Tag Archives: community

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.

 

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

Hamer

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Shareholders:

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.

 

Stakeholders:

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,

 

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