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June State of the Union, Fitness

posted on June 27, 2018

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

The weather went from unpredictable to semi-unbearable. We’ve kept the Strength Lab doors closed so we don’t turn the room into a sauna. But, as always, our members pushed through and embraced the sweat.

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


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

Education: Union Fitness is unique for a private facility. As a collective, our staff has 60+ years of training under our belts that covers Crossfit, yoga, powerlifting, olympic lifting, and D1 collegiate strength and conditioning. That provides an almost limitless opportunity for a college intern. We take pride in fostering an environment that young college students want to be a part of, investing their time and effort to work alongside some of Pittsburgh’s best in the industry.

In one of our recent articles, Interning at Union Fitness , we introduced our summer interns from Pitt. I want to take another opportunity to highlight their commitment to education. The standard in both the private fitness industry and collegiate strength and conditioning community is the unpaid internship – ‘pay your dues.’ In college weight rooms, candidates typically intern, move on to a Graduate Assistant position, and finally a paid position if you’re good enough. Supply will always exceed demand in that industry, so paid spots are tough to come by. In a lot of cases, candidates will gain experience in that sector, and move on to the private sector, be it for themselves or for a private gym.

So hats off to Connor, Keenan, and Alex. They’ve grown leaps and bounds since day one with us. We appreciate their effort day in and day out, as well as their commitment to the process. They’ve trusted us with their education, and that means the world.

Passion: Todd Hamer is a long time friend of mine that joined us last month. He was the head strength and conditioning coach at Robert Morris University for the past 12 years (and at 2 other universities the 8 years before that). As college S&C coaching goes, when head coaches change in basketball and football, there is fallout. Unfortunately, Todd was collateral damage as a result. We’re grateful to have Todd because of his experience, but also because of his passion.

Like I mentioned in the Education piece, Todd has paid his dues and then some. He has learned from greats like Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell, Dave Tate of EliteFTS, Buddy Morris formerly of the University of Pittsburgh and currently the Arizona Cardinals S&C coach, Mylo formerly of RMU and currently the Jacksonville Jaguars S&C coach…I could go on. The point is, Todd has been there and done that. And this industry can burn people out. How does he show up day in and day out with the same fire as our 20 year old interns? Passion. He loves this work, and he would do it for free. In fact, he has done this for free for a portion of his career. We’re just proud to have him and we hope some of that passion wears off on those around him.

Integrity: I always like to review the definition of integrity: (1) the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles and (2) the state of being whole and undivided.

Katherine Lancaster (one of our newest coaches and trainers) and her husband Carey came to us with a proposal. Both runners, they decided to take on the Chicago marathon but for a cause close to their hearts (and to mine): to raise money for Crohn’s and Colitis research. With that, the idea of Cardio for Colons came together. Kate is putting on our signature Cardio Lab class one Saturday per summer month to help meet those fundraising goals. Any type of charity shows integrity under both definitions- it is morally ‘good’ to be charitable toward others, but it also brings people together for a common good.

Kate’s first class was a great success! We’ll be holding two more Cardio for Colons classes: July 21 and August 18 at 11am – $10 donation! If you’re interested in the cause but can’t make the class, you can read all about their efforts and make a donation here.

Community: We’ve built our community around these three values:

Education- empowering others by cutting through the BS and creating independence

Passion- providing the atmosphere and support necessary to be your best, even on days where you don’t quite feel like it

Integrity- doing what’s best for you and our community as a whole

All of these things come together on June 30th. We’re hosting our first full powerlifting meet and WE’RE PUMPED! It’s our chance to show the community the fruits of our labor- and the fruits of our labor are the fruits of YOUR labor. Whether you compete or not, our members’ successes are everyone’s successes. The atmosphere of Union Fitness is a result of your positivity, pride, and daily efforts. Thank you for including us in that.


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