Hello everyone, my name is Tristan Hillebert and I am currently a junior at Chatham University. During this spring semester I will be hanging out around Union Fitness completing my internship. I will be graduating next year with a major in exercise science along with a minor in nutrition. I am also a part of the Men’s Ice Hockey Team, due to this I have been lifting and training at Union quite frequently over the past two years. Along with training for hockey I have a big passion for the weight room particularly bodybuilding.
I’m excited to be working with everyone at Union and gaining knowledge about operating a gym along with working with athletes, teams, and all types of clients! After school I would love to open a training facility of my own to work with athletes and other forms of competitors. Outside of the gym I enjoy being outdoors, hunting, fishing, and watching movies. I look forward to seeing/ meeting everyone around Union over the next few months!
Hi my name is Zain Skalos. I am 25 years old, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh, and a Navy veteran. I found my passion for fitness during my time in the Navy. At that time, my goal was to become a Naval Officer so that I could be a pilot. I found my passion of working out and love for the community of fitness while pursuing this goal. I knew then that I did not want to become a Pilot and I decided that I would finish with the military and apply to colleges.
This led me to the University of Pittsburgh where I currently am working on receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. However, my future goal is to end up as a Physical Therapist. During my first semester at Pitt, I completed two men’s physique shows. After giving a go at bodybuilding, I decided to try Powerlifting. So I joined the Powerlifting Club at the University of Pittsburgh and made many great memories with many awesome friends. Through the experiences with the team and being able to better myself, I fell in love with powerlifting. These experiences would later lead me to the opportunity of training at Union Fitness. While training at Union, I enjoyed the environment, the mentors, and the community that Union creates. I felt that this is where I had to be. So as part of my senior internship at the University of Pittsburgh, I applied for the internship at Union. I am looking forward to learning from every single person that comes into Union Fitness and creating more memories!
Hi everyone, my name is Liv, I am an intern with Union Fitness this semester! Currently, I am in my senior year of undergrad at Chatham University in the Shadyside / Squirrel area, majoring in exercise science with a minor in psychology. Next year I will go to graduate school to pursue a degree in occupational therapy. This career has always interested me because of the overlap between the physical and the mental, and how we can use that to help people obtain or regain their freedom. As of right now, I am particularly interested in the pediatric side of occupational therapy. I have had quite a bit of experience with kids in leading youth groups, being a long-term sitter for 2 foster children, and working in my mom’s special education classroom with the occupational therapist.
I am originally from a small town in Ohio called Sugarcreek, it is actually the “Little Switzerland of Ohio.” We have the world’s largest cuckoo clock and have an annual swiss cheese festival. I went to a small high school and was very close with my science teacher. She is the person I thank for helping me find my love for science and anatomy. Mrs. Z always encouraged me to push myself and picked me up when I was down. I am so grateful for all she did for me and that it has gotten me to the place I am today.
Some fun facts about me are I have five dogs and one cat. My cat is named Jessie Saint James (Saint for short) and lives with me at school. He is named after one of my favorite TV show characters. My favorite food is bread and I very much prefer Coke over Pepsi. I have a slight addiction to watching TV series and have a running list of each show with a detailed review of each, so far there are a total of 104 recorded shows.
Besides working at Union, I am an RA and also work at the bed and breakfast on campus. I have a light load of classes this semester, so I decided a few weeks ago to get an ASL certification online. I have always been interested in sign language because my mom took me to a few classes when I was younger when she had to learn it for her classroom. ASL is something that will be very useful in my future career working with children with disabilities and it is a skill that I think everyone should have at least a slight understanding of. Working to make the world a more inclusive place should be something we all continually strive for.
So far, my time at Union Fitness has been great. I have already learned so much in the little time I have been here. Something that has really stuck with me is the idea that if people don’t think you care, they don’t care how much you know. This means that in order to really get the best out of people you are working with you need to connect with them on a personal level, and not just treat them like someone you see for an hour at a time just to make a little money. When people know that you care about them as a person, they are much more likely to listen to the things you have to say and try their hardest. This is something that I think Union Fitness does really well and I hope to do that same both here and in everything I do in the future.
Thanks for taking the time to get to know a bit about me. Hope to see you around the gym sometime!
My name is Blake Halfpenny and I am originally from Eagle River, AK. I spent several years in Spokane, WA and Norwalk, CT playing hockey before arriving in Pittsburgh. I am going into my junior year at Chatham University with a major in exercise science where I also play D3 NCAA ice hockey. After I finish my bachelor’s degree I am interested in pursuing a master’s degree in kinesiology with aspirations to either open my own training facility one day or be the head strength coach for an NCAA program.
I had my first internship for strength & conditioning at the U-District sports training facility in Spokane and have been in love with it ever since. I enjoyed strength training ever since I began as a 12 year old with my dad, but when I was at the U-district I grew to love the creativity and improvisation that you can apply to a strength program to get the most out of your athletes and clients. There is so much more to physical health than just the basic notion of how much a person can lift. The amount of information and research that is still out there when it comes to increasing ones mobility/ flexibility, explosive power, speed, stability, and all of the other aspects of physical health is what keeps me fascinated with the profession and world of strength & conditioning.
I am excited for my time at Union fitness due to the extensive knowledge throughout the training staff. Every trainer has a different skill set that adds versatility to the gym and allows myself to learn from several different points of view when it comes to intensive training. From training at Union for several months before I started my internship I could feel the positive buzz and culture throughout the facility from day one. This was extremely important to me from my prior experience with training facilities. Union also has a unique mix of athletes and people from all over Pittsburgh that come to train which is different from most public and private training facilities. I am excited to take away everything I can from the extensive client base and each trainer here at Union.
When I am not in the gym I am most likely playing hockey or spending time with friends. Training for hockey both off and on the ice is probably my favorite thing to do. I enjoy helping people improve in any way I can when I am not training myself. I enjoy working on the ice with young kids and also helping close friends train on and off the ice. A fun fact about me that most people don’t know is that I am an only child.
As I wrap up my 5th week here at Union Fitness as an intern it seems like a great time to reflect on everything, I have learned so far. I’ll start off by giving you all some insight on what I’ve been doing since I started here: Cody set up a very in-depth curriculum for myself and Wyatt so that we can not only learn from all the trainers here, but also take a deeper dive into some of the training literature that is out there.
The first couple of weeks we learned about different styles of programming; Periodization (linear, undulating, and block) and also Emergent programming. Being a powerlifter, this was probably my favorite thing we have done so far up to this point. During the week talking about this I got lots of insight from Cody and Curtis specifically and one thing that stuck with me that Curtis and I talked about was that as a coach, you need to really learn your own philosophy when it comes to coaching and have reasonings behind what you do. Every coach is different, but to be an effective coach you really need to learn what it is you believe in, and how to put those things into practice. This past week we started covering the Big Three (squat, bench, and deadlift) and got into some of the mechanics behind them as well as the variations used to help each of them. Other than the curriculum Cody wrote for us, I have also been floating around in some of the Powerful classes as well as the training sessions we hold here for some of the local college sports teams. It’s been a great opportunity to see the difference in how all of the trainers here communicate differently with those they are training as well as getting some insight as to why certain things are programmed for the athletes and how to progress them in those movements.
I really lucked out landing this internship because I honestly don’t think I could intern at any other gym that would have as wide of a knowledge base as Union. It’s been great working with some of you during Powerful classes and I hope to continue to work with more of you and keep picking the brains of everyone here at Union.