Tag Archives: Goals

CJ’s plan for impacting all!

“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later! Opportunity favors the bold.”

― Richard Branson

 

 

At Union Fitness we have an amazing opportunity to impact the day and lives of our members every time they walk into our doors. At times, the answer is easy, just be a good person and give our members a great training experience. Other times, the answer lies beneath the surface of training, people want to be a part of something more, a sense of friendship and community. The opportunity I have here is to be a good human, training partner, coach and community member to continue to help build Union as not only a gym but a place of support, encouragement and comfort…a real judgment free zone (shots fired).

 

 

How do I do this…sometimes I don’t know, it takes time to build trust and relationships. Saying hello and introducing yourself makes a stranger, no longer a stranger. Being a good training partner comes with some responsibilities, holding each other accountable to show up, keeping each other motivated to stay the course outside the gym and someone that makes training fun. When it comes to coaching you have to meet people where they are at in their training/wellness journey. Giving a member too little or too much may make them unmotivated to return or discourage their progress. A good coach has to motivate but also be realistic at the same time with progress, always be supportive nonetheless. Finally to build our family and community atmosphere we have to support each other no matter the weight on the bar or distance of race. We can even show our love outside the gym by supporting our members local business, events, hobbies and our community as a whole. It’s always great to see a familiar smiling face at an outside event.

 

 

Some cool events support events coming to Union are:

Feb 25th – CEJ’s Birthday Powerful class with donations going to a local Animal Shelter

March 15th- All Out For Amelia with donations going to families & children impacted by cancer

 

 

If you have any cool events coming up or neat ideas, let us know! If you want to try and event, but aren’t sure, say yes and we can figure it out together.

 

 

Long story short, be good to yourself and others and live well.

Cheers,

CEJ

Cody’s Training with Stew

Three Fridays ago, as Stew (a member at Union) was leaving the gym, he nonchalantly asked, “Wanna squat with me tomorrow? I’ve got sets of 10 on safety squat bar.” If you don’t know me very well, wanderlust and impulsiveness describe my approach to training for most of the calendar year. So when Stew offered me an opportunity for masochistic spontaneity, of course I accepted. Now my entire week revolves around my quality time with Stew on Saturdays. My current weekly split looks something like this.

 

 

Monday– Competition Squat
Tuesday– Competition Bench
Wednesday/Thursday– Competition Deadlift (On one of those days depending on how I feel)
Friday– Secondary Bench
Saturday– Secondary Squat (AKA fun with Stew)
Sunday– Supplemental/Accessories/Conditioning
In the first squat session, Stew and I both hit 335 for our top set of 10. We both felt good about it. It was an honorable starting point. Afterward, we talked about possible strategies for jumps in the coming weeks that made sense and wouldn’t put us in the hospital.
In the second session, we threw strategy out of the window and made a huge jump to 375 for our top set of 10. We were a rocket ship. Nothing could stop us. We felt like we were going to continue getting stronger forever.
In the third session, we were rudely awakened from our pleasant fantasy, and we reluctantly acknowledged that we live in the real world. What a bummer. Stew had worked a ridiculous amount of hours that week, but did he let that stop him? No. He forced improvement when none seemed up for grabs by wrapping his knees and hitting 385 for his top set of 10. I also did 385…for only 4 reps.
After my disappointing performance, I relegated myself to the corner of the gym and let the strong people squat on the monolifts. Since I couldn’t reach anything heavy, I decided to drop down and hit 335 for 6 sets of 10. If I can’t push the weight, I usually just put in work.
After safety squats, we usually do some tempo high bar squats, but I opted out since I was doing more with the safety. After the tempo squats, Stew did a ton of belt squats, lunges, and probably some other stuff while I was lying on the ground, delirious and sweaty, wondering what year it was. This has been a common theme while training with Stew.
After three weeks of this block of training, this is my professional analysis…it’s been a lot of fun. Can’t wait for next week.

Banishing the Summer Bod Myth

It’s here, y’all!!!

It’s something we’ve all been anxiously waiting for through months, treacherously cold, snowy, and blustery months. Yeah, it did technically snow last week but SPRING IS OFFICIALLY HERE. And Spring means Summer is basically here too. And Summer means bathing suits, beaches, the Bucco’s, beers & barbecues!

Summer can also bring the harsh realization that maaaaaaybe you’ve put on a few winter hibernation pounds. With that realization begins the Internet splurging, looking for ideas and last ditch efforts on how to achieve that ideal “Summer Bod”. We all know the image that comes to mind too— gorgeously tan with chiseled abs and a rock hard, toned body, glistening with summer dew morning mist.

Let me be the first to say it— We MUST banish this perfect “Summer Bod” myth! This unrealistic expectation of ourselves to somehow transform into an Instagram Fitness Model/God/Goddess overnight should be forever banned! Instead, I propose to shoot for a healthy lifestyle that you can maintain throughout the year!

Here are 3 easy ways to help you banish the Summer Bod myth:

1. Look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I accept and love my body”.

Don’t skip this step! Self-acceptance is the best & fastest route to a better you. A healthy life starts with a healthy mind and attitude. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel once you begin to accept yourself just as you are.

2. Set year-round realistic goals and aspirations for yourself.

Whether it’s to run a local 5K, be able to squat your bodyweight or to simply be able to function through day to day routines, set a goal (and a reward) that is both achievable and realistic. And don’t feel the need to stop at just one goal, keep a list of things you want to accomplish and a realistic time frame to get them done.

3. Find a way to make fitness fun!

Not everyone loves to snatch a barbell over their heads. Not everyone loves to run. Not everyone loves to spin. And that’s ok! Find something you do love, something that makes you feel accomplished or something that fills you with joy (or at least perhaps the least amount of dread!). Haven’t found it yet? Just keep searching, I promise there’s something out there with your name on it.

Here at Union Fitness, we know living a healthy lifestyle year-round isn’t easy! So we are here for you step by step, class by class, meal by meal, and goal by goal.

Lean, Mean & Green

Lean, Mean & Green

Finding Balance

St. Patrick’s Day will soon be upon us, and if you live in Pittsburgh like us, the annual parade (their website is taking be back to the early days of the internet) is tomorrow, March 11th. If you plan on celebrating your Irish heritage but want to dial back on the debauchery, try to find balance between your healthy habits and having a good time. We’ve compiled some tips that have been helpful for us, and recipes & drinks that we like to indulge in from time to time.

First thing’s first, get a morning workout in. Union Fitness opens at 8am on the weekends. Shower in our facilities, and we’re only a 10-minute walk from downtown. Get those extra steps in, you’ll feel much better about those beers you’re going to consume later! If you can’t make it to the gym tomorrow, come to our happy hour yoga class tonight, it happens every Friday!

Don’t go hungry. If there’s a plate of corned beef hash with your name on it, fill up on the cabbage first. Cabbage is low in calories and will help you feel fuller, longer. Cabbage is a member of the brassica family of veggies that includes broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflowers. Indulge in the classics but keep portion sizes in the back of your mind. Eat slowly and savor each bite.

Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more. Follow the tried and true rule of alternating alcoholic beverages with a glass of water.

Now what to guzzle down all day? Believe it or not, Guinness is not nearly as bad as people think, it’s dark color and heavy body do not mean it’s higher in calories. Twelve ounces of Guinness has 125, which is comparable to many light beers.

If you’re hosting your own party, try out some of these cocktails:

Jameson Jell-o Shots (35 calories per shot)

Jello Shots

Ingredients:
3 small (.30 oz) packages Jell-o Sugar Free Gelatin
24 ounces Water (Boiling)
9 ounces Water (Cold)
15 ounces Jameson (Cold)
½ cup fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
Juice from a fresh lime
Green Food Coloring or Dye

Place fresh mint leaves in a small dish. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar. Using a muddle stick or a wooden spoon, press down on the leaves and twist. Repeat the action several times until the mint leaves release oil and smell minty. Set aside.

Mix the Jell-o mix and muddled mint leaves, with the boiling water until the powder is fully dissolved. Strain mint leaves.

Add the Cold water, 20 drops of green dye, or until you get the color you desire, and Jameson. Pour the cooling mixture into 28 plastic shot glasses. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until fully set.

Skinny Margarita (145calories)

Margarita

Ingredients:
To rim the glass: kosher salt, lime wedge
1 1/2 oz silver tequila (about 3 tablespoons)
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon light agave nectar (add 2 if you prefer a sweeter margarita)
Ice

Rim the glass: Pour a thin layer of salt onto a small plate. Rub a lime wedge around the top edge of your glass, then dip the glass into the salt, and twist. Fill the glass with ice and set aside.
Fill a small cocktail shaker with ice. Add the tequila, lime juice, and agave. Close and shake energetically until you feel the shaker start to get cold and frost over. Strain into the rimmed glass over the ice.

Spicy BLT Green Bloody Marys

Bloody Mary

We can take credit for this delish take on a Bloody Mary, but we insist on giving it a try if you’re hosting a breakfast or brunch. This particular cocktail requires a little extra work and motivation, but it’s worth it! Plus, bacon is added to the mix – a little protein never hurt anyone.

Remember that moderation is key. Drink smarter, stay hydrated, watch your portions and be safe out there!

Dolce Diet Week 2: CHEATER

Dolce Diet Week 2: CHEATER

 

Week 2:

 

Change is hard.  Ok, so I have a confession. I’m about to be as honest as Usher in the early 00’s right now. You know Eco Bistro right? Well on Thursday’s they have a Pittsburgh steak salad special. Although I grew up in Pittsburgh, I don’t have too many distinct Pittsburgh characteristics. I don’t speak Pittsburghese. I can barely name the three rivers. I’ve never had an Iron City beer. I’m not a Steelers fan, or Penguins, or what’s our other team again? BUT— I LOVE, and I’m talking an unhealthy-obsession-type-LOVE of French-fries on my salads. Lots of them. The more the better. I embrace this part of my Pittsburgh heritage wholeheartedly. Anyway, back to my confession. On Thursday, I broke from the Dolce Diet to indulge in one of those glorious Pittsburgh salads, with extra fries. (GASP!) The worst part? My coworkers managed to get photographic proof (see below). I was caught red handed.

So yeah, I had something not so healthy. I “cheated” on my diet. Did I punish myself with endless, sweaty hours on the treadmill? Nope. The elliptical? Nope. Did I starve myself for the rest of the day to make up for it? Not a chance. Did I at least berate myself a little bit, maybe lament at my inability to stick to the plan? Never. What did I do then? I smirked at my coworkers and enjoyed my French-fries topped with lettuce. The end.

You see, if you know me or have ever come to one of my classes, you hear me talk about balance a lot. And not just necessarily in yoga poses when we balance on our heads. It applies to life too, including our well thought out diet and training plans. Balance is key because we are HUMANS, and we are vastly imperfect. We can’t always stick to the perfect plan. We can’t always be perfect parents or perfect friends or perfect exercisers. We can, however, balance it all out at the end. So, if you had something unhealthy, balance it out with some extra veggies. If you lost your temper and yelled at your kids, give them some extra kisses and snuggles. If you thought negatively about yourself, look in the mirror and say something kind.

I strive for balance but when days like this Thursday (read: French Fry Indulging) roll around, it’s important to leave the guilt and judgement out of it. There is no space in the Dolce Diet, or my life, for demeaning thoughts or feelings of shame. Practice kindness. Practice balance. So, for now, I’m back to my regularly scheduled Dolce Diet plan as I try not to tip the scales too far into French-fry land…until next Thursday, then all bets are off!