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Lindsey’s Training Log – December

Earlier this week, one of our members approached me about feeling burned out and fighting with your body: how do you train through this?


Normally my answer would just be “DON’T,” but I think it’s more nuanced than that. Why are you burned out? Are you taking care of the basics: eating enough, sleeping enough, hydrating enough? Do you find some joy in training or even just being in the gym?


If the answer to those questions is yes (and in this case it was), I’d say yeah, get in the gym. This is where I find myself recently. My body isn’t being cooperative. In years past this would have left me a mess, because training and getting stronger was such a core part of my identity. At this point, I just accept it.


For me, the key is to make a point to get some movement in that 1. Appeals to me on that day, 2. Can be done in a timely fashion, and 3. Leaves me smiling by the end (like this, where I get my first headstand without landing on my butt finallllllly)



I still hate going into the gym with absolutely no plan, so with all this in mind, I put together a mini “burnout training template.” It’s not very specific on purpose – I just plug in whatever movements sound good on that day. I am sure to start off with something playful and fun – lately that’s been working on headstands and arm balances and stuff I’m picking up at yoga! And I end with something that gets my heart rate up and feels really good – some kind of short conditioning circuit or some time on the rower. I put time constraints on everything else. This means my rest periods are short, so the weights I’m using are relatively light, which gives my body a break for the heavier loads I might normally use. It also means I’m wasting less time. I’m still working on my olympic lifts, but taking a little breather until the new year by focusing on technique and super light weights. I can get this all done in just over an hour when I don’t get distracted by work!


Here’s that template. If you ever find yourself lacking motivation but still wanting to get some training in, something similar may work well for you.


Upper Focus Time Suggestions Notes
Warm-up Cardio, deep squats and hip openers, shoulder openers
Play 5 mins headstands, arm balances, hanging stuff, skillllllz
Oly Technique 10 mins jerk footwork, snatch balance, muscle snatch
Upper Horizontal Push, superset with: Bench variations, low rep start, high rep finish Choose a focus for the day:
Upper Horizontal Pull 10-15 mins seated row, bent over row Either horiz. or vert. group get barbell
Upper Vertical Push, superset with: Z-press, strict press, push-press opposite is high rep FB/DB work
Upper Vertical Pull 10-15 mins pull-ups or chin-ups/ pulldowns
Upper Accessories 15-20 mins chest + triceps or back and biceps (aim for 4 exercises of 3-4 sets each)
Conditioning Play 5-10 mins use weird implements – battle ropes, prowlers, d-balls
Lower Focus Time Suggestions Notes
Warm-up Cardio, deep squats and hip openers, shoulder openers
Play 5 mins pistols, jumps, lands, footwork
Oly Technique 10 mins clean/snatch pulls, high hang snatch, OHS
Squat 10 mins front or back or zercher Choose a focus for the day:
Pull 10-15 mins sumo (or chair) or conventional (or RDL) Either squat or pull heavy, light for other
Accessories 20-25 mins FB and bodyweight work (aim for 4-6 exercises of 3-4 sets each)
Conditioning Play 5-10 mins use weird implements – battle ropes, prowlers, d-balls

December State of the Union, Fitness

It’s that time again. Welcome to December’s State of the Union.


The end of 2018…it has been a hell of a year, both good and bad. We grew as a gym. We’re hoping our members grew in their own way as well. We saw our members hit personal bests in marathons, on the scale, and with barbells. We had many go out on a limb and try new things- powerlifting meets, cardio classes, and first time yogis. We danced and sang through Deutschtown. We mourned for Squirrel Hill. And we wonder what next year will bring as we spend time with friends and family around the dinner table for the holidays.

To follow along with our core values, here is a link to our website:


UF values- EPIC: Education—Passion—Integrity—Community


We are extremely proud to announce that Alexa is graduating with her degree in exercise science from Chatham University! She’s been stalwart in figuring out exactly where she wants to land in this world. Through a few changes in majors and multiple internships, she’s been true to herself. And for that, we’re even more proud. She’s a genuine human being and without any effort brings a smile to everyone she crosses paths with. Alexa- thank you for your time, effort, and dedication to the Union Fitness community and to yourself. You make the world a better place just by being you!


Dedication could be interchanged on this one…Alison came to me and said we need 5:30am classes. I’m not at all a morning person and I trust Alison because she’s the most reliable coworker that I’ve ever been around- so I wasn’t about to find out for myself. A couple months later, all of our morning classes are filled up, and some even waitlisted. So thank you Alison for your passion and dedication. And thank you Union Fitness members for your passion and dedication! It takes a lot of mental fortitude and discipline to set that 4-430-5am alarm and not hit snooze. Kudos to you all. Keep it up in the new year!


We dropped the ball last year and didn’t get involved with a giving tree early enough. So we all set calendar reminders for this year and threw it out to our community via social media. We had a ton of suggestions and support, and ended up settling on the Light of Life rescue mission on Western Avenue. We try to keep these things as local as possible, and the Northside is so welcoming and easy to access, so we’re grateful for that. All of the tags were taken from the tree with a few days to spare (30 in total) so next year let’s shoot for 40, and we’ll keep raising the bar from there. Thank you all that took the time, effort, and resources to donate. You’re absolute gems and you all make UF what it is.


Out of the blue on a random day of the week, a member sent me a personal instagram message. I don’t want to share all of it, but the gist of it was…

Thank you for a great gym- the staff and the members are always nice and welcoming. But most importantly, I look forward to going there. I don’t do everything perfectly in terms of my own training…”but I am happier now than where I was before I started a year ago…So before the busy Christmas season…I just wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you.”


This is what gets me out of bed every day. This is what fuels our staff. Thank you for your message (you know who you are). And even better, I shared it on our social media and got so much love in response. There is no secret formula. We try to treat you all with love and respect and kindness. Everyone is on their own journey here and there is no need to compare your first or second step to someone else’s marathon. When you walk through our doors, we want you to take ownership of your health and wellness- this is YOUR GYM. So continue to treat the space, and more importantly, your fellow members with love and respect. We’re all in this together.


Thank you all. I look forward to 2019 with each of you.


Alison’s training log 12/7/18

This week my program called for 6 sets of 2 front squats and 4 back squats at 100% of my previous front squat max. I was a little anxious so I put it off for a couple days and when I finally got around to it, I reluctantly set up the camera. This first video is from September when I tested my front squat max:



This second video is from my first set of this week’s program:



The difference between these clips is exactly why I encourage my clients (and myself!) to track their progress, with either videos like the above or good ole fashion pen and paper. Weights in both videos are the same yet in the second video I’m noticeably faster, stronger and leaner. There’s less bounce out of the bottom of my squat, my form is not perfect but better (a constant work in progress) and clearly Ryan’s booty program is working because all I hear inside my head when I squat now is “Hips through! Squeeze your glutes!”. All wins in my book.


Like any normal training program– there were a few hiccups in this cycle. My 10 week program turned into a 13-14 week program due to illness, lack of sleep, general life-happens issues and admittedly a little laziness. I’m now a little over 6 months postpartum yet I’m still sleeping like I have a newborn. My sleep schedule is all over the place. I’m lucky to get a good solid 4 hour stretch in each night and the rest of the night is a crapshoot. This hands down affects my training so I skip workouts or modify them when I need. My nutrition, though, is thankfully pretty solid right now. I’m trying to intake 1900 or more calories per day. I’m concentrating on eating enough protein, staying hydrated and preparing my meals to include milk-boosting foods like oats, almonds, dark leafy greens and avocados.


Looking ahead to what’s in store for my next training cycle, there are a few things I examine before I program for myself: weaknesses I need to work on, what my short-term and long-term goals are, any time restraints I may have coming up and I always try to add a sprinkle of just-for-fun. Here is today’s workout:


Warm up to encourage healing of abdominal diastasis:
3 rds:
Side-Lying Leg Raises x 20per
SLDL x 15per
Push Up x 10
Air Squat x 15
Bird Dog x :30per


Week 8 of Squat Program:
Front Squat/Back Squat 6x 2/4@ 100%


Big Booty Alison Program:
Eccentric Hip Thrusts 4×5
Dimel DL 4×8
GHR Back Raises 4×10
Glute Bridge 4×20


Hanging Leg Raises 4×6
Hollow Body Holds 4x :20

Congratulations to Richard Smith, our November Member of the Month!

Congratulations to Richard Smith, our November Member of the Month! He’s one of our favorite Northsiders, rolling in at 6:29 on the dot every morning. As a staple morning crew member, Richard fills class with his “I hate working out” mantras and witty cardio complaints. Still, that doesn’t stop him from showing up and working hard each day.  He’s even recruited fellow Northsiders, including his husband and neighbors to join in on the party.  We have yet to see him step foot in the Cardio Lab but he doesn’t shy away from #Powerful or Bootcamp and even admits to occasionally enjoying a Metcon or two. He originally joined with the only goal of getting stronger.  Richard has surpassed his original goal, seeing strength gains in every single class and has even seen the unintended bonus of weight loss.


We decided to sit down with Richard and pick his brain a little bit about his successes so far at Union Fitness.


What is one weird way your life has changed since getting fit?
I don’t crave sweets as much. Which is sad because I love cake. I used to be able to eat half a cake, now, a slice does just fine. Also, my eating portions in general, just naturally shrunk.


What is your favorite and least favorite part of UF?
I like getting to meet people I would not normally cross paths with in my everyday life. I can’t think of anything I dislike…maybe the janky medballs.


What are your goals for the new year?
I’d like to start running in 2019 to slim down some more. As you know, I HATE cardio. I need to get over that.


Don’t worry Richard, new medicine balls are on the way! In the meantime, we look forward to having Richard and the rest of the morning crew in class– janky medballs, cardio curses and all.

Ryan’s Training Log – Nov. 30

This program started with completely rebuilding my deadlift and squat. Recently, I made the choice to not participate in a meet that I had signed up for. As frustrating as this decision was, it seems everyone I talked to, including my physical therapist, thought it was the wisest decision in the long run. If nothing else, this makes me appreciate the strong support I have in this gym.


Now the real challenge is redesigning my lifts. Motor patterns are a stubborn thing. As useful as they are, if you have developed poor motor patterns, problems can happen quickly.


One way to begin fixing these bad habits is to do every exercise with intention. Meaning, when I do these exercises for rehabbing my back I want to sweat trying to focus on the muscle that I want to work. I know I can squat 135 without really thinking about it but on this day I made a point to count 2 second pauses while making sure my body is exactly where I need it to be.


When I coach people, I tell them to have a checklist for each lift. Every time you approach a lift you need to go down your list to perform optimally. Now it’s time for me to take my own advice and focus on each point with intensity.



Warm up:
90/90 Belly breathing: 2×5
Raised Toe touches: 2×6
Banded PSOAS March: 3×5 each 3 sec pause
Hamstring Pails and Rails: 3×10 sec
RKC Planks: 3x 10sec


Squat: 135lbs 5×3 2 sec pause
SSB Split Squats: 85lbs 3×8
Belt Sq March:6 plates 3×10 each leg with 2 sec pause (Squeezing my glutes for dear life)
Hamstring curls on machine: 3×12


Also if anyone is curious about how I rehabbing my back feel free to come up and ask me. I am more than happy to talk about it.

Shifting Your Fitness Focus

I’ve found myself facing a new challenge over the past few months. I’d been training for powerlifting in one way or another for about 5 years. I’d never considered not powerlifting. I trained through some fairly serious injuries, also through a lot of difficult moments of my life, and at times I really had no business training at all. I was completely addicted to the process of getting stronger – I was lifting for therapy for a long time. Some nagging part of me knew that was a problem, but I was really good at telling that part of my brain to shut up.


This summer I had a shift. I was training and training but not getting anywhere. My real life stress was outpacing my training stress and I just couldn’t recover from the work I was doing. I had days where I felt like a zombie; human interaction felt impossible, I felt like I was fighting a strong current with every step I took. I finally had to stop and reevaluate my goals and my process.


The truth was that I’d lost a lot of the passion for powerlifting that I’d once had. I used to love competing – I’ve always been a competitive person and powerlifting was that outlet for adult me. But I had no drive to get ready for a meet. I was training just to train, and that’s not me. I’d been playing with the olympic lifts (the snatch and clean & jerk) for a few months at that point and was really enjoying learning something new. This is a completely different sport where I’d need to spend a lot of time on technique before I’d really get anywhere. That means the workouts are all relatively light compared to my strength and don’t stress my body in quite the same way. For that reason, I decided to completely make the switch. I’m approaching the 12 week mark on that transition now.


It hasn’t been easy. A lot of my identity is wrapped up in lifting and striving to move heavy weights. Taking my training weights down (by a lot) has been a knock to my ego. I’ve also been shifting how I approach conditioning and diet in that I’m not doing as much and I’m letting myself eat more in an effort to better handle stress and regulate my hormones. In essence, I’m doing the opposite of everything I’ve done in the past. Sometimes this makes me panic – will I lose all my strength? Will I gain a ton of weight? Will clients not take me seriously?


The answer to all of those worries is no. But having those types of thoughts is normal. We see a lot of new members come in with a goal of changing their fitness habits: often these are people who have relied heavily on cardio but instead are looking to try some resistance training. Sometimes it’s ex-Crossfitters who want to learn how to get stronger instead of just ‘fitter’. Sometimes it’s powerlifters who want to be able to walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded. No matter your shift, there will be obstacles – both mental and physical. Here are a few things that helped me.

Rework your goals


A new focus necessarily means a change in goals. I loooove goal-setting, so for me this is the best part of making a fitness change. For others, maybe not so much. Now’s the time to review our previous goal-setting articles and settle on some new, smart goals. For me, this means competing in my first weightlifting meet in early 2019. By the end of this year, I plan to build a habit of doing regular mobility and prehab work on my shoulders (5x per week). With that foundation, I hope to feel comfortable in my snatch and clean & jerk technique by the end of 2018 to lead into that meet. The ultimate number goal for the next 6 months is to snatch 67.5kg (~148) and clean & jerk 85kg (~187lbs). As far as the meet, I just don’t want to bomb out!


This also means letting go of old goals, or at least recognizing they need to go on the back burner for a time. My 2018 goal was to deadlift 400lbs. With my new training focus, that is not going to happen. It pained me to think about “failing” at achieving that goal, but I had to consider what that really meant. Should I have continued pursuing that goal even though it was hurting my body? Even though I wasn’t even enjoying the pursuit anymore? No, that wouldn’t have been smart. That’s easier said than done, but the choice was clear.

Get on a program (or get a new coach)


I’d been programming for myself for about a year and half and had gotten pretty comfortable figuring out how to progress towards my powerlifting goals. With weightlifting, that’s all out the window. I toyed with the idea of coming up with something for myself, but decided not to for a few reasons. The first and most obvious: I’m too inexperienced to really know what I need in this sport. The second, I’m so new to the sport that just about anything would help me! With that in mind, I decided to utilize a good source of weightlifting knowledge online and go with a preset program. No, this isn’t perfectly matched to my needs, but again, right now it’s just about getting the reps in. To get better at snatching, the primary thing I need is to snatch more.


Apply this train of thought to yourself and your new goals as they emerge. Will the program you’ve been on help you meet your new goals? Does the person who programs for you (a coach, a friend, maybe yourself) have good experience in that field? If you answered no to both those questions, it’s time to find a new program (or a coach that fits your new needs). If one of our staff at UF is your coach, be sure to talk through your new direction with us! We can’t know how to change your program without your communication. If you aren’t interested in coaching, take advantage of the copious amounts of knowledge available online. Remember, if you’re new to something, just getting the reps in will help you the most during that total novice stage. No need to get fancy yet, just put in the time.

Take your time


And on the subject of time, recognize that this process will take time. You may be leaving behind an activity you’d gotten pretty good at to focus on something new. That means there’s a good chance you’re not going to be good… at all. I’m pretty bad at weightlifting, as I should be. You can’t be that good at something you’ve only been doing for a few weeks. And the next time you hear me complaining about how I should be better at this stuff by now, please shove this article right in my face.


This can feel extremely frustrating, especially for the perfectionists among us. It’s easy to feel like you should just magically just “get it” when you start something new. We tend to self-select interests and hobbies that we have a knack for. Maybe you’ve found yourself in that boat with your fitness switch, maybe not. Either way, you’ll need to be patient. Like I said above, you need to put the reps in to get better, especially at first.

But go all in


Just because you need to be patient doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get excited and really dig in! To me, there’s nothing more fun than getting really caught up in something new. There’s always a million articles to read, videos to watch, and techniques to try. I’ve definitely stayed up way past my bedtime on many occasions recently watching Mike Burgener videos on Youtube. I regret nothing.


Get excited! But remember that this is a time to learn, not just to do. You may want to start training this new way 7 days a week, but part of that learning process is figuring out how much recovery time you’ll need to keep getting better. It may not feel like a lot at first: your weights would likely be light, your runs would be short, etc. I’ve found that in an effort to force myself to rest, I find other ways to go all in on something new. I spend that time reading and watching video, or I find new mobility routines to help me find better positions, or I increase my daily walks to keep my hips feeling loose, or I start actually prioritizing sleeping more. All of these things are helping me get better at my new sport, WITHOUT burning me out quickly. There are a myriad of little, boring things you can be doing to get better. Find those and use your new motivation to build some positive habits.

Remember to enjoy yourself


This is all supposed to be fun, isn’t it? Few of us are elite adult athletes and there’s nothing wrong with that. Be sure you’re enjoying your new hobby. And remember that to enjoy something, it doesn’t always have to be “fun,” just rewarding somehow.


If you’ve read Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (and if you haven’t, I’d highly encourage you to do so), you know that contentment doesn’t necessarily come from being giddily happy or having SO MUCH FUN all the time. True fulfillment comes when we are faced with a challenge that is juuust beyond our reach and we work towards meeting it. A new fitness focus perfectly fits the bill. Find some flow in the new practices you’ll take up – get caught up in improving your mobility (like me), or doing hundred and hundreds of goblet squats to progress to a solid back squat, or working on your core strength so that you can run pain-free. Then put it all together when you get to do “the real thing.”


Making a big switch like this is frustrating. It’s time consuming. But it’s rewarding. Take your time, go all in, and enjoy yourself.

Inside and Out: What Does Wellness Look Like?

We come across so many different types of people in the gym and so many, if not all of them, work incredibly hard in this space. Day in and day out, we see them grinding away in Cardio Lab classes or loading up the barbell in the Strength Lab. We see dedicated people training for races on the treadmills and others using up their lunch hour during the week to grab a quick sweat. Yet despite all of this hard work here, how many of them are actually well? Being well is not just a physical trait, so why is it that we continue to base wellness on what we do inside the gym or what we look like on the outside? I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about what wellness looks like and how we can achieve a more holistic view of wellness in our own lives.
So first things first, what does wellness look like to you?
I asked some members what being well meant to them and they touched upon what they believe creates a healthy and balanced life. Yet so many of their answers were dependent upon physical traits or characteristics: body composition, sleep, nutrition, being healthy/not sick, feeling good about themselves, etc. And it’s not that they are wrong but that there are so many aspects of wellness that we are missing or at least failing to consider. So what does wellness really look like then? Truth be told, there is no one correct answer or only one approach to view total wellness but I think it’s easiest to break it down to different categories or dimensions.
There are eight, yes EIGHT, dimensions of wellness: Emotional, Environmental, Financial, Intellectual, Occupational, Social, Spiritual and Physical. Each category is equally weighted and interrelated. True wellness, some believe, comes when all of the eight are in equilibrium.
Let’s talk about the one we know best: Physical Wellbeing. It’s easy to see why we are drawn to this one– after all, we are all interested in fitness. Being a member of a gym usually means that we are seeking some higher level of health. And with this higher level of health, or at least health awareness, comes knowledge about sleep habits and nutrition because of how it factors into our training. We know that physical aspects are an integral part of our wellbeing even if it’s as simple as “working out makes me feel good” or “I function better with 8 hours of sleep”. Physical wellness is easy to put your finger on. It’s easy to set quantifiable goals. It’s easy to see the progress because it is measurable. Emotional Wellbeing on the other hand is a feeling or an experience so it’s a lot harder to calibrate. Being emotionally well is subjective too, right? My emotional health needs will not look like yours. This branch of wellness includes things like managing stress and self care. This is where I think Union Fitness does a great job in communicating a more well rounded approach to wellness. Our staff here regularly preaches the importance of stress reduction and self care activities.
Emotional Wellbeing Tip: Try purposefully smiling at least 20 times today.
Environmental Wellbeing is an aspect that is often overlooked but like we discussed earlier it is equally important and equally weighted as the others. Surface level environmental wellness includes things like having a roof over your head but lets take a look at just that one aspect– Does your heat work well when it’s cold outside? Do you have mold/pest issues? Is your space always a mess? Do you have feuds with your neighbor? Do the neighborhood dogs always use your lawn as their personal lavatory? These are all (and more!) factors in your environmental wellbeing. I know personally that I feel stress when the dishes aren’t done, toys are all over the place and everything is in complete disarray. My environmental wellbeing soars when my space is clean and tidy. And because the different branches of wellness are often blending into one another, once my environmental wellbeing is healthier my emotional wellbeing benefits as well.
On an even grander scale though, this branch of wellness can also be seen as being respectful of your surroundings or even your interactions with nature. After all, Earth is everyone’s home. I know, I know it sounds hippy dippy but you can’t deny that sense of calm that overcomes you when you’re out for a hike or spending some time at the beach.
Environmental Wellbeing Tip: Stop your junk mail. Remove yourself from mailing lists or request electronic communications.
If you’ve ever had a job you’ve hated then you know the importance of Occupational Wellness. You cannot be occupationally well if you hate your job. On the flip side, you could have a job you love but your occupational wellness could still be stunted. Your wellbeing in this branch is more than just simply enjoying your work endeavors. Do you feel a sense of personal satisfaction within your job? Do you appreciate your contributions? Do you feel a sense of personal growth and enrichment? If you answered no to any of these questions, it doesn’t mean you have to up and quit your job but it may mean that you have to take a good hard look at your occupational skills and discover how you can accelerate growth. But being occupationally well also means being able to find work/life balance. Maybe you’ve found a job in which you excel, feel challenged and a deep sense of occupational enrichment but you get home so late you never see your kids. Or you work so much you barely sleep. Or even when you’re home you are working, checking emails, taking calls, etc. If this is you, then it’s time for a reality check or have that difficult conversation with your boss about scaling back or take those hard earned PTO days.
Occupational Wellbeing Tip: Turn off your cellphone to work related activities when you leave work.
Occupational wellness isn’t so cut and dry either—Financial Wellness plays a large role in our occupational wellness, right? How we wish we could just up and leave a job we hate without the financial repercussions of mortgages, student loans, childcare expenses, grocery bills, utilities and the like. This dimension is tough for a lot of people because it is so closely tied to many of the other dimensions of wellness. Not enough money means not being able to pay rent/mortgage (environmental), lack of sleep (physical), stress (emotional), not being able to go out to dinner or other recreational activities (social), working longer hours or multiple jobs (occupational) and possibly make us question why we are being punished (spiritual). Who said money doesn’t buy happiness again? So ok, it may not buy happiness but, for many, it can definitely help buy a little wellness. But being financially well doesn’t just mean making more money. It also involves being able to successfully manage the money you do have and the ability to plan for the future. As much as I love a good cup of Starbucks, I know in the long run I would be more financially well saving that $5 per day from my habitual daily coffee habit, so I make coffee at home.
Financial Wellbeing Tip: Track what you spend in a month and create a realistic budget.
There’s a reason we come home from a Paint ‘N Sip party and proudly display our new artwork on the mantle and post it to our Social Media accounts. There’s a reason why the crossword puzzle is a staple in every newspaper. It’s the same reason why we were drawn to Candy Land and Monopoly board games when we were younger. You know that urge you get to blow into a harmonica even when you have noooo clue how to play? Yep, it’s that too. It’s because, as humans, we have a drive to be creative. We crave new ideas and knowledge. We have an innate drive to be mentally stimulated and it is all a part of our Intellectual Wellness. Being intellectual well means learning to see the value in curiosity and life long learning. It is about picking up that guitar you haven’t played in years or finally learning Chinese like you promised your grandfather you would. Intellectual wellness isn’t just about scholastic or creative endeavors either– it can also involve joining in on cultural and community activities.
Intellectual Wellbeing Tip: Read a book that interests you just for fun.
These types of activities encourage our expansion of knowledge and it also blends into our Social Wellness. Our wellbeing in this dimension is dependent upon how we interact with the people around us. But introverts, don’t panic! You can still have a high level of social wellness without immersing yourself in large groups of people. This aspect is all about being able to communicate well and have meaningful personal relationships with those in our support network: family and friends. Having a healthy social aspect to your wellbeing means engaging in positive and rewarding relationships and your ability to foster genuine connections. That means quality over quantity!
Social Wellbeing Tip: Call a friend you haven’t spoken with in a while just to say hi.
Last but not least is the dimension of Spiritual Wellness. This category provides us with systems of beliefs, values, ethics, principles and morals in which we use to guide us through meaningful life. Sounds great on paper, right? The truth is though that work in this dimension is never truly finished. It is a constantly evolving process of self-discovery and reflection. Values and principles can change or fluctuate over time. So how then do we become spiritually well? I think the first step here will always be to stay true to yourself. Not sure exactly what that is? Take a yoga class. Meditate. Travel. Volunteer your time. Mentor someone. Be accepting of other viewpoints. Practice tolerance, love and forgiveness. We may never be able to answer the question “What is the meaning of life?” but spiritual wellness gives us the tools to guide us through a fulfilling life with purpose.
Spiritual Wellbeing Tip: Take a 5 minute silence or meditation break right now…yes right now!
So there you have it—a long (and somewhat daunting) list of wellness. How many of these categories can you tick off your wellness list? If the physical dimension is the only one you can say you are well at then you have some work to do. Don’t be overwhelmed with trying to achieve this perfect idea of wellness but use this as a guide to find some more harmony and balance in your life. Tackle small steps. And most importantly know that no one can tell you what wellness in your life looks like, only you can know that.

Casey Training log – November

Hypertrophy: the enlargement of an organ or tissue from the increase in size of its cells.


This marks the second phase of my hypertrophy program. Four weeks ago my bodyweight was sitting around 235-238lbs. After four weeks, and a big increase in calories per day, I’m sitting around 244-247lbs. The ultimate goal is over 250lbs, so I still have plenty of work to do. And those last few pounds will be more difficult than that first big jump. Why am I doing this? I need a “training cushion” because going into powerlifting meets I tend to lose weight for a number of reasons that I won’t discuss here. How am I doing this? Well, it looks something like this…

Saturday Lower

SSB 475-485 2×5
Belt squat 1050# 2×8 paused
Backwards sled 7 plates 6 trips, 30 sec rest
Seated leg curl heavy 8x3x 15 sec rest
Single leg RDL heavy 3x3x 30 sec rest

Pallof Press


Safety Squat Bar 455×5

Monday Upper

Fatbell bench 4×10 (124-150×3)
Fatbell row 4×10 80
Chain fly 5 chains 15-8-6 (not on purpose, gassed)

Dips, Lat pull downs, Bicep curls/Tricep ext


Fatbell bench paired with Fatbell rows


Chain flyes

Wednesday Back

Split squats 65s 2×8
Farmers walks 275 4 trips
Rows 295 4×5
RDLS 405 2×5
Weighted plank 60 6x1x20 sec


Farmer’s Walks

Should you be sore?

Everyone likes to be a little sore. You wake up the next day or two with that feeling of accomplishment. But what if one day that soreness isn’t there? And honestly what really causes you to be sore in the first place? Some people may jump to the conclusion that they slacked off at the gym if they don’t wake up in some sort of pain. But this isn’t the case.


Let’s first address a very common myth: Lactic acid does not cause soreness. Lactate is produced during anaerobic exercise but it acts as a buffer in your cells. Lactate will buffer hydrogens that are being produced during exercise. Once oxygen is introduced again lactate can then be utilized as energy. Lactate is your friend.


Soreness is your body registering the microtrauma (small tears) that was caused to the muscle fiber during exercise. Now not every portion of a lift causes soreness or microtrauma. There are three main components of each lift: eccentric, isometric, and concentric. The eccentric portion of the exercise is when the muscle is being lengthened. When your muscle is bearing load during a lengthening phase that’s when the most microtrauma happens. The second portion is the isometric (or an isometric exercise) phase, which causes some microtrauma but not nearly as much as the eccentric movement. The concentric portion of the lift causes minimal to no damage to the muscle fiber. This is very useful when you want to work out but you are sore. Concentric movements can be used as recovery. The best examples of concentric only exercises are walking with the sled or more exercises using the sled.


The question is still– do I need to cause microtrauma to get a benefit from working out? No. True, microtrauma will produce the most effect towards any fitness goal. But you don’t need it every time you workout.


Let’s take the concentric movements only as an example. Doing this will still produce an excess of post-exercise oxygen consumption (increasing metabolism) and will still get a CNS response to help the body prepare for moving weight. This meaning if you still want to lift big weights your body will be prepared for that and if you want to lose weight concentric movements will still increase your metabolism.


So if one of these days you don’t wake up sore, don’t beat yourself up. You still put the work in! Being sore all the time is not necessary! Yes, at times you need to load that eccentric phase to cause microtrauma but giving yourself a break sometimes will still get you toward your goals.

Lindsey’s Training Log – Oct/Nov

I’ve been following a very basic Catalyst Athletics training program for the past 6 weeks. Normally I program for myself, but with the olympic lifts I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, so went to a reputable source of information. I’m so new to this that literally anything that allows me to snatch and clean & jerk regularly is going to make me better, so here we are.


Transitioning to this style of programming has been… interesting. I’m working on a longer blog now about transitioning sports/fitness regimens, so I won’t spend too much time here. But honestly, some of it makes very little sense to me. I was supposed to max out my snatch, clean & jerk, and back squat a few weeks ago, but I skipped it. That was partly because I was traveling and partly because WHAT. It had only been 4 weeks! How often can you max these lifts? Turns out it’s pretty often. I was probably right in skipping the max back squat, as my squat is considerably higher than it “should be” given my proficiency with the oly lifts. I can’t squat in the 280-300lb range as frequently as I can snatch 125lbs or so. Something to keep in mind with future programming.


I DO get to max out this Saturday and I’m pretty excited. I’ve been spending this whole week eating a ton of healthy food that makes me feel good. And sleeping. All the time. Here’s what I’ve been up to, and how I’m approaching my max out day:


Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday:
Power snatch – 75% x 2 x 5 Snatch – 90-95% x 1 Power clean – 75% x 2 x 5
Jerk – 75% x 2 x 5 Clean & Jerk – 90-95% x 1 Snatch balance – daily max
Snatch pull – 95% x 3 x 3 Back Squat – 90% x 1 x 5 Clean pull – 95% x 3 x 3
3 sets, no rest: Good Morning – 3×8 light 3 sets, no rest:
Box Jump (at least 24″) x 5 20 knees to elbows
Pull-up x 10 20 plate topside halfmoons
Thursday: Saturday:
Snatch – 85-90% x 1 Snatch – max
Clean & Jerk – 85-90% x 1 Clean & Jerk – max
Snatch pull – 95% x 3 x 3 Back Squat – 90% x 1 x 5
Front Squat – 95% x 1 x 2 Back Squat – max
* rest 10 minutes between 3 max exercises

Here’s my last heavier day and some powercleans from earlier in the week:



Otherwise, I’m focusing on keeping my shoulders healthy. If I don’t keep up with the rehab exercises Ryan talks about all the time, I can’t put my hands over my head without pain. Not great in this sport (but I got away with a lot in powerlifting and now I have to change my habits). So at least 5 days per week I’m doing wall angels, band pull-aparts, ITYs, etc. I also had a massage focusing on my upper back with Lavender on Tuesday (highly recommended), and I’ve been to yoga THREE TIMES this week (I’m obsessed now). Everything I can do to recover and get ready for a big day Saturday.