Tag Archives: inspiration

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.

 

Weekly Wrap Up

Welcome BACK!!!!

 

Now that we are officially open for business again we are happy to have you all back and wish to thank each of you for supporting us. I am just going to touch on a few things going on here at UF.

 

  1. Our fundraiser to feed covid first responders at AGH is wrapping up. We will shut down the go fund me site this weekend. If you want to help out we appreciate it.
  2. We are offering a special that any member can upgrade to UF Unlimited membership this month for a 20 dollar add on to your current membership. If you ever wanted to try classes now is your chance.
  3. We have a few new employees bouncing around. Anthony is our newest intern and you may see him. Also, Gillian will be working the front desk as well as teaching some cardio lab classes. Please introduce yourself if you see some new faces.
  4. Finally, we have some great plans coming up. Our idea man himself CeJ wrote a blog about our plans earlier in the week so check that out. We also have tentative dates for our next meets so stay tuned for when we can release that information.

 

Thank you and 2020 was a wild year and 2021 is starting just as wild. I do ask that we spend some time daily on not just improving ourselves but improving society. Keep us in the loop as to how we can not only help you but how we can help the world.

 

Peace and Love.

 

Todd Hamer

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!

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

 

Catering for the Pandemic Nurses at AGH

Hello Good People of Union Fitness,

 

The UF staff wants to give a huge THANK YOU to all of you that have donated and/or contributed to all of our charities and events we  have had in 2020!  None of the impact that we have made, would be possible without the generous help from you!

 

We are asking for your help one last time in 2020.  We are starting a GoFundMe page to raise money to provide lunch for the first responders at AGH. (Allegheny General Hospital).  During these times we MUST not forget about the people that are putting their lives and their loved ones lives at risk to serve our sick.  

 

We here at UF want to show our support and let the first responders know, that our community is behind them in all their efforts in fighting this pandemic.  We will be using Erin’s Deli to do the catering for us.  Erin’s Deli located in the bottom of the K&L building in downtown Pittsburgh has been effected by the pandemic and we want to help her out as well.

 

We are ALL in this together.  We must continue to support our friends, our community, and our neighborhood.  We must show them that, they’re people that cherish their hardwork and sacrifice.  Supplying them a lunch is minimal but, it means a great deal to them.  

 

So let’s end this dreadful year with some positivity by showing our gratitude to the people that are doing their best to make people feel better.  We owe them a piece of joy during this holiday season!

 

Matt Grayson

Meet Recap and Reflecting Back

I recently competed in my 15th full powerlifting meet. My goal for this meet was to step on the platform healthy and achieve a 2000lb total. This is a goal that I have been working towards for a very long time, and with the help of a great support system, I was able to do just that. It didn’t go exactly as planned (although it never really does), but I was able to stay focused and under control, and managed to walk away with a 804lb squat, a 430lb bench press, and a 766lb deadlift. As I sit and reflect, I can’t help but think about the journey and how I got to this point.

 

April of 2013 was my first powerlifting meet. I totaled 1310lbs at 190lbs bodyweight. To some, that isn’t a lot. To others it is. To me, it was neither. It was simply a starting point for my journey going forward. Even though the sport of powerlifting is judged off of how much weight you can lift, for me, it has never been just about that. Each time I walked into the gym, my only goal was to be better. Yes, sometimes this meant lifting more weight. Sometimes it meant learning something new about my technique. Other times it meant failing. But even when we fail, we have the ability to grow and become better if we have the right perspective. In my eyes, even a setback or a failure was a victory, because I learned something. I knew that if I kept this mindset and continued to accumulate the small wins, then I was progressing towards my goals and continuing to grow as an individual. Small wins over the period of weeks, months, and years add up into very big victories. 

 

This doesn’t just hold true for me, but for anyone. With the same mindset, any goal is attainable. The important thing to remember is that progress is never linear, whether it’s lifting weights or in life. There will always be setbacks, let downs, failures and achievements, road blocks and detours, but the most important thing is that you never give up. Could we do things more efficiently and be smarter with some of our decisions? Of course. But every single decision we make and experience we have leads us to this point where we are at this very moment. That’s living, and that’s how we grow. 

 

It’s hard to put into words exactly what this meet and this achievement means to me. All I can say is that every time I grab a barbell or walk into a gym, I am extremely grateful to be healthy and to have the opportunity to do something that I love. Having my wife there to experience it with me along with some of my closest friends was legitimately a dream come true and something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Powerlifting has given me more than I could ever give back. It has taught me lessons, helped me grow and mature, and has introduced me to some of the best people I’ve ever known. For that, I am forever grateful. 

Question: Do you incorporate a lot of protein bars and shakes into your diet?

The simple answer, yes. The long answer, you’ll find below.

 

Let’s define the term “a lot” because if you’re eating 3 protein bars a day and drinking 1-3 protein shakes, most if not all of your protein intake is coming from supplementation which ideally is not the route we want to take in regards to our nutrition. What we want to do is focus on whole and nutrient-dense foods then use supplementation to make up for the spaces in which we desire a protein bar or need that post-workout shake.

 

Breaking it down further, focusing on eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner is a good start and then from there add in your snacks and your post-workout shakes. If you follow a structure as similar to this you’re more than likely eating at around your body weight in protein without realizing it and without actually tracking your food (which is a tool that works for some but not all individuals).

When we under-eat in regards to our protein intake we lose lean muscle mass, can experience chronic fatigue, and experience other health-related issues. This is why getting in an adequate amount of protein is important to our overall health and wellness.

 

Everyone’s goals are different which is why my diet wouldn’t work for someone else, therefor my easiest piece of advice would be to eat your body weight in protein or around there (being mindful of not under-eating) and not overdoing it on the bars/protein shakes. Choose whole and nutrient-dense options first then fill in the spaces with mindful choices.

 

This is a perfect moment to plug my favorite protein bar and small-business, whom I wrote about back in quarantine, Nash Nutrition. These bars are made with clean and nutrient-dense ingredients, soy-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free, as well as naturally sweetened with honey and dates. If you’re looking for a solid, trustworthy protein bar, Nash Nutrition is my recommendation.

 

Purchasing from them is also a purchase towards supporting a small business, something we are proud to do here at Union Fitness. As the holiday seasons are approaching I encourage you to shop locally and shop small.

 

If you have any nutrition questions please message us on Instagram, Facebook, or Jocelyn specifically on her Instagram to get your questions answered in a blog post.

Setting Goals and Measuring Progress

Regardless of the time of year or what is going on in our daily lives, it is important to have set goals. These goals can be associated with life, fitness, your health, or a combination of the three. If we lack goals, it becomes hard to make progress and continue to grow as humans. Although setting goals can be a simple task, there is a process to doing it, and many things you want to keep in mind along the way in order to achieve them. Below is a system that I use with myself, along with anyone that I work with in order to reach our goals and continue on the road of progression and growth.

 

Establish a big goal: This is where you want to establish your big long term goal. What is it that you want to accomplish in six months, a year, two years, etc. There doesn’t need to be a time limit placed on this. Just write it down and keep it in the back of your mind. It’s important to make sure that this one is realistic. However, it should be challenging and should force you to grow as an individual. 

 

Establish your small goals: These are the small victories that will ultimately lead you to your big goal. If you only focus on your big goal without a plan of attack, then you will have trouble progressing and staying motivated. These small goals should be very obtainable, but again, they should push you and challenge you into staying motivated and on track. Small victories add up into big wins over time.

 

Make sure your priorities match your goals: Your daily lifestyle must match your goals if you want to achieve them. If you bust your butt in the gym, but stay up all night eating chips and watching Netflix shows, then you certainly will not be checking off those small or big goals. Everything you do outside of the physical work should be setting you up for success. This includes who you spend time with, what you eat and drink, your quality of sleep, managing your stress, etc. If you make these areas your priority, then it will be much easier to achieve your goals.

 

Ways to measure progress: Progress isn’t always measured by weight on the bar or on the scale. As a matter of fact, it should rarely be measured that way. Measuring the small factors is a great way to stay motivated, focused, and on track. With exercise, progress can be measured in many areas including but not limited to:

 

How many times per week you’re able to exercise.

The duration of your workout.

Your rest periods between sets and exercises.

Adding sets and/ or reps.

Increase in flexibility and range of motion.

Form and technique improvements.

Body measurements.

 

Daily checklist: I stole this one from Jared. Every day make a checklist of 3 things that you need to do in order to reach your goals. Just like we listed above, this can be getting 8 hours of sleep, drink a gallon of water, stretch or meditate before bed, etc. If you can check your 3 things off every day, then you will certainly put yourself in a great place to achieve those goals.

 

At the end of the day, have fun and stay positive. Approach this process as a learning opportunity as well as an opportunity to grow as an individual, and good stuff will happen. Stay strong, friends.

Jocelyn’s Training Log

For the last few weeks, I’ve been posting some of my training pieces and breaking down my mindset, something I’ve been working on heavily. Being positive and focused isn’t enough these days, you need to understand how to challenge yourself without teetering on the line of being overconfident because the bar loves to break an ego real quick.

 

Going into this session I was tired, not entirely sure how it was going to go but I started by focusing on getting my PT/mobility work done before my primer. This allowed me to prep my body for what was to come and focus on how I was feeling. Regardless if you’re an athlete or going to take a Powerful class, as humans we need to be hyper-aware and self-reflection keeps us in an understanding between body and mind (if you don’t journal, try it – I have a past blog post on this BUT stay tuned for another mindset journaling one soon).

 

After I had finished my PT/mobility and did the primer I had a better feeling of how to attack this session, below you’ll find a typical Strength/Conditioning session:

 

STRENGTH

Front Squats 5×2 (every 3 min)

Start at 70% of your 2RM and build each set

*worked up to 197# for a double then hit 200# for a single and failed my second rep

CONDITIONING 

6 Rounds

Every 5 minutes for MAX weight

3 Power Cleans starting weight 70% of your 1RM (building here)

2-6 Unbroken Ring Muscle-ups

400m Sprint 90%+

:90 REST IS A MUST

*125/135/145/150/152/155

*ALL sets of RMU: 3 UB

 

I’ve never front squatted 200# let alone 197# for two and I’m proud of that because clean & jerking 200# is one of my goals. I try not to compare my numbers to anyone else but myself because we’re in the business of building ourselves up, not knocking all the hard work we’ve done. I think a lot of people get caught up in comparison which in all honesty is very hard to do. I remember when I first started training competitively and how I felt, now as I’ve grown into my own as an athlete I find that comparison is few and far between. The only thing that stands between me and the bar is myself and in regards to mindset, if you want to do anything in life you have to believe in yourself.

 

After the front squat the boys and I moved into our main training piece, I was texting with my coach previously and mentioned that I was going to try and hit 3 unbroken reps for all sets of my ring muscle-ups. I remember clear as day in the middle of the workout regretting sending that text because now I had to hold myself accountable to my words (which I did, thankfully but not without struggle). This is what I mean when I talk about mindset because on my fourth set that last rep was very hard and all I was thinking was throwing my hips as hard as I could to get that last rep, giving up was no option and with that mindset, I succeeded.

 

I ended up power cleaning 155# for an unbroken touch and go set of three, my max power clean one rep is 165#, and being able to do three RMU unbroken for six sets left me feeling on top of the world. It’s been a very long time since I’ve PRed any lifts and made huge gains on my muscle up capacity, I attribute it to doing everything else outside of my life right.