The road to growth for a small company trying to make an impact on the world has been exciting, disheartening, inspiring, overwhelming, fast, slow, and everything in between. It’s more like a ride and Unite’s team is buckled in. We are determined to build Unite’s network and brand until it takes its proper place among the big names who are currently leaders in the fitness studio industry, such as CrossFit and Flywheel.
As someone who has touched the Unite brand and experienced our coached cross-training workouts, you know why its important we make this leap. The need to spread Unite’s smart, balanced Heart.Muscle.Mind methodology has never been more timely, especially for a country obsessed with the extremes and confused about what is healthy and effective. The soft and complete balanced workouts are getting thrown aside for the hard and fast in terms of both workouts and meals. It’s time to Unite all these extremes into a moderate, fun and sustainable approach, bringing those people in our communities that want to see this societal change happen. If you saw Unite as just a place to get an amazing workout, take another look.
Our mission is to: “Help People Uplift Their Life”, which includes their mind, body, environment and community. Unite aims to inspire people to care more for themselves and others by upgrading workouts, diet, outlook, relationships, etc.
In this effort, the Unite management team has been meeting with people interested in franchising our studio model. It’s a special person and situation we are looking for. The filter is tough to get through but we are building a brand for the long haul. In case you might be looking for a career change here is what we are looking for in a person to take Unite’s brand and cross-training programs forward.
- Match with Heart.Muscle.Mind philosophy and Unite mission
- Friendliness and inclination to nurture staff and host clients
- Value a proven business system and naturally provide feedback
- Financially qualified for the opportunity: $300k Assets, $100k Liquid
- Ready for the challenge and fulfillment of owning your own business!
While we have several territories outlined, we are always looking for new potential locations. Where do you think Unite should open in the Philadelphia metro region? Beyond? Take a look at our criteria below and send me your thoughts firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Urban or higher density suburban area
- 25-50 years old, $50k+ personal income or $75k+ household
- Majority professional occupations
- Thriving fitness market with peer brand levels present
- Commercial centers (near prime residential) with good visibility
We don’t have a match to announce quite yet, but we will be thrilled to spill the beans. In the mean time we have continued to upgrade everything in the Unite model. There is nothing like packaging and awarding/selling your business system to others that will make you see all the room for improvement. Here is a little taste of what we have been working on behind the scenes.
- Systems: lead generation, reporting and messaging automations, as well as eLearning Portals to train coaches and franchises from anywhere.
- Branding: expanding Unites brand messaging, upgrading our branded merchandise, and prototyping Unite’s new studio design
- Services: creating Unite’s 3 Phase Nutrition and Personal Assessments
- Value: increasing profits versus investment dollars for the franchise deal
The stage is set, the time is now. We thank you for your continued patronage, support and feedback on this journey in service of our mission. If you have interest in potentially franchising please contact me directly email@example.com, 267-337-4365.
I took a good look at myself … and didn’t like what I saw.
I thought: “it’s time to do something about this.” As a coach for the past 13 years, that’s the same line I’ve heard a thousand times, when a client is ready to take a leap of faith and actually do something about their weight, health or fitness. Strange, coming from my own mouth, but with the same resolve as all my clients before me I found myself ready to jump. Forced to change my lifestyle due to circumstances outside of my control, I could no longer take part in any physical activity for 6 months. That, along with a mix of painkillers and a loss of appetite, changed not only my body but my emotional well-being. I decided the day I had doctor’s clearance I would resume activity and get back to being and feeling in shape.
I tell all my clients that they really need to know where they are now to get to where they want to be. My initial assessment – with eyes wide open, for the first time in 6 months, I actually saw just how far back I fell, how much I lost, and the realization that this journey was not going to be easy. Ugh. 160 pounds (10 pounds lighter than my normal), 16% bodyfat (4-6% higher than my normal), and I felt weak and lethargic.
My overall goal was simple; get into better shape than I was in prior to my accident. I like to go extreme, so I devised a two-part plan:
Step 1 – build as much strength and muscle as possible in the shortest amount of time, without regard to body fat. This would involve a heavy weight-training program, with minimal cardio, and a very high caloric intake, resulting in weight gain (hopefully mostly muscle).
Step 2 – maintain muscle and reduce as much body fat in the shortest amount of time possible. This would involve maintaining a moderate to heavy weight training program and variable cardio intervals, while restricting calories to the lowest possible intake, resulting in weight loss (hopefully mostly fat).
While one might regard gaining weight as easy, I actually found it extremely challenging. I started with a menu full of kale and spinach, brown rice, oats, potatoes, avocados, eggs, chicken, peanut butter and olive oil. My meals were planned, measured and portioned. Calories were counted, and added as the days wore on. I soon realized stuffing my face all day with highly nutritious foods did nothing for my weight gain. I just couldn’t eat enough healthy foods without feeling full. I eventually had to supplement my diet with milk, pizza, cookies … pretty much anything with high calories. It took close to a gallon of milk a day, entire pizzas for dinner, and high calorie snacks between meals to eat 4,000-5,000 calories. Trying as hard as I could, 200 pounds was just out of reach, I had to settle for a weight of 190 pounds.
The good news, I had never felt stronger in my life. I could lift the heaviest weights with ease, including a 355 pound squat, a 405 pound deadlift and a 285 pound bench press. The bad news, along with the added muscle I had gained an excessive amount of fat, measuring 21% at my highest. Although I had gained 30 pounds and “felt” strong, my cardio was horrible and I just “felt” fat.
Good thing by that point I was sick of gorging myself and eating endless amounts of food.
I began revamping my fitness program. 4-5 x per week cross-training to include heavy weights, cardio intervals and stretching (I was really starting to feel stiff all over). I cut my calories to the lowest possible level, 1200 calories a day. I normally would not recommend that for a guy, but by monitoring my body fat levels regularly I could make adjustments to my program if I needed. I worked with a nutritionist to make sure that I was getting enough nutrients from my food and was eating things that were satisfying me. In order to keep full I was filling my plate up to the brim with vegetables each time I ate.
My progress was better than expected. I lost 20 pounds in 30 days and cut my body fat to 12%. I know most people would wonder why I would work so hard to put on 30 pounds just to take off 20 pounds. But the stats don’t lie:
I started at 160 pounds, 16% BF, 25 pounds fat, 135 pounds lean, felt like shit!
I ended at 170 pounds, 12% BF, 20 pounds fat, 150 pounds lean, feeling great!
And I’m not done yet. Next time I hope to reach 8% body fat or less.
Some things I learned along the way:
1. Get excited! It’s not going to happen unless you are totally dedicated, ‘cause damn it’s hard to eat the way you’re supposed to without second-guessing or sabotaging yourself.
2. Make a plan. Know what your weight and body fat is before you start. If you don’t know then get help. I do this all day-everyday for others and I still got help from friends and colleagues.
3. Get support. The last thing you want is to come home on your first day of a diet to a pizza party at your house. That’s what happened to me and it was not easy eating my carrot sticks watching the delicious feast at the table go down.
4. Meeting goals is a dynamic situation. Even the best made plans inevitably end up getting scrapped as everything changes. Don’t get depressed, you’re still making progress towards your end goal.
5. Gaining weight while eating all the right foods is almost impossible. I tried it and could not stuff myself enough to gain weight … on purpose. Be honest with yourself, if you’re having trouble staying away from these foods, try this: every meal stuff yourself with veggies, brown rice or sweet potatoes and lean meat, then treat yourself to a slice of pizza (or whatever it is you still want).
6. Losing weight sucks, so do it efficiently and under supervision of a coach. You’ll have a higher chance of success and will actually have less of a risk of losing muscle/lowering your metabolism. And don’t be a naïve about it, you can really just end up losing muscle (not fat) and wreck your metabolism for a long time. Know exactly what your protein needs are, what your body fat % is and what your lean muscle % is. When the weight you are losing is no longer fat but muscle too, then stop dieting and go back to a normal weight maintenance plan.
7. When maintaining your weight, eat as much food as you can without gaining weight. Yay! This will not only prime your body for another round of fat loss (if you want) but will also keep your metabolism and spirits high.
At Unite Fitness we can set up an Assessment, which allows us to see exactly where you are now, set goals and tell you how to get there. Take from someone who did it and used the information to not only zero in on the exact calories needed but to also motivate to get major results. Sign up any time with a coach of your choice.
Fall clothing feeling a little tight?
Can’t seem to buckle down and change your eating habits?
Get a kick start before the holidays begin!
- Zero gluten
- Zero dairy
- Zero sugar (even natural sweeteners)
- Only eating high fiber and low glycemic carbs
- Only eating unprocessed foods (there will be a few minor exceptions)
- Zero Dessert (this could be a challenge in and of itself)
Program begins Monday, November 10th
Total Cost for the 7-day Unite Clean Eating Challenge: $47
*You will receive your getting started guide on Friday November 7th , giving you enough time to shop and plan before the challenge starts on Monday the 10th.
-Frequently Asked Questions-
Q. I’m worried about gaining too much weight during my pregnancy and getting back into shape after I deliver. What is the best way to maintain a healthy weight during and bounce back after?
For every woman there is a “normal” range of prenatal weight gain that is optimal for the baby’s development. That range depends on several factors and you should discuss this with your doctor so he or she can make the most accurate estimate for you. That said, the best way to stay within your personal range of weight gain while staying in the best shape possible is to work out on a regular. consistent basis throughout your entire pregnancy. Yes, even into your final week!
Your prenatal fitness routine should not be all that different than your pre-pregnancy routine, unless you were not exercising at all. It is essential that you start as soon as possible with clearance by your doctor. I have had several prenatal personal training clients who started in their sixth-or-so week and who made strength gains and improvements to their core strength and stability early on. By the time the 3rd trimester came, they were handling walking lunges, planks and weight lifting better than when they started.
What you do during your pregnancy does make a big difference in how easily and quickly you recover from delivery and “bounce back” physically. Even mentally and emotionally, there are published studies that support the notion that regular prenatal exercise has a moderating affect on depression and body image during and after pregnancy. You have control over how you feel about yourself and exercise is one way to assert that control. So, if you’re pregnant and worried about weight gain and getting out of shape, all signs point to the gym or getting outside for at least 30 minutes a day of exercise! Better yet, join a class or sign up with a certified prenatal personal trainer. Again, make sure you check with your doctor before starting a new and continuing with your current fitness program.
Q. Why should I start a prenatal fitness program and how can I stay motivated when I’m feeling tired, nauseated or achey?
This is the best time to start for many reasons! Published research continues to support that regular exercise during pregnancy keeps both mama and baby happy and healthy. Here is a sampling of possible benefits of working out regularly during your pregnancy:
- Less physical discomfort (reduced chance of constipation, hemorrhoids, bloating, swelling, leg cramps – not fun!)
- Improved self-image, mood and posture
- Increased energy
- Better sleep
- Better muscle tone, strength and endurance
- Less overall body fat
- Reduced risk of gestational diabetes
- Reduced risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Less time in the pushing phase of delivery
- Lower incidence of Caesarean section birth
- Fewer obstetric interventions (vacuum extraction, forceps)
The benefits don’t stop with you, mom. Babies born to mothers who exercised regularly throughout pregnancy tend to be leaner (lower body fat, not smaller), better self-soothers (less cranky and less likely to have colic) and have higher general intelligence scores and better oral language skills all the way to age 5.
The two best ways to stay motivated to continue working out when you’re not feeling “100%” (and, by the way, it’s okay to have those days!) are to sign up for a weekly class and to consult with a certified prenatal personal trainer to help you create a realistic and safe program. We all need accountability partners in our lives to create sustainable healthy habits and this is an especially important time for you to be setting yourself up for success. It is also helpful to rely on an instructor to guide you through a workout with modifications depending on any symptoms you might be feeling that day.
2. How do I know when to stop during a workout so that I don’t harm myself or my baby?
This is such an important question – one that I hear many times over during the course of my
clients’ pregnancies – and yet the answer is actually very simple:
Listen to your body, your doctor and your trainer! With these “experts” keeping you in check,
you won’t overdo it at the gym. I promise. A couple of easy ways to keep your heart rate, body temperature and your baby bump happily humming along:
1. The Talk Test. While pushing it at the gym, make sure you feel like you could keep up a conversation with minimal effort. This doesn’t mean you can’t huff and puff a little, but not to the point where you feel faint or dizzy. Passing the talk test will ensure that you are working out in a safe cardio zone.
2. Too hot? Breaking a sweat will be no sweat when you’re pregnant, thanks to a slightly raised core body temperature. So, take the cardio down a notch to the point that you feel warmer than usual but not heating up to the point of begging someone to give you the Ice Bucket Challenge. And, as Beyonce said, “a little sweating ain’t never hurt nobody.” This is also true during pregnancy. But, if you’re veering towards over-heated, slow down, sip some cold water and take a short rest.
Q. How do I know which aches and pains are normal and which are a sign that something is wrong?
The nine months of pregnancy are a time of constant transformation inside and out. With that said, you’ll probably feel different day to day, week to week, month to month. How that impacts your fitness routine will have a lot to do with you paying close attention to your body’s signals. In other words, as long as you feel good, keep on moving. When your body sends a signal that doesn’t feel good, stop and ask yourself: Where exactly am I feeling pain? Is this a new pain? Did my doctor warn me about this pain? I also encourage you to be proactive with your doctor to get answers as well as consult with a certified prenatal trainer or a physical therapist when you’re not sure if working out is safe when you’re feeling “off” in any way.
Here are some very common symptoms and conditions that you should be aware of when you’re working out:
S.I. Joint Pain: Where is it? Tailbone or upper section of the Glutes. What to do? Avoid moves that make it worse and try water-based workouts if the problem continues.
Low Back Pain: What to do? A few things: strengthen the core, get into the water for workouts and focus on good pregnancy posture during your workouts
Round Ligament Pain: Where is it? Pain or cramping along either side of the pelvis. What to do?
Perfectly safe to work around this pain while avoiding any movements that make it worse.
Preeclampsia: What is it? Combination of chronic or gestational high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Severe cases of preeclampsia may be accompanied by headaches; vision problems; belly pain; or sudden swelling in the hands, legs and/or face. What to do? If you have any of these symptoms, reach out to your doctor right away. Your doc will probably check for signs of preeclampsia during your regular visits as well. In most cases, if you are diagnosed it will be recommended that you stop exercising.
Q. What are the best prenatal core exercises?
There are lots of awesome core moves that can still be done during pregnancy! First, try practicing belly breathing and kegels. Then, try some of my favorites: planks, pelvic tilts and standing knee lifts (think of it as a standing crunch!). Sit-ups, twisting ab exercises (think bicycles) and lying on your back for leg lifts should be avoided, especially in the 2nd and 3rd trimester.
Q. How soon after delivery can I return to working out?
Most doctors will give clearance for exercise somewhere between the 8th & 12th week postpartum, but it will depend entirely on your unique delivery and recovery process. No matter when you are ready to get back to the gym, it is important to follow these 4 steps to bouncing back. Above all, enjoy your beautiful baby and try to be kind and compassionate with yourself as you transition through the postpartum period. Remember: your body is amazingly resilient if you allow it to be. Give it time to heal and balance your burning desire to “bounce back” with patience and realistic goals. Working with a trainer, coach or a supportive group of fellow mamas during this transition period can help you do that.
Numbers and statistics have the ability to change the world because they show us the big picture that we cannot perceive in our own daily lives. Furthermore, their power is greater than mere opinion pieces because it’s harder to bias numbers that come from sound studies. As I have done my own research for Unite’s blog in the last year, I came across several charts that have dramatically changed my perspective on the “right” food choices. You have to see it to believe it!
These charts opened up my perspective from a narrow “ME” focus to a “wider WE” focus. For years, I’ve read studies and experimented with my diet, always looking for what to eat that will balance optimal health and personal enjoyment. While I have always cared for the environment and other people, I had no idea just how much my daily food choices where impacting the earth and society.
Here are the 5 charts that sent me on a path to creating the soon to be released, Sacred Six Diet. This new diet manifesto takes into account not only what is best for our bodies and minds, but the environment and society as well. We can no longer just think of ourselves because there are dire consequences given the size and connectedness of the population and world food industry. I’d like to note that I do not subscribe wholly to any concept listed below. these are great learning tools that provoke us to think about what we eat and why.
1. Food Efficiency Factor
I love this chart because it ties together the energy needed to produce foods with the energy gained by consuming them (calories) into a ranked list that really makes you think differently about the term “luxury food”. That is assuming you care about the success and health of our society as a whole and feeding all its 7 billion people. What the efficiency factor tells us is what foods are most efficient for a growing society to produce and consume. Knowing these factors we can start to put some smarter structuring to our diets that limits the poor efficiency foods (meats) and focuses more on the highly efficient ones (grains, dairy).
2. Food’s Carbon Footprint
A recent study showed that 2/3 of Americans now fully believe in human driven climate change and think we should do something about it. We hear a lot about clean versus dirty energy sources, but we don’t hear about how much our dietary selections impact greenhouse gases. Did you know that the largest producers of greenhouse gases are the cows we require to meet our increasing demand for beef! This is true mainly because of how much methane gas cows produce (25 times more potent than carbon dioxide) as well as the amount of feed they require. Check out this chart detailing the drastic differences in greenhouse gas emissions from the production of various foods. Interesting to me that the top offenders also have other health risks: toxins in farmed salmon, nitrates in processed turkey/ham, saturated fat in cheese etc.
3. Total Impact of Meat Eating
As the last two graphs show, meat, especially lamb, cows, and pigs, come up as the big offenders on both greenhouse gas and societal eating efficiency, but the story actually gets worse for beef production. Producing beef requires 28 times more land and 11 times more irrigation water than any other animal product. I have enjoyed meat my entire life and don’t plan to go vegetarian. However, looking at the total impact of producing beef and to a lesser extent pigs, I have reduced my meat consumption and supplemened that protein with cleaner, more responsible choices.
4. Mineral Content Organic vs. Conventional
I notionally figured that organic produce and grains are somewhat healthier for you nutritionally, but these numbers show that organic has significantly, and in some cases exponentially, more mineral and vitamin content. Our bodily functions need those minerals and vitamins to facilitate the chemical reactions needed to work properly. Roundup, #1 pesticide used to kill weeds, does so by stopping the uptake of needed minerals from the soil, which has a similar albeit lesser effect on the actual crops. We also know that the longer produce takes to go from picked to eaten (unless frozen), the more it breaks down naturally with less nutrients. That is also why many seem to experience local, organic as better tasting produce as well. Not to mention the extra green house gases and energy used in transportation.
The organic movement started as a movement not to get more nutritious food, but to avoid toxic chemicals in our foods. When the crops use pesticides, the water, meat and fish all get pesticides too. The US alone uses 1 billion pounds of pesticides and the long-term effects have not been understood. We are freely putting toxic and unnatural chemicals into our environment and expecting it to stay balanced and healthy.So eating organic produce is definitely the way to go.
5. Antibiotics and Hormones in Meat
According to the FDA’s data we are pumping our animals full of antibiotics and hormones to enhance growth, milk production and prevent disease, but to what end. Bacteria are everywhere (our stomachs have millions alone) and can help humans or hurt them. Things like anti-biotics can help us, but when we over use them the bacteria evolve to be resistant, exposing us potentially to deadly outbreaks. Additionally, the bovine growth hormone has been banned in Europe and 27 countries, yet the US still allows it. More reasons I have gone to organic dairy and meat, but unfortunately that doesn’t solve the antibiotic issue.
I’d love to hear what y’all think about this topic! The world needs some new voices.