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.