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Redefining Your Goals

Like many of you I have found myself at a stopping point and asking the hard question, what am I working towards now? As complex beings we are built on the bases of looking for the next thing, it could be a vacation, a performance goal whether professional or personal or finally getting to that home project we’ve been pinning on Pinterest for about a year. Whatever it is to you, getting started is the most agonizing part of the journey.


In todays blog I am going to talk steps related specifically on redefining your goals:


#1: Start Where You Are


Analyze where you are in your life in the present moment. What are you wiling to do during this time and what aren’t you willing to do, there is no right or wrong answer. Understand that where you are in the present moment isn’t a place you will be forever and have empathy for yourself, knowing there isn’t a time limit on when you have to remove yourself from this space.


Let’s start with a 5-minute journal every morning, here are some questions you can ask yourself:

      • How am I feeling? Why might I be feeling this way, good or bad.
      • Can I be accepting of this feeling? If the answer is no, what is limiting me from accepting this feeling?
      • What is one thing I am grateful for today?



One thing I’ve noticed over the past few months is when I take time for myself in the morning it sets the tone for my entire day. I used to coach CrossFit at 5:30AM Monday to Friday, for 2 years straight then go to my day job and it was draining. At the end of the day when it was time for me to workout and give to myself, I found that I had nothing left to give. It was only when I started slowing down, even just to enjoy my coffee in the morning that I felt fuller day by day.



#2: Action Creates Momentum


Any small action will ultimately create momentum towards the final goal. With this in mind, what is one action you can take today to move you closer to tomorrow? It could be as simple as folding that laundry basket you’ve been avoiding or going for a 10 minute walk. Folding that laundry basket could turn into getting to those dishes from last night or that walk could turn into doing a Union At Home workout. All you need to do is start, even if it’s just getting out of bed in the morning, that in itself could be everything. 



#3: Find Your Routine Again


So we’re journaling, we’re taking small actions within our lives and maybe we’re just feeling better overall. Like I said in #1, taking time for yourself will help keep your cup full because if we are continually emptying our cup over and over again something is going to break. We’ve all been clearly thrown out of our routine and probably getting eager to get back to it, so what does that look like? 


Grab your phone or a piece of paper and draw out your ideal week:

    • Label it for Monday through Friday
    • What time do you wake up at? How do you start your morning?
    • What does taking time for yourself look like? Is it working out or just enjoying a few extra minutes in bed with your favorite book?
    • Do you have kids? Have you wanted to find things as a family to do together?
    • Are you single? Have you wanted to make more time for your family/friends?
    • Are you in a relationship? What does a date night look like to you?



When was the last time you really sat down and looked at your entire week, start to finish. I’m sure most of you go through the paces much like myself and let the days blend together but sometimes a little structure goes a long way, even if its just writing it down.


#4: Pick One


Without essentially picking a goal we’ve starting analyzing our own lives and doing things to move us closer to tomorrow. We’ve done this by, understanding where we are presently and taking time for ourselves that turns into small daily actions that make us feel better. This allows us to dream up what could be and results in attainable goals to choose from. Your current goals could essentially be finding fun things to do with your partner, kids, family or friends. It doesn’t need to be something that so far out of reach or a goal that takes months to achieve. 

All we need is to understand that the world we live in now is so different than the one we had a few months ago and our goals should reflect that. It is also of the upmost importance to realize that where you are personally is different from someone you see on social media, put yourself first and take the steps you need to keep your cup full.




Obviously I’m no expert in any one thing but I’ve found as an athlete and coach that there are tools I’ve obtained over the years that have helped me grow, I’ve learned these from coaches, mentors, close friends and even podcasts I’ve listened to. If anything I hope one of these four things help you look inward and find your growth even if its just looking at tomorrow.


Much love,


Know Your Body

The body is fascinating. I am typing this and eating almonds, and despite being extremely sedentary, my body is still working. Clearly not difficult work but there are still jobs to be done, like keeping myself in good posture, engaging my fingers to type, and digesting my food. Although the intricacies may not excite everyone, I believe there is benefit for those who invest a certain amount of time and energy into transforming the body to understand an overview of its efforts.


I will continue to dive in a bit deeper to specific muscles and their role, provide a few tips for relieving pain without a massage, and similar topics that pop into my head or that you request. The thought of summarizing something so complex seems daunting, but my hope is that if you know nothing about the body you learn something and if you know it all you are reminded that the body is neat. Let’s get to it.


The muscular system consists of skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscle cells. Cardiac and smooth muscles are part of the autonomic nervous system and work involuntarily. Cardiac muscle cells are found in the heart and smooth muscle cells line the walls in hollow organs such as the stomach and passageways such as arteries. In the skin these cells cause your hair to stand up when you are cold or scared, aka goosebumps. Skeletal muscle cells are under voluntary control of the somatic nervous system and are composed of bundles of cells called muscle fibers. Muscle fibers are composed of many myofibrils which contain sarcomeres. These are the block-like units that appear adjacently down the entire myofibril and each have alternating thick filaments (myosin) and thin filaments (actin). The myosin latches onto the actin pulling it so the proteins slide past each other. This causes the sarcomere to shorten thus creating a muscle contraction, known as the sliding filament mechanism.


I’m going to stop there with the actual contraction of muscles. I hope that gave you a glimpse of the internal happenings of muscle cells, but now I want to introduce something a little less #science-like and a bit more practical if you want to get the most out of training.


If you have worked with any of our coaches or trainers, I am sure you have heard the terms isometric, eccentric, and concentric contractions. I would like to bet they even taught you the meaning and benefit of each. But, if you haven’t used them yet or don’t quite get it, let’s take a peek now.


Isometric: the muscle fibers do not change length during contraction. Examples are exercises with a pause or a plank. Training isometrics are beneficial because they require you to maintain the proper position even when you are “on the breaks”.


Eccentric: the muscle fibers lengthen during this phase. An easier way to think of it is the part of the movement when your body wants to accelerate. Lowering the arm from a biceps curl, the downward motion of the squat, or the upward phase on the leg curl machine are a few examples. Training this phase of the movement can be done with negatives, or slow eccentrics, by using a count to slow the movement down. This is helpful for maintaining tension even when you are “stepping on the breaks” and for beginners learning the movement. Oftentimes, the eccentric phase will be prescribed for rehab exercises, although they do not always need to be slow reps.


Concentric: the muscle fibers shorten, creating the force to move an object. If training speed work, it is performed during this portion of the movement as we “step on the gas”. Examples are the upward portion of the biceps curl, standing up from a squat, and pulling yourself up during a pull-up.

Have you ever wondered why muscles received their name? Most are very easy to figure out and can be helpful during training. Muscles are named for a variety of reasons but here a few of the most interesting:


Arrangement of the muscle fibers: the fibers run lengthwise through the muscle and can be named dependent on their direction. Example: the deltoid is rounded and triangular on the shoulder. The transversus abdominis is the deepest abdominal muscle that runs horizontally across the abdomen. Knowing the direction of the fibers can help guide you in the action of that muscle and exercises to target it best.


Number of origins: The origin of a muscle is the attachment site that does not move and some have more than one. You might be able to guess. The (bi)ceps with the long and short head; the (tri)ceps with the long, medial, and lateral heads; and the (quad)riceps with four parts named the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius. This can be helpful because although we typically group the three heads of the triceps into one word, each section can be targeted better through different movements. If you want bigger or more useful muscles, it helps to make them well rounded.


Location of origins and insertions: insertions are the movable attachments. An example of this is the sternocleidomastoid, a neck muscle that originates on the sternum and inserts on the mastoid (a part of the temporal bone near the ear). With any muscle, the insertion is pulled toward the origin when a muscle contracts, which can help guide you to the movement of the muscle.


Size of the muscle: examples are the gluteus maximus (the largest muscle in the body) or the extensor digiti minimi (the muscle that extends the pinky finger).


They can also be named for their action, but instead of listing a few examples I want to talk about those actions.


Flexion: a movement that decreases the joint angle (think biceps curl as you bring your wrist closer to your shoulder or hip flexion as you bring your knee closer to your chest).


Extension: a movement that increases the joint angle (think triceps extension as you straighten your arm or hip extension as you bring your hips through in a bridge).


Abduction: a movement that brings a limb away from the body (clamshells, side steps, or lateral raises). Adduction: a movement that brings the limb close to the body (return from abduction or cable crossover).


Elevation: a movement in the upward direction (shrugging).


Depression: return from upward movement.


Rotation: think rotator cuff exercises such as internal rotation and external rotation.


Performing any of the above actions will consist of the primary mover, the opposing muscle, and the helpers – and they all have special names. I will use the classic bicep curl as an example. The bicep, which is the muscle on the front of the arm performs elbow flexion, so it is the agonist; however, the triceps which is the muscle on the back of the arm performs elbow extension, so it is the antagonist in this situation. The brachioradialis and brachialis, two forearm muscles help the biceps move through elbow flexion so they are called synergists. I will redefine as needed again, but I will most certainly use these terms in the next few blogs.


Well, that covered a lot and very little all at the same time. The body is complex and it can seem overwhelming, but knowing even a little can make it seem less arduous. I encourage you to learn more about the body and here is my recommendation: each day you train, take a few minutes to search the exercises you plan to do and answer a few questions. What muscles are used during the movement? What are the actions? What is the antagonist and synergist of the agonist? If you are extra curious, read more, ask any of us your questions, and continue to learn. The more you know, the more effective your time in the gym will become, which is always valuable. 🙂

Tempo training: (What is it, and when should it be used).

If you’ve spent a bit of time around a barbell, there’s a good chance you’ve either heard of or have incorporated tempo training into your program. If this is your first time hearing about it, then welcome. Tempo training can be extremely beneficial when it comes to building strength, muscle mass, and preventing/ overcoming injury. First, let’s dive into exactly what we mean when we refer to the term tempo. When used while performing a particular movement such as a squat, benchpress, deadlift, etc., the tempo refers to the amount of time that our body is performing an eccentric, isometric, and concentric contraction. In other words, this is the amount of time that it takes us to lower the bar and then return it to the starting position.


If you are following a training program that utilizes tempos, you will most likely see it written next to the movement that you are performing in the form of three numbers. For example: Barbell tempo front squats (3:2:1). In this example, the first digit refers to the number of seconds required for the eccentric (lowering) phase. The second refers to the isometric (pause) phase. And the third refers to the concentric (upward) phase. So, with a 3:2:1 tempo, the individual would lower the weight for a 3 count, pause for a 2 count, and drive the bar upward in a 1 count. This is just one of the many combinations you can use when incorporating tempos.


So what makes this method so beneficial? Although there are many benefits, the simplest answer would be that it increases the time under tension during the movement. Through this, you have the ability to improve in areas such as muscle hypertrophy, body awareness, motor control, and stability. On top of that, it’s a great way to challenge yourself and add variety to your training. Personally, I have seen all of these benefits from incorporating tempo work into my programming. As a high level powerlifter, it has allowed me to address my weaknesses within my lifts, gain a better understanding of my form and technique, and has helped me to prevent and overcome injuries in the past.


Now let’s go ahead and discuss how we can incorporate them. First and foremost, understand that tempos can be performed with any lift, not just the squat, bench press, or deadlift. They can be performed with free weights, machines, and even bodyweight exercises. There are 3 main ways to implement them into your training. Slow eccentrics, pause reps, and speed work.


Slow eccentrics: The eccentric portion of a lift typically places the most amount of stress on your muscles. So by using a slow tempo, you have the ability to improve hypertrophy and strength. It also allows you to focus on controlling the weight as it is being lowered, which will help to improve your technique. To achieve this, incorporate eccentrics of anywhere from 3-5 seconds, and start with using around 60% of your 1 rep max.


Paused reps: Pausing a rep at the bottom of the movement will teach you how to stay tight and control the load at what is considered the toughest point of the lift. With pauses, a tempo of 2-3 seconds is usually ideal, and like with slow eccentrics, starting with 60-70% of your 1 rep max is best.


Speed work: Working on explosive speed can allow your body to produce greater force over time, which will increase overall strength, speed, and muscle mass. When performing speed work, the load should move throughout the concentric portion of the movement as quickly as possible while also staying under control. Because of this, the tempo would look something like (2:0:0). As with eccentrics and pauses, start with 50-60% of your max.


The best way to learn what works best for you is to try it out for yourself and see. Regardless of what you go with, you will see nothing but benefits from incorporating tempo training into your routine.  

Hello Heroes of History and Stewards of Wellness

With all these Instagram Influences out there I wanted to dig back and showcase one of the real O.G. influences of the fitness & wellness culture. This evangelist of wellness went from a self considered sugar-holic to the World Renowned Godfather of Fitness. At 21 he opened one of the first health clubs, at 39 he started what would be the longest (34 years) running television exercise program, at 54 he beat Arnold Schwarzenegger (21) in an unofficial contest, at 70 he was handcuffed and towed 70 rowboats from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary (1 mile). If you’ve ever used a leg extension machine, Smith Machine, the weight selector on cable machines, then you have used one of his inventions. This shadowy icon of wellness is no other than Jumpin Jack Lalanne.


Long before Jane Fonda, Richard Simmons, Tony Little and Shaun T, Jack published numerous books and hosted countless TV shows about the benefits of regular exercise and a good diet. Jack was an advocate for everything in moderation when it came to a good diet. He personal was believer in a plant based diet with the addition of fish, vitamins (which he had his own line of) and juicing (The Tiger Juicer if anyone remembers those infomercials). He blamed added sugars and process foods for many of America’s health problems. When exercising, Jack believed in vigorous exercise with weights or body weight movements until muscular fatigue set in. Most Doctors back then believed this would leave him muscle bound and un-athletic and could give men who follow his program heart attacks due to exercise. Well we know now that exercise and movement is one of the best ways to battle against heart disease and Jack regularly did acrobatic feats to prove his athleticism and defeat his critics.


“Dying is easy. Living is a pain in the butt. It’s like an athletic event. You’ve got to train for it. You’ve got to eat right. You’ve got to exercise. Your health account, your bank account, they’re the same thing. The more you put in, the more you can take out. Exercise is king and nutrition is queen: together, you have a kingdom.” Jack LaLanne


At his home on January 23, 2011 the 96 year old Lalanne passed away due to respiratory failure from pneumonia, he had been exercising up til that day.


Do yourself a favor, take some time and check this real influencer out and learn a thing or two from his teachings. Now since you have been siting down too long reading this blog, get up and give me 20 squats!


Get up & Move,


Pandemic (un)Productivity 

For the past few years, I have had this recurring dream, where it is the end of a vacation and I am scrambling to get to the beach because I realized that I stayed in my hotel room for the entire trip. I am bargaining for more time as I unpack and repack my suitcase because I didn’t get a tan, I didn’t have any fruity drinks, I accomplished nothing, and I wasted my precious vacation time. Dream me laments about how irresponsible I was with my use of time and at the end of each dream, I am promising myself I won’t stay cooped up like that again. 


COVID-19 has given us an unexpected vacation in a sense. A vacation from our day in and day out, normal routine. For most people, their routine has been shaken up, but it is not a vacation. It is an absolute nightmare, with work harder than they could ever imagine, with anxieties running high constantly, and uncertainty about what will come next. For others, it has been a time to slow down in a lifestyle that demands us to keep moving faster. 


It is difficult to reconcile the spectrum of situations individuals are experiencing and that they are also taking place simultaneously. I have wrestled with those feelings over the past few months, knowing both people in the healthcare field on the front lines, but also feeling grateful to spend time with my partner and with my dog, who I know doesn’t have much time left. 


As we move from red to yellow, and eventually from yellow to green, my dream anxieties are mixing with my waking anxieties. My brain is saying things like, “You have had all these weeks at home and nothing to show for it.” And, “Why didn’t you paint the kitchen? Why did you lay on the couch in a blanket for all that time? You could have organized the basement, and read your stack of books, and finished making your quilt.” 


These are things I am working through with my therapists (yes, that is plural), my friends, and my partner. They tell me – and they are right – that this is not a vacation, this is a FFF (flight, fright, freeze) situation. We are in constant survival mode, with warning alarms blaring. Does painting my kitchen help me survive? No. Does spending time on the couch with my old dog help me survive? Probably yes, in an emotional sort of way. 


How do we keep some semblance of normalcy while we are told simply going to the grocery store (to get life sustaining food) isn’t safe? A few weeks ago I went to Rite Aid, and by the time I got in line, I worked myself up to the point where I had to leave my things on a random shelf and walk out without buying anything. 


So with the Rite Aid situation in mind, I want to list some things that I did successfully to prove to myself that I was productive – and maybe it’ll help someone else who is struggling with this.


Things I did during COVID-19

  • Read 6 books, and counting (I am 7 books ahead on my 2020 reading challenge!)
  • Made masks for friends and family
  • Continued therapy with my couple’s therapist and personal therapist
  • Worked on difficult things from therapy
  • Dabbled in painting (watercolor is really hard)
  • Cleaned our house, made it a big mess, and cleaned it, and made it a mess….
  • Dug out and gave away a stupid amount of rocks from our garden
  • Spent quality time with my partner and my pets
  • Played hours of Homescapes
  • Binge watched Designated Survivor, Mrs. America, and Little Fires Everywhere
  • Worked with my psychiatrist to try a different medication 
  • Learned how to use Procreate (sort of) on my iPad 
  • Repotted plants
  • Retrained myself to sleep in
  • Attended two virtual Creative Mornings
  • Attended a virtual talk with Margaret Atwood


As I am reflecting on this, I definitely still feel like I didn’t accomplish anything important during this time and that I *should* have been more *productive* by normal societal standards. (Lol, what is normal?)


However, would I have read 6 books in 8 weeks with my pre-COVID schedule? Definitely not. 


Would I have attempted to learn how to paint? Nope. 


Would I have had time to watch 60+ episodes of TV? Not without losing a lot of sleep. 


Going forward, I will still be reading, I might still paint something, and I will definitely still be watching TV. I am hopeful I can do these things without feeling guilty for wasting “vacation time” and call tell my a**hole brain to suck it. 


Note: I have an immense amount of privilege in that I’m healthy, housed, & financially stable at the moment. My feelings on the state of things from that lens will have to wait for another day.


For the cats, 



Working Out vs. Training

Are you Working out or Training? We’ve all heard both of those terms used hundreds of times, but what do they really mean, and is there a difference? These two terms can be both subjective and objective in their own ways. Neither one of them is better than the other, and they both hold a purpose in your daily routine. It really comes down to the individual and their overall goals. To dig a little deeper, let’s define the two.


Training is the term typically used when there is a competitive goal that is planned for a specific day or event. Typically, a program is designed and organized around that day with the purpose to yield the best results possible. With this, you would design your program by starting from the day of the event and working backwards. Each training session would include purposefully selected movements with the intent of achieving a specific goal for that given day. On the flip side, working out is typically used when there is no competition or event planned, and you simply want to stay active, feel good, and work towards accomplishing some personal goals. You may still have a timeline for specific things, but you are mainly enjoying the process, and going with the flow. Workouts typically aren’t planned backwards for month in advance. They can be planned a week at a time, a day at a time, or even on the fly. That’s the beauty and joy of workouts. You can be as creative and individualized as you want. 


So now the question is, when is it necessary to train, and when should you be working out? Well, that’s something only you can answer, and it depends solely on your priorities and goals. I do however recommend that at one point or another every individual train to participate in some sort of event or competition. This can be as laid back or as serious as you want. A 5k all the way up to a marathon (or beyond). A local push/pull charity meet or a full powerlifting meet half way across the country. Either way, participating in a competition will provide you with a great opportunity to set goals, challenge yourself, and overcome obstacles in a way that can only only be achieved when you put yourself outside of your comfort zone. By signing up and circling the date on a calendar, you understand that you have a specific amount of time to focus all of your attention to achieving your goals. There’s no better feeling than when you cross the finish line the day of the event, and realize that you achieved exactly what you set out to do.


However, it is unrealistic to train this way year round. Every individual needs down time in order to rest, recover, and reset the body and mind. This is where working out can be very beneficial. Take this pandemic for example. With the closure of gyms and businesses, now is a perfect time to have fun and challenge yourself in new ways. Your workouts can be completely different from anything that you’ve ever done. They should be fun, low stress, and an opportunity to set some new personal goals. No one knows how long this will go on, and there are no scheduled competitions in sight. If you were one of those people who had a competition scheduled, understand that it may be quite some time before you’re able to compete again. There’s no sense in continuing to train hard for something that is still uncertain. Step back, take a break, and focus on things that you have potentially been missing out on. Wake up and plan your workout on the fly. Get creative, try something you’ve never done, and go with the flow. 

The Importance of Training Partners

There are plenty of people who you could find to work out with, but true training partners are worth their weight in gold. It’s important to understand that choosing to train with someone else is not required in order to make progress, but it is absolutely necessary to have a great training partner in your corner if you want to be your best. Below is a list of 5 of the most beneficial qualities of a great partner in crime.


1)Help with your form, and see things you can’t:


Contrary to popular belief, a training partner’s main job is not to yell and scream motivational sayings while you’re in the middle of your set. In fact, a training partner’s most important job is to make sure that you are always on point and dialed in. Even the most experienced lifters benefit from having someone to keep an eye on their form and technique. During a set, it can be easy to lose focus of what your body is doing throughout each repetition. This is where your training partner can give you helpful cues (verbal or physical) in order to keep you as safe and efficient with your movements as possible.


2)Push you harder than you would push yourself:


A good training partner will always find a way to bring out the best in you. There will be many, many days that you just don’t feel like pushing yourself as hard as you could or should, but your partner will make sure that you give everything that you can in that moment. There are indeed times that it is beneficial to train on your own, but there is no doubt that you will achieve more with the help of a great training partner than you could on your own.


3)Keep you in check: 


I am very fortunate to have a handful of great training partners. One of the things that I’m most thankful for is their willingness to tell me when I’m wrong, and when I need to be better. One of the worst things that someone can do is to see things that you could do better, but chose not to bring it to your attention. This is where trust and respect really come into play. When your goal is to be the best that you can, you cannot be scared to tell someone things that they may not want to hear. If you know that it will benefit them and their overall goal, then it should be said. This will lead to a tighter bond and stronger relationship in the long run. 


4)Motivate you through their performance:


One of the best things that I’ve done for myself was to find people who were better than I. This is no different than with our professional life. If we want to be better at our job, we study under someone who has more experience, and who has accomplished the things that we want to accomplish. When you are training with people who are better than yourself, you should constantly be doing everything in your power to keep up, get to where they are at, and even surpass them. This will not only keep you motivated, but it will help you learn much more than you would on your own.


5)Build a relationship:


One of the greatest things that I have gained from training with others are the relationships that I have built along the way. To this day, some of my best friends started out as simple training partners. When you spend hours throughout the week, shoulder to shoulder with someone who is pushing you to be your best with the same goals as yourself, there is a bond that is built that is unmatched. In a way, you are trusting them with your life, and they are doing the same with you. It is your responsibility to trust and look out for each other, while having fun and building a great friendship along the way.

It’s Showtime! (with CeJ)

Some of you may not know this but I really enjoy weird things and strange movies. I could have an entire conversation with you using only quotes from The Big Lebowski…yeah, well you know that’s just like ahh your opinion, man. So I decided to give you some of my favorite movies that get me fired up to train and get bumpy too!


These will be a bit different than some more obvious movies such as Rocky, Gladiator, Brave Heart, 300 and for all you old time meat heads, Pumping Iron.


1. Mortal Kombat 1995 -“Flawless Victory!”

This movie is about a warrior monk and two mortals led by Rayden (The lightning God) to battle an evil sorcerer and his forces in a tournament to save the world! Fires me right up…..MORTAL KOMBAT!!!!


2. Fight Club 1999- “You do not talk about Fight Club.”

Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter and MEAT LOAF! As the quote says, I can’t talk about it…you’ll just have to watch for yourself.


3. The Mummy 1999- “It’s a sarcophagus..he must have been someone of great importance. Or he did something very naughty.”

A solider, librarian and her brother adventure to the City of the dead to uncover lost secrets but unintentionally wake a cursed mummy and now most right their wrongs to save the world. One of my all time go to action adventure movies.


4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles1990- “I have always liked..Cowabunga!”

4 Mutant Jacked up Turtles and their ninjutsu Master Splinter (a Rat) battle against the evil warrior Shredder and his foot clan to save the city. This was the highest grossing independent film of all time until 1999 and one of Jim Henson’s last projects. They will fight for pizza.


5. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 2002 “There is always hope!”

A littler better known movie here but the final battle in this movie always gets me hyped up.


6. IP Man 2008 “Nobody is #1 forever.”

You think Bruce Lee is bad, well this dude was his Wing Chun Master.


CeJ’s Honorable Mentions:

Road House 1989 “Be nice..until it’s time no to be nice.”

Pain & Gain 2013 “You cant just kidnap a guy and take all his things.”

The Karate Kid 1984 “Sweep the leg.”

Predator 1987 …The handshake scene.


Special Guest Selections:

Mom- Flashdance 1983- Fun fact some of the movie was filmed in Pittsburgh

Sky- The Fighter 2010

Uncle Ken- Cool Running 1993 “Rise & shine…It’s butt whooping time!”


I hope you enjoyed my list and I would be interested to see what some of your favorite movies that get you ready to train are.


Hasta La Vista..Baby!



Ham’s Training Log

During this unprecedented time, we’ve all had to find new ways to train. As CeJ would say, “get bumpy.” I’m lucky that, over the years, I’ve accumulated a collection of random weights and a few bars. While it’s nice to have some of these cool things, I still don’t have a squat rack! Lacking a squat rack made me think about how I can train during this time outside of the gym.


Here are some things I’m doing to keep my training moving forward:

  • I have set a schedule and seven days a week I stick to that schedule. I still wake up at 5:15 am, and without boring you with the details of my life, I am busy until about 6 pm.
  • I broke down my weaknesses to decide how I would train.
  • I was realistic with this list, as I don’t have all the fun things that we have at UF.
  • I set a plan.
  • I have been sticking to that plan.


This is where my training began. Now here is what I have to work with:

  • A fat bar
  • A power bar
  • Random bumper plates of differing sizes
  • A few random bands
  • A few kettlebells


Knowing these factors, here is what I put together. I stole ideas from the greasing the groove theory. If you want to know more about this, I wrote an article a few years ago about this theory. Click on this paragraph for the link. The idea is I will do the same lifts at pretty much the same weight daily. 


  • Snatch 3 X 3 (always superset with some sort of a jump); weight 135 lbs
  • Clean 3 X 3 (superset with a sprint); weight 185-205 lbs
  • Deadlift 3 X 3 (superset with an ab exercise); 335 lbs…or as I call it, all my plates
  • Floor Press 3 X 20; weight 135 lbs


Finish with kettlebell walk variations. I do overhead, waiter walks, overhead bottom up, farmer walks, or whatever else I think of. I just walk up and down the street.


I know this is probably too many Olympic lifts for most of our members, but I believe a good coach must understand movement, not just lifts. So take some time and work on your weaknesses. These could be mental or physical. Let’s just all be stronger together.






Things to Consider When Getting Back Into Training After Time Off

With things changing in the news daily, it’s hard to tell when we will be reunited at our favorite hangout, Union Fitness. We can only hope that it will be sooner rather than later. With the time off, we have all had plenty of opportunity to sit and ponder our plans for when we can train again. At a time where our bodies are fresh and our motivation will be higher than ever, it will be easy to jump back into training and push things hard without any thought or hesitation. My advice to you, before you hit the ground running, pump the brakes.


If you’re reading this, there is a good chance that you have found some way to stay active during your downtime. If you are fortunate enough to have access to equipment, then that’s great. If you don’t but have been going for walks, bike rides, or doing bodyweight workouts, that’s great as well. Or, if you’ve decided to take this time to relax and focus on other aspects of your life, I applaud you as well. As a matter of fact, if you’ve been continuously pushing yourself for any significant amount of time, then you will have benefited from this time of rest, and your body thanks you. Regardless of how you have been spending your forced time off, there are some things to consider before jumping back into training once our favorite gym is able to open up it’s doors.


1. Respect where you are currently: If you have not been able to perform regular at-home workouts, then there is a very good chance that your strength, stamina, and overall conditioning will be slightly lower than it was when you were training regularly. Because of this, take your time during your first week back in the gym. Don’t overreach and be patient with your progress return.


2. Let yourself readjust: If you have in fact been able to train regularly but in different forms then you’re used to, then your overall conditioning could be different than it was before. For example, if you were used to using barbells and dumbbell, but are now using bodyweight circuit style routines, then your strength may be slightly lower, but your endurance and stamina could be higher. On the flip side, if you were used to performing cardio based workouts only but you have been focusing on resistance exercises, then your strength and muscle mass have potentially increased, but overall endurance has possibly decreased. Either way, understand that when you return to your regularly scheduled programming, there’s a chance that your body may be operating and feeling a little differently.


3. Control the accelerator: When you return, you will feel fresh, reenergized, and excited to get back into the swing of things. If you have not been able to train the way you were prior to this, then you will want to gradually build your way back up. I would not recommend jumping right back into where you left off. By doing this, you may be putting yourself as risk of injury, which could potentially set you back longer than you’ve waited to return to the gym. There’s also a good chance you will want to stay forever in fear of missing out on this opportunity again. You will feel great at the time, but your body and mind will hate you over the next few days, so take things slow.


4. Be patient: Don’t expect things to come back instantly, but know that it won’t take as long as it did the first time around. If you have already developed a base of strength and conditioning, then your body will adapt and return to it’s previous state relatively quickly. Unfortunately, you will be much more sore than normal, there’s just no way around that. Those first few workouts are going to be a challenge, but within a short amount a time, you will be back firing on all cylinders. 


Now that we have taken a few things into consideration, here is my advice. Before you step foot back into the gym, make a plan. Begin by scheduling your first 3-4 weeks of training and stick to it the best that you can. Be sure to take all of the things that we have discussed into consideration. Next, set goals. With those goals, think small, not big. Next, give yourself some leeway on your workouts. For your first few training sessions, make the duration shorter than what you’re used to. If you are lifting, consider lowering your intensity for the first few sessions to let your body get reacclimatized. If you were previously performing barbell squats, bench press, and deadlifts before leaving the gym, don’t start back with the same weights you were using, and certainly don’t consider trying to find your current max. Likewise, if you were used to running multiple miles on the treadmill daily, don’t start back up directly into the same distance or intensity. Finally, be happy that you are able to be back exercising and doing something that you enjoy. When something that you love and rely on is taken from you, it puts into perspective how much it truly means. So, set some new goals, make a plan, enjoy the process, and remember why you started all of this in the first place. I hope to see all of you soon. Cheers.