Category Archives: State of the Union

Meet the Interns – Ricky



My name is Ricky and I am a senior Exercise Science student at the University of Pittsburgh. I am from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, so I am a big Philly sports fan. If you have any interesting sports takes, I am always open to entertaining conversations.


My hobbies include lifting, playing sports, and going out with friends. Some of my goals include working with personal training and hopefully eventually getting to work with professional sports teams.


I look forward to meeting new people and learning from the knowledgeable staff here at Union Fitness!



Meet the Interns – Hanson

Hi everyone!


My name is Hanson Zhang, I am currently a senior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Exercise science. I was born and raised in China for the first 11 years of my life and moved to Fairfax Virginia when I turned 12. I plan to go to Physical Therapy school or start my own personal training business when I graduate.


I am very excited to be interning at Union Fitness, as it provides me with great experiences and knowledge related to personal training and strength and conditioning. I enjoy martial arts, weightlifting, and a bit of video games during my free time. I’m looking forward to working with and learning from all the fun people in Union fitness!


See you around!


Meet the Interns – Yuheng

Hi Everyone!


My name is Yuheng, and I am a senior Exercise Science student at the University of Pittsburgh. I will be attending Arcadia University this fall to obtain my Doctorate in Physical Therapy. I am from Northeast Philly and have lived in Florida for a few years. I am a competitive powerlifter for the Pitt Powerlifting team.


Outside of the gym, I enjoy traveling, seeing nature, and cooking. I am excited to learn from everyone this semester. If you ever have questions or need help around the gym, don’t be afraid to ask!



Meet the Interns – Amanda

Hello, my name is Amanda Giunta, and I am a senior at the University of Pittsburgh pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and interning at Union Fitness for my final semester.


I was born and raised in Bloomfield, New Jersey, and came to Pittsburgh to continue my education with an end goal of becoming a Physical Therapist. While my ultimate goal is to earn my DPT, I am also currently pursuing certifications in group exercise instruction and personal training. Through my coursework, I have developed an interest in group fitness instruction specifically for cycling, yoga, cardio conditioning, and Pilates classes and would like to strengthen my skills and learn more about these practices during my time at Union Fitness. My goals for this experience include expanding my skills and knowledge in the fitness field, exploring the various modes of physical activity and rehabilitation, and developing the abilities necessary to effectively help people reach their fitness goals.


For some background information, I grew up participating in various sports and coached younger children in many sports as well. I played basketball and softball for ten years, was a cheerleader and gymnast for a few years, and was a cross country and track and field athlete at Bloomfield High School where I graduated from in 2020. My involvement with the BHS track and field and cross country teams allowed me to serve as a team captain for two years, providing me with the responsibility of creating and implementing workouts for team practices. My competitive athletic career ended with the onset of the pandemic, but I was honored to leave behind accomplishments such as one school and one course record, as well as having an award named after me at my high school. My time spent in the BHS athletics program sparked my interest in the physical therapy and fitness fields. I was also a clinic counselor and a one-on-one aid for a child with special needs for Bloomfield Recreation in my hometown, where I helped children of all ages develop sport-specific and developmental skills such as teamwork and coordination. Outside of athletics, I thoroughly enjoy spending time with my labradoodle puppy, friends and family, and going to the beach.


Hope to see everyone around at UF!



A Thank You For Being You

Hello to all my friends at Union Fitness.


The end of the year is upon us. Some months were good, some months were bad and some we can’t believe that we had. Obviously, this measurement of time is all arbitrary and specifically relative, what is “good” and “bad”? We all have times of great joy and days of being down in the dumps. Unfortunately, the down days get highlighted much more often than the good days. From that, we can continue to put ourselves in a bad headspace that creates more negative energy which in turn causes more negative situations. Personally, these last few months have been a challenge to say the least. Many days, I wanted to disappear, to a cabin in the woods, to the peak of the highest mountain or a remote deserted island.


Then, I thought to myself, what truly makes me happy? One of those answers is, you. The members and staff at this space we call our gym. The community that we’ve created in these walls is certainly unmatched and I would put that quote to the test. The people here unapologetically care about each other’s well-being, accomplishments, failures, and day to day life. Without you here with us, this place would be a lifeless cave, filled with exercise equipment. Your energy, may it only be an hour at a time charges my battery and reminds me why I do what I do and why I won’t stop doing this. Whether it be your 5- or 500-pound PR, to your 100th class or your 1st class, seeing the members and staff grow physically and mentally couldn’t be more rewarding to me. I couldn’t thank you more for being the special people that you are. Oddly enough, our diversity is our strength. That’s beautiful to see so many people come together through exercise and raise people up as they grow. With all that being said, all I can say is thank you for being you and I couldn’t be here without Yinz.


I wanted to leave you with this little blurb I stumbled upon on one of my down days. It is strange to me how energy works and some things just find you right when you need it most.


“You’re not where you want to be. You feel like you’re supposed to be somewhere else. Say you could snap your fingers and be wherever you wanted to be. I bet you’d still feel this way, not in the right place. Point is you can’t be so hung up on where you want to be that you forget how to make the most of where you are. Take a break from worrying about what you can’t control… live a little.”


Live a little,



2024 Strength Project

We have some very exciting news to share with all of you!


Starting January 8th, we are kicking off the 2024 Strength Project here at Union Fitness!


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


  • The Strength Project is a 12-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 12-week challenge will begin on January 8th and will run until March 29


  • During these 12 weeks, you will be tasked with taking at least 40 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 – 5 RYDE classes, 5 Yoga classes, and 5 Cardio Lab/Cardio Blitz classes total – accounting for 15 of those 40 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 will not receive the credit!


  • 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 Wellness Plus membership.
    • 1 Free month of our 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 12 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. Good luck and happy almost new year!



Important Membership Update

Hello UF Fam –


Union Fitness is raising the prices of the Unlimited membership and Wellness Plus membership by $25 a month. The initial price of the Unlimited membership was $100 a month and will now be $125 a month. The initial Wellness Plus membership was $150 a month but will now be $175 a month.


Unlimited membership will give you access to everything that Union Fitness has to offer and unlimited group classes that includes cardio lab, cardio blitz, #powerful, yoga, all ryde classes, and other classes that are going to be implemented in the future.


Our Wellness Plus membership gives you all the same benefits as the Unlimited membership but also gives you 1 60-minute massage a month as well.


All new incoming Unlimited and Wellness Plus members will start this new pricing on January 1st of 2024. If you are an existing Unlimited or Wellness Plus member, then this pricing will start on Monday April 1st of 2024. This allows you to have a 3-month grace period. Starting today we will be implementing new ideas and classes to accommodate for this increase in price. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to talk to any of the Union Fitness staff members. We want to continue to make Union Fitness better every day. Our goal is to make Union Fitness the best it has ever been. Your input will help us accomplish this goal.


Lastly, we would like to announce that we are bringing back the unlimited yoga and cardio lab classes to the Strength Lab membership. This means that if you have the Strength lab membership you will be able to take cardio lab, cardio blitz and yoga classes in addition to having access to the Strength Lab and all of the equipment.


UF Staff

Thank You Union

For the past two years, I’ve had the incredible privilege of calling Pittsburgh my home. However, as the journey of life unfolds, it’s time for me to bid farewell. On Friday, December 15th, I’ll be leaving Pittsburgh and heading back to Maryland, at least for the time being.


In my final blog post, I want to take a moment to express my deep gratitude to everyone at Union Fitness. A special thanks goes out to Curtis, Zain, CJ, Toria, my 6 pm Powerful squad, and all the other coaches who have not only been mentors but have become friends along the way. Your guidance and support have been invaluable as I’ve grown as a young coach and trainer. While I know there’s still much more growth ahead, leaving Pittsburgh, I feel more confident in my abilities and am excited for what lies ahead.


A heartfelt thank you also goes out to all of my current and former clients. Your trust and commitment have played a significant role in my journey. It’s been an honor to work with each one of you, and I carry with me the lessons and memories of our time together.


As I embark on this new chapter, I leave Pittsburgh with a heart full of gratitude and a spirit eager for the adventures that await. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this incredible chapter in my life. Until we meet again!


Thank you Union!

-Dylan Kopp

What Is Your Favorite Meal?

We all have a favorite food dish out there. Whether it is a “cheat day” meal, a “healthy” meal, a “fun” meal, etc. I am curious to know what is your favorite meal? What food gets you hyped up to eat? I asked some of our trainers here at UF to answer this question so that you all can see what they enjoy eating and maybe this will even give you some new ideas for your own meals:


Dylan Kopp – Thai red curry with chicken and rice


Ethan Raese – He has 3 favorite meals he would like to share with all of you – pizza, sushi, and Oakland’s street tacos


Zain Skalos – Greasy cheeseburger with extra salty fries


Dylan Heisey – Chicken parmesan hoagie


Dahveed Jorge – Chopped cheese or a philly cheesesteak sandwich


Miranda Gard – Chicken parmesan (did she copy Dylan’s answer??)


CJ Jasper –  Homemade pierogi with sauerkraut and kielbasa. Also currently on a big Thai kick, so fresh spring roll and Keemao spice level burn.


Toria Crispin – Steak hoagie with everything added on it (throw on some peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, etc.)


And there you have it! There’s a quick fun fact about some of our trainers and possibly some food ideas to add to your weekly eating list if you’re up for it. 🙂



Meet the Staff – Grayson



My name is Grayson! I’m a Certified Personal Trainer and up and coming Certified Nutrition Coach. I love showing people the ropes in the gym and getting people moving and helping others achieve their goals. The gym has been my passion ever since sophomore year in highschool and I haven’t looked back since. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and lived in Morgantown, WV for a year in 2020 in pursuit of a degree in Dietetics before shifting gears and getting my certification in Personal Training from NPTI. I moved back to PA a year later and have been a trainer ever since! If you have any questions or need a spot around the gym don’t hesitate to ask!