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September State of the Union, Fitness

posted on October 1, 2018

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


The weather has remained semi-unpredictable, but we’ve had some gorgeous days as of late. Practice some gratitude and get outdoors as fall starts to cool off. We’ve been getting classes outdoors as often as possible trying to soak in the short window of good weather that our fair city gives us.


To follow along with our core values, here is a link to our website: https://unionfitness.com/about/


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


I’m proud of my staff for the effort they put in daily to get better- from constructive criticism amongst one another, to reading new books, and continuing education courses- they just want to be better at their jobs. That’s rare in today’s world and I try to remind them of that every day- Union Fitness is what it is because of their efforts and sacrifices.


With that being said, the education spotlight is on my friend and mentor, Steve Goggins. Steve is part of EliteFTS and was the first man (in the world) to squat over 1100lbs. (1102 to be exact). Steve was gracious enough to come to UF to put on a squat seminar that was open to the public. The cool part- our staff jumped in to make sure they learned something too. We can never be too proud to learn.


To summarize, the event went well. There were 30 participants and Steve took about three hours to make sure that he got his information across, then had the time to watch every single person squat while giving them cues and feedback to correct mistakes. From 115lb. squatters to 650+lb squatters- everyone had something to take home and work on.


This is an easy one. If you happened to be there in person to see this, you know that Stew Snyder left it all on the platform on Saturday September 22nd for the Iron City Pro/Am. Stew had a great day, but the icing on the cake for him was a 600lb deadlift that he set his sights on months ago. He pulled it successfully on his last attempt and bent over in tears afterward because he literally put everything he had into that lift. Maybe you don’t have quite that amount of passion for powerlifting, but make sure you let yourself feel something like that once you achieve your goals.


*Check out the Union Fitness instagram page if you want to see the video for yourself!


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.


This is always the hardest value to single out because it is so encompassing. I think behind every action we can find some integrity, or lack thereof. So it’s a complicated endeavor to honestly and earnestly pick out one example, let alone a few. BUT, I think I (with help from my staff) came up with a couple good ones.


With the Iron City Pro/Am on the 22nd, we had 30 lifters and another 50-100 people in and out of the Strength Lab all day long. There was a piece of equipment a lifter left by accident that was turned in immediately after the meet. Normally, this particular item would have found its way into someone’s bag, never to be seen again. But not one of those people took it upon themselves to claim it as their own. I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but respecting people’s personal possessions is important in my book. So kudos to everyone from this past weekend.


In the same vein, all of the Union Fitness equipment was respected. Nothing was broken. Most plates were returned. Most bars were returned. It’s a sigh of relief when you invite strangers into your ‘home’ and they take care of it as if it were their own. So again, kudos to all of them.


This one was almost as easy to pick as Stew’s passionate deadlift. The amount of volunteers that we had step forward to help out this past weekend blew me away. I’ll throw a quick list together, but please forgive me if I forgot anyone…
Justin Zak, Nate Lester, Casey Clark, Yessica Martinez, Jabez Burford, Jodie Burford, Lones Green, Heather Witherow, John Wisnioski, Joe Lucas, Alan and Rea Welding, Curtis Miller, Liz Tump, and the UF staff.


The gentlemen, led by Nate Lester and supported by the Pitt powerlifting team, supplied all the man power to spot and load on the platform. Without that, we don’t have a meet folks. So thank you all for effortlessly performing that thankless job and making sure no one was injured.


Yessica and Lones handled some lifters that needed assistance because they were traveling without friends or family.


At one point, unprompted, I walked in on Casey Clark and Connor Hassinger (former intern) breaking down bars in the Strength Lab and putting equipment away.


Liz Tump was running around ALL DAY making sure everyone was taken care of (we call her mom).


And I’m sure there were many, many other instances that I missed. But I want them to know that I and we are grateful to have the supportive community that we have. We’re trying to make the North Side as welcoming as we can, one powerlifting meet, personal training session, and group class at a time.


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