Double Trouble for NJ Fall Boot Camp

Starting Sept 15, a group of 20 will be going through 10 wks of Unite’s trademark cross-training workouts and 10 Step nutrition training to accelerate fat loss and fitness.  The kicker is that you have a lot of fun and meet some great people in the process.

Coach Christina and Becky will be a one two punch this Fall, hosting private outdoor boot camp workouts at 6:15pm that will get you enjoying nature and motivated to workout!  Here are a bunch of photos to inspire you!

Boot Camp enrollment due date is Friday Sept 12th $299 and early enrollment of $249 if you register by Fri Sept 5th.

ONLY $50 upgrade for current members.

You can enroll at the studio with any coach or email with any questions.

Coach Eric to Lead Fall Boot Camp All Over Philly

Starting Sept 15, a group of 20 will be going through 10 wks of Unite’s trademark cross-training workouts and 10 Step nutrition training to accelerate fat loss and fitness.  The kicker is that you have a lot of fun and meet some great people in the process.

Coach Eric will be leading the charge and hosting private outdoor boot camp workouts at 630am that will get you up and motivated for your day.  Always wanted to do the Rocky Steps? Run the Bridge?  Outdoor boot camps will be held once a week at various iconic parks around center city keeping things interesting with the rest of your mandatory 3-5 workouts per week completed at the studio.  Here are a bunch of photos to inspire you!

Boot Camp enrollment due date is Friday Sept 12th $350 and early enrollment of $299 if you register by Fri Sept 5th.  You can enroll on the website @

Why Wharton Students Stay Fit

Before I started my first fitness studio and cross-training concept, I was on the road to business school. I went through the entire process following many of my friends to grad school. I even got as far as giving money to hold my place at a school before I chose to travel and start a business instead.

What I learned going through the process is that the highly motivated, go getter type that attends business school is also the type that is into fitness. The new business school peeps understand that to be able to take on the physical, mental and emotional demands of a high responsibility, longer hour executive role that most aspire to, they need to be in great shape with outlets to clear their minds and retain their creativity and sanity. Put those two things together and there is a demand for a all-inclusive cross-training program that is highly effective and convenient for people’s lives. That is why Unite Fitness has such an amazing professional clientele and why we see a large crew of bright young Wharton students every September.


What executives have you seen lately that are overweight and low energy?  The only one I recall in the news was the obese McDonald’s exec that died of a heart condition surprise, surprise. In our modern society, the research and stories from successful executives clearly show that the people that exercise regularly, eat nutritious balanced diets, and make time to quiet their mind and be social with others excel in the workplace. I was listening to Peter Sage get interviewed about what he does to drive his personal success and he explained his morning routine of meditation, exercise, reading and diet. For more on this topic read the recent blog about the research of the critical health habits of wealthy people generally.

While Wharton is the top place to be for business school, the principles of holistic health and fitness being the central driver for our professional careers is relatable to anyone and especially the executive bound.  Unite pledges to help all Wharton, business school students and professionals achieve more through fitness, nutrition and mindset.


Coach Gavin

Cain Now Has Abs Under Those Scrubs

Cain works those crazy nursing hours (7am to 7pm) several days per week and is studying for his third degree but still found  time to dedicate to bettering his fitness and body at Unite.  He is RIPPED now, check him out!

Free Nutrition Talk with Juliet and Ali!

From Knowing to Doing: How Tips, Tricks and Recipes Get Clicks But Not Results with Juliet Burgh, CHHC and Ali Shapiro, MS, CHHC

Ok, Ok, there might be some tips and tricks. But the night’s focus is on having a real conversation about what it takes to lose weight while regaining your sanity around food. You’re only a google search away from tips and tricks. But what you can’t find there is an intimate conversation with experts who have lost weight, had their own body image struggle and regained better lives in the process.
You’ll learn:
  • The four phases of weight-loss
  •  What you need to unlearn to move forward 
  • The missing X factor in most diets that is the key to keeping weight off
Thursday, September 11
7-8:30 pm
1315 Walnut Street, Suite 320 (Cultureworks)
(Light snacks and fresh juice provided by PS&Co, Pure Fare and Sip-N-Glo
To sign up please RSVP : CLICK HERE

Which Obstacle Race is Worth Your Money?

The Ultimate Obstacle Race Review:

Several years ago I overheard a couple guys at the gym describing a race they just signed up for that involved military style obstacles, mud and barbed wire. I couldn’t wait to find out what this ridiculousness was and how I could sign up! Racing was fairly new to me, but it was already becoming something I was feeling a little bored with. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sense of accomplishment when I shave off a few seconds per mile, run a new course or even set a personal record. But I wanted to run for more than the possibility of saying “I beat you.”

Enter the obstacle and mud runs.

I’ve been hooked since my first introduction to this type of race, where the courses are always unpredictable and the only bragging rights earned are “I survived.” If you’re like me and the other 2 million Americans already competing in obstacle and mud events (, 2013) you already know there is a plethora of choices and they aren’t cheap! How do you pick from the dozens that are out there?  From the dirtiest to the most extreme, I’ve compiled my favorites thus far.

This is your guide to finding the best fit for you.

The Tough Mudder

My first experience deserves the first spot on the list.
Gotta love the that the founders sold tickets before building the first obstacle. With the all or nothing attitude and an overwhelming response of the first Mudders, the Tough Mudder paved the way for all the others and helped to spark the popularity of this sport.

This one is all about fun, camaraderie and mud. There are no official times given, although you are welcome to submit a time to be considered for the Ultimate Tough Mudder. Many people are unable to get through (or over, under or around) obstacles alone, so you’ll find everyone helping each other out. Obstacles include 10 foot walls, tunnels and mud. Lots of mud. I’ve never been dirtier or muddier in my life. There’s dirt, thick mud, muddy water, and just plain old dirty water.

They also took the concept of “tough” one step further. As if cold water isn’t bad enough, they added ice cubes. Smoke bombs. Habanero peppers. 10,000 volt wires. 10-12 miles of unpredictable terrain.

For: Masochistic-long-distance-fun-runners (I know, 12 miles is not even a half marathon, but you could be out there for 3-4 hours).
Not For: Competitive runners(they say it’s not a race, but a team building event), the impatient (be ready to wait in line at obstacles), or those that want to stay clean.
Sept 27 & 28, Gerrardstown WV, 12 miles (more events online)

Race Entry $109-189, Spectator Fee $20, Bag Drop $10, Parking Fee – Yes

Dirt Factor – 10/10
Fun Factor – 8/10
Competitive – 2/10
Challenge – 3/10
Cost per mile – $10-$18 (factor additional costs in parking and bag drop)

The Unite Fitness Decathlon

The UFD was born from my very own Unite team. It was our desire to design an event that challenged what most people do and how most people train at the gym. We loved the competitive nature of regular runs but felt they lacked the challenges to strength, power and endurance. Inspired by the many mud and obstacle runs we’ve done (and love!) we wanted to combine a competitive run with competitive fitness style events while keeping the ridiculous (and sometime questionable safety) obstacles and mud to a minimum.

10 fitness events you can actually train for in a gym, just enough obstacles to be fun, and a 10k (6.2 mile) trail run creates the perfect balance for competitive athletes looking for the next big thing in racing. What you might imagine a Mudder is except the obstacles are fitness events such as thrusters, lunges, box jumps, rows and burpees using equipment like dumbbells, ropes, sandbags, tires and suspension trainers for reps or distance.  It’s a race for all level athletes: competitive runners will appreciate the ability to compete without having to wait. Race waves are tiered to then allow all level (“completion”) runners who just want to come out and have fun but not feel the pressure of being judged at events or being scored for time. Relay Teams finish out the final waves.

The UFD welcomes spectators of all ages to attend as there are plenty of family friendly activities including water balloons, mini train rides, farm animals, live DJ, food, beer and ice cream. Free parking and free entry to the party for all!

For: Cross-trainers (runners who lift, lifters who run) looking forward to 60-90 minutes of high intensity activity, competitors looking for the next big thing, and spectators who don’t want to be “taxed” just to cheer their friends on.
Not for: Runners who just want an excuse to get really muddy.  Athletes not up for a challenge, not ready to try something new, or  afraid of heights (there’s a 40 foot vertical net to climb).
October 11th, Newton PA, 6 miles
Race Entry $65-95, Spectator Fee – No, Bag Drop fee – No, Beer – Free!

Dirt Factor – 3/10
Fun Factor – 8/10
Competitive – 8/10
Challenge – 10/10
Cost per mile – $10-$15

The Spartan series

I love the idea of creating an event around the legendary Spartan culture of warriors. If you’ve ever seen the movie “300” you know what I’m talking about. From birth to death everything was about developing the warrior spirit and the “never-give-up” attitude. There are multiple lengths (Sprint, Super, Beast) and various terrains, obstacles and events. And spear throwing … where the hell are you going to practice for that event?!

Imagine the Tough Mudder but with a competitive twist, where your time is electronically recorded via a chip. Athletes of all levels are randomly scheduled in the waves, so you’ll still probably be waiting behind others at single-track choke points and some obstacles. Burpees are required at any obstacle you don’t complete. It’s a bit cultish (what isn’t these days) with recruits Training, Eating and Living like a Spartan.

For: Mudders looking for less mud, icy water, peppers or live wires. Must have an aching desire to climb ropes, crawl under barbed wire, carry buckets of rocks and throw spears.
Not for: Burpee haters (Spartan = Burpees) or if you’re not up for a challenge.
Sept 20, Philadelphia PA, 3 miles @Citizens Bank Park – (more events online)

$85-$95, Spectator Fee $20, Bag Drop $10, Parking Fee – Yes

Dirt Factor – 7/10
Fun Factor – 7/10
Competitive – 9/10
Challenge – 6/10
Cost per mile – $28-$32 (Sprint Series)

The Civilian Military Combine

So, what happens when a Crossfit WOD collide with a ski slope (or a NY sidewalk?). A combination of Crossfit style lifts for points per repetition. Then an obstacle run designed for speed. Competitors are scored for a combined total so it’s not always the strongest or the fastest who wins the race.

The CMC  was first conceived in a Crossfit box in Long Island and tested on a ski slope, with huge success, taking runners right from the “PIT” (where in about 8 minutes competitors were completely taxed from all the barbell thrusters, kettlebell swings, box jumps and burpees) to the mountain race with only 2 minutes of rest.

Uphill for 45 minutes? Sure.
Swim through a wave pool? Why not.
Run through an 800 meter pitch black drain pipe with rocks and water? Yup.
The CMC has since developed shorter, flatter races and have added skill levels to enter the “PIT” with. Obstacles vary with the course: vertical walls, mud and tunnels greet mountain climbers while shipping containers, cars and weighted sleds can be found at the urban races. With Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta divisions there’s bound to be a PIT WOD everyone is capable of doing.

For: Crossfitters who want to run and try out some great obstacles. Must have that competitive drive to make it through the PIT.
Not for: Beginners or those that “just want to try it out”.
Sept 13, Newton Square PA, 4 miles (more events online)

Dirt Factor – 6/10
Fun Factor – 6/10
Competitive – 10/10
Challenge – 8/10
Cost per mile – $21-$40



August Strength Playlist

August Cardio Playlist

6 Critical Health Habits of Wealthy People

The key in what we are talking about is that these are habits, as in daily, weekly habits, which is why they have such massive repercussions for a persons success and wealth. Another over arching theme is that the rich habits are all basically sane and positive, whereas the poor habits are illogical and lazy if health, wealth and prosperity are your goals.

These critical habits are all based on primary research of wealthy and poor people.  The patterns and results of this research clearly show the most defining categories of difference between wealthy and poor habits. If you are interested in reading more about this, the source is Tom Corely who wrote Rich Habits and soon Rich Kids and I just pulled out those pertaining to their health habits.  Fascinating research and easy to digest and make a plan to assess and change any of your poor habits into rich habits!

  1. Regular Cardio Exercise – stimulates body and brain function and contributes to long-term health
  2. Eat < 300 Junk Calories Per Day – sugar, processed, hydrogenated fats, etc.
  3. 30 min Self Improvement Per Day – podcasts, audiobooks, reading on career or personal development
  4. No > 1 hr of Recreation Per Day – includes TV/internet used just for entertainment
  5. Get Up Early – this is how they get the self improvement, exercise and healthy eating done right off the bat
  6. Nurture Relationships Socially – who you know has always been at the crux of many people’s opportunities but also creates health and happiness through emotional support and connectedness when done with good heart.

Upgrade Your Performance & Happiness with Meditation Courses

The science shows that the simple but disciplined act of meditating enhances mental performance, emotional stability and physical health. So how do you learn and stick to a practice?

Like anything else, the best way to create a new healthy habit is to find  a class that meets regularly, connect with the coach and students, and practice several times per week.  Sounds like your fitness training right? Well training your mind is just like training your muscles. Below I provide some of the introductory courses I recommend at the local Shambhala Center, which is largest free, public meditation center in Philadelphia.

Personally I have found meditating and studying Buddhist-based psychology to be profoundly transformative in my life.  Meditation slows me down so I am more mindful of my behaviors and other people, allowing me to break out of conditioned responses and turn my mind towards healthier, helpful thoughts and behaviors. Meditation is the best foundation for being able to make any upgrades in your life, be they dietary changes, athletic performance or emotional/relationship work.  We must have a correct and experiential understanding of how our minds work to be able to use and enhance or minds effectively.

Everyday Life Series - this is the best course series to start with as it spans 5 weeks, meeting 1 evening a week which helps to create a repetitive habit of meditation with readings and practice in between classes. This is a series of 5 courses, each with 5 week night classes. The first two courses, listed below, you can enroll in without any prerequisites.

  1. Meditation in Everyday Life - starts Sept 2nd,  fills up fast
  2. Contentment in Everyday Life – starts Nov 11th , guaranteed break thru!
Basic Goodness Series – also a great place to start to meditation and understand how our minds work and can deceive us from seeing reality. This is a series of 3 course, each with  6 week night classes and no pre-requisities.

Shambhala is a secular meditation community and publisher spanning North America and Europe that is based on Tibetan Buddhism but reframed for Western life with a plethora of sequential course in meditation and related arts.

- Coach Gavin McKay