Tag Archives: Success

Big Dawg or Little Dawg; We All Just Dawgs

Can you believe we are already almost through the whole month of January?! Time doesn’t feel like a real thing anymore if you ask me. Well anyways, speaking of time, I would like you to take some time to think about where you are currently at in this point of your life. Whether it be where you’re at with your fitness goals, work goals, family goals, anything. Now that you’ve taken a few moments to reflect and think, I want to bring something to your attention. This blog right here is your sign to get out there and do something that takes you out of your comfort zone and maybe even scares you a little bit. We all seem to have a set routine and become comfortable with it, whether it’s with training, work, or just daily life in general. It’s important to spice things up and to not be afraid to be scared. 

 

When I think of getting out of my comfort zone, I personally think of my experience as a new lifter here at UF. Coming in to UF, I had experience with Olympic weightlifting through CrossFit and also with training the general population, but I had never really taken the time on my own to learn how to improve my lifts overall. I was so used to my coaches always telling me what to do when it came to training. Since I’ve joined the team here, I have entered a whole new world. I was a little intimidated by the Strength Lab at first, as it is usually filled with big, strong, and knowledgeable powerlifters and people who warmup with weights that are my maxes or maybe even twice that. I would honestly kind of avoid it and only go during the slower times the first few weeks that I was here. I just didn’t feel like me and my noodle arms would fit in with the crowd there. I started to hop in and train with some of the other staff members (thanks CeJ and Hamer) and started to talk with some of the people that always train back there and with the new members that would be there as well. I faced my fear of intimidation and learned that training in the Strength Lab and talking with the staff and members who’s training experiences vary largely are things that will actually help me grow as a lifter in the long run. I learned to step out of my comfort zone and not be afraid to ask questions or for any help/advice while training and being surrounded by others who enjoy picking things up and putting them down. 

 

So, as I mentioned earlier, don’t be afraid to be scared. It’s a new year, get out there and conquer 2021 by stepping out of your comfort zone. 

 

Stay healthy my friends,

 

Toria

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

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

Union Fitness Labs Presents, The Virtual Bumpy Turkey Bowl & Burn

Gobble Gobble to all of our Thanksgiving Bumpy Battalions!

 

With everything going on we had to call a hot route into a Red 7 audible…if you don’t follow that one, then you should take a quick peek at Wedding Crashers backyard football scene to hype yourself up and “would you just go stand on the other side please?”

 

Sometime during your Thanksgiving feast, Macy’s Day Parade balloon critique, Foosball cheering, Planes Trains & Automobiles marathon & mid-day nap, come jump on our Instagram and sweat the gravy train out with our Virtual Bumpy Turkey Bowl & Burn workout. We will have it posted in the morning so you have all day to get the deal done.

 

If you haven’t checked it out yet, please click on our Thanksgiving donation blog. The proceeds will go to a local business and our first responders.

 

We are thankful for all of you and the amazing things you do!

 

Come catch me on the flippity flop and let’s get bumpy on Thanksgiving.

 

Cheers,

 

CeJ

Nutrition Tips For Thanksgiving

The holidays give a lot of people anxiety when it comes to eating, being fearful of overindulging, not being able to control their intake, or for some, not sure how to approach any holiday while still enjoying the foods they love. My simplest piece of advice that I can offer always reigns true for anything in love, eat mindfully but allow your space to indulge without guilt, how do we do this? Well if you keep following along you’ll find out.

 

Thanksgiving is probably one of my favorite holidays, mainly because I get two in one year. As a Canadian we celebrate Thanksgiving in October however also being American, we celebrate this holiday but in November. From the pie to the stuffing to the gravy, this holiday is all about the food and I’m here for it (sometimes I end up in a food coma, actually let’s be honest, I always end up in a food coma around Thanksgiving).

 

As always, my tips are just suggestions and in no way do you need to follow them head-on. I’m simply sharing what I share with clients who struggle with this holiday and want to also stay on track with their goals while enjoying all the amazing food that sits in front of them.

 

Fasting for Thanksgiving is a big no-no, you do not need to fast for this festivity unless you are someone who already follows an intermittent fasting schedule. Instead, let us look at the day this way:

 

  1. Enjoy a high protein, low carb, and fat breakfast
  2. If your Thanksgiving dinner sits in the early afternoon, instead of having lunch, make yourself a high protein, low carb/low fat snack.

 

          • If anything, people struggle with getting enough protein in on this day so having 1-2 meals or one meal and one snack that is high in protein will set you up for success.

 

      3. For your Thanksgiving meal, the following is a suggestion:

 

          • 1/4 protein, 1/2 carb, 1/2 vegetable, 1/4 fat (can be included in protein/carb). Within this structure, you’re still hitting all your core groups and you can visually see on your plate where each macronutrient sits.
          • For dessert, if there are many different kinds sometimes I’ll opt for smaller portions to allow more space for a variation or if I’m more prone to want just apple pie, 1-2 slices is the perfect amount for me (I’ll never skip dessert, it’s the best part).

 

Remember, these are just suggestions to get the most out of your holiday without feeling like you overindulged. However, if you’re someone who doesn’t struggle with these feelings then please disregard my suggestions or follow them if you want to also stay mindful of your goals. Everyone is different and we all have different relationships with food, that is why what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for the next person.

 

If anyone needs any extra advice or wants to reach out to speak on the holiday, feel free to DM me on my personal Instagram. I’m always available for a little chat, especially since I’ll be spending the Holiday virtually with my family.

 

Have a great Thanksgiving Union Fam, much love,

 

Jocelyn

Movemember & Men’s Health

The votes have been counted, and we have declared Movember the winner for this month’s education and charity event.  What do you think of my stache? Pretty cool, huh?!? Below is a little reminder of what Movmeber is all about.

 

Movember is an annual event where all partaking grow mustaches during the month of November. This is done to raise awareness of men’s health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and men’s suicide. The Movember Foundation runs the Movember charity event, housed at Movember.com. The goal of Movember is to “change the face of men’s health.”

 

By encouraging men (whom the charity refers to as “Mo Bros”) to get involved, Movember aims to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis, and effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths. Besides annual check-ups, the Movember Foundation encourages men to be aware of their family history of cancer and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Using the mustache as the driving symbol of the movement, Movember focuses on the three key areas of prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health/suicide prevention.

 

Now gents, I’m asking you to let the hairy caterpillar blossom and promote awareness for men’s health. Remember that we men are stubborn about mental health and think we are too tough to get sick. It’s time to change the narrative here and educate men on how to indicate early and prevent these issues. We have people who love us and want to see us live long and strong lives. Ladies, you’re in this one, too! You have fathers, brothers, sons, and friends who need your support and a kick in the ass at times to take care of their health. This month I will do a few more blogs on this topic. This one is just for you to help me bring attention to this issue, so tell me about some topics you’d like to hear about.

 

Click here you can go and donate to promote Men’s health awareness. 

 

CeJ

How You Move Through Struggle Matters

If you read my training log last week you would know that I’ve been working on mindset,  in regards to how I am talking to myself during training. I’m a big believer in self-love and I practice this every day with my morning routine, listening to my body and prioritizing my mental health above all things.

 

I’ve been having a rough go at it recently, and honestly this last week felt like it would never end, I didn’t even want to go to training on Sunday because I hadn’t been eating. I was beyond exhausted and felt like I had absolutely no energy to give to a training session. But, I ended up going and for that, I am thankful because 2/3 of my training pieces were mentally stimulating and I pushed myself past the point at which I thought I would’ve failed.

 

My main training piece looked like this:

 

2 Rope Climbs

10 Clean + Jerks @ 125#

2 Rope Climbs

8 Clean + Jerks @ 135#

2 Rope Climbs

6 Clean + Jerks @ 145#

2 Rope Climbs

4 Clean + Jerks @ 155#

2 Rope Climbs

2 Clean + Jerks @ 165#

 

Let’s break this down a little bit, the rope climbs were just there and a minor formality to get to the barbell. The clean and jerks themselves were what I was struggling with mentally, after not fueling myself for at least a week I was feeling weak and just not prepared to lift heavy weight under fatigue. I was thinking all these things in my head during my warm-up sets and I only touched the 135# bar once before the workout.

 

Going into the workout I wasn’t confident but I lead with confidence, that’s where the difference lies. I would jog from the bar to the rope and walk to the bar from the rope, this was a strategic plan to keep my heart rate consistent and from skyrocketing. I knew I didn’t need to worry about the rope climbs but that I wanted to keep myself from failing any clean and jerks because having to hit that lift again after failing is soul-crushing (especially at a high percentage).

 

As the workout went on I still didn’t feel confident but I kept leading with an attacking mindset and staying calm. One of my training partners even mentioned after the workout that I looked like I was going to have a panic attack before the workout but he was proud that I kept myself collected throughout. As I move through workouts like this I’m starting to learn myself a little bit more and it’s crazy even after six years of CrossFit there is still so much I am realizing about my capabilities.

 

I was never once negative during this workout, I didn’t feel great but I also didn’t allow myself the space to dwell on the way my body felt. I trusted my training and what I had prepared for up until this point and I was not disappointed. I’d say this workout was a struggle for me, even if you visually couldn’t see it, it’s the mentality that takes the wheel regardless if you’re not feeling 100%.

 

I’m proud of how I performed in this workout and it was truly a test of what I have been working on endlessly in my training. Next time you’re having an off day in regards to your training (or simply life in general because I feel anything in the gym can be related to real-life in one-way shape or form) remember, how you move matters. Even if you don’t feel your best, be confident in yourself that you’ve done all the right things to help you push through.

Halloween BoooooCamp

We had a lot going on this past weekend here at the UF headquarters.  The weekend started off with our second powerlifting meet of the year.  We had about 60 competitors lifting and dropping tons upon tons of weights.  We always love hosting these events.

 

We also had our Halloween BoooooCamp over at our friends’, ACB (Allegheny City Brewing). CJ “The Grim Reaper” Jasper led our team of ghouls and goblins over to put on a very scary workout that included, rowers, Rogue bikes, ski ergs, battle ropes, and the deadly prowler.

 

We had 15 “trick or treaters” that came and crushed our workout!  We were lucky to have sunshine and great weather to give our trick or treaters an awesome experience.  What made this special is that we had a healthy split of Union Fitness members and non-members that came out and joined the fun.

 

I have to say CJ held NOTHING back on this 5 station, 3 min round, non-stop, grueling workout!  10 mins into the workout the sweat was rolling off the heads of the brave souls that came out for the spooky event.

 

Here at UF, when we work hard, we play hard!  After the 5 deadly stations, we were all treated to the tasty craft beers at ACB. Matt, Amy, and their staff always treat us well with all the different flavored beers.

 

Whenever we do special events or mobile workouts, our General Manager Todd Hamer is adamant about giving back to the community.  This BoooCamp was dedicated to Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  We asked the attendees of the BoooCamp to bring gift cards for our friends over at the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, and they did not disappoint!  We have worked with WCS before and we love all the amazing work they do for victims of domestic violence.

 

Please stay tuned to our blog and our social media pages for updates on our next events.

 

Grayson

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