Tag Archives: Interns

Meet the Interns; Michael Dowling

My name is Michael Dowling, I am a senior earning my Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise Science at the University of Pittsburgh. Since January of 2023, I’ve had the awesome opportunity to be an intern at here at Union Fitness. For almost four years I have been going to the gym five to six days a week trying to better myself and get stronger. In the future I plan to compete in some powerlifting competitions, my first meet being Unions very own private “Push Pull” on April 23rd, 2023. I also plan to eventually compete in bodybuilding competitions in a few years after some more growth. My hobbies outside of the gym include cooking, spending time outdoors, being a cat dad, disc golfing, and watching sports. 


Union fitness is unlike any other gym I’ve ever heard of or worked out at. Not only do we get to work with the awesome and strong community of the north side, but we also get to work with Point Park University and Chatham’s athletic teams. As a young and still learning student in the fitness realm, I’d like to pursue a future career in strength and conditioning, more specifically as a strength coach. Union has provided me with awesome opportunities to help build these skills required to be a strength coach. So far, I’ve gotten to work with both men’s and women’s: soccer, track and field, baseball, lacrosse, and hockey teams. Working with these teams has been nothing but awesome. I love watching a team grow stronger as a whole and closer together as a team through working out and bonding. 


My goal as a future coach is to try to make my athletes truly enjoy and believe that working out is good for them as people not only physically, but mentally. I also would like to help any individual achieve any goal they have set out. I believe physical fitness is an extremely important aspect of human life on earth, the human body is an amazing thing and will find a way to compromise in any situation. You may be a grandparent trying to pick up your grandchildren, a college basketball player trying to increase their speed and vertical jump, or a powerlifter trying to increase their total at the next meet; you should always try to push yourself harder than last time. The weight room doesn’t discriminate against anybody, and exercise should never be seen as a punishment. 


I’ve been extremely lucky to have a mentor like Todd Hamer, who is one of a kind. When we first met, I could tell Todd was a genuine person who wanted to share his knowledge from 20+ years of strength and conditioning experience with all those smart enough to listen. He has been an awesome mentor thus far and has taught me a lot about strength and conditioning and a lot about the importance of interactions with people throughout life. Due to covid, the internet, and many other factors, face to face interactions and experiences are at an all time low. Todd often reminds me to seek out human interactions and the little things in life, even if it’s just asking your cashier or server “what’s your name, where are you from?”. 


I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be here every day of the week at union, and I hope to meet you some time. Please say Hi if you see me! 


-Michael Dowling 



Meet the Interns, Allison

Hey everyone! My name is Allison Ream and I’m an intern here at Union Fitness for the spring semester. I am a senior at Robert Morris University, located in Moon Township. I’m majoring in Sport Psychology and I’m also getting a minor in Sport Management. I was born and raised in Indiana, PA in a big family of seven. I am passionate about physical fitness and have always had a sport-oriented lifestyle. Growing up I played volleyball, baseball, softball, basketball, danced, and did gymnastics. I got into psychology because of my fascination for the mind-body connection and how big of a role your own mentality plays in your everyday performance. Sport psychology gives me the opportunity to combine many of my interests all into one. I hope to become a certified mental performance consultant in the future. My dream job would be to be a team psychologist for a professional sports team, specifically in the NFL. Some things I enjoy when I’m not working out are coffee, sneakers, rap music, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.


I chose to intern at UF to see athletes first-hand be motivated and reach their goals mentally and physically. I love the family feel you get when you step in the gym and can’t wait to get more knowledge from the employees here. I’m super excited to be a part of the Union Fitness team!


Editors Note. Allison trains at the same gym that Skylyn trains at in Indiana PA.

Meet the Interns, Montrell

Hello Union Fitness! My name is Montrell Newton Jr, and I will be interning here for the spring semester! I am originally from Miami, Florida, born and raised #305. You are probably asking why I moved from 90 degree weather to a place where it snows. Well, I decided to expand my horizons and pursue a degree at the University of Pittsburgh #H2P. I am a Resident Assistant at the university and a part of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. My long-term goal, is to open a hybrid facility consisting of a physical therapy clinic, performance center for athletes, as well as the general population.


Before I achieve that goal, I decided to enter the Clinical Exercise Physiology Masters program at Pitt. For my area of interest, I want to help people. I want to help educate the masses on health, and how to live a healthy life without making it difficult. I find it rewarding to help people achieve their goals, or assist people in different aspects of their lives. I decided to intern at Union Fitness because of the family environment it has, and also I believe the trainers here have a lot of knowledge that can help with my future endeavors. I am looking forward to meeting all of you and creating memories that will last a lifetime.


*Editors note, Montrell came to Pittsburgh to experience good football.

Intern Spotlight, Mikaela

Hello! My name is Mikaela, and I am one of the interns at Union Fitness this semester. I am technically in my junior year at Chatham University. I will be going onto graduate school for Occupational Therapy hopefully after this year. I am currently in my undergrad for Exercise Science, and I enjoy it very much. I love learning about different components of exercise and how to exercise properly to see the best results. Besides building strength, I find it very important to also have a healthy cardiovascular system and living a life with autonomy. Keeping a healthy body and mind can help take you places you may not be able to go otherwise. 


Besides learning, my interests include painting and cooking. I won first place in my states culinary competition and went on to place 16th in the nation when competing at nationals in DC. I competed representing Virginia, the state where I send all my important mail to and lived before coming to Pennsylvania for college. I lived in Ohio until 6th grade and then the rest of my time was spent in Virginia just outside of Richmond. Living in the south technically has taught me that I do not enjoy the heat and all the unnecessary sweat that comes with it. That was one of the main drives to going to school up north. That and I was recruited for Lacrosse at Chatham. I played lacrosse for all high school and then 2 years at Chatham. I retired due to academic taking over but I still love being active. 


My future goals, besides becoming an occupational therapist, consists of being a dog mom and starting a community outreach program. I currently am a loving fish mom of three. Boba is a bubble eyed goldfish, Blaine, like the Glee character, is a blue beta, and lastly the fish with no name, but is referred to as Baby by my roommates, is a mystery baby fish, I got as an accidental bonus with some aquarium plants I got. 


My community program that its totally copywrited, that is if you can copywrite something that benefits the community, is my take on a dollar store thrift store. My hobby, or addiction as my roommates and friends say, is going to the Goodwill outlet where items are pay by the pound. You can get some really nice things for almost no money at all. I love the search for prizes amongst basically trash and while most people will flip these items to make a profit, I want to find the good stuff, clean it up, and give it to the less fortunate for a dollar to 50 cents, because you know I must have some money to continue my addiction. I have found North face coats originally priced at $110 and getting it there would be probably like $3. With goodwill prices increasing due to the popularity of thrifting, it is hard for low-income families to get clothes and items they could get at goodwill for the cheap price’s goodwill used to promote. 


This may all seem silly and nothing to really do with my future career, but I want to thank the Union Fitness Staff for giving me the opportunity to learn and grow towards whatever my future holds. 


Thank you for reading about me and excited to see you at the gym during my exciting time at Union Fitness. 

Union Fitness End of The Summer Blog

After being fortunate enough to work with the staff and members at Union Fitness over the last 4 months I would like to say that I have come out as a much more well rounded person. Coming into Union Fitness I was starting my third internship over five years, and I honestly was not sure how much more there was for me to learn. I could not have been more naïve with that mindset. Every trainer at Union Fitness had a unique skillset and way they went about training  individuals and classes which allowed me to have several different prospectives and skillsets to learn from. Not only was the staff very interactive and enjoyed passing on their knowledge of strength training and physiological processes, they were always seeking to improve themselves and Union Fitness by enhancing their own knowledge in these areas through curriculum, experience, and each other. 


Another unique quality of Union Fitness is the connection the members and the trainers share. The members at Union have a devotion for bettering themselves that becomes contagious to the trainers they are working with. This is something from my experience that you do not find at every gym or training facility. Even with their success in building these relationships Curtis and Todd try to improve these experience and relationships by sponsoring bootcamps and special events such as comedy shows and whisky yoga. At the end of the day  Union Fitness is built on community which is why it is a such a fun environment to be a part of and also why the trainers and the gym itself will see so much future growth.

Goodbye to Intern Wyatt, or Wayne

While interning here, I was exposed to a whole new realm of knowledge. I got a taste of actually trying to program with some periodization and emergent blocks. I learned about adaptations that affect speed and condition. I learned the benefits of different lifts and turned around and tested them out on my own. For example, I would have never started pulling sumo deadlifts if it wasn’t for interning here. Curtis told me it can help with squatting, I said “say no more, I’m sold.” I learned to sumo and with little time I hit a PR. My squat kept increasing and I hit my goal weight. Also, my favorite part psychology, and this actually plays a role in exercising and in how some of the trainers program. In the beginning, I learned Strength gains are enhanced by psychological techniques by enhancing motivation (e.g., feedback, goal setting, and autonomy), which will also increase effort, and effort is closely linked to motor unit recruitment. Then as we got into the psychology lessons, we talked about self-determination theory. After going over it to jog my memory, I noticed a pattern with how Cody programs for athletes at Point Park Unversity and with classes in Powerful. The first one is autonomy, Cody gives the athletes two exercises to complete at a time. Then tells them to start where they want so the athletes feel as they are making the decision themselves. The second one is competent, all these exercises are within the athlete’s capabilities and can master quickly. The third one is relatedness, by being in a group setting it is easier for social interactions to take place. This is to hopefully make people become intrinsically motivated to work out which is the best kind of motivator. Don’t worry there is plenty more I learned but I won’t bore you with it. If you really want to learn more, just intern there! 


While interning here, everyone has helped me grow as a person. I started out as this quiet introvert who wasn’t too confident and comfortable with my coaching abilities. Now, I’m that talkative introvert who is now confident and comfortable with my coaching abilities. Of course, there are always things to improve on. As in the loudness of my voice is something I still struggle with. 


Wonder What I am doing next? I am moving back home to St. Louis and I will be attending graduate school at Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville (SIUE). I will be going for a Masters of Science in Kinesiology with a Specialization in Exercise and Sport Psychology. Also while in graduate school, I plan to become a personal trainer. Once school is over it will be time to become a sports psychologist. 


Well, I came in as Wyatt and now I’m leaving as Oil Rig and Wayne. I had an unbelievable time at Union Fitness and it is sad it’s coming to an end. Who knew you could actually wake up and enjoy going to work. Instead of making coworkers and friends, I made a family (I think). Don’t think I forgot about you members. You all have been awesome people and it was great to get to know all of you personally. 


Thank you and I will miss everyone at Union Fitness!!! 


-Stay gold, everyone, stay gold.

Wyatt’s Intern Experience at UF

My name is Wyatt and I am one of the interns at UF and as I am sure some of you know me by now, I go to school at Robert Morris University. I am majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Sports and a minor in Education. I have been here a little over a month now, and I feel like a stormtrooper that decided to try and become a Jedi master. I am sitting here trying to figure out how to turn the lightsaber on while everyone else is using the force to throw people around. 


The staff all know that exercise science is not my background, so they make sure they simplify things for me to understand (turn that lightsaber on). Some of you might be wondering, “Then why are you here?” Well, psychology and exercise science kind of go hand in hand. I say that because not too long ago I learned to increase maximum force and velocity; psychological techniques can help increase both. The psychological techniques that enhance motivation also increase effort, and effort is closely linked to motor unit recruitment. Another example of this is most people know that anxiety also plays a factor in performance. If you are going to hit a PR you will most likely experience cognitive and/or somatic state anxiety. By learning arousal regulation techniques, you can help keep anxiety at a level where you perform your best, and you can go on hitting those PRs. 


I plan to become a sports psychologist to help athletes mentally but learning the exercise science background gives me a whole other set of tools to use. When dealing with a team’s lack of progress, instead of a mental aspect creating the challenge, it could come down to the program they are on. This internship is very hands-on, so this experience is helping me come out of my introverted shell and become comfortable with coaching people. During the week, Anthony and I get to help out with training sessions, sometimes with college athletes or other times with a powerful class. Training athletes is a great opportunity for me because that is the area I want to start off working with: high school to college-age athletes. 


Since interning here, there has never been a dull moment. I wake up looking forward to coming in, learning, and hanging out with everyone. The staff here really knows their stuff and are diverse in the field of exercise science. I have never heard of a gym having former college strength and conditioning coaches, a physical therapist, a soon-to-be physician, a massage therapist, and someone who does research in exercise science. On top of that, they are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Union Fitness needs to adapt the old slogan from Olive Garden- “When you’re here, you’re family.” Since the start of my internship here, I feel that I have been accepted into a family of people motivated to help others and better their knowledge of exercise science. I feel lucky to be a part of it. If you ever want to talk and you do not find me in the office, I am probably doing the splits, hanging upside down, or swinging across the monkey bars. 

Meet Wyatt.

We are happy to introduce you to our newest intern Wyatt. If you see him around the gym say hello. Now I’ll let Wyatt introduce himself in his own words.


I am Wyatt Sloan and I am from St. Louis Missouri. I am a senior at Robert Morris University, majoring in psychology with a concentration in sports and a minor in education. Applied to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for graduate school for a master of science in kinesiology with a specialization in exercise and sport Psychology.


I am Interning at Union Fitness to get the experience and learn from all their trainers about the exercise science aspect. This will greatly help in the future as a sports psychologist because I will be able to mentally and physically help athletes perform better in their sport. If you do not see me in the gym, I am playing hockey, video games, or watching movies. Fun fact about me is I am flexible enough to do the splits and my shoulders can rotate around to make my elbows clap. 

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.