Tag Archives: member spotlight

Member Spotlight

Union, we love our members so much it’s time we show you off and have CeJ climb the incline like King Kong, and shout your presence from atop of the highest point of Mt. Washington!

 

This week we’d like to shout out Josh Conroy .

 

Ladies & Gents, here is the what is about, Conroy in his own words.

 

“What’s up everyone! My name is Josh, I’m 34 and I was born and raised in Pittsburgh and currently live in Oakdale. I work for Colussy Chevrolet in Bridgeville (which is the oldest Chevy dealership in the country) where I work in the service department.

 

Why I started training is like most people, I found my health declining due to being extremely lazy with poor eating habits. Shortly after turning 30 I thought I had a heart attack, thankfully I didn’t but it was what I needed to light a fire and make a change.

 

My father was really the reason behind me getting into lifting. He was as strict as you can be with nutrition and training. He always wanted me to better myself and always looked out for my health. So I joined the gym down from his house so we could train together and I could follow his guidance, unfortunately he passed away too soon due to cancer. He always told me to find something I’m passionate about and I did that with powerlifting.

 

After about a year of weight training, I stumbled into powerlifting. I started to bench press, squat then deadlift. I really enjoyed it. I became more serious with wanting to progress and I joined a dedicated powerlifting gym in Pittsburgh at Celli’s Fitness. I learned to love training, being strong and seeing what the human body is capable of. After they closed to move to a new location I found myself looking for a place to train as I was prepping for USPA Nationals and I decided Union was the place for me. Since joining Union I feel like I found a home, everyone here welcomed me with open arms and that was greatly appreciated as I’m someone who hates change. While I love training and competing, I have met some of the best people in the gym and consider many of them family.

 

My favorite lift is forever changing and really depends on the day, currently I’d say deadlifts would be my favorite. Some lifts I’ll never forget are my first 3 plate bench and first 600 pound squat and deadlift. Some of my training goals would be 405 bench, 650 squat and 700 deadlift. But the main goal is to stay healthy and continue making progress so I can get back on the platform later this year.

 

If I were to build my ultimate celebrity training crew I think I’d definitely have Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Rock, and Hulk Hogan brother!

 

My friends would describe be as someone who is loyal, sarcastic, personable and selfless.

 

Being a bigger guy it’s obvious I like to eat. If I could eat one type of food for the rest of my life it would definitely be hibachi!

 

Since I’m a larger dude I’d say if I were any piece of equipment at Union I’d be the leg press, monolift or belt squat.

 

My PR song would be BMF by Rick Ross! This song always gets me hyped.

 

If you ever see me in the gym come say hi and feel free to reach out if you need a hand!”

 

Thank you Big Josh Conroy for being a great member of our gym community!

 

Cheers,

CeJ

Member Spotlight

Here at UF we love our members so much it’s time we show you off and have CJ climb the incline like King Kong, he will shout your presence from atop of the highest point of Mt. Washington!

 

This week we’d like to shout out Jessie Theisen.

 

Ladies & Gents, here is Jessie in her own words.

 

“I grew up in central California (where the cows overpopulate the people) in a small town called Visalia, however, I was born at Fort Bragg, NC (military brat- dad was 20 years 82nd Airborne and mom a marine). After spending the majority of my childhood in central CA, at 19 I picked up and moved to LA in 2008 where I lived there intermittently through 2016 (moved to PGH with my then boyfriend, now husband summer of 2016). Of my past lives, the most interesting is probably the opportunity I had as a professional makeup artist working in film, runway, magazines, commercials and doing everything from beauty makeup to special effects/gore (the latter was the most fun)! I was a professional makeup artist for the 8 year stint I was in LA.

 

For my current work, I am a team lead for a group of loan analysts at a financial tech company called LendingHome (they specialize in mortgages for people who fix and flip houses)- my team helps process that product, attempting to locate any process/design flaws and work with our engineering team to better perfect it. In short, it’s a fancy customer service job. I love the people I work with and can’t imagine being anywhere else anytime soon.

 

My training background really starts with Union Fitness. I was never the sporty or athletic type- I was a band nerd who could play Sweet Child O’ Mine on 5 different instruments while marching in a god-awful wool suit (feather and all). I would always strive to find ways to be active, though; I just never really landed on what worked for me. Took everything from cardio barre, to pilates, yoga, I just didn’t fit in any of those spaces. My drive and motivation quickly waned until I found UF, where they encouraged people of all athletic abilities to pick up a weight, and put it down, and pushed to do the same the following day/week, only heavier. THIS.WAS.MY. SHIT. Attending the #powerful classes on a regular was therapeutic for me. There were stents where I was going 5-6 days a week, sometimes two-a-days. It wasn’t even just the workouts anymore, it was the community of people who went to the same classes, continuing to build each other up and cheer each other on in their small(or big) victories. A place of misfits that I could call my own; UF is home to where I’ve made some of my closest friends. I’m grateful to the atmosphere it has cultivated and maintained from its origination until now.

 

The fun shit:

  1. If I could eat one food every day it’d be a cold-cut turkey sandwich (you’re free to DM me on particulars), I’m a fanatic and those close to me know it, there’s a certain consistency to the bread, color combo of the mayo and mustard together, a particular type of ground oregano- there’s an art to it, I promise; to which I must add, PITTSBURGH! Stop heating that shit up and putting fries on it…. STOP THAT SHIT! STOP IT RIGHT NOW!
  2. If I was a piece of equipment at Union, I’d probably be the EliteEFTS PRO, short monster mini band (yeah, the small green one) – functional, small, sturdy, pain in the ass.
  3. I’m competing in my first ever bodybuilding competition this May 8th. Signed up last March a week before Covid shut everything down- (original show meant to be last Oct). I have gone through 2 cuts now, and 2 refeeds. What was originally meant to be a 6 month prep will be 14 after all is said and done. I’m f’n jazzed to get on stage and have one of them cold-cuts mentioned under #1 right after!
  4. The most under-rated candy is Chewy Sprees.
  5. I have only ever owned pitbull dogs as pets; they’re the biggest derpsters and I love everything about them. I have a black and white named Trouble; I would die for her.
  6. Oh, fave exercise:  deadlifts.”

 

Thank you, Jessie for being a great member of our community!

 

Cheers,

CeJ

Member Spotlight; Wardy

Union, we love our members so much it’s time we show you off and have CJ climb the incline like King Kong, and shout your presence from atop of the highest point of Mt. Washington!

 

This week we’d like to shout out Ward Stanford.

 

Ladies & Gents, here is the what is about, Wardy in his own words.

 

“I grew up in northeastern PA near Binghamton, NY. I’m not a native Yinzer but I moved here after living in a few different cities in PA, NY, and NJ to settle. I’m a Talent Manager for a Water Engineering company so I’m basically in charge of hiring people and keeping them happy. I’ve been doing Human Resources for my whole career. I’ve been training pretty seriously for about 6 years, I started doing some resistance training as part of a weightloss journey. I was obese from childhood through my later 20’s and decided after being over 400 pounds that I needed to change my life. I fell in love with the strength training side of exercise because it was truly a way to build myself and add something to my life that made me feel more confident. I still train that way to this day, focusing on just being muscular, strong and healthy for myself, I don’t compete in anything, I just train for me. I chose Union Fitness because it seemed like the best environment for me to do that. The variety of equipment and implements and supportive atmosphere made it easy for me to feel like I had a safe place to train anyway I wanted to and explore areas of fitness that you can’t really do in a gym with more specialization.  I love deadlifting and doing weighted carries for examples and finding a gym where I can do both of those things, inside or outside, and also use a treadmill and a preacher curl machine is extremely rare.”

 

A little more about Ward:

 

  1.  If Ward could lift with any President it would be Teddy Roosevelt. Our lift would be bully.
  2. Favorite PR song is Slaves and Bulldozers by Soundgarden. If you time the lift during the high note an angel lifts the bar for you.
  3. I have an entire Wall in my home dedicated to David Bowie.
  4. Shorts can never be short enough for me.
  5. Ward loves spicy food and will always try the ridiculous hot thing on a menu that will inevitably make him cry.
  6. Ward is a believer in the importance of a bigger picture of health so he advocates for therapy, meditation, stress management, philosophy, and mindfulness to support all of the physical and nutritional things we do for ourselves.
  7. If Ward was a character on a tv show he would be some combination of Patrick from Schitt’s Creek and Terry from Brooklyn 99.
  8. Ward is a much nicer in person than he looks, He is much friendlier than his face would seem
  9. Thank you Ward for being a great member of our gym community!

 

Cheers,

CeJ