Consistency is Key

by Michael Plank

There is a whole lot in this world that we can get nearly immediately. Results from fitness and nutrition aren’t one of those things. At least not if we want them to be results that are sustainable long-term without making us miserable human beings. But because there’s so much that we can get right now, it can be frustrating to wait for the results we work so hard for.

And so all the time we are tempted by intensity: 4 weeks to a bigger deadlift, 30-day detox, 90-day sprints, etc., etc. And look, we run a CrossFit gym. Intensity does have its place. But for long-term results, intensity isn’t the key. Consistency is the key. Sporadic intensity leads to yo-yo progress and frustrating. If you’re going to be intense with something, be intense with your consistency.

Lift weights, prioritize protein, veggies, and fruits, drink water, sleep, walk, stretch, put your phone down for a bit each day.

Then just keep doing that. It might be slow, it might be boring, but it works. And it works super well.

Enjoy the Holidays

by Michael Plank

We are smack dab in the holiday season. Every year we talk to people who get so nervous about the holidays derailing everything they’ve worked so hard for. From January through the first half of November they’ve come to the gym 3 times every week, improved their sleep, transformed their nutrition habits, added stretching and journaling, and now it’s a nonstop cookie and party parade everywhere they look. EVERYTHING IS RUINED!

Here’s a Holiday PSA for you…

It’s possible that actually everything is fine.

Think of the first day you can remember that was one you were really proud of… a day where you got lots of sleep the night before, you managed your stress well, fueled and hydrated your body, and got in a great workout. A perfect day! Now here’s the follow-up question… did that one perfect day get you all the amazing results you were dreaming of? Of course not. One day isn’t enough to catapult you forward in your progress. It’s not enough to derail your progress either. Two days isn’t enough. Five days isn’t enough.

Four weeks is enough to put on a couple of pounds. But the only way that’s the same as derailing all of your progress is if you don’t ever step away from the nonstop cookie and party parade even after the holidays are over. But you will. Because the holiday season ends. And what you do for the 6 weeks from November 19-December 31 is way less important than what you do for the 46 weeks from January to November.

Enjoy the holidays!

7 Quick Things You Can Do Today To Build Momentum

by Aimee Wojtowecz

You’re on your way! You have a goal in mind, you’re working hard to get there. It might be you’re working on something personal, like a fitness goal, or it might be you’re concentrating solely on your career right now. Whatever it is you’re working towards, you’re ready for it. You can’t wait to see the culmination of all this hard work. 

…only everything seems to be moving soooo sloooooow…

What you might be lacking is momentum. Momentum is what pushes you into action. It speeds you up as you work the steps and keeps you going. So, what do you do when momentum is lagging? Easy. You find ways to build it. Try these quick tips guaranteed to get things moving:

Visualize the Future
Take some time to consider where you’ll be in six months. What about next year or the next five years? Seeing yourself in the future is a really positive way to keep your momentum going. If you can get excited about the you of tomorrow, you’ll find yourself fighting to become that person right now. Be as detailed and specific as you can here. What does that future you do? How do they fill up their day to reach their goals? 

Get Up and Do Something
It’s easy to grow stagnant. Less daylight and colder weather means more time inside than most of us would like. Rather than binge-watch the latest Netflix sitcom, how about getting up to create some mischief of your own? Go play a game, take a walk, spend time with friends. Do things that fill your cup. You’ll find yourself far more refreshed and ready to tackle those goals. 

Learn Stuff
An active mind is a creative mind. The act of learning, even in small increments such as 10-15 minutes a day, will still improve cognitive function. Grab that sudoku, listen to a podcast, sit down at your piano. In short, by keeping your mind active, you will pick up momentum.

Act When You Don’t Feel Like It
If you’re waiting for the muse to strike, stop. There will never be a perfect time to work. Momentum means keep going, even when you don’t feel like it, ESPECIALLY when you don’t feel like it. If you need help with accountability we have tools to help with that!

Put Your Phone Away
Giving yourself the gift of uninterrupted time does wonders for momentum. By turning off your phone for an hour, (yes that hour before bedtime is necessary!) you’ll give your brain the freedom to relax, recharge, explore, and move forward. If that seems like too much, start with 30 minutes… or 10… or 5!

When it comes to momentum, if you’ve found you’re slowing down, it might be because what you’re doing just isn’t working anymore. In this case, sometimes the smartest thing to do is to stop. Don’t waste time beating your head against a wall when you could be making progress elsewhere, set up a goal review session and let us help you come up with a custom plan. 

Do Something Scary
Sometimes you need a challenge that pushes you to new limits. When you do what’s easy, momentum can stall. This is why it’s so important to challenge yourself to do the things you never thought you would, like lifting heavier weights!

Remember, whatever you can find to help keep the momentum going, embrace it! If affirmations help, post a bunch of them everywhere. I have sticky notes everywhere in my house! Put on music to get you moving and dance around your kitchen while cooking dinner. Create a social life around people who support you wholeheartedly. You’re the one in charge, it’s up to you to act.

Get to Know Coach Alissa!

by Alissa Iantosca

Picture of a gym trainer in a blue shirt from Underwood Park CrossFit in Fort Edward, NY.

I’ve always dabbled with fitness.  In high school I was a cheerleader and participated in track & field.  I did long jump, shot put, and was a sprinter (Of course I was a sprinter. We all know how much I don’t like running long distances!)  In college I had a membership to the campus fitness center and became an AFAA certified Personal Trainer there.  I loved training people and working in the gym, but when my career started as a Speech Language Pathologist my fitness journey took a backseat.  And by backseat I mean that I didn’t workout for YEARS.  When I moved to this area I had a Planet Fitness membership, but the only thing getting any exercise was my bank account when money was taken out monthly.  I had ZERO accountability.  I had a short stint in another local gym that offers group exercise, but that didn’t last either. #noaccountability

Then one day at a wedding my friend Kelli Evans asked me to join a boot camp class at a CrossFit gym with her.  I responded with, “Hell no! I can’t do CrossFit and I don’t want some a-hole yelling in my face to pick up the pace.”  I also knew my track record of sticking with fitness related things, and didn’t want to spend the money on something that I “probably wouldn’t continue”.  Fast forward a couple of hours and more than a few beverages, Kelli asked again and I agreed to sign up for boot camp.  

Enlistment day came and I was so nervous that I was ready to puke!  What had I signed myself up for?!  What I didn’t know was that that day would be the start of a new fitness journey.  I loved boot camp and the UPCF gym community so much that I signed up for CrossFit classes, and a couple of years later was fortunate enough to participate in ITP (Instructor Training Program) and become a coach at UPCF.  I finally found a gym, and a community that truly held me accountable and encouraged me to invest in myself!   

Even as a coach I still NEED the accountability. Coaching the 5:15 class on Mondays gets me into the gym to workout at the 4:00 class.  I recently signed up for nutrition coaching because even though I eat “fairly healthy”, I needed to know someone would be checking in with me.  (*Side note: Through nutrition coaching I found out that my daily caloric intake was too low!  Who knew?!  It has been eye opening, super helpful, and I have added some delicious recipes to my weekly meals!)

My fitness journey has had many hills, valleys, and plateaus and has not always been perfect.  Honestly, it still isn’t perfect.  I don’t get to the gym as often as I would like and I am nowhere close to where I want to be physically and mentally when it comes to my fitness.  There have been physical limitations and setbacks that I am battling which are extremely frustrating, but I need to keep in mind the forward moving trajectory of my journey even if it’s not moving as fast as I would like.  At age 41 I am stronger than I have ever been in my life, and can do things that I could not do years ago (I still don’t enjoy running though)!  I’d like to think that my fitness journey has no destination in sight because as I gain skills and grow, my journey will evolve and that destination will be continually moving.  

I want to end with thanking Kelli for her persistence and for continually filling my glass the night of that wedding.  She is the reason that I am part of this amazing community.  And I would like to thank my UPCF family (the other coaches past & present, and the awesome members) for holding me accountable these past 4 + years, and for helping me become a better version of myself.   

Member Spotlight: Robin W!

by Aimee Wojtowecz

Meet Robin! Robin has been an Underwood Park CrossFit Nutrition client since April 2021 and a gym member of UPCF since 2017. She is an accountant and in all of her free time she trains for her mountain biking adventures! Robin loves to cheer on others at the gym, but she realized several months ago that she needed to get her own nutrition in line with her goals to keep seeing the results she wanted.

She was eager to learn a way to maintain her weight, properly fuel for training, and find a healthy balance in her lifestyle. Robin has made amazing progress by focusing on one small habit change at a time, and has noticed a significant improvement in her mindset, performance, and recovery! Oh and she inspired her husband to join this journey with her as well!

Her Journey With Nutrition Coaching

Since starting nutrition coaching with Underwood Park CrossFit, Robin has been able to lose weight and use the tools provided by her nutrition coach to stay “on track” without feeling restricted or like she is on a diet. Through nutrition coaching Robin has learned that wellness is truly a lifestyle! Time for Q&A with Robin!

What prompted you to sign up for nutrition coaching?

My clothes were getting tight and uncomfortable and we were going on a bike trip at the end of the summer. I wanted to drop a little weight to be able to move better on the bike.

How has nutrition coaching helped you?

More than anything, nutrition coaching has kept me accountable. Just knowing that someone is paying attention and is going to ask me how things are going every week makes me want to keep at it so I can report good news. Also nutrition coaching has provided tips to stay on track and ways to make better nutrition decisions and incorporate healthier habits into my normal routine.

What have been your results so far?

My clothes fit better which is great because clothes shopping is one of the things I hate most in life. Also, I have felt so much stronger mountain biking and in the gym. I’ve improved quite a bit with pullups and pushups since focusing more on nutrition.

What would you say to someone considering nutrition coaching at Underwood Park CrossFit?

Trust the process. Going off plan for a couple days… or weeks.. doesn’t mean you aren’t still making progress.

It’s Not All Uphill

by Michael Plank

Seth Godin wrote a great book called The Dip. It talks about the fact that anything worth doing – anything that takes effort – will not be a linear progression. When you first start, everything will go great, but there will come a point where the effort and the results don’t seem like they work together the way they should. This is “the dip,” and this is where most people quit things. For actors, the dip is endless strings of auditions where they don’t get the part. For doctors, it might be year 2 of medical school. For cooks, it’s year 1 of the restaurant they opened. The dip is the part where you’re still working really hard, but things seem to either stall or get worse. It’s the part where “the honeymoon is over,” and you realize that it’s not all roses.

But the dip is usually not a plateau, and it’s usually not a dead end. It’s just what it’s called – a dip – before you come out of it and things start moving up again.

The dip is A PERFECTLY APPROPRIATE PLACE to quit things. There are loads of things I’ve tried that were fun, and then I hit the dip and realized that I was not willing to do the effort it would take to get through the dip and out the other side. This is why I don’t practice the piano anymore, or study French, or do carpentry. It’s not because I think it’s impossible for me to get better, it’s because I know what kind of effort is required to get better, and I also know that I’m not willing to go through the effort to get better at those things if I’m not seeing the results of those efforts.

But there are plenty of places where I’ve hit that dip and have been willing to push through. Because I know that on the other side of that dip is the next big rise in results. So I still do CrossFit, after almost 13 years (there have been multiple dips on that journey!). I still bowhunt after 13 years. I’m still married after 12 years. I’m still parenting. We’re still running our gym. All of those things have had dips (sometimes more than one). And all of them have had massive improvements, massive results, and massive rewards on the other side of those dips.

As bad as we want it to be the case, progress is not linear. But if you know that going in, it makes it a lot easier to make it through the dip. When you hit the dip in your fitness journey (and if you’re reading this, you either have hit it, or you will hit it), just hang tight. Because a) it’s totally normal. And b) I promise that it’s better on the other side.