Tag Archives: Progress

It Goes Beyond the Gym

You’ve probably heard it before, “ you can’t outwork a bad diet.” I mean you can try but at some point you’ll either hit a plateau with your goals or you’ll start feeling “blah” and those are things that happen when either you’re not eating enough or you’re not fueling your body with the proper nutrients it needs to perform simple daily tasks.

 

If you’re an athlete within your respected sport or a member of Union Fitness coming in at 5:30PM to get bumpy with CJ in #Powerful, you’ve probably more than likely heard someone or our staff briefly mention anything in regards to nutrition. Not only do we want our clients to perform to the best of their abilities but we also want them to feel good in their everyday life. This all starts and ends with the basics of good nutrition. Good nutrition can be defined as eating whole and nutrient dense foods. Generally in a good diet we want to look for foods that contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbs, lean protein and healthy fats. These foods include, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and lean protein (when prepared with little to no saturated facts or added sugars/sodium).

 

So back to the all defining phrase, “you can’t outwork a bad diet.” For example, let’s use an early 30’s female, who works a full-time job, eats out a lot, workouts 1 hour a day and likes to enjoy a glass of wine before ending her evening – This would be what her day looks like.

 

6AM Wake-Up

 

Breakfast: breakfast sandwich from fast-food chain + coffee

Heads into work for 9AM

Lunch: chicken salad with ranch and a diet soda

Afternoon snack: greek yogurt with granola + water

Leaves work at 5PM

Takes CJ’s 5:30PM #Powerful

Dinner: burger and fries + glass of wine

 

Now let’s break this down a little, overall she’s not eating terribly but we can nit pick at a few things. First, she’s not eating enough and more specifically she’s not eating enough whole and nutrient dense foods. Secondly, her fast-food breakfast sandwich, diet soda and a burger/fries will eventually leave her feeling the “blah” sensation at some point (if her eating is consistently like this). Her water intake is also very low and my overall observation is she just needs to replace a few things that would fuel her body better.

 

Let’s take a look at the same woman but with a better understanding of eating well.

 

6AM Wake-Up

 

Breakfast: glass of water, breakfast wrap (homemade) + coffee

Heads into work for 9AM

Snack: greek yogurt with granola/blueberries + water

Lunch: glass of water, chicken salad with balsamic dressing and a soda water

Afternoon Snack: Protein bar, banana + glass of water

Leaves work at 5PM

Takes CJ’s 5:30PM #Powerful

Post-Workout: Protein shake + granola bar

Dinner: Seafood pasta + glass of wine

 

After she has learned the basics of good nutrition she implemented a few things, increasing her water intake, increasing her protein intake, choosing drink options that are healthier and making sure her meals are portioned and opting for more homemade meals and whole foods. She is eating more and fueling her body for the simple things like daily tasks whilst getting the nutrients she needs to help her get through a PM workout.

 

The goal here is to understand that regardless if you want to gain muscle or lose weight, you’re going to need to eat but what your nutritional plan looks like is going to be specific to your own goals and your genetic makeup. While we’re at it too, diet culture has long engrained in us that we need to eat less to lose weight and thats not necessary the case (but thats another blog post for another time).

 

It all comes down to fueling your body for daily life and working out. So, whatever your goals may be keep in mind whole and nutrient dense foods are the answer, shop the perimeter of your grocery store and allow yourself to eat the things you love in moderation.

 

Much love,

 

J

My Five

I feel like its been a hot minute since I last wrote a blog and whilst I normally have something to say in regards to nutrition, training or even mental wellness today I’m taking a different approach. I’m going to throw at you five things I cannot possible live without, this is in regards to every aspect of my life and a little “get to know me” type of post if you’re new to Union Fitness and have no idea who that blonde chick in the Birkenstock’s is.

 

My Five

 

Coffee: I’m a huge advocate for letting your body wake up naturally rather then jump out of bed and literally run for the freshly made pot waiting for you on the counter. However, there is nothing like it when I take that first sip in the morning, I truly do go to bed thinking about that initial cup of coffee. I will argue that Starbucks is consistently just okay and I’d much rather opt in for a small business brew that has been locally sourced.

 

Breakfast Food: I don’t know about any of y’all but I could eat breakfast at all hours of the day, I mean its basically an excuse to eat dessert at 8AM in the morning. I’d say my favorite breakfast meal that I don’t normally get to eat would be a crepes with a Nutella spread, bananas + strawberries doused in maple syrup (because I’m also Canadian, duh).

 

The Gym: Pretty sure a lot of people feel me here, especially post-quarantine I realized how much of my socializing in life comes from the gym atmosphere. Not only is it a huge hobby of mine it’s also my job and I’m very thankful to be able to do what I love on a day to day basis. The gym has allowed me to grow immensely over the past six years and within the last three, getting more involved in the competitive aspect I’ve truly learned how important it is to love the process and love the day in/day out mentality.

 

Leggings: I’m getting pretty basic here with my top five but if I’m being real with you, I own two pairs of jeans and thats 100% the truth. Leggings are my work, workout and life choice of clothing and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I despise clothes that are tight and especially during specific times of the year sometimes I really just hate clothes and would much rather live on a private island so I could wear a bikini all day long.

 

Ice Cream: Hands down would do absolutely anything (that is legal) for Ben & Jerrys. I’m a fan of chocolate Halo Top but lets be honest, if I’m going to have ice cream I’m going to eat the real stuff, even if a lot of dairy hurts my stomach. I’m just a huge ice cream girl, I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and a whole pint in one sitting, truly wondering if maybe I could handle another. Name a better ice cream company, I’ll wait….

 

As generic as my answers are they are so truthful, my life is super boring and primarily revolves around work, training, eating and sleeping but honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way. So, now that I’ve told you all my five, I’m nominating my fellow co-worker Cayt Neff to white about her five things she can’t live without!

 

Much love,
J

Bootcamp and Beers

Great people of Union,

 

I come to you electrified with great tidings of events to come! We are so happy to see you all safely return to Union and want to do a little something something to celebrate our members, friends of members and our community with two upcoming events.

 

The first event will start your 4th of July off with a BOOM! Here at UF’s outdoor location we will have an hour long, fun filled Charity Super Class led by Curtis, CeJ and a few special guests coaches. The class will start at 9am, we will toss some weights around, jump, throw medicine balls, carry bars, sprint and much much more. So please feel free to bring a friend, brag about this event on your social media and rock your best 4th of July workout gear. We will be taking any and all donations for………..Wounded Warrior.

 

Our next event “UF & ACB Bootcamp & Beers” will be held at Allegheny City Brewing July 11th from 11am-12pm. A few of your favorite UF Coaches have paired up with ACB to bring you a Saturday morning get you right bootcamp class, that any and all our welcomed, you just have to be 21 or older to enjoy some tasty libations after the class. If you are interested in this class please just give us a heads up or surprise us and show up, no matter what we will be ready to get bumpy then safely cheers some glasses afterwards. We will be asking for canned food items to donate to our local food bank, no money for the class is needed, just a positive attitude and your smiling faces!

 

Thank you for making UF so strong and building a community.

 

Cheers,

 

CeJ

Understanding the Basics of a Training Program: Part 1

Designing or following a training program can be challenging in its own ways. Different words, numbers, and exercises, all have a specific purpose and need to be incorporated correctly. Today we are going to go over a few of the major aspects of a training program that will benefit anyone, regardless of experience level or goals.

 

Main movement:

 

The main movement is the first movement of the day after completing your warm up. This will consist of a squatting, pressing, or deadlifting variation, and sometimes can also consist of a power variation including the snatch or clean. This movement is the priority of the day and will dictate the rest of the training session. It is important to understand that the main movement should demand a great deal of focus and dedication. These are the movements that are the foundation of your training program, and require the most attention to detail.

 

Assistance movements:

 

Assistance work is directly intended to “assist” the main movement. If you have a very noticeable weakness that is showing through your main movement, then your assistance exercises should be selected accordingly in order to correct that weakness. Assistance exercises are typically in the form of variations of the main movement, and should be performed once the main movement is finished. For example, If your main movement is a barbell back squat, but you noticed that you were getting loose when coming out of the bottom, then your assistance movement could be something along the lines of a paused squat, with an emphasis on keeping full body tension and positioning.

 

Accessories:

 

Accessory exercises should come later in the workout and are intended to build the areas that are used to perform the main movement of the training session. They usually come in the form of isolation or “bodybuilding” exercises such as dumbbell work, machines, and bodyweight variations. Think of these as your shield of armor. They are intended to “bulletproof” your body by building muscle and staying injury free by developing overall balance.

 

Volume:

 

Volume is the measurement of the total amount of work performed. It is typically calculated in the form of sets x reps x weight. Tracking volume can be very important in the overall effectiveness of your training program. If your total volume is too high, then you might have a hard time recovering from session to session, or at worst, it could lead to injury. If your total volume is not enough, then you will have trouble getting the stimulus needed to progress. Keep an eye on your volume, see how you feel and how you respond, and make adjustments as needed.

 

Intensity:

 

Generally, training intensity refers to the amount of effort that you are putting into whatever movement or exercise that you are performing. When performing a barbell movement, intensity refers to the amount of weight or “load” that is being lifted. We often see this written in the form of weight, or in a percentage of a one rep max. Like volume, intensity is also very important to keep an eye on. The point is to produce the necessary amount of stimulus in order to acquire progression. Too much intensity too often and you risk over-training and injury. Too little and you risk a lack of progress.

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 as we dive in a little deeper.

 

 

State of the Union

We have now been closed for just over two months. Like many of you we can’t wait to return to the gym and Nova Place for some lifting, coffee as well as food and libations from Federal Galley. We still do not know when we will be re-opening, yet we are doing all we can to prepare for when that does happen. I wanted to write this post to tell all of you what we have been doing to prepare. We have some exciting things on the horizon and when we do re-open we will be ready to do more to help each and every one of you.

 

Expansion.

 

The expansion that we have been working on is moving forward. The work is almost done and the floor and outdoor turf will be down in two weeks. The equipment from elitefts is going to start arriving soon. When this space opens we will have more outdoor space than indoor space. We will also have garage doors that open to the turf. In the age of Covid-19 it will give us the opportunity to train without being stuck indoors. 

 

Cleaning.

 

We have increased our cleaning in the facility. This began before the shut down and will continue when we are able to re-open. We will continue with hourly wipe downs as well as our night crew disinfecting the entire facility. We have also had the ceilings and overhead ducts cleaned during this shut down.

 

Redefining who we are.

 

We have spent time doing discussing what we want to be and how we want to best service our members. It is important that we remember during this process that we want to be a part of the community and a gathering place for a diverse group of peoples to arrive and become better versions of theirselves. With this in mind we have set up a meeting with outside organizations to help us serve our clients better.

 

Following safety guidelines.

 

We have yet to receive safety guidelines from the state on how we can safely re-open. To be proactive we have reviewed Ohio’s safety guidelines and we are prepared to open with these guidelines. While we understand that Ohio’s guidelines are not going to be the same as PA’s we  are being prepared based upon the best information that we have available. The moment PA announces their guidelines we will review those and update ours to match. We want to make sure that you have a great and safe experience at UF and will do all we can to make this happen. 

 

In addition to these guidelines we are working closely with Faros properties to make sure that we are doing everything in accordance with the state, county and city to keep our facility safe. 

 

We appreciate each and everyone of you and hope to see you very soon.

 

Todd Hamer

Banishing the Summer Bod Myth

It’s here, y’all!!!

It’s something we’ve all been anxiously waiting for through months, treacherously cold, snowy, and blustery months. Yeah, it did technically snow last week but SPRING IS OFFICIALLY HERE. And Spring means Summer is basically here too. And Summer means bathing suits, beaches, the Bucco’s, beers & barbecues!

Summer can also bring the harsh realization that maaaaaaybe you’ve put on a few winter hibernation pounds. With that realization begins the Internet splurging, looking for ideas and last ditch efforts on how to achieve that ideal “Summer Bod”. We all know the image that comes to mind too— gorgeously tan with chiseled abs and a rock hard, toned body, glistening with summer dew morning mist.

Let me be the first to say it— We MUST banish this perfect “Summer Bod” myth! This unrealistic expectation of ourselves to somehow transform into an Instagram Fitness Model/God/Goddess overnight should be forever banned! Instead, I propose to shoot for a healthy lifestyle that you can maintain throughout the year!

Here are 3 easy ways to help you banish the Summer Bod myth:

1. Look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I accept and love my body”.

Don’t skip this step! Self-acceptance is the best & fastest route to a better you. A healthy life starts with a healthy mind and attitude. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel once you begin to accept yourself just as you are.

2. Set year-round realistic goals and aspirations for yourself.

Whether it’s to run a local 5K, be able to squat your bodyweight or to simply be able to function through day to day routines, set a goal (and a reward) that is both achievable and realistic. And don’t feel the need to stop at just one goal, keep a list of things you want to accomplish and a realistic time frame to get them done.

3. Find a way to make fitness fun!

Not everyone loves to snatch a barbell over their heads. Not everyone loves to run. Not everyone loves to spin. And that’s ok! Find something you do love, something that makes you feel accomplished or something that fills you with joy (or at least perhaps the least amount of dread!). Haven’t found it yet? Just keep searching, I promise there’s something out there with your name on it.

Here at Union Fitness, we know living a healthy lifestyle year-round isn’t easy! So we are here for you step by step, class by class, meal by meal, and goal by goal.

Dolce Diet Week 2: CHEATER

Dolce Diet Week 2: CHEATER

 

Week 2:

 

Change is hard.  Ok, so I have a confession. I’m about to be as honest as Usher in the early 00’s right now. You know Eco Bistro right? Well on Thursday’s they have a Pittsburgh steak salad special. Although I grew up in Pittsburgh, I don’t have too many distinct Pittsburgh characteristics. I don’t speak Pittsburghese. I can barely name the three rivers. I’ve never had an Iron City beer. I’m not a Steelers fan, or Penguins, or what’s our other team again? BUT— I LOVE, and I’m talking an unhealthy-obsession-type-LOVE of French-fries on my salads. Lots of them. The more the better. I embrace this part of my Pittsburgh heritage wholeheartedly. Anyway, back to my confession. On Thursday, I broke from the Dolce Diet to indulge in one of those glorious Pittsburgh salads, with extra fries. (GASP!) The worst part? My coworkers managed to get photographic proof (see below). I was caught red handed.

So yeah, I had something not so healthy. I “cheated” on my diet. Did I punish myself with endless, sweaty hours on the treadmill? Nope. The elliptical? Nope. Did I starve myself for the rest of the day to make up for it? Not a chance. Did I at least berate myself a little bit, maybe lament at my inability to stick to the plan? Never. What did I do then? I smirked at my coworkers and enjoyed my French-fries topped with lettuce. The end.

You see, if you know me or have ever come to one of my classes, you hear me talk about balance a lot. And not just necessarily in yoga poses when we balance on our heads. It applies to life too, including our well thought out diet and training plans. Balance is key because we are HUMANS, and we are vastly imperfect. We can’t always stick to the perfect plan. We can’t always be perfect parents or perfect friends or perfect exercisers. We can, however, balance it all out at the end. So, if you had something unhealthy, balance it out with some extra veggies. If you lost your temper and yelled at your kids, give them some extra kisses and snuggles. If you thought negatively about yourself, look in the mirror and say something kind.

I strive for balance but when days like this Thursday (read: French Fry Indulging) roll around, it’s important to leave the guilt and judgement out of it. There is no space in the Dolce Diet, or my life, for demeaning thoughts or feelings of shame. Practice kindness. Practice balance. So, for now, I’m back to my regularly scheduled Dolce Diet plan as I try not to tip the scales too far into French-fry land…until next Thursday, then all bets are off!