Tag Archives: Wellness

Ham’s Training Log

Coming out of 2020 I was training with the Wizard himself, Charles E Jasper (we share the same middle name). I love training with CeJ as he brings a ton of intensity and dedication to each and every lift. Yet, I needed a change and it is hard to train with fellow employees at UF as both of us need the exact same time off to train. I decided to reach out to a good friend for programming. Ryan Nosak has been a good friend for a decade now and trains a ton of very successful athletes and non-athletes. Also, he trains at Quads gym with automatically gives him street cred.

 

Ryan knows me well enough to know my weaknesses and his philosophy (similar to mine), is attack your weaknesses. So without further ado here is what I am doing on week two with Ryno at the steering wheel and Ham pushing the car.

 

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

SATURDAY

  1. Safety Bar Squat AMRAP @80%, 3 x 6-8 @70% 1. BB Bench AMRAP @80%, 3 x 6-8 @70% 1. Deadlift AMRAP @80%, 2 x 6-8 @70% 1. Hamstring Curl 3 x 12-15 1A. Close Grip Bench 3 x 8-10 @65%
2. RDL 3-4 x 6-10 2. Seated BB OHP 3-4 x 6-8 2. Pull Ups 3-4 x 6-8 2. Leg Press 3 x 10-12 1B. Deadstop DB Row 3 x 10-12
3. DB RFE Split Squat 3-4 x 8-10/leg 3. Dips 2-3 x 8-10 3. Meadows Row 3-4 x 8-10 3. Hack Squat Machine 3 x 10-15 2A. Machine or DB Fly 3 x 10-15
4. Seated Calf Raise 3 x 15-20 4. Side Lateral 3-4 x 8-12 4. BB Curl 3-4 x 8-10 4A. Leg Extension 2 x 15-20 2B. Cable or Machine Rear Delt Fly 3 x 15-20
5. Abs 3-4 x 10-20 5. Skull Crusher 3-4 x 8-10 5. Abs 3 x 10-20 4B. DB Walking Lunge 2 x 10-15/leg 3A. DB Shrug 3 x 15-20
5. Standing Calf Raise 3 x 15-20 3B. DB, Machine or Cable Pullover 3 x 12-15
4A.  Preacher Curl 3 x 12-15
4A.  Cable Pressdown 3 x 12-15

 

This program is starting off much like a bodybuilding style program. Again, Ryan knows me and is attacking my weaknesses. I would be remiss if I didn’t add that in talking to Ryan about this what impressed me was the questions he asked. Here is a small sample of questions and info I gave him.

 

  1. How many days a week do I want to train? (4-5).
  2. How much time can I dedicate to training? (1-1.5 hours).
  3. What do I enjoy doing? (Long answer).
  4. Can I train on the weekends? (yes but prefer shorter days).
  5. I also added that on Friday mornings I ride my bike and my heart rate tends to be at or above 90% for 20-30 minutes so this is not an ideal day to train hard.

I was happy with Ryan’s questions because as an experienced coach myself I know the most simple questions often give the best information. I have found too many coaches who major in the minor and forget that how much time one has can profoundly affect an outcome. Also, what do you enjoy doing is an underrated query.

 

Please feel free to follow along with me and Ryan with this new journey and let’s see if I get better or just stay not too bad :-).

 

Have fun, train hard, and don’t take it too seriously.

 

Hamer

 

 

 

SMART Goals and UF?

When planning a training session or a group of training sessions one must ask what is the end game? Always start from the goal and work back. At UF we have many people training for meets, races, as well as different sporting events. With this in mind I ask you to take a moment and ask yourself honestly what are your goals.

 

Goals 

 

Start with the basics with goal setting. Make your goals SMART goals. If you are not familiar with SMART goals, SMART is an acronym for;

 

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Achievable
  4. Realistic
  5. Timely

 

Take a little time to write your goals down. Maybe you want to increase your bench press by 20 lbs in 12 weeks or maybe run a 5k before May. No matter what goal you have in mind make it SMART.

 

Where does your goal fit in the gym?

 

At UF we are very lucky to have Curtis Miller as our Director of Customer Engagement. In short Curtis’s job is to make sure you are in the right place within our gym. Some people have very specific goals and for that need personal training or classes. Others may just need a treadmill to run on their training days. Regardless of what you need Curtis will help find you the place to be in the gym.

 

Different goals, Different Equipement.

 

If your goal is to be a high level lifter you may need some programming or training. At least I would assume you need a membership in the strength lab.

 

If your goals are to drops a few lbs and move a little better then a cardio membership may fit you better.

 

If you want to push yourself and be apart of a fun community then UF Unlimited may be for you.

 

If your goals are to sweat and move your body then the fitness center membership could be your option. This membership may be the most underrated option we have at UF. It is a great way to get into the gym (at a very affordable option) and train using some great equipment.

 

I listed each of these out because I have seen many people who have goals that do not align to their actions. Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most amount of time with.” I am not sure if this is necessarily true, yet after twenty years of coaching I can say that from my experience, who you spend time with clearly influences you and your habits. Your habits will lead to your outcome.

 

Even as I self reflect on my training I see many mistakes. I asked myself yesterday am I a mountain biker who lifts or a powerlifter who mountain bikes? Also, I am aging in both activities quickly so maybe I’ll never set a SMART goal or maybe I need to see Curtis and find out my goals?

 

 

 

 

 

Shareholder Vs Stakeholder

Early in my career I would scoff at reading business books. It was a huge weakness of mine. I did not understand that most lessons come from outside of one’s industry. As I’ve aged and matured (albeit slowly), I learned the lessons that can be offered from other industries are many times more important than just listening to those within one’s own industry.

 

This week I was driving and listening to a podcast with Abigail Disney. Ms Disney is, as her name suggests, a member of the Disney family (you may have heard of them). Her goal is to make Disney a better place to work and visit. She was discussing Disney’s culture as well as who the stakeholders of Disney were Vs. the shareholders. This is a topic some of you may be familiar with. I want to use this blog to write about how this applies to training and a gym environment.

 

Shareholders:

As people training in a gym I consider these people the ones who are focused mainly (not solely but, most of their focus) on external goals. As a lifter it could be numbers, or as one who wants to lose weight it could be the scale. The process is only as important as what outcome it gives someone in this setting. The world needs shareholders at time to be cold and make decisions based solely on outcome and no emotional connection to what’s going on.

 

Stakeholders:

For the people in the gym these are the ones who are there to enjoy the process and make the experience better for them all around. The stakeholder worries about the process, the outcome is important yet stakeholders live in the reality and know the outcome is not always a result of a good or bad process. There are many variables that can affect an outcome that the stakeholder can’t control.

 

We need both and we want to be stakeholders for you. Both of these groups are very important to our community. A good balance of both of these types of people can make everyone around us better. I do ask our staff when making decisions think like stakeholders. As a lifter spend most of your time thinking like a stakeholder. If you become to much of a shareholder then you will miss the beauty of having a great moment in the gym. Be involved in the process of helping improve yourself while you are here and also be in the process of others succeeding while you are here.

 

This idea reminds me of a quote, I have searched high and low and can’t find the author, “I want to come to the end of the day tired, defeated, victorious.” I remind myself of this quote daily. If I am being a true stakeholder for all of us and UF then I will be tired, beaten (due to winning some and losings some), as well as victorious for all that we have accomplished. If I (and we) do this everyday then the goals we all will reach will be well above what we could have done if all we worried about was the outcome.

 

 

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

The Value in Showing Up (Thank you Murat).

I began writing this after I had a talk with Curtis Miller about my training. Over the last year I like many others have had a hard time training. We all have struggles at times with our training, yet I can honestly say I’ve never lost the passion to train. Then last March when the lock down occurred I truly lost my passion to train. I also began to have trouble sleeping, this became a new problem for me. I would wake up for no reason at midnight. As I have preached for years, too many stressors and too many changes at once can mess you up. That is where this blog began…Until yesterday afternoon.

 

Monday’s I work early and yesterday I finished up at the gym in time to get some sled riding with Tenzing. Before we began I saw a picture of a good friend of mine with RIP listed over his picture. As soon as I saw this I called the person who posted this. It was true, my friend had died in a car accident. I realize that this topic is pretty heavy for our normal blog posts. Yet, it is important for me to write this and I hope it helps any and all of you who ever struggle.

 

Before becoming the GM at Union Fitness I was the director of strength and conditioning at The George Washington University (GW). To be completely honest I had no desire to return to living in DC when I had accepted the position. I had lost my previous job after almost 12 years of service and winning many awards, yet was still let go with zero assistance from my previous employer. So in order to make money we decided it was best for me to take this job. My wife has a good job here and my son is in a top local school district, so I would travel to DC on Sunday night and come back to my house as soon as I could on Friday. We would consider moving to DC if the job I had accepted was moving in the direction I thought it would. Clearly this was a trying time for me and my family. During this time I met some great friends in DC and many helped me as they knew how unusual my situation had become.

 

One day at work I asked Chris Monroe (fellow GW employee and back in his playing days 2000+ point basketball player at GW) for a recommendation to grab a beer and dinner. Chris took me to Homeslyce and introduced me to the guy who ran it (Murat). For the next year I would have dinner at Homeslyce 3x a week. Murat kept me sane during my time in DC. I would get to work between 5-6AM, work, train and do all the fun work stuff then try to make it to Homeslyce by 6 PM for dinner and sometimes a libation. The food was great but the company was what made Homeslyce a home for me.

 

During my last week at GW Murat threw a party in my honor at Homeslyce. He had a custom cake, food for everyone and drinks flowed like… well drinks. The dude truly cared. Since I  left DC I have kept in contact with Murat. Murat was sending food to the hospital and feeding the troops during the past month. He was a guy trying to help out and for that I respect the hell out of him.

 

The biggest thing Murat did for me is show up. This took me back to where I am now in my life. Lifting hasn’t been perfect but each day we get the opportunity to show up. So to quote Jason Isbell.

 

“Last year was a son of a bitch
For nearly everyone we know
But I ain’t fighting with you down in the ditch
I’ll meet you up here on the road.”

 

What I asks of each and every one of you is to show up for yourself, for your family and for your friends. Just showing up at times will be all we need and all we can do. I can promise you I will continue to show up for you and hopefully I can help one of you in the time when you need someone to lean on. None of us are self made and we can all support one another if we are willing to help out. If I ever feel down or not ready to show up I will remember how Murat showing up for me was all I ever needed and he did that, so I’ll show up for you.

 

Todd Hamer

I Love Eggs and You Should Too

Hang around lifters, (the humans not the bad nickname for your shoes) long enough and the topic of protein will come up. The rule of thumb that most of you have probably already heard is eat one gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight. For me I float around 200 lbs so around 200 grams of protein a day is a good goal. There is some debate about this number yet we can use it as a starting point. From there the quality of protein matters. If you do not understand amino acids that’s OK here is how you can think of it. For this blog we are going to just use numbers to represent different amino acids(AA). Let’s say AA your body can produce AA’s 1-5 but not 6-10. AA’s 6-10 must one supplied through diet. That is what makes a protein a “complete protein.”

 

Your goal for protein intake can include some non complete protein, yet getting complete proteins is very important for recovery. Another rule of thumb (no this is not a fact yet a decent rule of thumb) is animal proteins are generally complete. This is why being a vegetarian is so hard. Often times you will have to supplement with AA’s that you miss in your diet.

 

Onto the egg. Here are some fun facts about eggs.

 

  1. Eggs are a complete protein
  2. The yolk has as much protein as the white.
  3. They are one of the few foods high in Vitamin D.
  4. The are delicious and easy to prepare.
  5. This is the big one. The egg has a cheat sheet inside of it to tell you how awesome it really is. That cheat sheet is the yoke. A yellow yoke=BAD egg. A dark gold or almost brown yoke=Gainz. Without delving into hens diets too much a darker yolk means that the animal had a healthier diet and more than likely a better life. Run an experiment for yourself. Go to a local grocery store by the cheapest eggs you can look at the the yolk, cook it and taste it. Now go to a farmers market or east end food co-op, do the same thing. See and taste the difference for yourself.

 

Clearly point #5 was the one I really wanted to write about. The yolk tells you most of what you need to know. Now I am aware that people will say “Hamer, those eggs are expensive.” I do understand yet let’s look at the bigger picture. If you are willing to spend 4-6 dollars on your fancy coffee yet not 4-6 dollars on your eggs then you made your decision as to what’s important. I love the fancy coffee too and I also know the fancy eggs are more important. So skip the mocha, soy, chai, skinny, latte, with the sugar free, sugar infused vanilla and a pump of hazelnut and buy some real eggs.

 

Eat real food.

 

Hamer

 

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

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

Weekly Wrap Up

Welcome BACK!!!!

 

Now that we are officially open for business again we are happy to have you all back and wish to thank each of you for supporting us. I am just going to touch on a few things going on here at UF.

 

  1. Our fundraiser to feed covid first responders at AGH is wrapping up. We will shut down the go fund me site this weekend. If you want to help out we appreciate it.
  2. We are offering a special that any member can upgrade to UF Unlimited membership this month for a 20 dollar add on to your current membership. If you ever wanted to try classes now is your chance.
  3. We have a few new employees bouncing around. Anthony is our newest intern and you may see him. Also, Gillian will be working the front desk as well as teaching some cardio lab classes. Please introduce yourself if you see some new faces.
  4. Finally, we have some great plans coming up. Our idea man himself CeJ wrote a blog about our plans earlier in the week so check that out. We also have tentative dates for our next meets so stay tuned for when we can release that information.

 

Thank you and 2020 was a wild year and 2021 is starting just as wild. I do ask that we spend some time daily on not just improving ourselves but improving society. Keep us in the loop as to how we can not only help you but how we can help the world.

 

Peace and Love.

 

Todd Hamer

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