Tag Archives: Wellness

Trigger Points

Have you ever encountered a situation that made you feel emotionally triggered? Well, the muscles in your body can feel triggered, too. In fact, your body has trigger points at any given moment. You may or may not have heard your Massage Therapist mention trigger points, but today I am going to delve into the what’s, why’s, and hows of these little (maybe big) buggers.

 

“I have a knot in my *fill in the blank,” said by all of us at some point. Technically your muscles don’t have little people inside tying the fibers together into knots, but what you are feeling does seem knotty and rope-like. Those are the trigger points. Muscle fiber(s) can become triggered typically by something like injury or overuse. These lesions that are now within the sarcoplasmic reticulum cause a release of excess calcium ions which create the sustained muscle contraction. These sustained contractions lead to a poor supply of oxygen which in turn decreases the ability of the small tears from healing.

 

By the muscle remaining contracted, it is shortened which decreases the range of motion as a defense mechanism to prevent injury. You may begin to notice this happening as pain in the relative area and/or weakness. While the muscle is doing what it is programmed to do to prevent injury, it is not effectively doing the action it is meant to do which is a problem. Think about it: you want to do a bicep curl but your bicep (“problem muscle”) says, “naw I don’t feel great, the other guys can help”. The bicep is the prime mover and not doing the work, so in order to complete the curl, our body has to recruit other muscles around the area to do something that is not their job, or at least not their primary role. Can you see how although the body will perform the movement, it isn’t optimal? The longer we decide to work through the pain and allow compensations to occur, the trigger point will worsen causing the muscle to become weaker and more dysfunctional. It will continue to prevent the affected muscles from fully lengthening and relaxing as well as tire quickly, recover slowly, and contract excessively. If we want to continue to become stronger and function well, we need to move optimally.

 

Although we are capable of working through the pain during the early stages, that is also when we are most able to combat the problem before it develops into something more serious. There are a few different ways to take care of your muscles if you are already feeling the symptoms. You can try on your own through the use of foam rollers, body tempering items, percussion guns, or other items that can release the surrounding fascia. If you would like to plan a professional treatment once or twice a month and let someone else do the work, I would recommend finding a Massage Therapist you can trust. Having someone who is trained to palpate muscle, identify trigger points, and also understands the surrounding area is a beneficial option for your recovery.

 

At the end of the day, despite how careful we are and how great we are with taking care of our body, there will always be trigger points floating around the body. It is not a reason to live in constant fear, avoid movement, or overthink how you move. However, if you are aware of your body mechanics and devote yourself to proper nutrition, sleep, and forms of therapy, you can certainly help prevent and mitigate further problems from occurring.

Welcome to the Green Phase

As per the governor’s announcement today, we are now moving into the green phase of re-opening. What does this mean to us? It means Union Fitness will be re-opening! Before we can re-open, we have some house cleaning to do. 

 

Equipment loan program.

 

If you borrowed equipment from the gym, we ask that you return it next week. We will have staff in the gym from 12-3 every day for you to drop off any equipment that you borrowed. When you drop it off, make sure the staff checks off what you are returning. If you have issues with drop off times, email todd@unionfitness.com and we can work with you. 

 

Expanded UF.

 

Our expansion is nearing completion. We were planning on having a party to open this space, yet we feel it is inappropriate to host a large event right now. Instead we are doing a day of outside classes on June 13th. We will have a schedule posted next week for our kickoff. We will have free classes all day and they will all be held outside on our new turf.

 

Iron City Open.

 

The meet we host every year has been postponed, and we are planning on hosting this meet in August. Let’s keep our city healthy so we can get back to doing what we love!

 

Finally, we will have new policies for everyone entering the facility. Here is a list of the new policies we will be enforcing.

 

Re-Opening Procedures Union Fitness

  1. Everyone entering UF will have their temperature taken. Anyone with a temperature above 100 degrees will not be allowed to enter.
  2. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 we ask you to stay home and observe the CDC guidelines regarding quarantining periods before returning to UF.
  3. If you test positive for COVID-19 or become aware that you have been exposed to someone who has the disease we ask that you promptly inform Todd Hamer so that we can have the sanitation procedures recommended by the CDC completed for the impacted areas.  We will keep this information confidential and will not identify you.  Our staff will be following the same procedures.
  4. Everyone who enters must first go to the locker room and wash your hands.
  5. Please respect everyone and wipe down equipment before and after each use using the disinfectant wipes provided by UF.
  6. All staff will be required to wear masks while inside the UF space.  All clients must wear masks when entering and exiting Nova Place, until they are within the UF space.
  7. Personal equipment cannot be left within the facility until further notice. 
  8. Gym capacity will be 20 people maximum in fitness center, 15 people maximum in strength lab, 10 people maximum in cardio lab and 12 people maximum in performance lab.
  9. A maximum of 5 people will be allowed in the locker room at any one time. We ask that you do not spend unnecessary time in the locker room. If there are 5 people or more in the locker room, please wait your turn.
  10. Use the hand sanitizer provided.

 

Please be patient and understand that we are all getting through this together. We will  do all we can to assist our members and work to resolve any issues you may have.

 

These procedures will be updated as the situation evolves and we receive guidance from applicable governmental authorities.

Improve Your Sleep

Do you ever wake up from a night of sleep or a quarantine nap and swear your body secretly did a super intense workout? A lot of factors can contribute to your quality of sleep, but one somewhat simple solution could be due to your sleep position. Now of course, altering your position won’t help you fall asleep quicker or ensure a deeper sleep, but it will help your body feel better in the AM.

 

You’re probably wondering “what is this magical sleep position”? You might also be wondering how am I supposed to monitor this if I am asleep? The good news is that however you choose to sleep right now might be okay with only small adjustments. The bad news is that you can’t watch, you’ll have to pay someone to stay awake and splash water on you every time you move. Just kidding, thankfully.

 

So, here is the simple answer. The spine needs to remain neutral and what that means is that all three curves of your spine need to be aligned. This includes your cervical (neck), thoracic (mid back), and lumbar (low back hip area). With that said this does eliminate certain positions but still leaves you with probably your most favorite. Here’s a breakdown of a few tips:

 

Sleeping on your side: This position is one of the most popular and while it is good for pregnant women, it’s still a valid option for others as well.

 

The downfall: your upper leg will stay in hip adduction and internal rotation pulling the lumbar spine. Your bottom arm may also become numb which can lead to impingement. If sleeping on your side with your knees also bent in fetal it can cause shortened hip flexors which can affect the position of the pelvis.

 

The fix: place a pillow between your knees to prevent your top leg from pulling on your spine. A little bit trickier considering you are asleep, but try to rotate sides throughout the night or at least every night to avoid the same arm being on the bottom. Finally, stay on your side if you’d like, but try to keep your legs straight rather than bent.

 

Sleeping on your stomach: Also a comfortable position and may help ease snoring.

 

The downfall: Your head may be turned for breathing, your arm may be overhead, and the cervical and lumbar spine may be more elevated than the thoracic.

 

The fix: Sleep with your face flat down on a pillow by placing your forehead on the pillow allowing you to still breathe but better align your spine. You can also add a pillow under your stomach to raise that to a neutral position. It would also be beneficial to keep your arms by your side.

 

Sleeping on your back: The position commonly known as “the best”, but it still has its own advantages and disadvantages.

 

The downfall: It may aggravate low back pain or sleep apnea. Pregnant women should also avoid this position, at least towards the end. The positive side is that your spine is in a neutral position. There is not necessarily a fix given your spine is already neutral; however, if you suffer from sleep apnea or low back pain it may not be the best choice. When it is all said and done, the most important factor to keep in mind is that your spine remains neutral, no matter the sleep position you choose. It’s a nice treat to know that you still have the ability to choose a favorite way to sleep while also helping you feel much better when you wake. So, grab a few extra pillows and play around with the way you sleep. Your AM self will thank you. 🙂

 

 

Salutations Sultans and Sultanas of Swing.

Today we are going to play a game to help us understand and know the difference between Sprains, Strains & Tears on this episode of Know…Your..Lingo! (Audience participation and applause)

 

Let me lay down the terms and facts about them first. You will be tested on this so bust out your writing utensils, be it quil, dip pens, ballpoint or #2, and paper, parchment, or clay tablets and toss that thinking cap on, even you back there Billy!

 

Sprains go down when a joint (ankle, knee, wrist, shoulder, ect) is forced into an awkward or unnatural position. Sprains are the overstretching or tearing of ligaments. Think of a ligament as a fibrous connective tissue in the body that connects bone to bone to help stabilize them together. A scenario this could happen is when you are walking on an uneven surface and then your ankle turns/twists one way. People often say twist when they refer to sprains.

 

Strains materialize from repetitive movements over a long period of time or from a single incident, where overstretching or tearing of the muscle or tendon occurs. Muscles and tendons are fibers that connect muscles to bones. A chronic strain would be from repetitive movements overtime whereas an acute strain is a single instantaneous stretch or tear. A scenario this could happen is when you are picking up a heavier box from the floor and feel a “pull” in your lower back. People often say pull when they refer to strains.

 

Tears stumble into existence from the ripping of ligaments, muscles or tendons from related actions that would cause those fibers to overstretch and is far  more serious and could take months to heal. Tears could mean surgery or rehabilitation depending on the severity. You may see a tear happen in sports, one of the most know tears would be at the knee more commonly thought of as an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear.

 

Fill in the blank Test.

(Sprain Strain Tear)

Select the correct term above to fill in the blank. 

 

1. Todd was frolicking down Penn ave listening to Hatebreed when he awkwardly stepped in a pothole and _______ his ankle.

 

2. Big Curt has been throwing fast balls all season for UF’s baseball team, but after throwing the game winning pitch in extra innings he felt a pulling sensation in his shoulder muscles. Big Curt believes he _______ his shoulder.

 

3. During the Wizard’s Powerful class one of the members crushes a lift and hits a new PR. Upon celebration the Wizard performs his special PR dance and then magically goes down gripping his knee. Upon further review is appears the Wizard has suffered a ________ at the Knee

 

4. When Sky’s favorite gym reopened (UF) she was thrilled to go train. So elated, that she jumped on the deadlift platform, loaded the bar to 500lbs and gave it the old fashioned college try. About halfway up on the lift she feels her low back get tight and drops the bar. The crowd grumbles and rumbles, saying she must have ______ her low back.

 

5. Mr. Rogers was leaving his television station WQED on a cold Pittsburgh winter day. As he was walking down the stair he slipped on some slippy ice and caught his fall by extending his arms and landing on his writs. He felt like his wrist was jammed or twisted and said “Awe shucks I ______ my wrist.” He immediately healed because he is Mr. Rogers.

 

Thank you for learning and playing on today’s episode of “Know Your Lingo”. Tune in soon for more fun and as always Stay Bumpy my friends.

Cheers,

-CeJ

Answers: 1) Sprain 2) Strain 3) Tear 4) Strain 5) Sprain

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

CJ’s plan for impacting all!

“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later! Opportunity favors the bold.”

― Richard Branson

 

 

At Union Fitness we have an amazing opportunity to impact the day and lives of our members every time they walk into our doors. At times, the answer is easy, just be a good person and give our members a great training experience. Other times, the answer lies beneath the surface of training, people want to be a part of something more, a sense of friendship and community. The opportunity I have here is to be a good human, training partner, coach and community member to continue to help build Union as not only a gym but a place of support, encouragement and comfort…a real judgment free zone (shots fired).

 

 

How do I do this…sometimes I don’t know, it takes time to build trust and relationships. Saying hello and introducing yourself makes a stranger, no longer a stranger. Being a good training partner comes with some responsibilities, holding each other accountable to show up, keeping each other motivated to stay the course outside the gym and someone that makes training fun. When it comes to coaching you have to meet people where they are at in their training/wellness journey. Giving a member too little or too much may make them unmotivated to return or discourage their progress. A good coach has to motivate but also be realistic at the same time with progress, always be supportive nonetheless. Finally to build our family and community atmosphere we have to support each other no matter the weight on the bar or distance of race. We can even show our love outside the gym by supporting our members local business, events, hobbies and our community as a whole. It’s always great to see a familiar smiling face at an outside event.

 

 

Some cool events support events coming to Union are:

Feb 25th – CEJ’s Birthday Powerful class with donations going to a local Animal Shelter

March 15th- All Out For Amelia with donations going to families & children impacted by cancer

 

 

If you have any cool events coming up or neat ideas, let us know! If you want to try and event, but aren’t sure, say yes and we can figure it out together.

 

 

Long story short, be good to yourself and others and live well.

Cheers,

CEJ

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.

Benefits of Massage Therapy

Gone are the days where massages are only available in luxury spas, resorts, and in NFL locker rooms. Many people are realizing the benefits of massage therapy for not only athletes, but for everyone! According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), massage acts to improve performance, reduce pain, prevent injury, encourage focus, and shorten recovery time. In a 2016 AMTA consumer survey, 78% of individuals surveyed claimed their primary reason for receiving a massage in the previous 12 months was medical (50%) or stress (28%) related. Perceptions on the reasons for massages are also changing. 71% of consumers agree that massage therapy should be considered a form of healthcare, not just a pampering perk for the rich and famous.

Sore from one of our classes? Good, you should be! Thanks to the benefits of massages on the muscular system, your body can actually recover faster. Massage affects the cardiovascular system by dilating blood vessels helping them work more efficiently to boost circulation, resulting in an increased flow of fresh oxygen and nutrients being delivered to your muscle tissue. This helps relieve tension and reduces soreness.

Studies show that massages are an effective treatment for reducing stress. Massages reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, resulting in lower blood pressure. Regular massages can help you manage anxieties and stress allowing for relaxing me time. According to the annual stress survey commissioned by the American Psychological Association: 25% of Americans surveyed experience high levels of stress. 50% of Americans surveyed report moderate levels of stress. That means that 75% of the individuals surveyed are chronically stressed out!

Insomnia knocking on your door? Believe it or not, massages can actually improve sleep. Studies have found a link between massages and healthy sleep. The common denominator? Delta waves. Delta waves are the brain waves connected to deep sleep. Massages increase delta waves, helping you to relax and fall asleep, without having to count sheep.

Did you know that Union Fitness has a massage room with a trained professional on staff? Marco Rigazio MS, LMT has been in the health and fitness industry for over 30 years! Marco has a Master’s degree in Exercise Science from California University and is a licensed massage therapist with a special interest in neuromuscular therapy, deep tissue, and Swedish massage. Working with chiropractors and physical therapists, corrective exercise and tissue therapy has been a mainstay for the last 6 years.

Give us a call or send us an email to schedule a massage with Marco!

Sources:

http://www.apa.org/, www.amtamassage.org, www.livestrong.com, www.nccih.nih.gov, www.time.com, www.huffingtonpost.com, www.healthfitnessmag.com, www.cnn.com