Tag Archives: powerful

Powerlifting Adventures With Sky CeJ…(more importantly Sky)

To my most excellent Dudettes & Dudes,

 

Skylyn & I are beginning our powerlifting meet prep for the 2021 Iron City, Open and we want to share our adventures with you! On this 12 week journey we will show our training, go to meals, technique and cues we’re working on, recovery, the excitement of wrapping our knees and all of our nonviolent fist fights  & verbal screeches in between.

 

Just a quick brush up, a powerlifting meet. Meets usually start in the morning and go to late afternoon, so bring your snacks and maybe some caffeine. Women and men are broken down into weight classes and compete in their flights. The lifter will get three attempts to lift their maximal weight in the Squat, Bench & Deadlift (in that order). There are some commands and rules you have to follow, such as proper depth on the squat, a press command and not lifting your tush off the bench on the bench press and to lockout and hold your deadlift until the down command, to list a few. You add up to total weight of your top 3 successfully completed lifts and that is your total for the day. Remember at the end of the day, it’s a competition against yourself and really just to have fun tossing some weight around.

 

This week, we will be building our blueprint plan of attack for the next 12 weeks with some main goals being, build strength, movement efficiency and increase confident in the Squat, Bench & Deadlift. Our plans will be similar yet a bit different to address our specific needs and improve our weaknesses. For example, Sky may be able to handle more volume and frequency (reps/sets & amount of days/times performing a exercise during the week) than I would. So she may have an extra squat & bench session or a few more sets and reps in her program. Also most days we won’t be able to train together and will have to utilize different equipment and that is ok and we will make it work! So hold on to your butts, ask us some questions as we go and lets see where this ride takes us!

 

Be most excellent to one another!

 

CeJ

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

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.

 

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

Outdoor Training, Online Classes, and Trying to Do What We Can

Now that we have had a weekend to fully grasp the new orders from our state government I would like to give everyone an update as to what we are doing. Our goal is to follow all rules and regulations,  while doing the best we can to serve each and everyone of you. I have listed here how we are trying to do this in these unique times.

 

  1. We are offering outdoor activities to the best of our abilities for all of our members. Our turf area is mostly covered and we are going to do our best to keep it warm and snow free.
  2. We are offering online classes for free via instagram. We decided against using zoom as we don’t want to charge anyone for this service. So please log on and do some training with us. We have broken the classes into four categories. 1. Bodyweight class. 2. Class with weights. 3. Educational class (this will be more lecture based).      4. Yoga. Please feel free to sign up for any of these.
  3. We are loaning equipment up until the week that we will be permitted to re-open.
  4. We are spending this time reviewing our classes and schedules to best serve our members.
  5. We are also moving and cleaning under, over, and around all equipment. When we re-open we hope to be the cleanest gym on earth.
  6. While operating our normal hours we will be closing the outdoor training area from 6-7 AM&PM for powerful class. Anyone who is interested in taking this class we will upgrade you for the next 3 weeks free of charge.
  7. We are offering a 25 dollar 3 week membership to anyone who belongs to another gym. The one condition is that you keep your gyms membership. We do not want to take members. We understand that we are very fortunate to have our outdoor space, and want to offer people a place to train if they currently don’t have one.

 

This is our list as of now. As with everything we do we are always open to hear what you have to say. If there is anyway that we can serve you during this shut down please reach out. As stated early we will follow all the state rules and regulations, and will still do what we can to offer you a great place to train.

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. 

KISS in the Age of HIT

KISS is it. No not the band. I know CeJ looks like he could be a member of the band circa 1977, yet let’s be honest here, they only have one good song. Now that I have alienated most of the Yinzers who love KISS, let’s talk about training. KISS is an acronym for Keep It Simple Stupid. This is one of the best things I did as a strength coach to improve my coaching and my athletes.

 

How many periodization models can you name? Conjugate, concurrent, western, tri-phasic, block or even 531. The confusion in training can be too much for many people. I know I often made this mistake. I was speaking to our own Cody Miller the other day about how often I have over-complicated my programming (for myself and my athletes). While I have never been a huge fan of HIT training as a year-round training style, I do believe we can learn a lot from these people. Look at Marty Gallagher, Dr. Ken Leistner, Mike Mentzer or even Arthur Jones.

 

HIT

 

For those of you unfamiliar with this style of training, it is simple, short, and hard. Even the great Dorian Yates used many of HIT’s methods to build his impressive physique. Dorian was known for having one of the best backs in the history of bodybuilding. Yet his secret to training was simplicity. HIT stands for High Intensity Training (in their case intensity is used as a mindset not % of 1 rep max). HIT training sessions are generally short with low total sets and most sets being taken to concentric failure or beyond. Training can be done as often as 5 times a week but generally, it is done 2-4 times per week.

 

I am not advocating to change your regimen to entirely HIT training, but I am claiming that too many overthink their training and do more thinking than working. I even look at Dr. Micheal Yessis’s 1×20 program as a continuation of HIT training. The difference is Yessis doesn’t train the athlete to fail. Yet it’s still one hard set of work and then moves on to the next exercise. This style of training does have its place in the gym and should not be ignored.

 

Moral of the story

 

When in doubt, train harder. Over my two decades in the iron game, I have seen too many people searching for the answer when the answer is more hard work. Build some sweat equity and push yourself to somewhere you have never been. I know I don’t have the answer yet I know hard work is never wrong.

 

– Todd Hamer

Weekly Wrap Up

Happy Friday Union fam, it’s been a great week here at the facility and going into the weekend we have a handful of things planned for our members and clients. But first a slight recap from myself (Jocelyn):

 

I can only speak for myself but I know the rest of our staff would agree, getting to spend our time with all of you is a privilege none of us take lightly. We all got into this field because we enjoy guiding people along their own fitness journeys and with that being said it is truly one of the few reasons that gets me out of bed in the morning. Now, some days are harder than others obviously but sometimes all I need is great one hour coaching session to get those endorphins going again, if you’ve taken any of my classes you know I’m always dancing and cracking really bad jokes.

 

On Monday’s and Fridays I coach my class MOVEment which is a slight play off of the CrossFit programming I have grown to love and what got me to enjoy working out. It’s fun for me to come up with workouts and watch my classes run through them, you’ll always leave a MOVEment feeling like you got a solid hard workout.

 

With classes still gaining traction during this pandemic I’ve had some great opportunities to get to know clients in classes one on one. When I first started here at Union back in January I was a fresh face and then the pandemic hit and we were all forced through virtual connection. Luckily social media in that respect was a game changer and when we came back, seeing some faces I haven’t seen in a long time made me so happy. 

 

I might be biased but Cardio Lab might be one of my favorite classes to program for, my Tuesday crew is about the same every week and they have all come to expect the same thing from me, a hard workout (but they secretly love it). I’m sure they all come to listen to my Halsey inspired playlists and my terribly awful dance moves, I know I need to work on them guys.

 

If you’re around this weekend, come take a Friday evening MOVEment with me at 6PM for a great grindy conditioning piece or hangout with me on Saturday. I’ll be here at Union for the Kabuki Open and going over to Allegheny City Brewery to hangout while CJ and Grayson coach some of you all through our Bootcamp and Boo’s!

 

So, if you’re free come hangout, have a beer and enjoy a (fingers-crossed) beautiful day!

 

Much love Union fam,

 

Jocelyn

Curtis’s Training Log

I am currently 2 weeks out from my next powerlifting meet. It has been one year since I stepped on the platform. As far as my training goes, one of the best things that happened over this past year was forced downtime. For 10 weeks, I was unable to train with any sort of actual equipment. During that time, I was confined to my garage with only a few resistance bands, some cinderblocks, and 2 bags of rice, that’s it. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, my body was hurting and in need of a break from lifting. This was the first time in the 12 years that I have been training and took more than a week off of any barbell training, that’s 12 years of putting a bar on my back and in my hands almost every single week. We never realize it at the time, but it adds up and can accumulate a great deal of fatigue when not addressed.

 

When those 10 weeks of quarantine ended, I was mentally and physically refreshed and ready to get back into training. My body felt great, my mind was clear, and I was more motivated than I have been in a very long time. After a couple of months of getting back into the grove, I picked a meet, put a plan together, set my goals, and got to work. With the help of my training partners, I am currently feeling the strongest and healthiest that I ever have.

 

Listed below is a layout of my last 3 training sessions. One for squat, one for bench, and one for deadlift.

 

Day 1: Heavy squat:

 

Competition squat: Worked up to a top single at 755lbs.

Belt squat machine: 5 plates per side: 4×10

Leg extensions: 50lbs: 4×15

Leg curls: 50lbs: 4×15

Ab rollouts: 3×15

 

Day 2: Heavy bench:

 

Competition bench: Worked up to a top single at 425.

Competition bench: Backdowns: 345lbs: 3×2

Flat bench fatbell press: 120lbs: 4×10

Chest supported row: 90lbs: 4×10

Dead stop skull crushers: 125lbs: 4×10

Band pull aparts: Red band: 5×20

 

Day 3: Last heavy deadlift:

 

Competition deadlift; Worked up to a top single at 765lbs.

Bent over barbell rows: 185lbs: 4×10

Cable lat pulldowns: 200lbs: 3×12

Leg extensions: 50lbs: 3×15

Leg curls: 50lbs: 3×15

 

My goal this meet is to break a 2000lb total. This is something that I have been working towards for a long time. Anything can happen on the day of the meet, the only thing that I can do is prepare to the best of my abilities and trust in myself and everything that I have done up to this point. The rest has already been decided.