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.

5 Tips for Navigating Holiday Eating

by Aimee Wojtowecz

We’re coming into the last two months of the year and you know what that means… Happy Holidays!

Does the Holiday Season typically mean abandoning your health and fitness goals until January 1st? What if we told you that it’s possible to enjoy your holiday celebrations while staying in-line with your health and fitness goals and NOT FEELING DEPRIVED?!! It’s true! 

The holidays can be a time of excess: excess food, excess drinks, excess socializing. (Go big or go home right?) How could it be possible to still enjoy the foods and drinks you want and not feel guilty about your choices, or feel like you’re always saying no and testing out just how long that willpower is going to last? The answer is simple: healthy habits that you’ve worked all year round to develop. 

When we talk about food and nutrition here at the gym, we’re never discussing a way that you have to eat all the time if you want to get results. We’re not saying “You can never have sugar or dessert again if you want progress!” Or “Have you tried __<insert current fad diet here>___ yet?” What we do talk about is eating for real life, eating in a way that is sustainable and will still aid you in reaching your goals, eating in a way that you actually ENJOY. We do all of this by focusing on your lifestyle and building healthy habits.  So let’s take a look at the top 5 healthy habits to help you move toward your goals this holiday season. 

1. Eat your vegetables

Try something as simple as adding one additional serving of vegetables a day. This is going to increase your fiber intake which helps you to stay fuller for longer. It’s also going to increase your nutrient intake (yay for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!). 

2. Drink your water

Indulgent drinks are at their peak during the holidays. Drinking water serves multiple purposes. First, alcohol is dehydrating, and being dehydrated can lead to fatigue, decreased performance during exercise, and headaches, and is often mistaken for hunger. Drinking water also helps to slow down our drink consumption and therefore slow our intake of empty, although fun, calories. 

3. Portion control

We’re not saying you need to travel to every party with your food scale, but portions are still important; it’s how we balance the foods we need with the foods we want. Two super simple ways to keep portions in check are with the plate method and the hand portion method. The plate method means filling up half your plate with vegetables, ¼ with protein, the other ¼ with carbohydrates, and a little fat on the side. Incredibly simple and works with any size plate. 

The second method, using hand portions, is also simple and portable. Aim for a palm sized portion of protein, a cupped palm of carbohydrates, 1-2 fist sized servings of vegetables, and a thumb sized serving of fat. 

4.Stick with that exercise routine

“Abs are made in the kitchen” While I hate that saying (you already have abs, you were born with them, you can’t possibly make them in a kitchen unless your name is Dr. Frankenstein), I do understand the sentiment behind it. Nutrition is incredibly important for reaching your health and fitness goals and a large part of what is going to get you there. But that doesn’t mean that fitness can be neglected either. Building muscle helps to increase our basal metabolic rate which means our body burns more calories even when we’re watching Hallmark movies on the couch. Exercising is also a great stress reliever, something we all have an abundance of this time of year, as well as a support system for those of us who might struggle a little or a lot through the holidays. 

5. Don’t forget to have fun

The holiday season is meant to be a time of reflection, celebration with friends and family, gratitude, giving and sharing, love and hope. If you want to indulge in that cheesecake or pie, by all means do so and enjoy every single bite, revel in it and move on! Food can be a way to enhance all of these experiences even if it is not the reason for all of these experiences. Memories and time are the reason. If the holiday season is tough for you, we hope that you have the love and support you need during this challenging time and can still find ways to have fun and joy in this season. 

If navigating this time of year has always been a struggle for you, let’s make this year different! Try a few of our tips and have a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!

If you need support, accountability or guidance this holiday season reach out, we’re here to help! 


It Doesn’t Matter Whether You Win or Lose

by Michael Plank

“It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” Most of the time when we say that, we’re trying to comfort a kid who’s sad about the playground kickball game – something that doesn’t matter, right? But what happens when you’re the one who loses? When you miss a PR attempt or level down or hit a weight loss plateau or get injured? What does “It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game” even mean when it’s real life?

What it means is this: winning and losing are outcomes. And outcomes are always largely outside of your control. Maybe your job has been short staffed this week. Maybe you just had a death in the family and you’re not focused. Maybe you have a medical issue that you didn’t know about. Maybe you were in a car accident. All those things will impact whether you win or lose, whether you get the outcome you want or you don’t. And all of those things are outside of your control.

It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose because you can’t actually control whether you win or lose. The only thing you can control is how you play the game: you can control your attitude, your effort, your consistency. You can control whether or not you show up to practice week in and week out. You can control how much your care for yourself when things don’t go your way. You can control how much you let it affect the ways you show up for your family and your friends.

In archery, great coaches spend years on shot execution: all the things that happen while the bow is drawn but before the arrow flies – things like grip, elbow position, breathing, and hand position. Great archery coaches don’t even look at the target, they only watch the athletes. You know why? Because once that arrow flies off the string there is nothing you can do to alter its course. The outcome is up to God. You can only do your best with what you have in your hands at this very moment.

The real test – the day-in-day-out test of any challenging practice from CrossFit to yoga to painting – is how will you keep showing up on the days when things inevitably don’t go your way? That is “how you play the game.” And that is what matters. Not whether you win or lose. Not whether you make a lift or miss it. Not whether you are down 2 more pounds or stuck for another week. But how you show up for yourself and how you show up for people around you. That’s the thing that makes you better. And that’s the thing that makes the journey worth it.