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How I Balance Weight Training and Cycling.

The first sport I excelled at was cross country. I joined the team freshman year of high school, having had no real running background and fell in love with sport, the people, the feeling, and the progress. The desire to continue excelling got the best of my and I managed to turn a stress fracture in my femoral shaft into a full blown broken hip at the age of 17.

 

But as they say, everything happens for a reason and after surgery I started looking for new goals to work at and my friend escorted me to the local YMCA weight room. I’ll forever be in debt to him for introducing me to lifting considering that day influenced my major in school and my career path today. The problem arose when I was cleared to run again and I had to decide which discipline to devote my time too. The first step was deciding which was more important to me- considering I was planning to race my senior year of college, I had to make sure my cardiac fitness was where it needed to be. If we are being honest though, it has taken me years to learn how to appropriately balance cardio with weight training.

 

Progressing at two things at once is do-able for some time, but then starts to make you think “where would I be if I just focused on the one though?”. Multiple hiccups later (aka two more stress fractures) I began to cycle to feed that need for speed, without the impact. Low and behold I had begun a new obsession and was studying Kinesiology in college at the time I was ready to balance the two efficiently and appropriately. The key was figuring out how to use lifting as an adjunct to benefit my cycling, not take away from it. Figuring out the muscles I use on the bike core, glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves, and picking the exercises that strengthen those areas. I personally would never fully neglect the upper half of my body through, so I just did more days with a lower body emphasis than an upper. More recently I’ve been learning olympic lifts to work on my power since my cycling has a noticeable deficit in sprint efforts. I think the other important piece of information is to not be afraid of heavy weights affecting your cardio. For cycling especially, heavy sets of squat for minimal reps build the strength needed to push down on the pedals. Talking to an experienced coach or doing research yourself (the podcast Empirical Cycling Podcast shares a lot of quality information based of research) is your best bet to program efficiently.

 

In my opinion, if you’re using lifting as an adjunct then 2-4 full body workouts a week will show benefits. Doing both your passions can be done and weight training is actually starting to be encouraged as a preventative measure and a performance enhancer! Just a few generals that I go by though- performing the more important discipline first in the day while you have the most energy for it, not squatting heavy the day before a race or a hard workout, and don’t take it too seriously. The last thing I want to plug is that if you like cycling, so do I! Come talk to me about or maybe we can get a ride in! 

 

Leah (the kid).

Wigle Bootcamp

Union, the party don’t start until YOU walk in!

 

Thank you to our friends at Threadbare Cider in Spring Garden for hosting us last weekend. We had a blast working out at your House of Cider and raising a glass or two after a fantastic bootcamp. To all of those who attended, thank you for bringing the thunder and you certainly partied hard, because the sweat showed. We slammed some battle ropes, tossed some medicine balls, crushed some body weight exercises and even took a tour of some local staircases. Your efforts also helped donate some money to Pittsburgh Local Parks Conservancy. Cheers to you and we hope to see all of you again.

 

Are you sad that you missed out, well well now, have no fear, there are 3 more boot camps coming your way.

 

Our next boot camp is at Wigle Whiskey in the Strip on Sunday, July 25th at 10am. This boot camp will include a badass workout sweat session with CeJ & Skylyn, a free Highball Cocktail and a percent of each ticket will go to (Children’s Organ Transplant Association) COTA Daniel Strong. This charity has already raised $19,000 and is looking to reach $50,000. Daniel is in need of a Kidney transplant.

 

To sweeten this deal, CJ will include a free week of unlimited classes to any new or non-member of Union and to our current members, you can pick a time and date to train/workout alongside CJ. How freaking fun!

 

Let’s get together and party some more! To sign up for our next boot camp, go to Wigle Whiskey’s website and grab your tickets on their event page. We can’t wait to raise a glass or two with YOU!

 

Member Spotlight, Tyler Kendrick

Here at UF we love our members so much it’s time we show you off and have CJ climb the incline like King Kong, he will shout your presence from atop of the highest point of Mt. Washington!

 

This week we’d like to shout out Tyler Kendrick.

 

Ladies & Gents, here is Tyler in his own words!

 

I’m from the mean streets of Jamestown NY and I was born in the meaner streets of Indiana PA.

 

I’m the office manager of Pittsburgh’s largest coworking space as well as an actor, comedian, writer and Pittsburgh’s first and only Black improvised comedy instructor.

 

I love Union Fitness because of its superb fitness expertise from their staff and their drive to build and cultivate a positive environment.

 

I train mainly to maintain good mental health and physical health.

 

I love long walks on the beach and hate burpees.

 

My training dream team would be Michael B. Jordan, Charlotte Flair, Kumail Nanjiani and Holly Holm.

 

If I could be any piece of equipment at Union Fitness I’d be the sled because we’re both known for making people miserable.

 

A food I could eat everyday of my life is definitely mozzarella stix with marinara sauce and mild Buffalo wings with blue cheese.

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Coffee and Bootcamp

Unioners, Coffee Drinkers and Friends of Friends, do we have a Sunday Funday for you!

 

Join Miranda, and CeJ this Sunday, July 11th in the Mexican War streets for a FREE bootcamp at Commonplace Coffee. After our Sunday sweat session, Miranda & CeJ will buy your first drink at Commonplace. The bootcamp is FREE but we will be accepting donations made out to The Central Outreach Wellness Center in the Northside. Here is the website link for more information about the Wellness Center LBGT Health Care – Pittsburgh, PA | Central Outreach Wellness Center .

 

 

Where:

Commonplace Coffee 1501 Buena Vista St, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

 

When:

Friday July 11th 11AM- 12PM.

 

 

What:

Sunday Funday, hold onto your butts and get caffeinated Bootcamp.

 

 

Why:

To kick off your Sunday Funday, promote health & wellness, drink local coffee from our good friends at Commonplace & support The Central Outreach Wellness Center.

 

Who:

 

Anyone and everyone who would like to join us can attend this Free event. You can sign up at Union’s website under the class tab or just show up and say hello.

 

Also remember to go to www.pghcitypaper.com and nominate UF for the best gym in town. You can vote every day till July 9th.

 

Stay tuned my friends and come down to party with us!

 

Cheers,

 

CeJ

It’s Comedy Week

Once again we are UF are happy to be able to bring some of Pittsburgh’s best comedy to our gym! This time we are doing it to help with a good, no, a GREAT cause. We are asking for donations to Out Athletics. Details of this event are below.

 

Where:

Union Fitness, 100 S Commons

 

When:

Friday July 9th 6 PM-9 PM

 

What:

Bootcamp or Yoga (you pick) followed by a comedy show with 4 of the best local comedians.

 

Why:

This is always the big question and I believe we have the right answer. We are doing this to raise funds and awareness for Out Athletics. Out supports athletes and anyone training from the LGBTQ+ community.

 

Who:

This is for you and we want to make it an events for everyone!

 

This is our second comedy night and our first as a fundraiser for Out. We ask you to come train or take the yoga class. After that donate to Out (online or feel free to donate on the night of the event). Then sit back and watch some great local comedians take the UF stage.

 

 

 

 

More Bootcamps More Drinks More Causes

Union, the party don’t start until YOU walk in!

 

Thank you to our friends at Threadbare Cider in Spring Garden for hosting us last weekend. We had a blast working out at your House of Cider and raising a glass or two after a fantastic bootcamp. To all of those who attended thank you for bringing the thunder and you certainly partied hard, because the sweat showed. We slammed some battle ropes, tossed some medicine balls, crushed some body weight exercises and even took a tour of some local stair cases. Your efforts also helped donate some money to Pittsburgh Local Parks Conservancy. Cheers to you and we hope to see all of you again.

 

Are you sad that you missed out, well well now, have no fear, there are 5 more boot camps coming your way.

 

Our next boot camp is at Wigle Whiskey in the Strip on June 27th. This boot camp will include a badass workout sweat session with CeJ & a special guest coach, a free Highball Cocktail and a percent of each ticket will go to (Children’s Organ Transplant Association) COTA Daniel Strong. This charity has already raised $19,000 and is looking to reach $50,000. Daniel is in need of a Kidney transplant.

 

To sweeten this deal, CJ will include a free week of unlimited classes to any new or non-member of Union and to our current members, you can pick a time and date to train/workout along side CJ. How freaking fun!

 

Let’s get together and party some more! To sign up for our next boot camp, go to Wigle Whiskey’s website and grab your tickets on their event page. I can’t wait to raise a glass or two with YOU!

 

 

Cheers,

 

CeJ

It’s Meet Week

The Iron City Open is back this weekend. We are very excited to have the USPA back at Union Fitness for another year of lifting. Every year we do our best to make this the best meet in the region for both the lifters as well the spectators.

 

Details:

 

Lifting begins at 9 AM Saturday as well as Sunday.

 

Our newest sponsor, Anhuiser Busch will have some libations for you this year! We will also have Wigle Whiskey and Threadbare Cider here to quench your thirst.

 

Cayt will be available for massages.

 

All spectators will be charged a $10 entry fee. A portion of this fee will go to our friends at Veterans Place. 

 

Street parking is available, the NoVa Place parking garage will be open. On Sunday the Pirates play so the garage will be $15 please consider this when parking.

 

If you have specific questions as a lifter please contact the USPA.

 

As with any event we hold at UF we are here to make this a great experience for you. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please reach out directly to any member of team UF. Now the bar is loaded, let’s have some fun and lift some weights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Athlete in Society

“Good” Athlete, “Bad” Girl

 

Let me preface this blog by saying that I have been this same height and size since about middle school. I am a grown 22-year-old woman and I have had this same stature for about 10 years *cue bigfoot sighting*. Nope, just me. In all seriousness though, I am not absurdly tall, but for a middle schooler I was a giant. Trust me, the photos do not do it justice. My identity as both an athlete and a female were something I always found difficult to intertwine through my adolescence for a laundry list of reasons, but we will talk about just a few. 

 

The main reason for this was because I have always been rather athletic and involved in sports one way or another. My whole identity was an athlete because I simply did not feel like a normal middle school girl by the standards of, well, basically everyone. Most of the sports I played required me to be exactly the opposite of what I wanted to be; big and strong. Sure, everyone wanted me to be on their team in gym class, but nobody wanted to take me to the school dance. I was gangly, awkward and had no idea how to dress myself. Hell, puberty is hard enough and now we throw in some insane height and a haircut that made me look like Billy Ray Cyrus when he had his mullet and you have yourself a hot mess. I was just dripping in swag to say the least. 

 

The point of this blog is not to relive my peak moments in life, but to bring light to how I think a lot of young girls feel as athletes. When you are an athlete, you are told that it is good to be big and strong and dominating. However, that contradicts itself when you step off the court or field or any other modality for athletics. Somehow you are less of a girl; your femininity is non-existent. You are expected to be petite and soft spoken; you are expected to make yourself less than you are. Now, I am not saying that this was ever spoken word or a rule that society abides by. I am simply stating that girls are expected to be two different people, two different identities based off what society deems appropriate. Let me give you a little example. In middle school I started “dating” this boy who was one of my best friends. I put quotes around dating because, you know, young love. This other girl that was in our class was small, thin, blonde haired and blue eyed. She met every beauty standard and she was adored by everyone for no other reason than that. She just could not believe that he liked me over her. I overheard her talking about us once and she said, “Why is he with her? She is twice his size.” Well, maybe he liked me better because I don’t have the personality of a witch… just a thought. 

 

I think it is extremely interesting how the majority of all of you, including myself, thought to yourself, “Wow, what a nasty girl”. But, we never stop to think about the fact that her acting like that is not entirely her fault. There are so many underlying societal factors that went into that one comment she made. So, because I am bigger than him, he isn’t allowed to find me attractive? Because you are smaller and thinner than I am, he should automatically pick you over me?  It blows my mind how we nit pick every little thing people say about us, but neglect to look at what is causing them to say those things. They don’t just come up with it; it comes from what is drilled into them from an early age. As a middle school girl, she did not even give that comment a second thought in terms of gender norms and the mental impact that can have a young girl’s identity as a powerful athlete. All she cared about was that she didn’t get the boy and little miss sasquatch did. Sasquatches deserve loving too.

 

Back then, I had absolutely no idea who I was or who I was “supposed” to be. I was a great athlete who felt good until I stepped into the real world and I was not looked up to because of my height or strength. I mean I was literally looked up to, but you get the point. A “good” athlete, but a “bad” girl. Somehow, these go hand in hand. You can’t be good at both, you must pick one or the other. As I grew into myself, I slowly began to realize that I do not need to hide the fact that I am big and strong. I will take big and strong over small and frail any day of the week. A lot of girls hold back from their full potential in athletics or strength because of this constant gap between what is expected in athletics versus real life. I know because I was one of those girls. I tried so hard to fit in until I realized that being myself and owning the only body I am ever going get is where I found my true identity. All that matters is treating my body with the respect that it deserves because it has gotten me through so much, including my glory days that we strolled through together. Being cute and girly is overrated when you can be undeniably you and feel so much more powerful doing so. Own it and never feel bad about being a big, strong badass. Me and your body love you way more for being the best form of yourself and working hard to find your own identity. Try it out, see what happens. 

 

Happy training, 

Maggie

Threadbare & Union Fitness Summer Boot Camp Series

Hello Friends, Family, Distant Acquaintances & 6 Degrees of Separation to Micheal Keaton!

 

Do you like exercise, cider and Pittsburgh local parks? Well of course you do & that is why UF & our new friends at Threadbare Cider are starting a monthly Summer Boot Camp Series. The first boot camp will be Sunday, June 13th from 10a-11a at Threadbare’s beautiful home base in Spring Garden. This will be a ticketed event and the price of the $20 ticket will include the hour bootcamp, one glass of cider to cheers at the Cider House and a 9.99% donation to Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. Pittsburgh Parks was founded in 1996 and is a local nonprofit that help improve and restore the city’s parks. The first bootcamp will be co-lead by the wild man himself, lord of all thing bumpy, the wizard of weights, Mr. CeJ and a super secret special guest Coach. Can you guess who it might be? The boot camp will be tailored to your personal comfort level of exercise and we are here to motivate, educate, have some fun & support our local community. You can get your tickets at www.threadbarecider.com by clicking on their events tab and scrolling down to the boot camp picture. If you have any questions, please reach out. So scream, shout and tell all your friends to get to Threadbare on June 13th to kick your morning Sunday Funday off the only way we know!

 

Hey Threadbare, did we just become best friends? Yep!

 

Cheers to my exercising, cider drinking, park adventuring party people,

 

CeJ

Memorial Day Superclass

We are beyond happy to announce the return of our SuperClasses! On Memorial Day, May 31st, we will be hosting a superclass. Come to UF and train for an hour. Also, donate to a great cause. This year we are raising money for Veterans Place. The donation link is here.

 

Veterans Place is a local organization that helps many homeless veterans get back on their feet. We are happy to work with Veterans Place on this and hope to make a difference in our community.

 

Class Details;

When: Monday May 31st, 2021, 10:30-11:30 AM.

 

Where: Union Fitness, Performance Lab.

 

Who: Anyone and Everyone, member and non-member.

 

Why: Because we want to do good in the world.