Categorized as: Blog

Chicago’s Best Outdoor Summer Fitness Program

We would be remiss if we didn’t let people know about the Lakeshore East Outdoor Summer Fitness Program, Powered by Unicus Fitness, coming up here starting June 3rd, 2019 out on the Great Lawn of Lakeshore East. It is the 4th summer Unicus Fitness has been entrusted with developing this program and it looks to be one of our best yet. There will be 5 days per week of training available for people as follows:

-Mondays is Killer Body Boot Camp at 6pm

-Tuesdays is Sunrise Yoga at 6:30am

-Wednesdays is Blood, Sweat and Tears at 6pm

-Thursdays is Vinyasa Flow Yoga at 6:30am

-Fridays is Weekend Warrior at 6pm

Signup before June 3rd and the cost is just $79 for 12 weeks of programming

Signup after June 3rd and the cost goes up to $99 for the 12 weeks

Summer Fitness Program

A different way of looking at resistance training…

  This is an analogy for resistance training….Picture this scenario……You want to get to Florida from Chicago and you need a map to do it since you are going to drive. You come upon this guy who says he can help you out since he has a map. He pulls the map out and you notice that the map only provides details on how to get from Chicago to California. He says “No big deal, you can use the same map, you just have to drive slower”. I would be willing to bet most people would give this guy more than a bit of side eye.

Muscle hypertrophy vs muscle density


Well the above analogy is kind of how I feel when people talk about workouts and goals. It could be at the store or in the lobby of some of the buildings I work in, but invariably I hear people talking and discussing how they should workout. The basic non-fitness professional, workout enthusiast seems to know very well the general workout concepts created by bodybuilders from nearly 100 years ago. Multiple sets, increasing weight/decreasing reps each set for 3-5 sets per exercise, splitting body parts up so that you do different body parts each day and never working out a body part 2 days in a row….these are pretty familiar to this particular crowd.

Muscle building principles

Now in 26 years of being a fitness professional I would have to say that every one of those weeks, I ran into at least 1 person that says that they don’t do weight training or that they hate doing it because it makes them “too big”. (It seems that each rep acts like an air pump on their muscles so that if too many reps are done, their body just blew up and oops! Too big)

I would also say that the majority of people that I run into want to be leaner and tighter, meaning that they want their body mass to take up less space on Earths surface. So when the topic comes to resistance training, I ask what style of resistance training are they doing. This leads to blank looks and a response that is similar to the following…..“I didn’t know there was more than one way to resistance train”. The Bodybuilding way of resistance training from above? Great for increasing muscle mass and strength or as we like to say, increasing muscle hypertrophy. So another way to say that is that it will increase your body mass on Earths surface. But remember that we said the goal of most people is the opposite?

If your goal is to become smaller, leaner and tighter, then why would you follow a training system that, at its core, is designed to get you bigger? Here is a common myth….people seem to think that the act of lifting the weight is what gets a person bigger. Wrong! The act of lifting weights microscopically damages your muscle cells, but where you get bigger is when you rest. And that rest can come in the set itself, between the sets and between each workout. The more you can rest after you stimulate the cell by resistance training, the bigger you can theoretically get. But what happens when you severely restrict all rest points? The muscle cannot hypertrophy then, meaning it can’t get bigger. Instead, we have noticed (from a couple of thousand measurements taken over 2 decades, not the hugest sample size of America, but enough to allow us to form this opinion) that the muscle grows denser and leaner, thereby reducing a persons overall mass but improving their overall fitness.

bodybuilding style training

Following a bodybuilding protocol is just not something our customers do well on, when they are looking to reduce their clothes size while maximizing their time working out. It led us to develop our Laws of Leanness that helps guide us in all our workout developments for people trying to be smaller and tighter:

-Never split body part days up, instead workout the whole body each workout

-Focus on the amount of tension and wattage you can produce with your muscles and not the amount of weight you lift

-Combine exercises that make blood flow go from one area of the body to another on a diametrically opposed area, instead of having only exercises hit just one area of your body

The above are products of our Time Under Tension and Mechanical Inefficiency Principles that have proven to be very successful for our clients and customers. Give them a try if you are getting frustrated with your resistance training and not seeing the results that you are looking for. After all, a good map is worth its weight in gold….

Frank Nunez

Unicus Fitness

Is your workout making you better? Or is it just making you tired?

I have seen a lot of trends in the 26 years I have been a fitness professional. Some have stayed and some have disappeared into the wind. Some that people thought would be junk, have proven to stand the test of time. And some that people thought would dominate the market have gone the way of the Dodo Bird.

A current trend that I am seeing nowadays though is not so much a specific training system, but rather a general philosophy. That philosophy is to make clients as tired as possible so that they feel they are getting a great workout, or in the case of personal training, that they are getting the most value for their dollar. Somewhere down the road, customers started believing that the value of their personal trainer was measured in the amount of sweat that came out of their body. And trainers caught onto this so more and more started creating workout programs designed to make people sweaty and tired. But does it really make people better?


To all the potential personal training customers (individuals or businesses or buildings), you have to ask the right questions when deciding on hiring a personal trainer or fitness programming company. Do you want to improve quality of life, to be a better functioning human being with a longer life span, free of pain and disease? Or do you want to get as tired and sweaty as possible so that you feel you got the best bang for your buck? Know that one does not beget the other, meaning that they are not necessarily connected. This is not to say that a great, functional fitness program won’t make you sweat, its just that you have to know exactly what you are trying to get out of it. If getting sweaty and tired is all people wanted, I would just have them chase my dog down. The result is the same.

To all the fitness professionals and personal trainers, I would ask have you thought about your programming and did you make it with the individuals particular needs and limitations in mind? Or was it made simply to make sure that the client broke a sweat and got tired so that they felt it was a “great” session? Now please understand that I personally know hundreds of top flight fitness pros from all over the world that absolutely know how to make clients better. But there are thousands more out there and believe me when I say its a trend I have noticed over the last few years, specifically as the proliferation of “working out as sport” has grown as well as boot camps and general conditioning classes.

In my opinion, the focus should be on making the person a better person and not just making them tired and sweaty. Personal training at its core is both a science and an art form. When those two disciplines are used in the right combination, we as fitness pros can create fantastic masterpieces, with our clients as the canvas.


Frank N.

The Ultimate Fitness Amenity for Buildings

Weights with the words the ultimate fitness amenity on top

The Ultimate Fitness Amenity for Buildings

I have built fitness center amenities for commercial office buildings, residential apartment/condo buildings, plus consulted for some hotel fitness centers and all since 2003. They have been as big as 14,000 square feet to as small as 500 square feet. They have had state of the art equipment, tons of free weights and some have been our proprietary Fitness Lair concepts which have won critical acclaim. And I list all of this to answer what I always do when asked “What would you consider to be the ultimate fitness amenity for any building or hotel?”

Well I am here to tell you that the ultimate fitness amenity is not how big the fitness center is or how fancy the equipment is either. It is also not killer classes or boot camps with the latest tech gear either. The ultimate fitness amenity? The one thing that will make the biggest difference in the lives of all your tenants? Simple… is having a way for the customers to be held accountable. Hands down, not even close. I have seen building owners frustrated after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars (some even over a million) on their buildings fitness center, only to see their usage rate stay under 10% of the tenant population (most hover in the 3-7% range). They have the Field of Dreams mentality when it comes to their fitness center, you know “If you build it, they will come”. This is not Field of Dreams, it is a pipe dream.

The problem they don’t understand is this….You see, most people HATE working out. Let’s just make sure everyone completely understands that. If you are an avid gym goer surrounded by average gym goers, this doesn’t make sense to you. But know the facts….less than 20% of the people in the US have joined or will ever join a gym….ever. So if you are an avid gym goer, you are in the complete minority. Most people do not like working out. Fancy equipment, high tech gear and professional classes are kind of lost on most people. Sure, they want to be in better shape and be healthier, but the process of getting there? That is what keeps them on the sidelines. It is the main impetus for the explosion of the Diet and Supplement market in the US over the last 20 years. It is like my dad used to say, “Everyone wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to Die”.

Having a way to help people stay accountable once they start working out is crucial for their success. Without it, most people will quickly fall off the wagon. I have seen a Low Tech and a High Tech way for buildings to keep people accountable, each with their own success.

The High Tech Way would be setting up an online scoreboard for people to fill in once their workout was completed and then providing some simple prizes once they reached a certain number of days in a month/quarter/year. This online scoreboard could use something like Google Docs to make it really easy for everyone to access. Everyone can see what everyone is doing and if you make teams, then people have a double incentive to keep doing their workouts. Don’t focus on calorie burned, weight lifted or some other advanced metric. Just encourage people to MOVE! Doesn’t matter how little or how much, just get in the habit of getting the workout in each time.

The Low Tech Way is actually my favorite way. It is really simple and is the same scoreboard as the High Tech Way but you would use an actual poster board with peoples names or team names on it. Each day they do a workout, a sticker is placed on the board for them. It never fails to amaze me how motivated people are by such simple acts of positive reinforcement and accountability. Do the same thing and give them simple prizes for a certain number of workouts reached each month (10-12) and also each quarter and year. Reward the behavior that you want to see from them and people will always keep on the right path.

Worries about cheating or gaming the system can be allayed by assigning someone or some company to oversee the accountability system, but we recommend a simple step to counteract it on your own. Don’t make the system about the prizes. Keep them simple and also personalized to your building, like a t-shirt or hat. Making it an HD TV or large sums of money or anything highly valuable are not good ideas for a fitness accountability system. The people that will complain about not having great prizes? They will usually be the ones that don’t need the accountability, the avid gym goers. They want an easy mark of a prize. Don’t make it about the prize! Those people will be fine, they workout anyway so don’t think you are alienating them. You are helping the 80%+ who don’t workout and won’t usually choose to do so on their own without an accountability system.

I am just grateful that fitness centers have turned the corner and are no longer seen as complete luxury items for commercial and residential buildings or hotels. They are necessities for a society that sits way too long each day, surrounded by toxic air, toxic water and less nutritious food choices than should be allowed. So make sure to get up and get moving today!

Hardware or Software? Which is More Important for Your Building’s Tenants?

The words hardware or software on electronic blue background

Hardware or Software? Which is more important for your buildings tenants?

Looking at the title, you probably think this is a post about computers somehow. Sorry for the misunderstanding, but I am no computer expert. The Hardware and Software I am going to discuss is actually the fitness center amenity and the fitness programming that Commercial Building and Residential Building Property Managers and Owners will be deciding on putting in for their tenants.

The Hardware is the actual equipment and materials, and that can range from fitness equipment to locker room equipment to flooring and lighting. We notice that the standard rule of thought is for buildings that are putting in fitness center amenities to concentrate a lot of work on the Hardware, the stuff, to make it very appealing and pretty so that it helps with the landing of tenants on the walk through or sales tour. The Hardware must indeed be appealing and with the sophistication of today’s customer, long gone are the days of putting a treadmill, a Bowflex and a pair of dumbells in a room and calling it the fitness center. So attention to the look of the fitness center is important, but is it as important as it has become?

Looking at it through the lense of the customer, we start to see something interesting. First, lets make sure we all know this simple fact…the overwhelming majority of people in the US have never and will never join a fitness center or health club. More people have joined over the last 20 years, yes, but the population of the US keeps growing so the percentage has not changed and it has not moved past a quarter of the US population. So the majority of people don’t want to join a fitness center and the main reason they keep giving is that they don’t feel they are in shape enough to join yet. They feel it really is an exclusive club and they don’t have any idea what to do or how to make things work so they don’t want to join for fear of being judged or made fun of for trying.

They don’t join but we know that over 90% of people don’t have their dream body and wish they could be healthier and have a better quality of life than what they have now.

That is a huge disconnect. So the last thing that commercial and residential building owners and managers should do is put in a miniature version of the place that most people don’t go to in the first place. It needs to be a place of fitness for sure, but don’t make it a carbon copy of the huge commercial gyms because you are alienating most of the tenants.

How to make it different?

It comes back to the Software then. What is the Software in this explanation? It is the programming that will connect with all the people of the commercial or residential building and help them achieve the results that they desire. The programming is the next great battleground in the pursuit of tenants and customers. Without the Software, the Hardware cannot come alive to everyone. Much in the same way your smartphone would be nearly worthless to you and most people if it had no operating system or the ability to run apps. Only the highest level of computer expert would find it useful, much in the same way that only the biggest fitness enthusiast/expert finds the fitness center amenity in their building at all useful if there is no programming in place to help people develop a plan or take them through classes. In fact, we find the majority of people that will utilize a fitness center inside a commercial or residential building with no programming, those people actually pay for a commercial gym membership outside of their building and just use the fitness center amenity as a backup to their fitness plans. The people that need the most help, the ones with no plan, won’t use the fitness center area because to them it is just a room full of metal.

We have done enough building fitness amenities to know that without a plan to have the Software in place, the building is really throwing money away and might be better served NOT to have the fitness center amenity, if we are talking strictly the business bottom line. We know it won’t happen as the fitness center will always help to close the sale so its value is not always looked at in terms of “Who are we helping to achieve results?” But the converse of that is also interesting, because we have put programming in place for commercial and residential buildings WITHOUT the fitness center amenity and shown huge increases in customer satisfaction and building loyalty. This includes programs like health fairs, fitness classes and personal training in conference rooms and online training access, programming that does not need a designated fitness center. Now of course, the most successful buildings will have both Hardware and Software in place and we have many successful examples in that category too.

So if it comes down to the choice between the Hardware or Software, which one should a commercial or residential building owner/manager choose? It all comes down to if helping tenants achieve results and getting a better quality of life is at all important. Each building has to determine that for themselves, but Unicus Fitness will always be around to help them craft a plan of attack that is right for them and their budget.

Contact us for a FREE Consultation for your building and a pdf download of our services that we provide for commercial and residential buildings that want to upgrade the fitness experience for their tenants/customers.

The Myth of the Fitness Routine

Couple working out for the myth of the fitness routine cover image

The Myth of the Fitness Routine

Why do so many people get frustrated with their workout results (or lack of results) from their fitness routine? Why can’t there just be 1 good routine that will provide superior results? You want to know why? Simple, its because workout routines are done by human beings with human cells……let me explain.

We need to bring it back to some basic components first. Working out, is really just a demand on your muscles to overcome different gravitational and inertial forces. This can range from going for a jog, to lifting weights, to doing a yoga class. Your workout routine can be as bland as going for a walk to as exotic as competing in a survival race. Doesn’t matter because everything takes place on Earth with Earth’s gravitational forces and everyone working out is human.

When you make a demand on your muscles to overcome these forces, a lot of the same things happen each time for every human cell. Your body starts to learn and adapt very fast. At first, it has to work very hard to overcome the demand. But the more chances it has at doing the workout routine, the better it gets at overcoming the forces. Or in other words, the more Efficient it becomes. That is an important word to remember. Most people would equate it with being a good word, but you can’t use subjective terms like Good or Bad when describing workouts. The reason being, what is Good for one person, might be Bad for another. It all depends on where the person is starting and where they want to go with their results.

So getting into a routine that you can always do, will make your body more Efficient each time you do it. There is less demand on your muscular and cardiovascular systems to work as hard as it previously did. But that also means that your body is not adapting as well, so that means that you won’t see as many physical changes to your body. And you have to ask yourself, “Why am I working out?”

If you are working out to see a physical change in your body, a routine mentality will keep you from achieving optimal results. If you are working out for mental clarity or stress relief, you don’t need to worry so much. But it all comes down to what you are looking to do.

You need to become Less Efficient and not More Efficient in your workouts if you are hoping to achieve optimal development, whether it be to your muscular or cardiovascular system. Falling into the trap of doing the same routine over and over again will be the bane of all your results. And the main reason we hear people say that they want a routine to do is so that they don’t have to think when they are working out.

Remember this Unicus Fitness axiom: “What’s good for my mind is terrible for my body.” It simply means that your body will adapt to routines that you adapt simply to make it easier on your brain when working out.

If you are finding yourself on cruise control, you need to shake up your fitness routine if Results are what you are looking to get from your workouts.

Check out Unicus Fitness Training for yourself or customers if having a fitness methodology based on making the body less efficient is what you are looking to do. Our Mechanical Inefficiency Training methodology has been proven by independent 3rd parties to provide a over 60% greater results than traditional fitness methodology.

How Sitting All Day Is Slowly Killing Us

Woman sitting at desk in pain

How Sitting All Day Is Slowly Killing Us

What has become our greatest success as a species has also become our greatest downfall. The creation of the modern city, replete with sky scrapers has always been the symbol for human advancement in history. But by building up, that has made a lot of our day all about sitting. Sitting in chairs and cubicles to make a living instead of moving around, getting blood flow the way our bodies were meant to work. This lack of movement has had many unfortunate side affects on the human body: Higher blood pressure, more joint pain/problems, higher body fat levels, less muscle mass

The number of fitness centers inside commercial office buildings has grown exponentially since we started our business in 2003. It is a welcome change from the times of being told that putting one in a commercial office building was an unnecessary luxury. But now it has become a necessity for all the humans working inside these same buildings. But it goes beyond just putting in a room full of metal machines in the building. People need real solutions and an actual plan of what to do to make sure they stay healthy. The ones that need the most help are the ones that feel most intimidated by the room full of metal machines. So the next stage of progression is not in the “stuff” or the machines, but in the programming. People are not trying to become Mr or Mrs Universe, but they want to have a better quality of life. So the old rules of body building style training go out the window. The modern office worker needs training that is time sensitive and focuses a lot more on their core.

Progress should not be a killer for the human body.

People need blood flow during the day and should not be forced to sit all day long, 8-10 hours each day without having some kind of outlet for moving around and also having a systematic plan to work their muscular, skeletal and energy systems. Here is to hoping that more and more Commercial Office Buildings realize that having quality fitness and corporate wellness programming is just as important as having the actual fitness center. Unicus Fitness will keep leading the way as our operations keep expanding across the country, especially in the form of our newest Unicus Fitness Franchise offering, which meshes perfectly with Commercial Office Building fitness centers. We have studied the office worker needs for over a decade and have formulated specific programming which improves the health and function of each worker in under 21 days. Contact us directly if your Commercial Office Building would like to learn more about Unicus Fitness Programming or Franchising.

Why Bodybuilding Protocols Are Wrong

Man lifting weights with words Why Bodybuilding Protocols Are Wrong in front

Why Bodybuilding Protocols Are Wrong

I know that colleges still are teaching bodybuilding protocols as the main way that most people should workout, and I know that this is one of the main reasons that people don’t get the body that they are looking to achieve.

The standard way that working out and training was taught when I was in college is still being promoted. Standard Pyramid Training, with Micro and Macro Cycles and splitting body parts up…These are all excellent methods of growing the size of your muscles and body and making it so you take up more space on planet Earth. Lets just make it as simple as possible for people to understand. The part that most people still don’t understand is that the muscle does not grow when you train, it grows when you rest. So standard Bodybuilding training is designed to make sure that rest is built in on a large and small scale.

Getting smaller and wearing smaller clothes, I have found to be the average person’s definition of “working out”. Using bodybuilding protocols has not worked for most people if that is the definition that they are using to determine success from working out. Burning excess bodyfat and shrinking the size of your body and the clothes size you wear will best be achieved by throwing out standard bodybuilding protocols.

Train what Unicus calls the Big 4 first: Chest, Legs, Back, Core

Worry about the Little 3 last: Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps

Train everything on the same day and do away with sets and reps and splitting body parts up. The amount of time that a muscle stays under tension will determine the amount of calories the body is using, the amount of energy released of the watts coming off your body. More tension means more energy released. Hence the Unicus Fitness Time Under Tension method. No worrying about how much weight you are lifting, not if reducing the size of your body is the goal. Just get your calories per unit of time pumped up by making sure to train compound movements for time, not sets or reps.

Another Unicus Fitness method is called Mechanical Inefficiency Training, where we are trying to make your body as inefficient as possible. Your body is always trying to be more efficient but that just means it wants to do the least amount of work possible and make doing something easy. With Mechanical Inefficiency Training, your are doing the opposite. You want things to be as hard as possible for the body to do so your burn more calories per unit of time.

Come and check out our PT Classes or our Premium Boot Camps to see the Principles of Unicus Fitness in action and how they have helped out thousands of customers since 2003. And if you are a fitness pro, contact us about the Teacher Training and Apprenticeships we are offering for other fitness professionals that want to learn how to use these principles to give your clients the best results in the shortest amount of time.