Tag Archives: motivation

Music and Motivation

Have you ever thought about what training in a gym would have been like through the 80s and early 90s? Many of us remember the days of using Walkmans and Discmans so we could hear our own jams while working out. Along with that came the annoyances of your CDs skipping, your tapes getting chewed up, going through tons of batteries, headphone cables getting in the way, and so on. Imagine what it was like even before portable music players, you would have to listen to what ever radio station the gym had on, eww! It has been known for quite some time now that music is associated with increasing work output while training , but what really happens when you are listening to your favorite tracks while lifting? Are there certain songs that are better for training than others? Is there a time that listening to music while training can be detrimental or make no difference at all? Let’s take a little closer look at music as a training stimulus. 

 

The most obvious effect, I think, we can intuitively figure out about music’s impact on training, is giving us a distraction to take our mind off how hard we are working. If we don’t think we are training as hard, it is likely we can delay the onset of fatigue. This has been confirmed already by several studies. Music not only lowers the rate of perceived exertion through distraction, but also can improve mood and increase arousal . Who wouldn’t think these are all good things before and while training. If we feel good, we train better, and if we don’t know we are tired, we train longer. However, if we look deeper into the type of exercise and the impact music has on it, there are some interesting findings. 

 

To my surprise, it has been found that when performing strength exercises to failure, self-selected music appeared to have no advantage over listening to no music at all. Although, in this same study, positive effects of self-selected music were found on the performance of explosive plyometric jumps . Perhaps what this may suggest is music has a different impact on your training depending on the duration of the effort. In this case, music has a greater impact on short explosive bouts of exercises in comparison to high repetition training. If this is the case, what is music’s impact on longer intervals of training such as long-distance cardio work? 

 

As stated earlier, it has been found that music can lower the rate of perceived exertion while training1, 2 but how does this occur? Is there actually a change at the physiological level in the body or does music merely work as a distraction? In a study where subjects were given fast rhythm, slow rhythm, and no music while performing 2 different anaerobic repeated sprint tests. What was discovered was the levels of blood lactate and heart rate where not impacted on not only training with and without music but also the tempo of music . Despite music not having an effect on the physiological aspect of training, studies have shown that soft slow music can improve cardiorespiratory performance when compared to no music at all or faster paced loud music . It was suggested that the slow tempo music allowed for a “distraction effect” from the stress caused by fatigue. I would also assume that slower tempo music helps set a better and slower pace for long distance training which would help increase the time till fatigue rather than altering anything at the physiological level to reduce the onset of fatigue. 

 

This information leads me to several conclusions about music’s effects on exercise. First off, music has a greater impact on exercises that are anaerobic (under 8-10 seconds) and aerobic (longer than 2 minutes) than it does on lactic training (20-90 seconds). This is shown by music’s improvement on anaerobic plyometric training and cardiorespiratory performance, but not on strength exercises to failure. Second, while the tempo of music does not seem to yet be studied in single bouts of explosive plyometric exercises, music tempo does have an impact on aerobic exercise by increasing the time to exhaustion through a “distraction effect” and possibly better pacing. The third and final point I would like to make about music and training is when music can actually be detrimental. An example would be when working on technique, whether that is on your own or you are coaching someone else. As noted earlier, music can produce a “distraction effect” therefore while learning something new or adjusting your technique music acts as cognitive interference and impacts your training goals. 

 

Music is sweet. We all like jamming our favorite tunes when we train and thank god it is so much easier to do now than back in the day. This only really skims the surface of music as a training stimulus though. Hopefully, this short write up gives a little insight into selecting music for training or not getting bent out of shape when you are getting a body building session in and it’s not your jams on the speakers, it won’t make as big of a difference as you think. To wrap this up, I’ll leave my go to training record. I thought about doing a top 3, but I felt like that was even harder than picking 1 single album. After much internal strife, I came up with Madball “Look My Way”. This album is certified to increase all your lifts 15%. Go to this blog post on our Instagram and let us and everyone else know what your go to album or song is for the gym.

 

 1 Anshel, M.H., & MarisiD.Q. Effects of Music and Rhythm on Physical Performance. Research Quarterly, 49: 109-113, 1978

 

2 Hayakawa, Y. Miki, H. Takada K. & Takana, K. Effects of Music on Mood During Bench Stepping Exercise. Precept Mot Skills 90: 307-314. 2000

3 Baigini, M.S. et al, Effects of Self-Selected Music on Strength, Explosiveness, and Mood. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 26(7): 1934-1938. 2012

4 Atan, T. Effects of Music on Anaerobic Exercise Performance. Biology of Sport 30(1): 35-39. 2013

5 Copeland, B.L. & Franks, B.D. Effects of Types and Intensities of Background Music on Treadmill Endurance. J. Sports Med. Phys. Fitness. 31: 100-103. 1991

6 Yamashita, J. et al, Effects of Music During Exercise on RPE, Heart Rate and the Autonomic Nervous System. J. Sports Med. Phys. Fitness. 46; 425-430. 2006

 

Training Update and the Benefit of Just Showing Up

Earlier this week, our General Manager Todd Hamer wrote a blog about his good friend who recently passed away and the importance of showing up, even at times when you may not feel like it. This can help those close to you in more ways than you might know. If you haven’t read it, be sure to slide over and give it a quick read. It may be just what you need to hear right now. Today, going along with what Todd touched on, I am going to discuss the importance of showing up for yourself. More specifically, the importance of just showing up to train, even when you don’t feel motivated.

 

If you’ve been training for any decent amount of time, then you have certainly experienced your share of a lack of motivation. When you were new to training, motivation was something that was much easier to come by. You had this vision in your head of what you wanted to accomplish, and woke up every day just waiting to be able to walk into the gym. Over time you realized that this is a very challenging journey filled with many ups, downs, and crossroads along the way. 

 

In today’s world, it can be easy to believe that if you aren’t moving forward then you aren’t making progress. Well I’m here to tell you that just showing up can lead to much progress and success. As humans, we cannot be full throttle at all times. Imagine driving your car as fast as it will go at all times. It won’t last very long. We are no different. If we are constantly pushing forward without pulling back on occasion, bad things will happen, and we may inhibit our ability to see through the road ahead. This is where it can be necessary to simply “just show up”. 

 

Being in cruise control at times is not a bad thing. It can help you reset, refocus, gain a new perspective, and analyze your current situation. This can all provide an opportunity for growth and progression in the future. Recently, I’ve just been showing up. Part of this is to help my training partners, members, and friends at the gym, and some of it is for me and my mental health. Although my routine is a bit different from what it typically would be, it is what I need for the time being in order to reset and rebuild for future opportunities and progress. Not just with lifting, but life as well.

 

Sample training week:

 

Day 1:

Pit shark goblet squat: 5×8 w/ 2 second pause

Leg press: 7x 20, 15, 12, 10, 12, 15, 20

Bulgarian split squat: 4×10 each leg w/3 second eccentric

GHR back extension: 4×15 w/2 second pause

Hanging leg raises: 4×15 (strict)

 

Day 2:

Bench press: 5×5 w/2 chains per side

Incline DB press: 3×20

Barbell tricep extension: 5×10 

Single arm rows: 5×10 each arm

TRX face pulls: 4×15 (slow and controlled)

 

Day 3:

SSB good mornings: 5×5

Banded RDL: 4×10 w/band around hips (3 second eccentric)

Bent over barbell rows: 5×10

Hammer curls: 5×12

Ab rollouts: 4×12

 

Day 4: Optional

Fatbell bench press: 10×10 w/60 seconds rest

Weighted dips: 5x 20, 15, 12, 10, 8

DB OH press: 4×10

Lat pulldowns: 5×12

Lying fatbell tricep extensions: 5×10

Happy Inauguration Day my Bumpiest of Friends!

For the next few weeks in our #Powerful class we will be focusing our training for the March Push Pull Charity Event. The goal is to improve our technique , strength and confidence in our bigger barbell movements; squat, bench & deadlift. We will then be using smaller movements to build muscle, improve body composition and have some damn fun! 

 

If you’re not interested in the Push Pull event, #Powerful will still be a badass class for you if you’re looking to train with a community, build confidence in the gym, have fun, push each other, and learn old & new exercises.

 

Come on out and join us and let’s crush some weights in 2021 and have some fun!

 

Check out the video on our social media to get a lil inside scoop on today’s training session. 

 

See you soon, 

 

CeJ

How to Get the Most from Your Gym and Your Community

One of the best parts about my job is the people I get to deal with everyday. At times it is the UF employees, and at times it is the members, yet everyday someone brings me a thought I must sit on for a few minutes.

 

Curtis Miller and I had a great talk recently and we began sounding like Grumpy Old Men. Back in my day we didn’t have fancy things like these kids do. OK maybe we didn’t sound that bad yet we were discussing our early years of lifting and how things have changed. From this thought we came up with some things that we felt could help every person who enters our gym.

 

Here is a short list of ways to get better and make a better community.

 

  1. Lose the headphones. We all know that you need the newest Drake single in order to do your set,  yet you can save that song for when you really need it. The rest of the time be a part of the gym, communicate with others, listen to other cues, ask questions and just be present.
  2. Spot someone. Often I see lifters in their own worlds and not noticing others lifting. Ask someone if they need a spot, this is how we used to find training partners.
  3. Work in or share equipment with someone new. I all too often see everyone at thier own station not taking advantage of someone else’s knowledge and experience also share your knowledge and experience.
  4. Ask questions. We are all here to help and serve you. So ask away. Did you know we have coaches at UF with decades of experience? Our coaches have worked with pro athletes from all major sports, competed at the highest level of lifting and spoken at multiple national and international conferences.
  5. Try something new. Everyone these days seems to have an internet coach. Some of this can be good and I’ve learned from some of these coaches. Sometimes this can a huge asset, other times this can prevent you from trying new things. See what someone else is doing, ask about the movement and give it a rip.
  6. When in doubt do something that is very challenging. Enough said.

 

This is our short list and I did not arrive at this on my own. Cody Miller, CeJ and Curtis all had a say in this list. Remember we are stronger than the sum of our parts.

 

Hamer

 

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!

End of 2020 Update

Here we are at the end of 2020. Nothing new can be said about this year so I won’t try. Yet I can give everyone an update as to where we are and where we are heading as a gym.

 

2021 Bootcamp with LEG1ON! 

We are starting 2021 off by doing a bootcamp with our friends from LEG1ON. This will happen Jan. 1, 2021 from 11-12 (maybe 12:30). This class will be free to everyone, so bring a friend and let’s have some outdoor fun! Sign up on MindBody.

 

Equipment Loan Program

For those of you who borrowed equipment over the last few weeks, please return the equipment by Saturday, Jan 2, 2021. When you return the equipment, please check in so we can check you off the list.

 

Return to Normal Schedule

UF will return to its normal schedule on Jan 4, 2021. This includes classes as well as all other gym operations. We will be requiring masks at all times. Please be respectful of those around you and continue to follow the mask protocol.For the rest of this week, our schedule is Dec. 31, 9AM-4PM, Jan 1, 9AM-4PM (we will be closed due to bootcamp from 10:30-12:30). Jan. 2 and 3 are regular weekend hours 9-4.

 

Plans for 2021.

One of our most popular programs in the past has been The Strength Project. We decided this year it was not appropriate to run this program. We are hoping to bring it back in late spring as a kick off to summer. We will continue doing smaller challenges until then. Our December challenge is wrapping up and we will post winners in our Newsletter.

 

This will be the final blog of 2020 and I want to thank everyone who is reading this. We all know it has been a strange year and we are proud of what we have done to try to help everyone get through this time. We will continue to try to do what we can to make the world a stronger, healthier, and smarter place as we move into 2021. Below is a list of organizations that we worked with this year. We will continue to look for partners in the region that make the world a better place.

 

Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh

Allegheny General Hospital

NorthSide Food Pantry

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Wounded Warrior

Urban Impact

 

We have some big plans in 2021 and have some big partners ready to join us, so stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Weekly Wrap Up

We must begin this wrap up with a HUGE THANK YOU to all of our members. We understand that 2020 hasn’t been an easy year. We have also been doing the best we can to keep everyone training and safe.

 

This week we have moved all training to our outdoor space. We will continue to follow all of the governors orders, while still giving you a safe place to train. In addition we are also offering 2 in person classes per day Monday-Friday as well as 2-3 virtual classes per day. These classes are a little different, we will offer three different types of classes. The first class is a traditional bodyweight class, the second will be with weights and the final will be an educational class.

 

In addition to all of these measures we are still loaning out equipment. Please come by and grab some equipment to keep your body moving during this holiday season.

 

Finally I personally want to wish you the happiest of holiday seasons. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanza and Happy New Year! This is the last week prior to Christmas and if you eat too many cookies, drink too much egg nog or don’t exercise as much as you should over the next few weeks, it’s ok. Enjoy the season and unless you are preparing for a show then you can stop counting your macros this week and just be in the moment.

 

Hours of operation for the next two weeks.

Dec 20th-Dec 23rd normal hours.

Dec 24th 9AM-4PM.

Dec 25th Closed.

Dec 26-Dec 30th normal hours.

Dec 31st & Jan 1st 9AM-4PM.

 

 

 

 

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. 

Monthly Challenge

For the month of December we are offering all of our members a chance to challenge yourself, as well as us here at UF. There will be 4 different options and scoring sheets are hanging outside of our cardio lab. With these challenges you can complete them in the gym or tag us on instagram and we will put your score up for you. The winner of each challenge will receive a free massage. For those of you who are not ready to come back to the gym we can save your massage for a later date. Here are the challenges.

 

Challenge 1, Erg 2k Challenge.

 

For this challenge the goal is to do as many 2K’s on the Erg (rower) as you can during the month. The rules are simple. Row 2000 meters and that is 1 point. Row 4000 that is 2 points  etc. If you row 3000 today and 3000 tomorrow that is still only 2, 2 k’s. So please be honest as we are on the honor system.

 

Challenge 2, Bike 3 mile Challenge. 

 

For this challenge you just have to ride 3 miles on an airdyne bike. Similar to the first challenge you will just be asked to do the ride, then record it. Also, similar to the first challenge this must be done in 3 mile increments.

 

Challenge 3, Ski Erg 2k Challenge.

 

Read challenge one and do the same thing on a ski erg.

 

Challenge 4 Pull Up Challenge.

 

This is the simplest challenge. The goal is to hit as many pull ups as you can in the month of Dec. These can be done anytime and anywhere. Just record how many you have done.

 

As I stated earlier the scoring sheets are posted in front of the cardio lab. Some of our staff will participate in these challenges as well. If you do any of these challenges at home just tag Union Fitness and we will add your score in for you. If you do anything here just record it on our score sheets.

 

Now let’s get back to training!