Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Thrive: Grab the Gloves for a Knockout Workout

Punch things up at Top Tier MMA.




 photo by renee rosensteel

 

I have recently come to the conclusion that my workout routine needs some street cred.

That way, when someone proposes, “Let’s take a Zumba class tonight,” I can reply, “Sorry, can’t. I’m doing mixed martial arts.”

My inner circle is skeptical. “Uh, you know that’s like, full-body combat, right?” cautions a well-intentioned pal.

“Duh,” I reply before pausing. “Wait, you think they’ll actually punch me?”

So I call Top Tier MMA on Camp Horne Road, run by Mike Willus and brothers Josh and Justin Erdner, all pro fighters. Once I get the lowdown (and assurances I'm not going to get KO’d), I arrive a few days later at their facility.

Inside stand half a dozen guys and one woman, all of varying fitness levels. A black mat, freshly sanitized, occupies most of the floor. In one corner hangs a handful of punching bags, in the other stands a cage.

“Put me in,” I say, taking off my shoes, thankful for a recent pedicure.

“We ease people into things, especially with contact,” says Josh, looking amused. “We’re not just going to throw you into the cage.”

After signing a waiver, we warm up. With the Dropkick Murphys blasting, we stretch, work on core strengthening, try buddy push-ups and perform swivels to open our hips. Afterward, Justin takes me aside to learn basic punches.

“Don’t give me the pink gloves,” I insist.

Helping me into a pair of black Rivals, he offers this advice: “Always keep your gloves up. Ideally, at your eyebrows.”

At the bag, he patiently walks me through jabs, crosses, uppercuts and hooks. “Jabs are for speed. Everything in your body explodes up at the same time in an upper cut,” he says. Once he’s satisfied I’ve got it, he encourages me to pound away, which I do with wild abandon.  

We then hit the mat to learn a submission hold. He gets down on his back. I’m over him on all fours. I can imagine how this looks. He shows me what to do. I comply, taking a few seconds to realize the tapping on my back means, “OK, you’re about to pop my shoulder out,” not “Good job!”  

With a few minutes left, it’s time to Burn Out: pummeling the bag before dropping to the floor, burpee-style, whenever Josh yells “Sprawl!”

“Are you breathing heavy?” he smiles as I pound away, nodding.

“You better,” he laughs.

Verdict: This was the best stress-relieving upper body workout of all time. You needn’t be pursuing a career in the cage to reap the benefits. All skill levels, regardless of gender, are welcome.

Top Tier Gym
Monday-Thursday 6-7 p.m. and Saturday 1-2 pm; Drop-ins are $15 per class.
(300 Camp Horne Road, Ohio Township; 412/766-3120, toptiergym.com)
 

Eat This Month
 

Algal Oil
Algal oil, sourced from marine algae, is a great way to get EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids typically found in fish, says Dr. Matthew Darnell, director of Wellness and Human Performance master of science program at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Consuming one-two servings per week of fish or taking fish oil supplements are common recommendations for U.S. adults. However if someone is vegan, or concerned about the sustainability of fish, algae or algal oil supplements can be a good option,” he says, adding that food options including nori and kelp contain between 4-134 mg of DHA/EPA per 1 ounce serving (the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends healthy adults consume 500 mg DHA/EPA per day).
 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Get the Scoop on Up-and-Coming Crafters at Show and Sell

Taking place at Construction Junction, the spring pop-up market from Handmade Arcade will feature 30 local makers selling home decor, clothing and art.

The City's Free Grass Cutting Service is Back for Its Second Year

There’s four different ways to apply — do you qualify?

Kennywood Earns Designation as Certified Autism Center

With noise-cancelling headphones and sensory bags, park officials hope its summertime fun can be accessible for more families.

For Three Days, Sesame Street Will be in Pittsburgh

Kids can join Big Bird, Elmo and more Muppets as Sesame Workshop plans three days of events during a stop in Pittsburgh in June.

Penguins’ Lament: ‘To an Extent We Beat Ourselves’

The answer to a self-inflicted postseason sweep must begin with getting the players and their coach back on the same page regarding what’s required for survival in the playoffs.

Picklesburgh to Double in Size for Its Fifth Year

Nation’s top speciality food festival to spill out onto Ft. Duquesne Boulevard.

A Look at The Latest Restaurant Openings in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh says hello to Alta Via, Leo. A Public House, a new Milk Shake Factory location and more.

Is Your Pittsburgh Street on This Year's Road Repaving List?

The City of Pittsburgh has announced its street paving plan for 2019. You’re one click away from finding out if your street or route to work is on the list.

Downtown Pittsburgh Remains a Classic Rock Haven

PM intern Amanda Myers recounts the radio-rock adventures that life as a Downtown student has made possible.

The 400-Word Review: Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

The latest chapter in the Hong Kong martial-arts franchise gets a Pittsburgh release.

The 400-Word Review: The Curse of La Llorona

The latest chapter in the Conjuring franchise concerns a sinister spirit from folklore.

Details Shine in Metallic Hip-Hop Wedding

A graffiti-decorated cake, a sequined jacket for the groom and a violinist playing hip-hop covers wowed guests at this Strip District wedding.

New Restaurants Coming to Smallman Galley and Federal Galley

Look for New Mexican cuisine, customizable chicken and more as half of the Pittsburgh Galley Group concepts change in the next few months.

Design Goes to the Dogs with BARKitecture

Featuring innovative indoor animal shelters designed by local architects and artists going up for auction, the event at PerLora raises money for Animal Friends.

The 400-Word Review: Hellboy

The cult comic character gets a reboot in this R-rated action flick.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


The City's Free Grass Cutting Service is Back for Its Second Year

The City's Free Grass Cutting Service is Back for Its Second Year

There’s four different ways to apply — do you qualify?

Comments

Kennywood Earns Designation as Certified Autism Center

Kennywood Earns Designation as Certified Autism Center

With noise-cancelling headphones and sensory bags, park officials hope its summertime fun can be accessible for more families.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
A Look at The Latest Restaurant Openings in Pittsburgh

A Look at The Latest Restaurant Openings in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh says hello to Alta Via, Leo. A Public House, a new Milk Shake Factory location and more.

Comments

New Restaurants Coming to Smallman Galley and Federal Galley

New Restaurants Coming to Smallman Galley and Federal Galley

Look for New Mexican cuisine, customizable chicken and more as half of the Pittsburgh Galley Group concepts change in the next few months.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
5 Best Spots to Hang Out with Your Dog

5 Best Spots to Hang Out with Your Dog

For those who can’t stand the idea of leaving their dogs home alone on a beautiful day, these dog-friendly stores, restaurants and bars in the Pittsburgh area welcome humans and canines alike.

Comments

5 Races You (Yes, You) Can Run This Year

5 Races You (Yes, You) Can Run This Year

Even novice runners can work their way up to these fun and (mildly) challenging races.

Comments


Downtown Pittsburgh Remains a Classic Rock Haven

Downtown Pittsburgh Remains a Classic Rock Haven

PM intern Amanda Myers recounts the radio-rock adventures that life as a Downtown student has made possible.

Comments

Take Your Video-Game Habit Into the Real World at Rogue Laser Grounds

Take Your Video-Game Habit Into the Real World at Rogue Laser Grounds

The pop-up laser tag arena takes the mechanics of online video games into a undeniably cool setting.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Penguins’ Lament: ‘To an Extent We Beat Ourselves’

Penguins’ Lament: ‘To an Extent We Beat Ourselves’

The answer to a self-inflicted postseason sweep must begin with getting the players and their coach back on the same page regarding what’s required for survival in the playoffs.

Comments

Pens Don't Need to Overwhelm Islanders, Just Outlast Them

Pens Don't Need to Overwhelm Islanders, Just Outlast Them

Patience, persistence and taking what the game gives is critical in Round One.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

The 400-Word Review: Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

The latest chapter in the Hong Kong martial-arts franchise gets a Pittsburgh release.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: The Curse of La Llorona

The 400-Word Review: The Curse of La Llorona

The latest chapter in the Conjuring franchise concerns a sinister spirit from folklore.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Details Shine in Metallic Hip-Hop Wedding

Details Shine in Metallic Hip-Hop Wedding

A graffiti-decorated cake, a sequined jacket for the groom and a violinist playing hip-hop covers wowed guests at this Strip District wedding.

Comments

Matching Bridesmaids’ Dresses May Be a Thing of the Past

Matching Bridesmaids’ Dresses May Be a Thing of the Past

Brides choosing one (or several) different colors, but leaving the design up to the bridesmaids, help attendants feel comfortable within their own budget.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Get the Scoop on Up-and-Coming Crafters at Show and Sell

Get the Scoop on Up-and-Coming Crafters at Show and Sell

Taking place at Construction Junction, the spring pop-up market from Handmade Arcade will feature 30 local makers selling home decor, clothing and art.

Comments

Design Goes to the Dogs with BARKitecture

Design Goes to the Dogs with BARKitecture

Featuring innovative indoor animal shelters designed by local architects and artists going up for auction, the event at PerLora raises money for Animal Friends.

Comments