asks if I’ll ride with them and then I am back. This year I decided to do something different. The plan was to ride from my house in Sewickley to the Montour Trail, ride all the mountain biking trails off the Montour Trail. Finally, ending in West Newtown, PA off the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP). I could not do this ride because a tunnel on the Montour Trail is closed.


The new route I picked was to take the T from the North Side to South Park. Ride the fun trails of South Park, take the connector trail from the park to the Montour Trail. From there I would follow the GAP to West Newton. This reduced my trip from 80+ miles to 50ish miles. The next day I planned to ride to Ohiopyle, spend Saturday hanging out there. Sunday I was to wake up and ride the 80 back to the Northside.


This ride would be different as it involved both mountain biking and trail riding. The highlights of the ride were the awesome camp site at the GAP Trail Campground. I highly recommend this spot! West Newton also has a great bike shop that did a great job fixing up Nick’s bike. Ohiopyle was the same beautiful place it always is. The only negative thing was service for our food was not good (to be fair it was Memorial Day weekend). Sunday was a lovely 80 mile cruise back to Pgh. It was great to get in and see the city alive with the beginning of summer. The beer at Federal Galley was also a perfect way to end this adventure.


I write this blog to remind you that challenges are all around us. We can go do things or we become shells of humans. My advice is take the ride, read the book, and do something, anything! I am also inviting you to ride with me next year. Toria has already said she is in for next year.




Presence in the Gym

I want to start off by stating that being in the gym in the first place is an accomplishment in itself. There are many people today that view exercise as a chore, unneeded, or a waste of time. However, the fact that you are showing up is half the battle and you should pat yourself on the back for doing so. Nevertheless, that brings me to my point about what you are doing with the other half of the battle. Often times, I see people exercising that are not fully present during their exercise regimen. They may be socializing for far too long, constantly checking their phone, or going through the motions. I am not naïve to the fact that there are days where going through motions may be all you can muster. Life throws curveballs at us all and may leave us drained for our workouts. Despite life’s obstacles, if you aren’t too strained, then I challenge you to try to be more present in the gym. Accomplishing your goals is one of the most rewarding things you can do in life and will ultimately provide you with more happiness. Down below are some of the things you could apply at the gym to remain more present.


  • Do not use your phone while you are at the gym. Consider investing in another form of music like an IPOD
  • If you need to use your phone, then avoid using all social media while you are at the gym. If you need to record your videos, then do so and put your phone down afterwards
  • If you socialize at the gym or have a large social life at the gym, then consider only socializing before or after you exercise. This will keep you concentrated at the task at hand
  • Time your rest periods. This will prevent you from resting too long and losing focus
  • Create a before workout ritual. This could be jamming to your favorite songs on the way to the gym or listening to motivational videos. For me, I just force myself to get moving by doing some dynamic mobility. Dynamic mobility isn’t too strenuous and I have noticed that it puts me in the best mood to exercise
  • Come with a plan. Whether it is doing cardio, yoga, weight training, or a program. Have a goal in mind for that session so that you have something to execute on


Next time you are in the gym, try some of these tips. You may leave the gym a little more satisfied or happier. As always, keep crushing your goals and moving on to the next one. If you do use any of these points and see me around at Union then please let me know how it went!


-Z Trainz

Things You Should Know in the Gym

For today’s blog I am going to review a few different things you should know. It is imperative that we review the basics in all aspects of our lives. Today I am going to give you a short list of some basics we should all know if we train.


  1. 3,500 Kcals is equal to one pound. What this means in practical terms is that if you wish to lose one pound you must find a 3,500 calorie deficit. If you wish to gain one pound you must have a 3,500 calorie surplus.
  2. Set point theory. The premise here is that your body is comfortable at it’s current weight, and doesn’t want to change. This ties closely to point one about calories. While in theory if you burn an additional 3,500 calories in a week you will lose a pound, we know this isn’t true. The body is adaptable and will make up small caloric changes with metabolism. The lesson here is to make sure you doing more than you think you need to, in order to make a positive change.
  3. You have three energy systems and they all need to be trained. First is ATP/PC, this energy system is for an all out sprint and lasts less than ten seconds. Your second is glycolytic and lasts about one minute of intense activity. Finally is aerobic, and this is the one we use when we are either not training or training at a low level intensity. Use each of these systems.
  4. Your core is made up of your entire body. I often hear people talk about training or needing to train their “core.” I am here to tell you that you are training your “core.” Core has become a word to mean abs, or anti-stability exercises. True core exercises are everything from squats, farmer walks, to ab exercises. Train your “core” appropriately.
  5. For the last one I am going to make you feel good. How you approach training matters to how your body responds to that training. All stress is not equal, and if you enjoy what you are doing you will be better and have better results. Find your feel good exercises and do those. This is not limited to the gym, go outside, run, hike, bike, climb, or just walk. If you exercise makes you unhappy there will be no success. Go enjoy your training!


I hope some of this helps you as we head into the warm summer months.



Getting Over the Hump

Do you ever have those days that you wake up and you feel something within yourself that is off. You just don’t feel entirely like yourself; your motivation just isn’t where you want it to be. You start looking up reasons why and you’ll see articles talking about “the dangers of over training, burn out, lack of sleep, stress, etc.” You see those things and you tell yourself, “I should really take today off”, but deep inside your soul know you should train. Today, I am going to share with you my favorite tips to get over that training hump.


First things first, take a couple of minutes to really think about how you are feeling in general. Are you tired? Did you sleep well? Have you eaten? Go for a walk, get some sun, do some meditation, or do something that makes you feel good to get you in that mindset of training. Why do you train? Do you like it? Is it for your health? These are all good questions to ask yourself. When I used to swim, right before any practices or meets, and I wasn’t really feeling it, or really in my head about it; I would take a second to visualize myself in the water, how the water felt, how many strokes it took me to reach the wall, and the tempo of my breathing. I always felt relieved afterwards because it reminded me that I know exactly what I’m doing and what I need to do to perform my best. I know this sounds like some Karate Kid b.s but visualizing yourself doing your training and understanding why you’re doing it, will really help.


Another way to help yourself get into the training mindset is to give yourself a good, thoughtful warm up. I know it might sound incredibly obvious but a great warm up will get your mind and your body connected as one. Start by doing some simple cardio or hop on a bike, go on a walk, focus on getting your heart rate up just a little. Follow that with some mobility based on what you are doing that day. Finally, hit some exercises that will prepare you for the main movement and do 2-3 sets. To put it simply; get moving, focus on each movement, and make sure you breathe deeply.


Lastly, I believe pacing yourself is always a good idea when you’re not feeling 100 percent like yourself. As you are warming up for your main lift, assess how your body feels. Do a single rep of your set weight and if it feels like your body is not all there, decrease the weight a little – there is never any shame in decreasing your weight. As your sets progress, your mind and your body will reach that synergy.


My fellow coach and friend has said it best himself – “Motivation is temporary. To be your best, discipline must be permanent” – Curtis Miller


-Dahveed Jorge

Ham’s Training Log

Marathon season is over in Pittsburgh. I love seeing people come together and strive towards a goal, any goal. We at UF host numerous events each year, and we want to find ways to get you working towards your goals.  The bigger events we are known for is our powerlifting meets. As a person who came from the powerlifting world these events are near and dear to my heart. While I haven’t competed in a few years I still try to train hard. With that said, let me tell you about how I am keeping myself healthy, and strong(ish) as I try to fight father time.


Monday, Day 1


On Monday’s I bench. This used to be a squat day, yet after an adductor pull I moved days around to give myself a few extra days rest.


Neck and mobility. Since adding our neck harness I have been doing extra neck work. In the words of my old training partner Toan Chu, “big neck, look cool.”


Bench with 2 chains per side 205 5×5. I started this at 185 and have just been chipping away each week.


1a Arnold Press 3×10 50# I have tried to take my time and feel the muscles on this one.

1b Curls 3×10 30# I added these because I like curls.


2a Neutral Grip Pull Ups 4×5.

2b Lat Pull Down 4×10 Slow and big stretch.


3a Straight Arm Lat Pulldown with strap 3×20.

3b Cable Curl with strap 3×20.

3c Pushdowns with strap 3×20.


Tuesday, Day 2


As I stated earlier I was dealing with a small adductor strain, so I have been taking it easy on lower body work.


1a Deadlifts 5×5 325.

1b Box Jumps 5×3 (lowish box).


2a Pitshark Squats 3×10 5 & 1/2 plates .

2b Chins 3×5.


3a Glute Ham 2×8.

3b DB Upright Row 2×15 30#.


4a Blast Strap Face Pull 3×25.

4b Band Pull Apart 3×20.


Wednesday, Day 3 


Bike day. Just enjoy the world!


Thursday, Day 4


Incline press 3×10 185# I have been progressing with 10’s on this for a few weeks. I’ll move to 8’s next week.


Lat Pulldown 3×10 .


1a Lying Cable Tri Ext 2×15.

1b Overhead Lat Raise 2×10.


2a Partial Lateral Raise 2×10 50#.

2b Lateral Raise 2×10 25#.


Friday, Day 5


Box Squat 6×3 225 # Taking these slow and keeping my adductor happy.


Barbell RDL/Row 3×10 145#.


1a DB Pullover 3×15.

1b 45 Degree Hypers 3×15.

1c Sit Ups off stability ball with a band 3×25.


Other than running 2-3 times per week and biking 3-4 times this is my basic set up. As my hip and adductor progress my lower body training will become more intense and I’ll add volume. Yet, I have learned, jumping too early in load or volume is never a good thing so be patient.







Baby Steps

I don’t know about you, but I often have an all or nothing personality when it comes to new things. It’s a theme I’ve also recognized in others when it comes to fitness and nutrition. Often times new clients want to hit the ground running with training sessions, improving their diet, and altering their schedules. It’s awesome to see the eagerness and drive people have, but at the same it’s important to remember that these big changes don’t happen overnight.


When your mind and body take on something unfamiliar it takes time to adjust. Therefore, it is important that you start small and build from there. Why is this important? Why can’t I just go for it? Well, you absolutely can just go for it but if you want to have a sustainable routine and long-term success, I believe it’s best to build up to those things.


For example, let’s say you would like to start weightlifting 5 times a week, but you currently have no training regimen in place. Where should you start? I would recommend that you start by picking two days out of the week. This way it gives your body time to recover from the sessions and adjust to the implementation of a new task. After you’ve done this for a couple of weeks, and you don’t have to put much thought into doing it because it’s now a part of your routine, then add in a third day. From there, you would just repeat this process until you have successfully worked up to that five days a week goal.


The same thing goes for implementing healthy changes into your diet. If you go from eating fast food every day to trying to eat salads every day, you won’t be able to keep up because your body is so unfamiliar with it. Start by choosing two days out of the week to make food from home instead of eating out and go from there. Again, once your body has adjusted to that new habit and it becomes something you don’t have to put much thought into, then you can continue to build upon that.


All in all, it’s so important to set yourself up for success in a sustainable way. If you put your mind and your body into overdrive, it’s very possible you will get overwhelmed easily and discouraged when you fall short on one of the many tasks you have given yourself. Start by taking baby steps. Be patient and kind to yourself and you will get far!



Creating Balance

You have probably heard many times in your life, “be sure to find a balance” whether we are talking about health, fitness, career, relationships, finance, etc. But I like to say it is more about creating balance than finding it. The goal is to live a full life without losing yourself, and that doesn’t always look the same for everyone. So, you must create your own life with whatever the perfect balance looks and feels like for you.


I like to look at balance and life as a “wheel” with different components of things that we value in life, those things I mentioned before (health, fitness, career, relationships, finance, etc.), and the beautiful part is that nobody’s wheel is the same, and you can create your own to build your own life and your own happiness. And a little tip- never compare your wheel to someone else’s. You may have a larger portion of career in your wheel than others, because your career makes you happy and you love your job, and that is perfectly okay if you feel fulfilled and balanced.


I wish I could tell you that I have mastered my perfect balance, but truth is like many of us, I haven’t even come close, and that is okay. Because just like we ourselves are always a work in progress, so is our balance. I am constantly changing where I give my focus and time, trying to figure out what feels right. In my own life, I have several different pieces to my wheel: career, school, football, and fitness. But lately I have felt like something was missing, so I did some work on myself to try and figure out what it was. Which we must do many times in our lives. So, I tried something new and went for a hike by myself, something I haven’t done before. It brought me stillness and gave me a chance to relax from how busy my usual day-to-day is, and I realized this was what I was missing, and I am going to make room for it in my wheel of balance.


We are creating that balance for ourselves every day, and I hope that you can create yours to find your own happiness and fulfillment. Remember, your wheel is your own and it is always a work in progress, just promise yourself you will always keep progressing.



Dylan’s time is NOW!

Do you ever feel like you lack the motivation to start something new or maybe something you started but never finished? I hope todays blog post will give you the boost to take action!


Wishing for things to be different or thinking about how, if you could just go back in time and make the smallest change it would make everything better. We tend to focus on the past because it’s no longer facing us eye to eye. It’s behind us and already happened, thus taking the fear away. But as The Great British American philosopher Alan Watts once said: For there is never anything but the present, and if one cannot live there, one cannot live anywhere. 


We cannot afford to wait another second. Wonder what life would be like if the things we dreamed about happened before or in the future. It is easy to wait for an opportunity to start again. Whatever goal or aspiration you have in mind might work better if you start on a Monday. You might catch yourself saying to yourself “tomorrow” or you create the excuse of being too busy. That’s not the case. 


Taking a slow step towards your goals is still progress. Never let anyone tell you that you need to take massive leaps in order to obtain success. Just like making changes with yourself in the gym. You may not see your success immediately. Take 10 minutes a day, if you continue with that dedicated time towards a goal. That will amount to almost 61 hours. What will you do with that time?  


The best moment to start was yesterday, the second best time is now. 

“Sun’s Out Guns Out”

With the warm weather basically already here, I’m going to share with you my favorite “sun’s out guns out” training session!

1 1/2 Close grip bench press:

Set yourself up how you would do on a regular bench press but in this instance you’re going to place your hands close to the smooth part of the bar. Now you don’t want to have your hand very close because you’ll lose force output and it’s going to create unnecessary discomfort within your wrist. Once you’re all set up, you’ll go down all the way, come back up 1/2 way, come back down then come up all the way, that will be one rep for a total of 6 reps.


Spider Curls:

For this you’ll bring a bench up to an incline, you’ll put your chest on the bench with your arms dangling the side of the bench. From that chest supported position, you’ll curl your arms up and turn your wrist out as you curl then bring them down for total of 12 reps


Lateral raise super set:

Many of you have probably done this movement but this time you’ll do 1/2 lateral raise for 10 reps, then full lateral raise for 10 reps, and finally raise the weight to the top and you’ll do pulses for 10 reps. Make sure you take a little bit of a break after each set because these are a burner.


Rear Delt super set:

On this movement you’ll hinge at your hip, and with your palms facing your body you’ll raise the weight to the side then control on the way down do this for 15 reps. After that, you’ll grab a band raise it to chest

level and you’ll pull the band part like you want to rip it apart, do this for 30 reps.


Hanging Leg raises:

You have probably done this movement before but for this one you’ll hang on pull up bar like normally do for this movement and raise your legs for legs for as many reps as you can then on the last rep you’ll hold legs at the top for as long as you can.


For sets make them 3-4 sets, turn the burners on and let’s cookin!!!


-Dahveed Jorge