Category Archives: Uncategorized

Meet Wyatt.

We are happy to introduce you to our newest intern Wyatt. If you see him around the gym say hello. Now I’ll let Wyatt introduce himself in his own words.


I am Wyatt Sloan and I am from St. Louis Missouri. I am a senior at Robert Morris University, majoring in psychology with a concentration in sports and a minor in education. Applied to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for graduate school for a master of science in kinesiology with a specialization in exercise and sport Psychology.


I am Interning at Union Fitness to get the experience and learn from all their trainers about the exercise science aspect. This will greatly help in the future as a sports psychologist because I will be able to mentally and physically help athletes perform better in their sport. If you do not see me in the gym, I am playing hockey, video games, or watching movies. Fun fact about me is I am flexible enough to do the splits and my shoulders can rotate around to make my elbows clap. 

How’s My Squat?

We all know that Instagram has become most people’s go to for training information and videos. We could debate all day long whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. In my eyes the sum of it all is a good thing. I do see the down side, which is mainly ego. Yet I will take this, if it means that we can learn from some of the smartest people in the world.


This week I received a few messages about different pro athletes training. I find it concerning anytime that one comments on training that they were not present at the session, and know the background of the training. So when these questions are posed to me I tend to be honest yet give a non-answer.


Let’s break down a few of the different squats we see online.


  1. The Ed Coan squat- This is the squat that is well below parallel and looks perfect. We rarely see these.
  2. The Westsider- Super wide and no deeper then we need to be. Often times a bit on the high side.
  3. The ATGer- Low as can be with a side of knee cave.
  4. Front Squat- This gets two different groups, the Oly lifter who looks perfect and the the powerlifter who can’t get in the right position and looks miserable doing the lift.
  5. The NO Eccentric Box Squat- Race to the box, slam as hard as possible, and try to snap your spine (please don’t do this).
  6. The Rock and Roller- This is another variation of the box. Hit the box rock back and try to slingshot yourself back up.


Ok with me now judging everyone the truth is this. People have become strong doing each and everyone of these. So instead of telling someone what they should do you should probably just sit back and learn. People have become strong doing all of the above and while you can argue what is “right” it doesn’t matter as it is not your training.


Be Strong!


Old Man Uncle Hamer

Fill Those Sleeves. Holiday Edition.

As 2020 comes to an end let’s remember why we train. We all know we train to fill our sleeves. As my good friend Dr Jacked (Scott Caulfield) has often reminded me, a good deadlift is important yet big arms are important(er). With big arms in mind let’s review some old pump up exercises from yesteryear.


Curl the ladder– In order to curl the ladder all one needs is an empty barbell. Take the bar and hold it at 90 degrees for a ten count then do 10 curls, repeat this for reps 9-1. Be sure to get a good 10 count hold between each set of curls. Do not set the barbell down until all reps are done.


100 rep curl– Simplest pump ever, just grab a bar and curl it for 100 reps as quickly as possible.


Dip & push down superset– Slow controlled set of 10-20 bodyweight dips as soon as you complete these begin with 25 band pushdowns. Make this a drop set by decreasing dip reps each set while increasing pushdown reps.


Roney push up challenge– This is named after a good friend Jim Roney. We used to use this as a finisher after bench day. Set down a pair of dumbbells. Do 1 push then 2 push ups with hands on the dumbbells. Then make it 2&4, then 3&6… keep going until 10&20.


Surf the rack– This can be done with any exercise (curls, extensions, lateral raises etc.). Start at a weight you can do ten reps with (let’s say 45 lbs.). Do ten reps, set the weight down and go to the next set of dumbbells down the line, do ten with that weight and continue until you have touched every lighter dumbell.


I hope this has given you some good ideas on how to get a pump this holiday season. We all need a little different way to make sure we are still having fun with training.






Happy Veterans Day

We want to wish a special thank you to veterans of all branches. Thank you for your sacrifice, your bravery, and the example you set for us all. Thank you for your service.


Here is a little history behind Veterans day.


The first Armistice Day was Nov. 11, 1919, and President Wilson said the following words about the day: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”.


World War I ended June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The fighting had actually ended on Nov. 11, 1918, and was considered Armistice Day. Veterans Day officially became a holiday in 1954 to honor American veterans of all wars.


We must never forget their service and sacrifice.


Thank you to all of our friends, family and members who have served we appreciate your service. 


Team UF

Weekly Wrap Up

Happy Friday Union fam, it’s been a great week here at the facility and going into the weekend we have a handful of things planned for our members and clients. But first a slight recap from myself (Jocelyn):


I can only speak for myself but I know the rest of our staff would agree, getting to spend our time with all of you is a privilege none of us take lightly. We all got into this field because we enjoy guiding people along their own fitness journeys and with that being said it is truly one of the few reasons that gets me out of bed in the morning. Now, some days are harder than others obviously but sometimes all I need is great one hour coaching session to get those endorphins going again, if you’ve taken any of my classes you know I’m always dancing and cracking really bad jokes.


On Monday’s and Fridays I coach my class MOVEment which is a slight play off of the CrossFit programming I have grown to love and what got me to enjoy working out. It’s fun for me to come up with workouts and watch my classes run through them, you’ll always leave a MOVEment feeling like you got a solid hard workout.


With classes still gaining traction during this pandemic I’ve had some great opportunities to get to know clients in classes one on one. When I first started here at Union back in January I was a fresh face and then the pandemic hit and we were all forced through virtual connection. Luckily social media in that respect was a game changer and when we came back, seeing some faces I haven’t seen in a long time made me so happy. 


I might be biased but Cardio Lab might be one of my favorite classes to program for, my Tuesday crew is about the same every week and they have all come to expect the same thing from me, a hard workout (but they secretly love it). I’m sure they all come to listen to my Halsey inspired playlists and my terribly awful dance moves, I know I need to work on them guys.


If you’re around this weekend, come take a Friday evening MOVEment with me at 6PM for a great grindy conditioning piece or hangout with me on Saturday. I’ll be here at Union for the Kabuki Open and going over to Allegheny City Brewery to hangout while CJ and Grayson coach some of you all through our Bootcamp and Boo’s!


So, if you’re free come hangout, have a beer and enjoy a (fingers-crossed) beautiful day!


Much love Union fam,



Enjoy the Ride Part II

For those of you who read the UF blog often you may remember I wrote a blog about biking and getting outdoors a few months ago. Here we are again, I am getting outside and getting my mind working. So let’s take a ride together.


Once a year I ride my bike (with some friends) from Pittsburgh to DC. This has been a yearly event that I began doing with my father and has grown to over 25 people. If you are unfamiliar with the GAP trail or the C&O, they run from Pgh to Washington DC uninterrupted. This year I was unable to do the entire ride due to a global pandemic. Trying to make lemonade out of lemons I decided to ride two days to OhioPyle and back. So without further ado here is the story of my ride.


We left Nova Place at 6:15 Friday, October 9th and began our trek. The ride takes you from the Northside, into the city, along the jail trail before you cross the hot metal street bridge, and from that point on there are no turns for about 70 miles. The day started brisk, it was 41 degrees and about 3 miles in I realized that I should have worn thicker socks. It took me 34 miles to finally warm up. Lessons are always learned during this ride.


After grabbing some friends in West Newton, we continued to ride until arriving at OhioPyle around 4 PM. Little know fact, Curtis Miller has family near OhioPyle yet he has never actually gone into the town.


One of the beauties of this ride is spending time with friends and the people you meet. The first person I met was the gentlemen that, “didn’t like humans.” When I said good morning in the middle of the woods, he told me I was an expletive for interrupting nature. For the next two minutes he berated me for ruining his peace. I ended our conversation with good afternoon (he didn’t like that either). When I arrived at OhioPyle (after a rinse off), I  went to the local pub where I met some local friends, and we all swapped stories and sat by the fire. Both of these encounters kept the ride fun.


Saturday morning we woke up and began our trek back to Pgh. Riding back is much easier as it is a slow down hill the entire day. We made great time, and I made it back to Nova Place two hours faster than it took to get to OhioPyle the previous day.


As I touched on, one of the best parts of the rides is the people. This got me thinking about training and the gym. Much like with any sport we are all part of a team and it is the people that make the real difference.  With this in mind, I want to thank all of you for being part of our team and trusting us with helping you reach your goals.


Yours in strength,


Todd Hamer

3 Steps Towards Positive Motivation

Recently, one of our members reached out to me and mentioned that they were having a difficult time gaining motivation to get to the gym. They mentioned that they were feeling discouraged about changing their body and convincing their self that they are in fact able to accomplish the goals which they initially established. They then asked me if I had any advice or if I ever experience this myself. I paused, thought for a minute, and then gave them my initial response. A week later, this question is still on my mind. So much so that I even asked a few co-workers what their thoughts were. Although this discussion could have gone on for days, we kept it short and sweet with three main points.


1) Know your “Why”: In other words, what is your purpose behind what you are setting out to accomplish? Maybe you are doing it for your family. Maybe you are doing it for your overall health. Or maybe you are doing it to challenge yourself with something new. Either way, you must have your “why” established and set in stone before you begin. If you don’t, then you will have a hard time staying on track throughout the journey. On the other hand, if your “why” is always clear and in sight, then you will always have direction, even when times get tough.


2) You must establish a certain level of belief: This belief must be strong enough that you can overcome any obstacle that is placed in front of you, or any self doubt that makes it’s way into your mind. We all battle with self doubt and negative thoughts, but your belief that you can become something better than you are must be stronger than the voice in your head saying you can’t. This belief can come in multiple forms, but the best way to gain it is simply by doing. You never know what you are capable of until you start. Once you get started and move forward with consistency, you will begin to build confidence and a belief that you can keep moving towards your goals. This goes hand in hand with our next point.


3) Give yourself at least three weeks of consistent work: Those first few weeks are always the hardest. Once you bust through them, the process starts to become habit. During those three weeks, stay 100% dedicated to yourself and your goals. Make it a priority to do something every single day. On the days that you work out, put your full effort towards that session and even everything that you do outside of the gym. This includes nutrition, hydration, quality sleep, etc. On your off days, go for a walk, a bike ride, or stretch, but just stay moving. You will be surprised how motivated you become when you stay in motion. Soon, the work will become second nature. Your “why” will keep you focused, your belief will keep you empowered, and your consistency will keep you moving forward towards your goals.


Stay strong, friends.

Bootcamp Comedy Show

UF is beyond excited to announce our first ever bootcamp comedy show. We are going to  bring together all the good things of the world for one awesome night. Friday November 6th we are going to have a boot camp workout run by our funniest and most hype trainers, Matt Grayson and Charles Jasper.


Following the bootcamp style workout, 3 of our local comedians are going to take the stage. We are going to set up a stage on the turf outdoors and have seats inside and outside utilizing our new performance lab space. Each comedian will have about a 20 minute set to entertain us. We have also requested that they workout with us before hand (let’s hope they are up for it).


We will also be offering food and libations compliments of our newest partner, The Yard. Check out their offerings and hopefully they will bring us some of our favorite cheeses and beers.


In addition to all the fun we are asking anyone who registers for this class to bring some canned goods.  We will donate all the canned goods to the food pantry on Brighton Rd.


To register for this class, just go to MindBody and this will be listed as a class. As with any of our fundraiser events everyone is welcome, members and non-members, additionally this is a free class for everyone.


Let’s get bumpy, share some laughs and do more good in the world.


Free Classes and Schedule Changes.

As we mentioned in our previous post we are now starting to introduce some free classes. The first class that will become a free class to all members is our Blitz class. The Blitz class is a 30 minute lunch time lift. The idea is that you can get a good lift in, shower and be back to work without missing your next important zoom meeting. Blitz is held in our new performance lab and Todd Hamer is the lead instructor for this class.


As we move forward with everything re-opening we will be slowly adding a few more free classes. So please keep your eyes open for this.


Schedule Changes.


We are now adjusting some class schedules. We are making these changes to better serve you the members. As with anything if you have issues please tell us as we want to make the best schedule we can for you.


Powerful evening classes will now be at 530 & 6PM. We are making this change so that each class can get to see each other and help us build a stronger community.


We are dropping our Tuesday morning bootcamp at 7 am.


We are also dropping our Monday and Wednesday 7 PM cardiolab.


If you have any issues with these changes please reach out to us and we will do the best we can to adjust our schedules.


Team UF



9/11 Our Remembrance

As most people who have lived through a terrorist attack on their county I will never forget where I was on 9/11/2001. I was a grad student sitting in a sport law course at Virginia Commonwealth University. We had a guest professor that day in class and as he discussed tort our professor walked back into the room and said, “Go home and call your families, we are under attack.” These words will never leave my head and each year that passes I remember how I felt that day.


Everyone handles situations like this differently. Most of my classmates went down to a local sandwich shop and watched the news. I am different and didn’t want to be around people so I went to the weight room and trained. I am one of the few people who caught up with everything later. I do not know if what I did was cowardice or me avoiding this horror of the moment. What I do know is 9/11/2001 always had an impact on me and I have visited each of the crash sites numerous times and every time confusion is the biggest emotion I have in that moment.


In honor as a tribute to each of the 2,996 humans who perished on that day I have been asking people here at Union Fitness to tell me what 9/11 means to them. Here are some of the words and phrases that I heard today.


“Never Forget.”


“Never take a day for granted.”









These words are a good reminder for of us as a society. The one that stands out the strongest to me is confusion. To this day what happened is still confusing to most of us and that is OK. We just hope that through all of this confusion we can help support you and each other.


Remember United We Stand.


Todd Hamer and Team UF