PLAYFUL – Why So Serious? Come Play

Life has such a range of experiences from tragedy and despair to euphoric peace and joy. We don’t always remember the dynamic nature of life and can get stuck seeing it as mostly this way or that versus a play between them all. We can create a “way of being” or attitude that starts to purvey all situations. When it is marked by negativity, practicality, stinginess, or just seriousness in general life can seem like a real drag. This can seem like an innate part of our personality. We have all heard people say someone is a negative person or so serious all the time, etc. That is because it’s not enjoyable to be around such seriousness, nor is it enjoyable to be that way.
The good part is that this serious way of being is just a habit based on our negatively biased view of the world, which can change. We simply have lost sight of the magic, wonder and humor in life and need to rediscover that side of things. Mentally what happens is that we quite literally get stuck in the past. After some hurtful or disappointing event or long-term situation we stopped living fully in the present and started resisting the fun, bright, comical side of situations. The physical sensation is one of tightness, isolation and repression. It’s like we are punishing ourselves or others for those past things by not being happy now. And that self inflicted heart wound does hurt, in fact it takes years off our lives. The unhealthy stress creates chemicals that keep the body fighting a ghost versus taking care of more important things. Mental tension becomes physical tension as the mind and body are intimately intertwined.
To be so serious, we must be consciously push away the fun, joy, laughter because they always and quite naturally exist. Even in death and depression there is often one comical moment that squeaks through and like water bursting through a damn, everyone falls into tears of laughter releasing all that upset and tension. We just need to lighten up a bit, give up our positions, and be a little witty. Shake off the past and pay attention to the awesome things in the present.
When we have a playful mind, we look for the best things around us that we can play with keeping us more positive. Comedians have quite a skill for this, they take mundane things and draw out the curious, silly things about them that make us laugh and we love them for it. The saying laughter is the best medicine has merit as it sends chemical signals to our body that we are safe, all is well, so it can focus on all the functions to keep us healthy, versus fighting off stress. When we let ourselves have a laugh, or better yet make others laugh, we touch back into that beautiful, loose, connected, healthy space of the present moment.

Coach Gavin McKay

Unite Fitness Best of 2014!

UPLIFT – Simple Daily Choices Can Uplift Your Life

We tend to look outside ourselves for things that will lift our spirits, entertain us, and make us feel good about ourselves and thats okay. This is not an effective long-term strategy however unless what we chose is truly uplifted and bolsters our core being. If what we chose are cheap thrills and short term comforts they will leave us feeling empty and addicted, like we have a void that needs to be filled again. With trial and error we quickly learn the difference and so it’s a daily choice.

True confidence and joy must have strong foundations deep within our minds or they continually crumble. This emotional foundation is a set of beliefs about our personal value and the inclination of the greater world. If we see ourselves as faulty, damaged, less than and the world as a battlefield bent on servings us overwhelming challenges, than our spirit is chronically depressed. If we see ourselves as capable, good, brave and the world as providing us with gifts and workable challenges than our spirit is strong and flexible. While it may seem like a simple thing to change your beliefs it is more of a process, where experiences must back up the new ideas. This is where making choices about the places and people you spend time with becomes critical.

We are all human and cannot help but be impacted (physically, mentally and emotionally) by the environment, circumstance and people that surround us in any given moment. This is a good thing because it gives us ways in which to manage our experiences and nurture a positive view of ourselves and our world. We do this by uplifting all aspects of our lives as best we know how, which is where Unite wants to help. Unite’s purpose is to create an uplifted, intimate studio and program that attracts friendly, do-gooders to train smarter together: upgrading their diets and workouts in support of greater health and happiness.

All elements are important to living an uplifted life, so consider how you can upgrade a few of them:

  • Eat fresh, quality, healthy “uplifted” food
  • Rehabing your injuries will “uplift” every move you make
  • Spend time with people that “uplift” your spirit or you can uplift theirs
  • Clean and beautify your work and home spaces so they feel “uplifted”
  • “Uplift” your body by choosing safe, holistic exercise balanced with recovery
  • Find ways to slow down, reflect and be grateful and your mind naturally “uplifts”

By making these simple daily choices you will not only feel uplifted, you will become an uplifted person, capable of uplifting the world around you. Unite for an uplifted world.

November Strength Playlist

November Cardio Playlist

Upgrade Your Thanksgiving To Slim Down!

Turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, sugary cranberry sauce, buttery stuffing and pie, lots of pie. This is what comes to mind when we thing of celebrating Thanksgiving with our families. We give in to the idea that we will spend hours indulging in some of the most calorie filled foods, only to vow to “be good” for the weeks that follow before we do it all over again around Christmas.
From the cheese ball and crackers before to the pumpkin pie after, Thanksgiving meals can weigh in at more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat, according to the Caloric Control Council. That’s more than twice the number of calories most of us should eat in an entire day, and enough dietary fat for more than three days!
But Turkey Day needn’t leave you feeling so stuffed that you need to loosen your belt at the end of the day. If you’re cooking this Thanksgiving, then you’re in control of your own destiny because you can decide how much butter, cream and sugar goes into each and every dish. By making some smart substitutions for each recipe, you can easily save calories and fat without sacrificing flavor. A few years ago I began to experiment with upgrading my favorite family holiday dishes into less guilty versions, that were just as tasty. The responses I received from my friends and loved ones were the confirmation I needed to continue to find more ways to indulge guilt free and pain free. These recipes have now become our family traditions for years to come. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this article to try some of my favorite recipes!

My 3  Tips and Tricks to a Better Thanksgiving Dinner. Cheers to no longer feeling disgusting!

  1. Make your side dishes gluten free. Gluten is the protein found in what products (stuffing, breads, crackers etc.). Gluten acts like a glue in our belly (it literally is used as a glue to make things like envelopes stick together) You can imagine how it makes everything stick together in our digestive tract. Want to feel like there’s a big boulder sitting in your belly? Want the feeling like you have to hunch forward after your meal, because it hurts to stand? Then keep enjoying your gluten. I on the other hand decided about 3 years ago to try a different path, as I realized gluten wasn’t making me feel my best. I brought home a gluten free stuffing and as I reached for my second helping to my great surprise there was none left to be enjoyed. My family was so impressed by the fact that my stuffing tasting just like theirs, even better they said. As I left my relatives they requested that for now on we only have gluten free stuffing. SCORE!!!
  2. Make your side dishes mostly vegan. This is a great trick to decrease your calories. Substituting heavy creams for lower fat milks or even better for veggie/chicken stock. Using olive oil instead of butter can decrease your calories and fat significantly and you’d be surprised at how little of a taste difference it makes. I began to make all of my desserts vegan and to be honest I think they taste better! There is also a psychological difference when you know that what your eating isn’t that god awful for your health. You tend to enjoy yourself more and can really be in the moment with your food.
  3. Decrease your sugar. Go ahead blame the bird for making you want to fall asleep at the table, but just know that you are pointing the finger at the wrong culprit. It is a total myth that turkey makes us sleepy. Over dosing on sugar and carbohydrates is really what contributes to this state of comatose. Decreasing my gluten definitely helped me with this feeling, but what really does the trick is substituting refined sweeteners like white and brown sugar for lower glycemic sweeteners. My favorite is Coconut Palm Sugar.  Click Here for other sweetener alternatives. Making your cranberry sauce or baking with these sweeteners are so much better for your health and your waistline. My gluten free, vegan, pie made with coconut palm sugar is the biggest hit of our thanksgiving!
Click the links below to get some awesome recipes for your staples sides this Thanksgiving:

“Mashed Potatoes” -Made from cauliflower. You won’t believe how real this tastes!

Get Leaner By Taking Time Off From The Gym

The human body is an amazing machine.  It is capable of putting up with and even thriving in our modern world that is often less than ideal. We get on just fine, despite our modern lifestyle fraught with physically compromised positions such as sitting (at a desk, in the car/bus, on the couch), ingesting harmful chemicals in our foods, and breathing in toxic fumes in the atmosphere.  Despite our best efforts, we all are subject to these environmental toxins. Thankfully, we can mitigate the detrimental effects of these stressors by eating minimally processed foods, standing as much as possible, and having a consistent movement practice through exercise.

However, as Americans, we live in a culture where “more is better.”  We believe in a world where super-sized effort equals super-sized results.  ”If 3-4 workouts a week is good for me, why wouldn’t 6-7 be even better?” Unfortunately, there is a point of diminishing returns.  A point where 10x effort does not equal 10x return.  So once you reach that point, what can you do?  The answer lies in one of Unite’s core values: train smarter, not harder. 

This is accomplished through the smart programming that puts an emphasis on periodization, and making sure to change things up regularly. But just as importantly, as someone who has trained consistently at Unite for 7, going on 8 years, I’ve come to value the importance of rest and recovery.  If you are someone who feels guilty that you “only” made it in to workout 5 times this past week, I have great news for you: No matter what your goals are, you will bring yourself closer to them if you take some more time off in between workouts.

R&R for Fat Loss

“I’ve increased the amount of workouts I do each week, and I’m still fat!”
Constantly hitting the gym on a daily basis in an attempt to lose weight is a recipe for frustration and self-sabotage.  Over time you reach an overtrained state, where fat loss is nearly impossible due to adrenal fatigue, which will result in excess food cravings, a lack of energy, and poor mood.  We’ve said it before, but you will see much better results if you allow your body to rest, eat nutritionally dense foods, and treat yourself well. Unfortunately it takes a ton of exercise (more than you have time for) to burn off just a little bit of that unhealthy food you just ate.

R&R for Injury Prevention

“I work out almost every day and I’m starting to feel strange aches and pains”
In today’s world of high intensity exercise, we are able to push our bodies to the limits.  Push to the limits one day, and your body will be able to bounce back.  Do it over and over again over the course of weeks, months, or even years will end in disaster in the form of a devastating injury.  Recovery will allow the muscle fibers, ligaments, and tendons to repair and be stronger than ever.  But without rest, you are taxing all of the systems that are designed to keep you moving to the point where something will eventually break. For those of you who are addicted to high intensity workouts and simply just love to move your body every day, just think of the cost. If you get hurt you will be out of commission for months or even life. Try going for long walks, take a restorative yoga class or simply just stretch at home and you can feel good about doing something with your body that day.

R&R for Improved Performance

“I haven’t been able to run as fast or lift as heavy as I used to.”
Training in and of itself does not make you stronger.  In actuality it is very destructive to your body.  It is the time in between workouts, where the muscle fibers are repaired that you realize the strength gains and benefits of exercise.  If you find yourself losing strength, speed, or have been stagnant in your gains, take some time to allow the body to rebuild itself, and you’ll be back on track before you know it.

How to maximize your recovery: or, Making the most of your down time

The body is more equipped to go from 0-60 much better than it is to go from 60-0. Most of your brain is set up this way for arousal, survival. It’s a simple evolutionary response.  Back in the caveman days, if you came up on an angry sabertooth tiger, you wouldn’t have time to “get loose” and warm up before you start your 100% sprint to safety.  You have to go, and you have to go NOW.

Because it was not an absolute necessity for survival, there are fewer triggers that send us into sedation, down-regulation, the drousal state. There are ways that you can create the natural de-stimulation necessary to create the environment for relaxation, and in turn recovery to occur.



Compression socks have been proven to improve recovery times in athletes, by temporarily improving blood flow, thus flushing out the muscles.  Compression is a great tool to help decrease the amount of recovery time needed between workouts, similar to the ice bath. Another, cheaper way to get a similar result is to lie down with your legs elevated over your heart.  This restricts the flow of blood to the lower body, turning down the sympathetic response.







Foam Rolling

When was the last time you went directly from a deep tissue massage to feeling like you wanted to immediately run a 10k?  It doesn’t happen, because deep touch creates condition of relaxation.  Obviously not all of us can afford a deep tissue massage every day, so that’s where foam rolling and self-massage comes in.  Using a variety of tools and techniques, you can induce that same feeling you get after a massage.




Improve Your Sleep Quality

Sleeping more is not always an option.  In fact, sleeping more can be detrimental in some cases.  Ever feel extra drowsy after sleeping in?  The key is to improve the quality, and increase the amount of time you reach deep sleep.  Sleep in a cool, quiet, dark room.  Any stimulus to any of your “on-switches” will turn into arousal and diminished sleep quality. If you are unable to black out your room, wear a sleep mask, and ear plugs.  I’ve noticed much better sleep after getting a sleep mask through increased dreams, and feeling more refreshed in the morning.


Spread your water intake out throughout the day.  Levels of hydration needed are different for everyone, but a good rule of thumb is to take your bodyweight, divide by 2, and that is how many ounces you should drink per day.

For more information on how to do of these suggestions, our coaches are highly trained at helping you implement a plan of action. Email to set up an Assessment

-Coach Mackie

Fall-Winter 2014 Unite Swag

Craig’s Transformation: Skinny Fat to Lean Machine

#GayMenUnite WorkOut & Brunch: Nov 15th

: Sat Nov 15th

Time: 12 noon workout begins, MUST arrive 15 min early, brunch ~1:45/2pm




There are so many reasons why gay men choose to cross-train @ Unite Fitness here are just a few:

  • Top Level Coaches that balance pushing hard with having fun
  • All Inclusive Cross-training: multi-sport cardio intervals, functional strength training and yoga stretch
  • Friendly Fun Social community that only a studio like Unite attracts
  • Creates Lean Build and Athleticism that empowers people to be more confident and active

To celebrate and promote Unite as a gay owned and frequented local business in Philadelphia we are hosting a FREE 40 man workout led by 2 of our hottest young coaches Mark and Austin (and they love to flirt) with curated playlists. With only 40 spots it will fill up fast, so sign up now and get your friends on the stick to register immediately as you don’t want to be looking at the pictures afterwards wishing you were there. And we aren’t holding spots.


After the workout our good friend Tim Adams of Penn6, directly across the street, has invited us all over for a #GayMenUnite post workout brunch.  If you cannot get into the gay mens workout you can still meet us at brunch afterwards ~ 1:45-2pm.

We will take about 30 minutes to make our way over there after the workout so feel free to run home to shower/change or just bring some clothes to do that here but we have limited showers. The burn from Unite is Free but the brunch is extra and optional, but brunch is where you will get to talk to that cute guy you saw sprinting on the treadmill. Penn6 also has a great special for the Unite men offering $15 bottomless mimosas with brunch entree.

- Hope to see you there

Coach Gavin