Category Archives: State of the Union

Mask Up

Hopefully all of you who are reading this are doing well and staying healthy. Today’s blog is a little different, as I want to make it very clear where UF stands on our mask policy.


Masks are required at all times at UF and while visiting NOVA Place. There will be no more warnings and anyone caught breaking this policy will have their membership revoked immediately. This includes any of our staff our members and anything that is posted online. We support your lifting and hope you tag us in your videos and pictures, yet if the rules are broken we will consider this the end of your membership.


Our goal is to be the strongest gym as well as creating a great sense of community for all who enter our gym. We cannot do this if all members and staff do not feel safe. We appreciate all of your feedback and as always any or all complaints can be handed directly to Todd Hamer (General Manager).


Thanks and let’s stay healthy together and get stronger TOGETHER.


Todd Hamer

UF Update

As most of your are probably aware, on November 18th Allegheny County announced a new stay at home advisory. We at Union Fitness will do the best we can to follow all applicable government guidelines while providing you a safe training space.


At this point, we plan on remaining open with some modifications. With the exception of yoga, we are canceling all classes starting Friday, Nov. 20th through Monday Nov. 30th. During this time, we will have the same programming posted (teambuildr as well as on the TVs and dry erase boards) so that you can keep up with your individual training. Every one of our spaces will remain open to all members to encourage even more social distancing while training. You are welcome to use the Strength Lab, Cardio Lab, or Performance Lab at any time during your visit. 


We will still be enforcing our mask policy, and our facilities will remain at 50% capacity. We ask you to be extra vigilant with your mask at this time, and everyone will be required to follow all county and state rules. Anyone who does not comply with the mask policy will be asked to leave.


These changes are being made to help us keep everyone healthy during these unprecedented times. These policies are subject to change based on the evolving guidance of health departments. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please reach out to me directly via my cell phone or email.


Thank you for your cooperation and understanding, and we wish you strength and good health.


-Todd Hamer

GM of Union Fitness

571 438 2976

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:




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




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

Cody’s Weekly Wrap Up

What does it mean to have a good week of training? When we highlight the events of the past week, what makes something noteworthy or not? If you frame everything by reaching objectives, coming closer to goals, or fulfilling some quantifiable metric, you may find that some weeks will be “good” while others will be “bad”. The next question is, is this the most productive way to view training? I would say no.


Much of our performance can be outside the realm of our control. The natural fluctuations in your daily capabilities are influenced by a gentle interplay of your genetic potential and your interaction with the environment. These two factors can combine to produce some unexpected results at times. This means that you can have some surprisingly good performances and some surprisingly disappointing ones. So what are we to do if consistently good performance is hard to come by? Focus on what you can control every day and enjoy the activity that you are engaged with for its own sake.


My Cardio Lab classes are great. I have the tendency to play games. Games are a way to tap into our natural ability to problem solve, meet challenges, and be curious. My position is that cardio training doesn’t have to be miserable. It doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be a source of joy and self-discovery. If we get our heart rate up, seek out and overcome challenges,  have fun during the process, and reinforce the incentive to return to class, I have succeeded as a coach. If this interests you, you might like my Cardio Lab classes.


My personal training clients are numerous, so I’ll just give a quick shout out to each.


Ashley Koltonski- Ash came back from surgery this week. Ash is driven, but what really makes her stand out is her love for training. It shows with how willing she was to come back and train. We talk about philosophy and yoga. Or as Ash puts it, “woo woo” stuff.



Kyle Hartenstein- Kyle has made tremendous improvements over the last couple months. His physique has exploded in a short amount of time. He works his tail off. Some of my best moments during the week are when we update each other on what episode of Gilmore Girls we are watching. Judge us. I dare you.

Nate Kimel- Nate is such a huge personality and a ton of fun to be around. He’s extremely coachable and pushes the limit every day. The strength he has acquired has been impressive. We both have significant others that simultaneously befuddle us and fill our lives with immense joy and contentment. We talk and laugh about their unique idiosyncrasies and how lucky we are to have them in our lives.


Andrew Tennenbaum- Andrew is wicked smart. He’s coachable and a hard worker. He’s patient with results, and he keeps making incremental gains in strength. Usually Andrew blows my mind with some obscure and insane project that NASA worked on decades ago. Or we talk about how birds are government drones that are programmed to surveil us (it’s a joke, relax).


Eric Price- Eric is great to train. He’s honest with his effort, and he brings it even when he’s traveled extensively during the week. He’s seen some significant gains from his recent efforts. Recently we’ve been talking about how his Eagles have been riding the struggle bus this season.


Kim Canfield- I just started working with Kim this week, but she brings a great attitude to training and she gives great effort.




Have Some Fun and Improve with Us

Last week I wrote about knowing our Why. Why are we here working in a gym? We are here to empower, educate and entertain everyone who enters our gym. Through this, we are offering a few different mediums to accomplish these goals. Today I want to highlight some of what we are doing and hopefully, something here will pique your interest.


  1. USPA Drug Tested Kabuki Open (Sat Oct, 31st 9 AM). This is a powerlifting meet that will be held under the tent here at UF. The meet is sold out, yet if you want to experience competitive powerlifting for the first time, we encourage you to stop by. The entry fee is only 5 dollars, and the tent will be heated so no worries about the weather.
  2. Getting Lean for Halloween Bootcamp (Sat Oct, 31st 11 AM). Join CeJ and Matt Grayson as they run you through a bootcamp in the parking lot of one of the finest breweries in Pittsburgh, Allegheny City Brewing. This outdoor workout will be one hour long before sharing some libation at ACB’s outdoor beer garden. This class is free for everyone.
  3. Comedy Bootcamp (Fri Nov, 6th 6 PM). This is a first for us here at UF. We will be holding a bootcamp followed by a comedy show with three local comedians. We will also have The Yard bringing food and libations. This class is also free for everyone
  4. Kabuki Squat, Bench, Deadlift Workshop (Fri Oct, 30th 3-7 PM). UF is hosting the Kabuki Squat, Bench, Deadlift Workshop in our performance lab. If you are serious about improving these lifts, I suggest you look into this workshop. Kyle Young of Kabuki Strength will cover all things squat, bench and deadlift related in this workshop. This event is 150 dollars and registration is through the Kabuki Strength website.


As you can see it will be a busy few weeks here at UF, and we will have more to come. As with everything we do, we will be requiring masks with anything indoors. Safety and health are of the utmost importance to us. 

Weekly Wrap Up

Happy Friday Union fam, it’s been another solid week here at the facility and we’re ever so thankful as always for everyone who is part of this community. This is an especially weird time, but for those of you who have returned we thank you for allowing us to continue to do what we love every single day.


We’re back with a fresh group of faces you’ve probably see around here daily. These coaches/trainers have some kind words to say about the week they have had here with all of you, find their wrap-ups below.


Haley Tamilia:


The last week at Union Fitness was a real treat. Friday morning brought new and familiar faces to our 6AM Vinyasa practice. I’ve been enjoying the spaciousness and ambiance of Nova Place, where we’ve been able to practice on the second level with colorful lights and floor to ceiling windows. 


I returned in the evening for yin, surprised by the number of folks who came to find peace. Yin classes on Friday and Saturday feel like a gift to me; while I lead mantras and suggest shapes, I’m not a teacher when I’m there. I’m a member of a loving, present community. We sit together, breathe together, and create space in our bodies, minds, and hearts. 


The workweek started anew, and I was joined by Thad and Gabe, two dedicated yogis who have been joining me consistently for 6AM Vinyasa. After flowing around the mat, Gabe told me how his immersion into yoga has brought clarity, focus, and productivity to his days–even earning him a recent promotion. 


I’m so grateful for all of my students, and looking forward to what next week may hold!


Toria Crispin:


I covered our Saturday Cardio Lab class this past weekend and that crew absolutely killed it even though it was a pretty cold morning. On Monday night, I helped Curtis out with the 5:30pm and 6:00pm #Powerful class which was a great experience. I loved seeing everyone put in the work on their Monday squat day. I also coach the Tuesday and Thursday 6:00pm #Powerful classes alongside CJ as well as the Friday 5:30pm #Powerful class – I’ve had some solid crews coming in and crushing it these past few weeks. You guys are awesome, and I love working out with you!


(Special shoutout: Lisa, Pawel, Terrance, Brian, Kirsten, Christian, Alp, Mohan, and Milind for recently putting in the work here with me) .


Matt Grayson:


I have been considerably lucky because I have had beautiful weather for all my classes. And I believe that our members workout harder when the weather is nice. My motto is “I LOVE HARD WORK” and I have to say in each one of my classes, the members have destroyed my workouts. I get excited to see them push and to persevere through my “easy” workouts!! 


The energy they generate is contagious throughout the gym, which makes UF the best place to train and coach at!!!


Weekly Wrap Up

Alright Union fam, every Friday we are going to start doing a weekly recap of the things that have gone on inside of Union, clients who worked their tails off with our personal trainers or members who we saw crush it in class or on social media (tag us, we love it!). 


All of our trainers/coaches will be writing their recaps in their own words, so be sure to read our blog every Friday for all the happenings within Union Fitness though our employees eyes.


Jocelyn Lemay:


Between Piyush, Women’s Powerful and Cardio Lab, my week was awesome. I really look forward to my Tuesday Cardio Lab because it’s the same crew and this week I had a treat of two new faces in my class, Ryan and Brendan whom crushed it along with the rest of the class! I was certainly having an off morning until I came into coach, these guys had me amped with their effort and energy.


This week for Women’s Powerful in class it was just me and Diane, we had ourselves a solid hour. We have been working on our stability in a split stance/lunge position and she continues to impress me weekly, keep it up girl!


Lastly, Piyush has been putting time into his Olympic Weightlifting. We’ve been cleaning up his positions and working on committing to each movement, he pushes hard and I just have to shout him out for hitting a 260# Back Squat double when his 1RM is 265#!


Curtis Miller:


Over the past couple of weeks, our Cardio Lab and Powerful Classes have been on the rise. The addition of the new Performance Lab has been great for accommodating new and existing members, and providing them with the best training experience possible.


Long time member Kim Judy will be leaving us after 2 and a half years as she begins her new journey in Ohio. Kim was active in Cardio and Powerful class 3-4 times per week and was always a blast to work with. Although she will be moving on, her spirit and positivity still remains with us.


Erika Osorio hit a very good deadlift personal record. Erika began taking classes in June as a beginner to our Powerful class. After just a few months she has developed a solid base of strength, conditioning, and technique that will continue to keep her progressing.


Haley has been doing an amazing job with Yoga classes. She has even been going out into the community introducing her Yoga classes to members and non members all around the city. She most recently taught a free Yoga session at Market Square. Be sure to ask about her upcoming classes.


Cayt Neff:


Allie has transitioned from front squat and is now learning how to back squat. She also attempted the GHR for the first time and worked up to 8 reps!


Harry is approaching his two year mark since being diagnosed with an aggressive form of Glioblastoma. Since then he has completed treatment and is now receiving clean scans each visit. We started working together prior to his diagnosis and he has not skipped a beat since the very beginning. His approach to life is admirable and exemplifies a way that all would benefit. He recently had an opportunity to film an interview with Ryan Shazier and that video is posted today, October 16th through UPMC!


I’m so proud of the work ethic and attitude of all of my clients. Go Sharon, Kirsten, Deirdre, Allie, Nick, Harry, and Yiqun – you are the best and make my week.


To my Wednesday evening cardio lab crew (Steph, Raelynn, Terrence, and Kyra): way to finish a tough workout! We also saw a golden retriever puppy :).


Cody Miller:


Andrew Tennenbaum has shown a substantial amount of resilience the past couple weeks by continuing his training through a recent accident. I’m proud of him.


Nate Kimel has been ridiculously consistent and is doing the things necessary to decrease his pain. He’s a stud. I’m proud of him.


Ashley Koltonski is a trooper. Super focused and disciplined. She’s getting better at everything every week. I’m proud of her.


Kyle Hartenstein is a rocket ship. You would think that his job was making gainz the way his training has been going. I’m proud of him.


Eric Price makes improvements every week. Loves training and gives a great effort every week. I’m proud of him.


Dave Jackson:


I just want to give a huge shoutout to everyone I work with on a weekly basis!


From my people who show up at 5:30 and 6:30 in the morning to get work done before their real work begins and my personal training clients too.


I love y’all and look forward to the continued work we do together!!!

Thank You

As many of you probably already know this weekend we hosted “Bike Ride for Black Lives.” This was a fundraiser and the brainchild of Jessie Theisen (one of our awesome members). We were able to raise close to 4,000 dollars that will be donated to the Urban League of Greater Pgh.


This was our first bike ride fundraiser and I was not sure how we would do. We did better than I thought we could have. 50 people got on their bikes and rode one of three options 50, 30 or 10 miles using our extensive trail system we have here in Pittsburgh.


This blog is more of a thank you to each and every one of you than anything else. I would be remiss if I did not add some special thank you’s to this list though. My family came through big time! I had aunts, uncles, my father, my wife, and son and a few cousins come out to either ride or volunteer. In addition, we had some members and employees who stepped up big time! Curtis and his lovely wife Liz did a great job with the rest station. CJ actually didn’t wreck this time. Sara Rusner, this couldn’t have happened without her. Matt Grayson (who is my consummate backup man) once again had my back. Matt got us shirts when our first order fell through, he took care of picking up food, coffee, etc and I am indebted to him for his help. Others involved here were Cayt, Katlyn, Cody, Dave, Racheal and the rest of our awesome staff.


Thanks to each and every one of you and let’s keep doing good work. One of our goals is to do something for society at least once a month, so bring me ideas.


Final thought, we even had a John Fetterman sighting on the trail. Next time Big John needs to be on his bike with us!


Thank you


Todd Hamer

State of the Union

Summer is quickly coming to a close and we are preparing to spend more time indoors. With the change of season we feel it is important to discuss a few different things. First we want to be sure everyone feels comfortable training in a safe environment.  We also want to show all of you other projects we are working on to make us not just a stronger community but also a better community.


In August we began an assessment of the gym and of our services. We have had a questionnaire at the desk for over a month now. Over 50 members responded and most comments were positive. What we did learn is that keeping a clean and safe environment is very important to all of our members. We take this very serious, and have been running through cleaning products quite fast. We are doing our best to not only make sure the facility is clean, but to also make sure everyone feels comfortable. Please tell us when you see any issue that makes you feel unsafe.


As you have probably seen we have done our best leaving doors open and moving outside for as many activities as possible. We will continue to do this as the weather permits. Let’s hope it stays warm so we can continue to be outside. Once the weather changes and we can no longer move outside we will review how many people are permitted in the gym (this has not been an issue yet). We are hoping that everyone can continue to work together to make us the best gym in Pittsburgh and the safest.


Return of the podcast.


We now have our own recording studio. With the help of one of our awesome members and local podcast host Josh Elsass we set up a recording studio and we are going to return to recording weekly podcasts. These podcasts can be found on all your podcast apps and is called the Union Fitness Podcast. While you are at it check out the numerous podcasts that Josh hosts.


Bike ride time.


We are hosting a bike ride on Sept 26th (special thanks to Jessie Theisen). The ride will benefit Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh. We are asking for donations through our go fund me site and you can sign up on using MindBody app or through our website. The details are below and here is the link for donations.



Date: Saturday, Sept 26th


Location: Union Fitness


Ride Options: 10 mile family fun ride. This ride will leave UF at 10:30 AM with registration at 10 AM.

30 Mile Challenge. This ride will leave UF at 9:30 with registration at 9 AM.

50 Mile Challenge. This ride will leave UF at 8:30 with registration at 8 AM.


Other updates.


After our review we also discussed our classes and how we can improve the experience for you the member. We will be adding some free classes for all members until the end of the year (watch for an announcement), we are also going adjust our schedule slightly. As always if you see something that does not work for you please communicate that to us.


We are also beginning an instagram meet the staff series. Every Thursday you will see a short video highlighting one of our staff members. Hopefully this will introduce some of you to our amazing team here at UF.


As always feedback is welcome. If you every have any issues in the gym please contact Todd Hamer and feel free to give us the good, the bad and the ugly. We are here to serve you.


Todd Hamer





We Need YOU!

It has been an interesting year for me personally and professionally. In the last 12 months I left an industry that I was in for two decades, moved, became the GM at UF and we then had a pandemic. During this time we as a team here at UF have been able to review and reflect on our why. Why do we work here? Why do we do what we do?


What I have learned over the last 12 months is that there are many parallels from my previous industry to my current industry. As with most jobs our jobs here are people first. We must help all members of UF as well as Team UF (this includes all employees). A piece of advice I was once given about this, always be employee first not customer first. If as co-workers we don’t treat each other well then we won’t treat the customer well. Our goal is to treat you well and give you the opportunity to succeed.


UF members join for a multitude of reasons. Some members just come to run on a treadmill and get a little sweat, some do yoga and others join to be a high level athlete. No matter the reason anyone comes to UF it is our job to empower you to be a better version of yourself. With this in mind we are now asking you for some feedback about how we can better service you!


Next time you visit UF please stop at the front desk and fill out a short questionnaire about how we are performing. We debated doing this online, the reason we are doing this in the gym is we want you, the people who actually attend the gym to give feedback. Please be honest and give us your opinions. We are going to leave these questionaries up until the end of next week. After we receive all of them we will review and I will write another blog post about what we are doing to address any issues that we see.


Yours in strength,


Todd Hamer