Tag Archives: community

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,

 

Toria

How to Get the Most from Your Gym and Your Community

One of the best parts about my job is the people I get to deal with everyday. At times it is the UF employees, and at times it is the members, yet everyday someone brings me a thought I must sit on for a few minutes.

 

Curtis Miller and I had a great talk recently and we began sounding like Grumpy Old Men. Back in my day we didn’t have fancy things like these kids do. OK maybe we didn’t sound that bad yet we were discussing our early years of lifting and how things have changed. From this thought we came up with some things that we felt could help every person who enters our gym.

 

Here is a short list of ways to get better and make a better community.

 

  1. Lose the headphones. We all know that you need the newest Drake single in order to do your set,  yet you can save that song for when you really need it. The rest of the time be a part of the gym, communicate with others, listen to other cues, ask questions and just be present.
  2. Spot someone. Often I see lifters in their own worlds and not noticing others lifting. Ask someone if they need a spot, this is how we used to find training partners.
  3. Work in or share equipment with someone new. I all too often see everyone at thier own station not taking advantage of someone else’s knowledge and experience also share your knowledge and experience.
  4. Ask questions. We are all here to help and serve you. So ask away. Did you know we have coaches at UF with decades of experience? Our coaches have worked with pro athletes from all major sports, competed at the highest level of lifting and spoken at multiple national and international conferences.
  5. Try something new. Everyone these days seems to have an internet coach. Some of this can be good and I’ve learned from some of these coaches. Sometimes this can a huge asset, other times this can prevent you from trying new things. See what someone else is doing, ask about the movement and give it a rip.
  6. When in doubt do something that is very challenging. Enough said.

 

This is our short list and I did not arrive at this on my own. Cody Miller, CeJ and Curtis all had a say in this list. Remember we are stronger than the sum of our parts.

 

Hamer

 

Push/Pull and Summer Strength Project

With the new year here and spring coming right around the corner, we have been hard at work planning our events for the upcoming months. If you have been with us for a period of time, then you are aware of our annual Strength Project event that we host each year. Last year, our Strength Project kicked off in January with the addition of a fund raiser and charity push/pull powerlifting competition. Unfortunately, our plans were sidelined with the onset of the pandemic, and although we did complete our goal for the fund raiser, we were unable to host our push/pull event for our members.

 

Well, that was last year, and this is a new year. With our sights set on providing you with new ideas and events, we are picking back up right where we left off. On Sunday March 21st we will be coming back to finish our Push/pull event as well as another fund raiser to support the Pittsburgh community (more details to come). The event will be free for any member who would like to sign up, along with anyone who had previously signed up for last years event but was unable to compete.

 

Following the conclusion of the push/pull event, we will be kicking off our Summer Strength Project beginning in early April with the goal of getting everyone ready for sunshine and adventures. Our Powerful and Cardio Lab coaches will be working together on the class programming to help you reach all of your goals. At the end of the Summer Strength Project in early June, we will be holding a cookout with food, drinks, and a hands on seminar. 

 

Be sure to keep your eyes and ears peeled for more details to come regarding these events.

 

Look for the Helpers

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers you will always find people who are helping.” Mr Rogers

 

We here in Pittsburgh are extremely fortunate to have had Fred Rogers as our neighbor for many years. His wife, Joanne still lives in the region. I often joke with our Baltimore friends (Curtis) that we here in Pittsburgh have Fred Rogers statue, and Baltimore has a statue of Ray Lewis (I’ll take Fred Rogers). At UF we do our best to not just look for the helpers, but to support the helpers when we can.

 

Matt Grayson (all star UF employee) approached me about the idea of raising money for some helpers back in November. As with any great idea I said yes, now let’s make it happen. Matt did an amazing job organizing and preparing this fundraiser. We raised over 800 dollars. That money went to Erin’s Deli so they could prepare meals for the helpers that work at Allegheny General Hospital. One of our goals is (as Mr Rogers taught us) is to be a good neighbor. Matt’s idea was a win win for us. We helped a local business that is struggling through Covid 19 shutdowns, and showed our appreciation for the workers at AGH.

 

I want to end this by thanking each and everyone one of you who given to this cause. I also want to ask you to keep us on task. We can and must do more to be a better gym and neighbor. If you have any ideas or specific groups that we could help with or partner with please tell us. We are here not just to serve you but to serve our community.

 

Thank you!

 

Todd Hamer

Anthony’s Intern Introduction

My name is Anthony LoPresti and I will be interning here at Union Fitness from January to May. I am originally from West Chester, Pennsylvania but have been in Pittsburgh for the past 4 years attending the University of Pittsburgh. I am one semester away from obtaining my bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science as well as commissioning into the United States Army as an Active-Duty Infantry Officer. 

 

I grew up mainly playing baseball but loved playing any sport ,even just as a pick-up game. By the time I got too high-school I was still focusing on baseball and wanted to play at the college level, so I began to take my off-season training more seriously. At this time, I began lifting weights and got more exposure to strength and conditioning. I very quickly fell in love with training, and really felt the difference that it made me for not only physically but mentally as well. Fast forward to college I decided to pursue the military as a career option and opted to join the ROTC program at Pitt instead of continuing to play baseball during college. My focus then switched solely to my training year-round. I started off college doing mostly bodybuilding training and in the last year have switched over to powerlifting. 

 

Upon graduating I have a few goals both involving the military as well as my career after the military. Once I enter the military my main goal is to go to Ranger School after my initial training as an Infantry Officer, as well as attend other specialty schools such as Airborne and Mountain Warfare. As a civilian my biggest goal is to own a gym as well as having an online coaching business. 

 

During my time here at Union Fitness I am hoping to broaden my spectrum of training since I have been mainly focused on powerlifting and bodybuilding. I am eager to learn more about what it takes to be a good coach/trainer as well as learn more information about different styles and philosophies of programming and coaching for all sorts of populations. I’m also looking forward to learning about the business/marketing side of a gym as well since I plan to open my own gym in the future. I think this is going to be a great learning opportunity for myself being surrounded by several different styles and personalities of trainers. I’m in a good position to learn a little bit from everyone and hopefully bring some of my own ideas here to Union Fitness. 

 

2021 is going to be FUN!

 

Hold on to your butts, we have more cool things coming your way and here are a few of the new things you’ll see at UF in 2021.

 

On Site at Union:

Charity/Fundraiser Super Group & Marathon Classes

Comedy, Coffee & Competition

Athlete & Agility

Metal/Rock N Roll Yoga

Movement & Mobility

Strongwoman/Strongman Conditioning

Battle of The Gyms

Health, Wellness & Training Education

Hands on Training Seminars

Monthly Challenges

Blood Drives

Toy/School Supply Drives

And More…

 

Union Fitness Adventure Series:

Mobile Pop-Up Bootcamps

Pittsburgh Stair Climb Tour

Bike Pittsburgh to D.C.

Hike Pittsburgh

Run Pittsburgh

Brewery & Bootcamps

And More…

 

Union, let us hear your voices! Tell us your ideas you may have and any interest in the above-mentioned events. For any event we would love to partner with local North Side or Pittsburgh area small business to support local and highlight those businesses. Send in those ideas and let’s rock n roll all over 2021.

 

Cheers,

 

CeJ

Happy New Year, We Need the Old You

I have very eclectic taste in music so when I think I tend to go to what song fits the moment. I have realized this habit has rubbed off on my son. We will often be driving and jamming some tunes then Tenzing says, ‘”Dad this is the perfect song for this moment.” With that in mind I can’t write this blog without thinking about a song from the Old 97’s. In the song “The Magican” Rhett Miller sings these words, “Oh, but I wanna be with the real you.” This song has always haunted me as it reminds me that we need to be the real version of us. With this I welcome you to 2021.

 

If you made it this far you may be asking why you are still reading me ramble about a song and band you probably never head of? Because I want to make 2021 the year of the real you. Bring you to the gym, work, and life everyday. Often the date changes and people say it’s time for a new you. It isn’t! Today is a great day to evolve, and with that we must understand that the real you should be you, who is trying to improve daily.

 

Think of this in terms of lifting or training. When you began you never thought you could do what you currently do, until you put the work in. Then afterwards you were still you, just a stronger and more wise version of you. Let us not throw out the past, let us not throw out our mistakes. Bring them with you and let’s all grow, evolve, and make 2021 just another step in the right direction.

 

Now I am asking for you to help me. How can I, and UF help you in 2021. We have never seen a year like 2020, so we are open to new ideas. Share with me your thoughts and if we can, we will do what we can to help you improve the real you.

 

Happy New YEAR!

End of 2020 Update

Here we are at the end of 2020. Nothing new can be said about this year so I won’t try. Yet I can give everyone an update as to where we are and where we are heading as a gym.

 

2021 Bootcamp with LEG1ON! 

We are starting 2021 off by doing a bootcamp with our friends from LEG1ON. This will happen Jan. 1, 2021 from 11-12 (maybe 12:30). This class will be free to everyone, so bring a friend and let’s have some outdoor fun! Sign up on MindBody.

 

Equipment Loan Program

For those of you who borrowed equipment over the last few weeks, please return the equipment by Saturday, Jan 2, 2021. When you return the equipment, please check in so we can check you off the list.

 

Return to Normal Schedule

UF will return to its normal schedule on Jan 4, 2021. This includes classes as well as all other gym operations. We will be requiring masks at all times. Please be respectful of those around you and continue to follow the mask protocol.For the rest of this week, our schedule is Dec. 31, 9AM-4PM, Jan 1, 9AM-4PM (we will be closed due to bootcamp from 10:30-12:30). Jan. 2 and 3 are regular weekend hours 9-4.

 

Plans for 2021.

One of our most popular programs in the past has been The Strength Project. We decided this year it was not appropriate to run this program. We are hoping to bring it back in late spring as a kick off to summer. We will continue doing smaller challenges until then. Our December challenge is wrapping up and we will post winners in our Newsletter.

 

This will be the final blog of 2020 and I want to thank everyone who is reading this. We all know it has been a strange year and we are proud of what we have done to try to help everyone get through this time. We will continue to try to do what we can to make the world a stronger, healthier, and smarter place as we move into 2021. Below is a list of organizations that we worked with this year. We will continue to look for partners in the region that make the world a better place.

 

Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh

Allegheny General Hospital

NorthSide Food Pantry

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Wounded Warrior

Urban Impact

 

We have some big plans in 2021 and have some big partners ready to join us, so stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

New Year, New Strength, New Friends

UF and LEG1ON Training are excited to host our first ever combined bootcamp. On January 1st, 2021 UF and LEG1ON will come together on the UF outdoor turf to host a bootcamp that is free to all.

 

We have been trying to reach out and work with other local training facilities to offer Pittsburgh a better fitness and strength community. LEG1ON opened in 2020, and immediately gave us a gym that was open to working with us. Due to this relationship, we will be having more joint offerings in the future. The details of the bootcamp are below.

 

Time and Date: Jan 1st, 2020. 11 AM-Noon.

Location: Union Fitness, 100 South Commons, Pittsburgh PA, 15212

How do I sign up? Sign up on MindBody.

Is there a cost? This class is free to everyone.

What can I expect? You can expect two of the best gyms in Pittsburgh coming together with their best instructors, to give you a great workout to start the new year.

Will it be safe? Our outdoors space at UF is big, and we require masks at all times when on the premises.

 

We hope to see you here on Jan 1st to meet some new friends and have some fun.

 

Todd Hamer

 

Outdoor Training, Online Classes, and Trying to Do What We Can

Now that we have had a weekend to fully grasp the new orders from our state government I would like to give everyone an update as to what we are doing. Our goal is to follow all rules and regulations,  while doing the best we can to serve each and everyone of you. I have listed here how we are trying to do this in these unique times.

 

  1. We are offering outdoor activities to the best of our abilities for all of our members. Our turf area is mostly covered and we are going to do our best to keep it warm and snow free.
  2. We are offering online classes for free via instagram. We decided against using zoom as we don’t want to charge anyone for this service. So please log on and do some training with us. We have broken the classes into four categories. 1. Bodyweight class. 2. Class with weights. 3. Educational class (this will be more lecture based).      4. Yoga. Please feel free to sign up for any of these.
  3. We are loaning equipment up until the week that we will be permitted to re-open.
  4. We are spending this time reviewing our classes and schedules to best serve our members.
  5. We are also moving and cleaning under, over, and around all equipment. When we re-open we hope to be the cleanest gym on earth.
  6. While operating our normal hours we will be closing the outdoor training area from 6-7 AM&PM for powerful class. Anyone who is interested in taking this class we will upgrade you for the next 3 weeks free of charge.
  7. We are offering a 25 dollar 3 week membership to anyone who belongs to another gym. The one condition is that you keep your gyms membership. We do not want to take members. We understand that we are very fortunate to have our outdoor space, and want to offer people a place to train if they currently don’t have one.

 

This is our list as of now. As with everything we do we are always open to hear what you have to say. If there is anyway that we can serve you during this shut down please reach out. As stated early we will follow all the state rules and regulations, and will still do what we can to offer you a great place to train.