Tag Archives: community

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.



Union Fitness, 100 S Commons



Friday July 9th 6 PM-9 PM



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



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.



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.





July Events

My friends,


July is almost here and you’re gonna want to bust out your calendars for this month! We are pumped to bring you a packed schedule of events, from bootcamps to outdoor yoga, comedy shows and more. Below is a quick blast schedule of fun. Break out your markers!


Friday July 9th at 6PM


Bootcamp, yoga, and comedy show fundraiser benefiting OUT Athletics. All are welcome, not just Union members! Pride attire encouraged! OUT Athletics is a non-profit working to remove the barriers that block LGBTQ+ individuals access and participation in fitness, health and wellness. Register on the OUT Athletics website or scan the QR code on the flyer in the gym.


Sunday July 11th at 11am


We will be highly caffeinated and ready to kick start our Sunday Funday at Commonplace Coffee in the Mexican War Streets for a FREE bootcamp. We are asking for donations to the Central Northside Clinic. After the bootcamp, your first drink is on Union. Cheers.


Saturday July 17th at 10am 


We are coming back for our second bootcamp at Threadbare Cider House in Spring Garden. We are turning this one up to 11 with more adventures, challenges and games. This is a ticketed event that can be purchased on Threadbare’s website and will include the bootcamp, a first libation and 9.99% charitable donation to Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.


Sunday July 18th at 12pm 


Outside on the Union lawn we will be hosting a FREE Yoga & Beer class. Come 1 come all and let’s get our Zen on.


Sunday July 25th at 10am


Wigle Whiskey’s revenge with our 2nd bootcamp at the Strip district location. Sign up on Wigle’s website to grab your ticket that includes the bootcamp, first libation and donation to our little friend Danny (who is raising money for a kidney transplant).


Also remember to go to Pgh City Paper 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!





Thank You

One of our members recently said to me, “Pittsburgh does not have a good gym culture.” As a guy who runs a gym this made me sad, yet as one who has lived in 7 different cities I can’t say I disagree. I do believe that we here at UF are trying and working to change that fact, and make Pittsburgh a good gym town.


How are we making this town a better gym town?


First and foremost we are serving our members to the best of our ability. Whether you use one of our personal trainers (they are great), take our classes, or use the fitness center we want to be the best gym culture in town, and make you and our town stronger and better.


Additionally, we work with many different groups in town to make our city a stronger and more welcoming place. We have worked with the Urban League of Greater Pgh, local food banks, Hillman, Wounded Warrior, Pittsburgh Parks, as well as doing our weekly street cleaning in the Northside.


I do want put a focus on a group that many of you helped us raise money for recently. A portion of the entry fee at the Iron City Open went to a donation for Veterans Place.  


Veterans Place is a local organization that works with veterans by offering housing, education, job placement, a food bank and many other services. Please consider donating or offering to help this great organization out. We were happy to be able to donate 500 dollars to this organization yesterday. This small act is one step in creating a better “gym culture” thank you for being a part of this.



Adopt a Road with UF

One of the goals we have here at UF is to be good stewards of not only our gym, but also our neighborhood, and our world. With this end goal in mind we have added another opportunity for our staff to help our region. We have adopted N Taylor Ave though PGH Street St Stewards. Once a week we head over there, grab a coffee at commonplace, then walk back and pick up trash during our stroll.


This week was our first week and we had a few members ask if they could join us. YES! We would love to do this as a community. So here are the details. We will meet every Thursday at 1:30 PM. We will meet at UF then walk to commonplace with bags in hand. As we walk back we will pick up all the trash we can and then dispose of it at UF. If you would like to join us then let’s do it!


All we need is for you to show up ready to have some fun and make the world a better place. Week 1 took us about 1 hour to complete it all and Hamer, CeJ, Curtis had a blast meeting neighbors and discussing random items we found.


So let’s all come together and make a better world for everyone.



SMART Goals and UF?

When planning a training session or a group of training sessions one must ask what is the end game? Always start from the goal and work back. At UF we have many people training for meets, races, as well as different sporting events. With this in mind I ask you to take a moment and ask yourself honestly what are your goals.




Start with the basics with goal setting. Make your goals SMART goals. If you are not familiar with SMART goals, SMART is an acronym for;


  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Achievable
  4. Realistic
  5. Timely


Take a little time to write your goals down. Maybe you want to increase your bench press by 20 lbs in 12 weeks or maybe run a 5k before May. No matter what goal you have in mind make it SMART.


Where does your goal fit in the gym?


At UF we are very lucky to have Curtis Miller as our Director of Customer Engagement. In short Curtis’s job is to make sure you are in the right place within our gym. Some people have very specific goals and for that need personal training or classes. Others may just need a treadmill to run on their training days. Regardless of what you need Curtis will help find you the place to be in the gym.


Different goals, Different Equipement.


If your goal is to be a high level lifter you may need some programming or training. At least I would assume you need a membership in the strength lab.


If your goals are to drops a few lbs and move a little better then a cardio membership may fit you better.


If you want to push yourself and be apart of a fun community then UF Unlimited may be for you.


If your goals are to sweat and move your body then the fitness center membership could be your option. This membership may be the most underrated option we have at UF. It is a great way to get into the gym (at a very affordable option) and train using some great equipment.


I listed each of these out because I have seen many people who have goals that do not align to their actions. Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most amount of time with.” I am not sure if this is necessarily true, yet after twenty years of coaching I can say that from my experience, who you spend time with clearly influences you and your habits. Your habits will lead to your outcome.


Even as I self reflect on my training I see many mistakes. I asked myself yesterday am I a mountain biker who lifts or a powerlifter who mountain bikes? Also, I am aging in both activities quickly so maybe I’ll never set a SMART goal or maybe I need to see Curtis and find out my goals?






Curtis Tips for Push/Pull Event

We are coming up on one week out from our member push/pull event on Sunday March 21st. As many of you are aware, we had initially planned to hold the event this time last year, but obvious events kept us from doing so. Now that our Performance Lab is open with access to a great outdoor turf addition, we felt as though it was a great time to bring it back and give our members a fun event and a thank you for sticking with us over the past year.


There’s a good chance that a large majority of our members who will sign up for the push/pull have actually never taken part in this sort of event, and that is completely fine. Our only goal with this is to do something fun for our members who have been working hard and have stayed consistent with their training and goals throughout the past year. With the addition of food and drinks, there’s no doubt it will be a great time. Along with this, we will be raising money for the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation, and a couple of their staff members will be joining us to hang out and get to know our members.


As far as the specifics of a push/pull event, there are a few things that you will want to know and take into consideration before you begin.


First, it’s very important to understand the rules. This is something that we will be discussing throughout the week during Powerful class, but we will also hold a rules meeting at 7:30am on the morning of the event. In a push/pull event, you will be performing the bench press and the deadlift. For each lift, you will have 3 attempts to successfully lift as much weight as possible within the given rules. Before the event starts, you will give your opening attempt to the scorer. A good rule of thumb is to open with a weight that you could easily perform for 3 repetitions. After your opening attempt, you will go back to the scorer and let them know what weight you would like to lift for you 2nd attempt. During that time it will cycle through the rest of the individuals, and then come back to you for your 2nd attempt. Keep in mind, if you miss an attempt you cannot lower your weight. You can only attempt the same weight or choose to go up in weight, so choose wisely.


Next, there are certain commands that you will need to obey in order to have a successful lift. For the bench press, you will unrack the bar and wait for the judge to give you the “start” command. Once they do, you will lower the bar and touch your chest, pause it until it becomes motionless, and then the judge will give you the “press” command. Once you lock out the weight, you will hold it under control until the judge gives you the “rack” command. During that time, you must keep your glutes on the bench. If these are successfully done, then the result will be a “good lift”.


For the deadlift, there is only one command. You will walk up to the bar, and when you’re ready you will lift the weight and stand with it locked out. This means legs straight, hips into the bar, and chest tall. Once you are completely locked out, the judge will give you the “down” command. During that time you will lower the bar to the floor under control, and if all steps are done correctly, you will receive a “good lift”.


Last but not least, remember to have fun. This event is a way for you to challenge yourself, try something and learn something new, and to support and cheer along your fellow members and classmates who you have been working alongside of throughout your time here at Union Fitness. As always, do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions at all. We look forward to seeing you all enjoy yourselves. 

2021 Strength Project & Push/Pull

Spring is almost upon us and we missed one of our favorite programs of the year so far in 2021, The Strength Project. We are bringing it back in a different way this year. We are also excited to announce our charity push/pull in just a few short weeks. Details for each event are below.


Strength Project 2021


In the past we used this with our unlimited members. In 2021 we want to open it to everyone. The way to get involved is easy.

  1. Over March/April take 30 classes or get 35 workouts on your own or… use 15 personal training sessions. To track this just sign the sheets hanging outside of the cardio lab.
  2. If you complete this you will earn a free massage and a workout with any of our staff members.
  3. We will also select a grand-prize winner for both male and female. The winners will be voted on by the staff. The winners will recieve a free unlimited month at UF and 3 PT sessions.


Push Pull 2021


We have been waiting patiently to host another push pull and the time is now upon us. We will host the 2021 Push Pull on March 21st at 10 AM. Weigh Ins will be from 7:30-9AM. The lifting will occur in the performance lab and we will have the garage door open so spectators and judges can be outside to help with social distancing. If we get lucky and have warm weather we will hold the entire event outside on our turf.


This year we will be raising money for the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation. One of our goals is to be more involved in the neighbor and this is an organization that works directly in the Northside to help less fortunate youth. We will have more information about how to give in the near future.  Visit their site here.  


For those of you unfamiliar or concerned about competing in a push pull competition, don’t fret. It is just a chance to challenge yourself in the bench press as well as the deadlift. We will have judges, spotters, loaders as well as others there to help you. If you are a competitive lifter and want to jump in as a training day great, and if you are new come on and try this event out as well.


Following the event we will (as always) share some outdoor food and libations. So make it a fun day, do some good, and move some weights!


Thanks and BE STRONG






Shareholder Vs Stakeholder

Early in my career I would scoff at reading business books. It was a huge weakness of mine. I did not understand that most lessons come from outside of one’s industry. As I’ve aged and matured (albeit slowly), I learned the lessons that can be offered from other industries are many times more important than just listening to those within one’s own industry.


This week I was driving and listening to a podcast with Abigail Disney. Ms Disney is, as her name suggests, a member of the Disney family (you may have heard of them). Her goal is to make Disney a better place to work and visit. She was discussing Disney’s culture as well as who the stakeholders of Disney were Vs. the shareholders. This is a topic some of you may be familiar with. I want to use this blog to write about how this applies to training and a gym environment.



As people training in a gym I consider these people the ones who are focused mainly (not solely but, most of their focus) on external goals. As a lifter it could be numbers, or as one who wants to lose weight it could be the scale. The process is only as important as what outcome it gives someone in this setting. The world needs shareholders at time to be cold and make decisions based solely on outcome and no emotional connection to what’s going on.



For the people in the gym these are the ones who are there to enjoy the process and make the experience better for them all around. The stakeholder worries about the process, the outcome is important yet stakeholders live in the reality and know the outcome is not always a result of a good or bad process. There are many variables that can affect an outcome that the stakeholder can’t control.


We need both and we want to be stakeholders for you. Both of these groups are very important to our community. A good balance of both of these types of people can make everyone around us better. I do ask our staff when making decisions think like stakeholders. As a lifter spend most of your time thinking like a stakeholder. If you become to much of a shareholder then you will miss the beauty of having a great moment in the gym. Be involved in the process of helping improve yourself while you are here and also be in the process of others succeeding while you are here.


This idea reminds me of a quote, I have searched high and low and can’t find the author, “I want to come to the end of the day tired, defeated, victorious.” I remind myself of this quote daily. If I am being a true stakeholder for all of us and UF then I will be tired, beaten (due to winning some and losings some), as well as victorious for all that we have accomplished. If I (and we) do this everyday then the goals we all will reach will be well above what we could have done if all we worried about was the outcome.



Curt’s Corner

As many of you are aware, we recently brought two interns on board to work with us here at Union Fitness for their final semester of College. As much as I enjoy giving them a hard time and testing their knowledge, they are both great and are willing to learn anything and everything they can.


Last week, I decided to quiz them and asked if they knew why the steel plates were flat on one side and grooved on the other. Naturally, they weren’t sure. Although the answer is very simple and something that everyone should know, it’s understandable why someone might not.


This got me thinking about some potential other areas regarding the weight room that may be overlooked, misunderstood, or even under appreciated.


  1. Putting plates on the correct way: The answer to this is simply so you can grab and load/unload the weights easier. This isn’t just for your own safety, but also those other members who need to use the weights after you. So be sure to put the weights on the bar facing inward, and put them back on the rack the same way.
  2. Proper warm-up: Your warm ups should always be done with purpose and intent. Do not take them for granted. The way you perform your warm-up will directly dictate how well you are able to perform your training session, along with the overall success of your session. If you are just putting a band around your knees and walking around for 1-2 minutes, I can assure you that you are not doing enough to prepare yourself for your training session. Select exercises that are directly related to the goal of your session and perform them with intent.
  3. Performing the full range of motion with your exercises: In the words of Thee Dave Jackson, “if the weight is dictating your ROM, then it’s too much weight”. Unless you are performing an exercise designed to be used with a shorter range of motion such as a floor press, or have a specific injury that you are working around, you should always be moving the weight throughout the entire range. Doing so will keep you safe, healthy, and strong.   
  4. Being aware of those around you: Little known fact, you are actually not the only person who is attempting to perform a workout in the gym. Be aware of how long you are on a piece of equipment in case someone else needs to use it as well. When you are walking around or carrying equipment, respect the space of those around you, especially if they are in the middle of performing a movement. The gym is one of the only places where we can all go to escape the challenges of everyday life. So respect everyone and share like your momma taught you.
  5. Ask for a spot: Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t make you less cool if you ask another member or employee to spot you during your lift. In doing this, you may actually get some helpful tips or pointers that you were not aware of previously. On top of that, it will keep you safe and accident free so you can lift for years to come.

Big Dawg or Little Dawg; We All Just Dawgs

Can you believe we are already almost through the whole month of January?! Time doesn’t feel like a real thing anymore if you ask me. Well anyways, speaking of time, I would like you to take some time to think about where you are currently at in this point of your life. Whether it be where you’re at with your fitness goals, work goals, family goals, anything. Now that you’ve taken a few moments to reflect and think, I want to bring something to your attention. This blog right here is your sign to get out there and do something that takes you out of your comfort zone and maybe even scares you a little bit. We all seem to have a set routine and become comfortable with it, whether it’s with training, work, or just daily life in general. It’s important to spice things up and to not be afraid to be scared. 


When I think of getting out of my comfort zone, I personally think of my experience as a new lifter here at UF. Coming in to UF, I had experience with Olympic weightlifting through CrossFit and also with training the general population, but I had never really taken the time on my own to learn how to improve my lifts overall. I was so used to my coaches always telling me what to do when it came to training. Since I’ve joined the team here, I have entered a whole new world. I was a little intimidated by the Strength Lab at first, as it is usually filled with big, strong, and knowledgeable powerlifters and people who warmup with weights that are my maxes or maybe even twice that. I would honestly kind of avoid it and only go during the slower times the first few weeks that I was here. I just didn’t feel like me and my noodle arms would fit in with the crowd there. I started to hop in and train with some of the other staff members (thanks CeJ and Hamer) and started to talk with some of the people that always train back there and with the new members that would be there as well. I faced my fear of intimidation and learned that training in the Strength Lab and talking with the staff and members who’s training experiences vary largely are things that will actually help me grow as a lifter in the long run. I learned to step out of my comfort zone and not be afraid to ask questions or for any help/advice while training and being surrounded by others who enjoy picking things up and putting them down. 


So, as I mentioned earlier, don’t be afraid to be scared. It’s a new year, get out there and conquer 2021 by stepping out of your comfort zone. 


Stay healthy my friends,