Category Archives: Training

Challenge your perspective.

These are very uncertain times that we are living in. With things changing day to day in the world, it’s hard to tell what tomorrow will bring. Unfortunately, there are many things that are out of our control right now. That’s just the reality of it. However, it’s important to stay focused on the things that we can control. Especially those things that are most important, but which we often easily overlook. During these times of change, it’s easy to force ourselves to keep moving just to stay busy, even if that means adding more stress. My advice, slow down and challenge your perspective.

 

 

A little over a week ago, I was admitted into the hospital for a few tests and precautionary measures. I ended up having a case of the flu, as well and pneumonia. It’s safe to say that this put me on my ass for a while. During that period of forced downtime, I began reflecting on different things. Things that I had never really thought about before, or at least for a very long time. Over the past week, I have reached out to friends and family to see how they were doing. One of the common responses I received was that they were worried about their training, or bummed that the gym was closed. Believe me, I completely understand. Especially when you’ve done something a certain way for so long and have established progress and a routine. Then all of a sudden it feels like it was taken from you. But guess what, it’s going to be okay! Maybe even a blessing in disguise.

 

 

I’ve been training in one capacity or another for 12 years straight. During that time, I have never gone a week without training, until now. While I was sick, I went 13 days without any sort of exercise. Yesterday was my first day back, and it felt like I had never exercised a day in my entire life. My routine was simple. I walked 2 miles, then did 2 sets of 10 tempo goblet squats with a 25lb bag of jasmine rice, 2 sets of 10 pull-ups from an I-beam in my basement, and 2 sets of 15 push-ups. I was absolutely gassed. The flu and pneumonia definitely took a toll on me. After I was finished, I sat down and reflected. I was not one bit depressed or upset with how much I had declined while not being able to train, or the fact that I did not train 2 weeks, for I understood that 2 weeks of not exercising is not going to erase what I have built in 12 years (remember that). In fact, it gave me time to focus on other things in my life. Things that maybe I’ve been over looking and taking for granted. That’s very easy to do if we let it happen.

 

 

The same holds true for all of you reading this. It makes me happy to see everyone continuing to find ways to workout and train during these times, but remember not to let it consume you. Don’t train because you feel like you HAVE to, or because you want people to know that you still are. If you chose to train, do it because you love it, and because it gives you joy. If you chose to take a break, that’s fine. Honestly, there’s no better time then now. If you’ve been exercising for any extended amount of time, there’s even a good chance that your body actually needs a break, and it will help your progress in the long run. Your strength wasn’t built in two weeks, and it certainly won’t leave you that quickly.

 

 

During this time of quarantine, the lack of worrying about my workouts has given me time to focus on my perspective. What is really important in my life, and what can I learn today? I challenge you to do the same. Slow down, and take some time out of your day to reflect on what is truly important in your life. I’ve talked to my parents every day since the start of this Pandemic. That’s something that I’ve now realized I don’t do enough of. I’ve gotten in touch with friends and family who I haven’t spoken to in quite some time. Yesterday I watched my Fiancé sew masks together to be donated to Hospitals in need. That inspired me more than I can explain, and even inspired me to learn how to sew. I saw a picture of a friend of mine on Instagram with his Guitar. Something that maybe he hasn’t taken the time to do in a while.

 

 

During these times of uncertainty, slow down, and take some time to challenge your perspective. Reach out to those who you care about, put your phone away and go for a walk, read a book, write something, and learn something new that you’ve always been curious about. Believe it or not, this will all be over before we know it. When that time comes, I hope we are all able to look ourselves in the mirror and know that we have become a better person because of it. 

Win Member of the Month

Hear Ye Hear Ye,

 

Good people of Union Fitness I bring you news that the work you put in this month could lead to great honor, in this dojo of wellness.

 

“But how Sir Bumps-a-lot, please tell us more?!” The people proclaimed!

 

This month you, the great people of Union Fitness have the opportunity to compete to win The Member of the Month, an accolade held in the highest of regards. Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition?!

 

We have assembled a 5 point list with how you can achieve your glory.

* Dominate 3 classes or 4 sign-ins a week.
* Bring a friend (Bonus points if they join).
* Hit a new personal record and show your favorite coach (aka The Bumpiest).
* Tag your Union Fitness training in your social media posts.
* Do something great for your community and share what you did with us through social media or in real life (community service, volunteer work, charitable donation, etc.).

 

Unlock all 5 accomplishments, score your points and make your own luck to win. The Member of the Month….Glory awaits.

 

Thank you all and let’s have some fun, this beat is sick!

 

Cheers, CeJ

HIIT Training or Cody’s Wild Ride?

If you didn’t catch my last blog post, Stew and I have been having some fun with safety squats on Saturday mornings. It feels like we’ve been running these sets of 10 for 3 months or so, but in actuality, it’s only been 5 weeks. I guess that’s what happens when you are in pain. Time moves slowly.

 

Two weeks ago (the week after my abysmal performance), Stew said he was going to deload that week and invited me to join him, to which I replied, “Cody doesn’t deload.” I have a strong aversion to deloads. It’s not that they don’t have merit, it’s more that I’m too stubborn and foolish to voluntarily take them. I usually just keep training hard until I’m so destroyed that I can’t move or I get injured. That’s when I take a deload. You know…like a smart person.

 

That Saturday, Stew did some easy sets of 10 with 335, and I chose to push the weight if it was there. I was fortunate enough to hit a top set of 395 for 10. I felt as though I had redeemed myself. I did some more sets of 10 with 345 and called it a day.

 

That set the stage nicely for last week. Stew was coming off his deload, and I was still under the childish delusion that I can keep getting stronger every week without end. Stew had a great performance with 405 for 10. I also had a good performance with 425 for 8 (I missed the 9th rep). After my top set, I dropped down and hit 365 for 3 sets of 10. All 30 reps felt like max effort, and like every Saturday, I walked out of the gym feeling broken.

 

After Stew’s top set, something interesting happened. He was feeling nauseous (Stew routinely dry heaves after hard sets of 10), and he wasn’t able to drop down and do work with the safety squat. After the frustration of not being able to perform wore off, Stew declared, “I’m going to do sets of 20 on the belt squat.” I replied, “Good. Go punish yourself.” He did.

 

On his last set of belt squat, he decided that 20 reps wasn’t enough for redemption. A set of 40 reps, however, might do the trick. I imagine they had similar thought processes in the Soviet gulags. As the amazing training partner that I am, I would hobble over in between my sets of squats to shower Stew with support, encouragement, and affirmation. This was communicated with loving phrases such as “make friends with the pain”, “it’s not that hard, just stand up”, and “no one at the gym will like you if you don’t get 40 reps.”

 

10 minutes later, when Stew was coherent and could form intelligible words again, we joked and laughed about how deranged we both were, and about how excited we were for next week.

 

This is how Stew and I have fun.

Cody’s Training with Stew

Three Fridays ago, as Stew (a member at Union) was leaving the gym, he nonchalantly asked, “Wanna squat with me tomorrow? I’ve got sets of 10 on safety squat bar.” If you don’t know me very well, wanderlust and impulsiveness describe my approach to training for most of the calendar year. So when Stew offered me an opportunity for masochistic spontaneity, of course I accepted. Now my entire week revolves around my quality time with Stew on Saturdays. My current weekly split looks something like this.

 

 

Monday– Competition Squat
Tuesday– Competition Bench
Wednesday/Thursday– Competition Deadlift (On one of those days depending on how I feel)
Friday– Secondary Bench
Saturday– Secondary Squat (AKA fun with Stew)
Sunday– Supplemental/Accessories/Conditioning
In the first squat session, Stew and I both hit 335 for our top set of 10. We both felt good about it. It was an honorable starting point. Afterward, we talked about possible strategies for jumps in the coming weeks that made sense and wouldn’t put us in the hospital.
In the second session, we threw strategy out of the window and made a huge jump to 375 for our top set of 10. We were a rocket ship. Nothing could stop us. We felt like we were going to continue getting stronger forever.
In the third session, we were rudely awakened from our pleasant fantasy, and we reluctantly acknowledged that we live in the real world. What a bummer. Stew had worked a ridiculous amount of hours that week, but did he let that stop him? No. He forced improvement when none seemed up for grabs by wrapping his knees and hitting 385 for his top set of 10. I also did 385…for only 4 reps.
After my disappointing performance, I relegated myself to the corner of the gym and let the strong people squat on the monolifts. Since I couldn’t reach anything heavy, I decided to drop down and hit 335 for 6 sets of 10. If I can’t push the weight, I usually just put in work.
After safety squats, we usually do some tempo high bar squats, but I opted out since I was doing more with the safety. After the tempo squats, Stew did a ton of belt squats, lunges, and probably some other stuff while I was lying on the ground, delirious and sweaty, wondering what year it was. This has been a common theme while training with Stew.
After three weeks of this block of training, this is my professional analysis…it’s been a lot of fun. Can’t wait for next week.

CJ’s long strange trip

Hello Union Fam,

I’m back and I sure did miss all your smiling bumpy faces while I was on vacation.

 

For the past week I was in Sunny San Diego, exploring and hanging out with Ron Burgundy, Skylyn, some seals and Skylyn’s Fit Ink team. I had never been to San Diego before or California until this trip and I must say San Diego is pretty rad. The weather was unreal, the sights were spectacular, the food was baller and the company of course was top notch.

 

Some people fear that taking a vacation will devastate their current training, I say Nay Nay! I will tell you firsthand that I came back from vacation feeling fresh and tossed some weights my first couple of trainings back on home soil. “CeJ, how did you do this?” Well my bumpiest of friends, let me tell you.

 

To stay on track with my training during vacation I made a training plan, reloaded, hydrated, ate well and had a freaking blast!

 

I had planned to take a reload on vacation as training shouldn’t be the center of a vacation and, I knew this would be a great time to try a different gym’s equipment and just ride the pump. I planned my split out ahead of time so I knew the focus of that day’s training. My split was: Upper Push, Upper Pull, Cardio Circuit with Abs, Lower Body, Upper Push and Upper Pull during my 6 day adventure. A reload is when the training volume and intensity is decreased, this gives the body and the central nervous system some time to recover from your wild training sessions. Do yourself a favor and take a reload on your vacation and try not to spend more than an hour at the gym or your place of training. Stay hydrated my friends! Traveling can dehydrate you and sometimes we just forget to drink with all the excitement of vacation. Carry a water bottle with you and drink it while you’re on the move. When it comes to eating, please try new local places and foods, spice up your taste buds. If you are worried about eating too much, then share some plates with your adventure partner(s) and don’t stress. The most important thing I have to say about staying on track during your vacation time is to live it the heck up and make all the memories you can! You can always make more money and gainzzz, you can’t always make more time. Thank you San Diego, it was a pleasure.

 

 

PS now that I’m back, come and train with me.

Stay Bumpy

-CeJ

Hips don’t lie!

During one of my first Swedish massage classes, our instructor asked how many of us had ever had a Massage Therapist work on our glutes.  If I remember correctly, I believe one out of 15 or so said yes. I was not that one person and despite knowing the importance of the muscles in this area, I had never even known it was an option.

 

During a separate class we spent the entire time learning how to massage the muscle group and getting over our fear of working on an area that society has made feel off-limits. I get it.  I get that it can be awkward, I get that it can cause someone anxiety, and at the least, it is out of the norm. However, if you feel comfortable with your Massage Therapist, it will be life changing!

 

 

Why? Consider the glutes to be your connecting force between your upper body and lower body.  The glutes alone consist of the gluteus maximus, the largest muscle in the body and primary hip extensor (think walking – as your foot hits the ground and moves you forward); the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, both hip abductors (think stepping to the side).  Deep to the glute max and med, you have 6 (SIX!) external hip rotators: piriformis, gemellus superior and inferior, obturator internus and externus, and quadratus femoris. Aside from those nine muscles, the hip bone is the attachment site for many other muscles including more hip extensors (hamstrings), hip flexors (quads), abdominal and lower back muscles.

 

Who would benefit? Everyone.  Literally everyone.

 

For us as lifters, we need all of these muscles! Each muscle has its primary action and when it cannot perform its intended job, the body finishes the task by compensating.  This becomes an issue when it is a continuous pattern and can lead to, at the least, an incorrect trained movement, and at the worst, an injury.

 

During long bouts of sitting, the hip flexors become tight and after an extended period the glutes decide to shut down and the lower back will take over.  If you have lower back pain, this is a likely cause.

 

Although a more serious case, piriformis syndrome is another possibility if the muscle remains tight for an extended period of time. This happens because the piriformis extends across the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve running from the lower back to the feet.  If the muscle becomes too tight it will begin to compress the nerve causing sciatic symptoms such as pain or numbness in the butt or even along the entire leg.

 

How is the area worked? This can depend on the Massage Therapist.  Personally I will work on the area while still covered. If it is a part of the massage, your legs will be covered with the top sheet and I will work through the draping.  If it is a session directly focused on that area, I may have you wear gym shorts and lay over top of the sheets.

 

Well, there you have it. If you already have this area worked on, kudos to you! Your body thanks you for it. If not, I hope this has reminded you of an often forgotten but very important area of your body. As Shakira has said, “Hips don’t lie” and she is not wrong!

Why do we do this?

This Sunday about 40 people gathered here at Union Fitness to have a great training session as well as raise some money for our friend Harry Lorusso. It was early on a Sunday morning, and we trained for about an hour and fifteen minutes and from what I saw many were challenged and had a good time. In addition to this we raised almost 600 dollars for a good cause (more on that later).

I have been competing for nearly twenty years and have done many other physically challenging events in between my competitions. I often ask myself why do I do this and then I ask, why also do others do this? When I see a day like what I saw Sunday morning here at Union Fitness,  I am reminded that we only have one trip on this earth and part of this trip is about pushing ourselves.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Teddy Roosevelt

I believe this often referred to quote by Teddy Roosevelt best express why we do what we do. We know we are going to fail and that is OK we must keep pushing forward which takes me to my friend and our member Harry.

Harry was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer. He was a young man with his life in front of him. I have often thought how would I handle news such as this. Could I handle it? Would I break down? Am I tough enough? Even though I have only known Harry a few months he has shown that he is the epitome of toughness dealing with this disease. I found out about his issue when he posted on instagram that he was training on his final day of chemo. That made me think, this is why we do what we do. We do what we do because as Henry Rollins said,

“Through the years, I have combined meditation, action, and the Iron into a single strength. I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts. Time spent away from the Iron makes my mind degenerate. I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind.

The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.” Henry Rollins

So Harry reminded me that we have an opportunity and he also reminded me that we all only have a limited time on earth so let’s make the best of this opportunity. For this I thank you Harry and hope that each of us can be thankful each and every day that we get to walk into the gym and push ourselves to be better than we were yesterday.

Thank you everyone who came out and donated to help end cancer and make the world a better and stronger place.

 

 

 

 

Three takeaways from the most physically challenging thing I’ve ever done.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, I competed in both a powerlifting meet and my first full marathon. It’s a goal that had been rattling around in my head for a couple years, but one that felt both completely ridiculous and completely out of reach. As luck would have it, I found two events happening close to where I grew up, on the best possible weekend, that worked together perfectly. I wasn’t about to pass that up, so in August I started training like crazy (you can see some of those training logs in the Union Fitness blog archive). That prep time was whirlwind, but it all came together two weeks ago.

 

Ultimately, I finished the meet with a 280(lb) squat, a 175 bench, and a 325 deadlift, setting a significant bodyweight personal best. I finished my first marathon in 3:50:24, which was my reach goal. I sobbed at the finish line. It was the hardest athletic event I’d ever done. 

 

Here are some takeaways:

 

Training and Competition will always be different

Meet day wasn’t perfect. It never is. Equipment is different, the day is almost always long, you’re probably operating on too little sleep. These are things to expect and to plan for. 

 

I had two big hurdles at the meet. The first, I NEEDED to eat a lot that day so I’d be fueled for the run, but it was a struggle from the moment I woke up. My meet day jitters are intense, and I didn’t plan well enough for that.

 

My second hurdle was not considering the toll driving out to York (and the length of meet day) would take on my hips. By the time we started deadlifting, I was feeling shot. I’d pulled 350 in the gym and it moved pretty well, so when I asked Casey to put 345 as my second, I wasn’t worried. The bar we were using was a little thicker and stiffer then I’d gotten accustomed to, and that combined with my fatigue meant it was not budging from the floor. I did everything I could, including gritting my teeth through a nasty RPR reset, but the iron bested me that time.

 

How do you combat that? Get your head right. Expect the unexpected, as cliche as that is. I went to that meet to do the very best that I could on that day, and then turn around and do the very best I could at another event the next day. And I did. I brought out my intensity going up to that bar on my third attempt, but as soon as I missed it, I was grateful for the opportunity, conscious of the mistakes I made, and ready to move to the next step.

 

As for the marathon? I was PROUD of my prep. I worked up to a 21 mile long run and it felt fantastic. In an attempt to simulate what the full meet+marathon weekend would feel like, I was doing my long runs the day after taking heavy singles in all three lifts. I was proud. Too proud maybe. Because when I woke up at 4:30am on race day, my hips HURT. More than they ever had in training. 

 

My appetite was still low but I forced some carbs down, walked outside on a cold rainy morning in downtown Philadelphia, and got on the shuttle to the start line.

 

I made another critical mistake here. I arrived about 90 minutes before gun time to a cold, muddy, pitch-black start. Because of the meet, I didn’t attend packet pick-up the day before (Philly mails it to you, super cool), so I wasn’t really sure where things were. I figured out gear check, then realized I needed to use the bathroom before the race started. I had about an hour at that point, so I got in line. I’ll cut the drama and just say I was still in line an hour later when the gun went off and the elites started. I was in the third big corral with all the predicted 4 hour finishers, which meant I had about 10 minutes to get out there if I wanted to start with that group and the pacer. Missed it. Still in line. 

 

I got out just as the last corral was leaving. I didn’t warm-up much at all, my feet were frozen, I had a lot of slower runners to zig-zag though, and I was obviously a little freaked out since I’d almost missed the start! Rookie mistakes. Next time, I’ll arrive a whoooole lot earlier and spend more time figuring out the layout of the start. 

 

Pain is temporary

The combination of the skipped warm-up, my frozen feet, and my already fatigued hips meant that my pain point in this race came a lot earlier than it normally did on training runs. The first 10 miles were great, you run around the city, there are tons of people out cheering. Then you cross a bridge and run down Kelly Drive, along the river, all the way out to Manayunk. Runners then turn around and finish the same way they went out. I knew about this. I thought I’d prepared by always running looped courses here in training. 

 

My hip pain got more severe around mile 16. I knew I had 10 miles to go, and we were just getting to the out-and-back portion of the race. I passed mile 17 as the faster runners were coming back passing mile 23. My mind started reeling at this point, seeing the pain on their faces, knowing how much I had left, feeling my own pain getting worse with every stride. 

 

I am a stubborn person, I HATE quitting things, but those thoughts came up several times in the last 10 miles. I was maintaining my goal pace, but the pain kept coming. Soon my left knee started to throb. I could feel it swelling. My right hip flexor was locking up, so my gait was getting pretty funky. I was struggling with getting nutrition down as I moved, but luckily had no GI issues. 

 

I’d never experienced this level of pain in an athletic event. Someone was holding a sign that said something like “You paid a lot of money to feel like this” and that really hit home. I knew I wasn’t going to stop unless I collapsed, and I was able to hold it together to the finish. I even picked up it as we passed mile 26.

 

So what does that say? I was in so much pain for 10 miles that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to go on, but then in that last 0.2 I found more speed. It’s all mental. I made a choice over and over with each step to continue, to not give up on this ridiculous dream I had to finish a marathon, to not let myself down. And it came together in that final stretch. The pain was temporary. The intense discomfort was temporary. And we are capable of withstanding a lot more than we think we can when we ask that of ourselves.

 

Pushing to your limits yields personal growth

I feel very different after completing these events. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but I feel like my ability to accept what IS has gotten better. I’ve always struggled to let things go. I’m a perfectionist and deal with a lot of unwanted anxiety, so I’d get caught up in an idea of how things should be and could never let that go in the face of reality.

 

For whatever reason, it seems a lot easier now. If I were to guess, I’d say it’s because I got some quality practice in with these events. I missed my third squat, not because I wasn’t strong enough, but because I didn’t dial in my technique. I missed my last two deadlifts even though I knew it was a weight I could handle, causing me to miss my “A” goal of an 800lb total. I experienced the sadness and disappointment that comes with not meeting a goal, and then I moved on. I can think of tons of things I’ll do better next time, but I’m not still dwelling on those missed lifts. 

 

And the race. Doing something that long and that hard teaches you, again, that pain is temporary. That you can withstand that pain, that discomfort, for as long as you need to to get where you want to go. I can’t turn that off now. The discomfort of every day stress is real – having difficult conversations, enduring people or situations that make you uncomfortable, the non-stop grind of work or school or family or all of it. But it’s endurable. And you truly learn that when you push to your physical limits. See what you’re capable of. It applies everywhere.

 

I’m still working through the emotional changes I’ve felt since finishing that race, but suffice it to say, it was all worth it. And I’ll be doing it again (but not for at least a year).

 

Bonus: These aren’t individual sports

I want to thank everyone who followed me during training, who sent words of encouragement and cheers via the RaceJoy app (I heard them all!). I want to thank all of the people at the Philly marathon who helped me get on the course on time, who showed me where things were, that were excited for me to do my first full. I didn’t know a single person there but felt cared for the entire time. I am so grateful that I got to see my parents at the finish, desperately trying to get photos, unsure of why I was crying so much. 

 

I especially want to thank the amazing people who drove all the way out to York to watch me compete. To say I was floored would be an understatement. It meant the world to me to have you all there. Diane, Alex, Sara, Mariah, Ang, Cayt, you made my weekend. I love you all.

 

And finally, my best friend, driver, handler, force-feeder, shoulder to cry on. I thought I could do this all on my own, and maybe I could have, but I’m glad I didn’t have to. Thank you.

 

The people I’ve met through these sports are some of the best I’ve ever known. Nothing compares to our community. If you’re reading this thinking about attempting some athletic feat, be it a 5k, and strongman competition, or an Ironman – do it. You’ll meet your family, you’ll test yourself, you’re learn and grow. All the pain and struggle is worth it.

 

Meal of the Week (burn your turkey edition)

This week for our Meal of the Week we are going to change things up just a bit. We are now 8 days out from Thanksgiving. We all know that this is the ultimate “cheat day.” Here at Union Fitness we truly believe in helping each and every one of our members in and out of the gym. You may spend 1-10 hours a week in Union Fitness and we hope to empower you during that time to be your best self and live your best life. Too often as strength and fitness professionals we all lose sight of the end game, a better life. So with this in mind we are preparing to stuff ourselves on Thanksgiving day with friends and family and invite you to do the same and feel no guilt about enjoying your day.

The other thing we want to do is take care of yourself and others. On Thursday November 28th we invite you (and friends, member or non-member) to come down to Union Fitness and join us in our biggest class. We have named this class the Turkey Burn. If you are using our discount and running the Turkey Trot with our friends at the YMCA we will let you slide on this one. If you are free come down and join in the superclass. All we ask of you is three things:

  1. Bring a canned good so that we may donate to those less fortunate than us. Don’t worry there will be coffee for after the workout.
  2. Bring your Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) and maybe some friends or family to raise their holiday spirits too.
  3. Sign up for the class online so we know how much coffee to bring. We have already added more spots to this class three times so let’s burn some turkeys.

The workout will consist of some cardio class, some lifting as well as a special Powerful with CJ workout. We will have the entire gym to ourselves so should be a great day of training. The workout will begin at 9 AM and wrap up at 10 AM, just in time to check your burnt turkey at home.

If you have any questions please ask any of our staff members. Now let’s empower each other for greatness.

Meet the staff Monday


Happy Monday to all of you and let’s get this week started right with a Meet the staff Monday. We are doing our best at making sure our staff knows all of you and you know our staff. We appreciate you coming to Union Fitness and we also realize that we are what you make us. So with that said we are going to introduce you to our staff. Please feel free to speak to our staff with anything you need. Even if we are training we are still here to serve each and everyone of you. Now Catlyn will take the mic. 

Hey folks, 

Welcome to this week’s edition of Meet the Staff Monday! My name is Catlyn Brooke and you can catch me in the Strength Lab Monday/Friday for 6:30a #powerful and Tuesday/Thursday for 6:30a Bootcamp.  

I started at Union Fitness 2 years ago as a training client with Lindsey, at the times I was 6 months post hernia repair. I had a foundation in strength training from CrossFit (not how I got the hernia), and I wanted to learn how to squat “right” before lifting heavy again. After training for a few months with Lindsey and getting some women’s #powerful classes under my belt (you get it?), I decided Union Fitness was the place to continue my fitness and coaching journey. 

I have met so many amazing, hardworking, bad-ass people here who are my IRL #fitspo. The members who have come into my life in the past few months and have broken me out of my lifting slump. I was pretty much indifferent to training, not sure if I ever wanted to do it seriously or compete again. BUT! I have been convinced (aka hyped up) to do a meet in March with them. So now, instead of just seeing me teach classes or greeting your lovely faces at the desk, you will also see me lying on the floor after a set of 20 belt squats programmed by none other than our new General Manager and all-star beard grower, Todd Hamer.

What do I do when I’m not at UF? I spend the majority of my time at ASCEND Pittsburgh as the Events Director and a personal trainer. I also spend a lot of time singing annoying songs to my cats, baking, and reading. 

Come see me in the morning if you want to hear more about my cats (no, I won’t sing their songs to you) or if you would like to request a certain baked good(s). If morning isn’t your thing, you can find me at ASCEND in the afternoon, probably lying on the floor there too after slipping off a climbing hold.  

See you soon! 

Catlyn 

PS – ((Warning: Shameless self-promotion.)) I post about my cats a lot on Instagram. @catlyn_