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May 3, 2016

Summer Fitness Program for Kids and Teens


Summer is fast approaching. What are you going to do with the kids!

Do you need an alternative to sitting around on the couch and playing video games all day?  Do you have a child that is looking to improve their fitness?  Do you want your children to learn about healthly eating and proper nutrition?

 

CrossFit West Hills kicks off it’s summer with the best kids/teens program in the Valley!

Our activities will awaken your child’s senses to improve strength and coordination, enhance their cognitive skills, and promote working in teams. Your child will learn anatomy by moving his or her body and participating in projects, including fun (and safe) science experiments. There will also be a WOD (Work Out of the Day), yoga, water activities, and other fun and physical challenges. All Activities will be under the guidance of Certified CrossFit Kids Coaches.

Class Schedule

  • Kids (6-12) Monday, Wednesday, Friday (4pm-5pm)
  • Teens (12-17) Tuesday and Thursday (4pm-5pm), Saturday (10:30 am-11:30 am)

Cost

  • Kids: $125.00 per month
  • Teen: $135.00 per month
Register by May 27th for an additional 10% off the first month!




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December 6, 2015

Fit University 2016: 6-Week Bootcamp Challenge Starts January 9th


Fit University 2016 - 6-week bootcamp at CrossFit West HillsSign up today to join the next 6-week bootcamp challenge from CrossFit West Hills!

The Basics:

  • 6 week challenge
  • Unlimited training (if new to crossfit- fundamental classes are a requirement)
  • Nutritional guidance
  • Before and after photos
  • Measurements before/after
  • Winners in both member/non-member categories
  • Members $59.00/Non-members $109.00

This Program has Ended

December 14, 2014

PALEO HOLIDAY COOKIE RECIPES


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Here are some of our favorite cookie recipes for the holidays (we’ve tried all of these):

  • Paleo Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies – Elana’s Pantry 
  • Sweet Potato Cookies -Sarah Fragoso, Cover Recipe from the Paleo Magazine
  • Raw Brownie Bites – Paleogrubs
  • Gingerbread Snap Pumpkin Butter Cookie – PaleOMG

 

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Paleo Thin Mints from Elana’s Pantry

These are AMAZING!!  Dipping them in chocolate was a bit challenging without damaging the cookies (maybe we made them too thin), so we just swirled some chocolate on top.

 

 

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Sweet Potato Cookies These were in the November issue of Paleo Magazine and they are delicious, even with only 2 TBSP of maple syrup. We added mini chocolate chips, but those are optional.

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potato, pumpkin or butternut squash (canned is fine)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2-4 TBSP maple syrup
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat Oven to 400.
  2. Stir together dry ingredients.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together egg, coconut milk and maple syrup.
  4. Stir together wet and dry ingredients.
  5. Add mashed sweet potato and mix in mini chocolate chips.
  6. Line baking sheet with parchment or grease pan with coconut oil and scoop 1 heaping tablespoon per cookie onto the baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes.

rawbrowniebitesRaw Brownie Bites from Paleogrubs

These are super delicious!…they also take less than 20 minutes to make!

 

 

 

Gingersnappumpkinbuttercookies1-682x1024Gingerbread Snap Pumpkin Butter Cookie from PaleOMG

Very good but definitely took more like 40 mins.  My kids loved them.

 

December 7, 2014

Recipe of the Week


Provolone Stuffed Chicken Parmesan Meatballs: Gluten Free, Grain Free, Low Carb

Although I love beef, sometimes its good to rotate your proteins so I’ve tried this recipe with ground turkey. The nice thing too is that you can double the recipe because meatballs like this are also great for freezing. I like to portion them into individual servings and then microwave them. They’re much healthier than anything you’ll find in the frozen aisle and they’re ready to go in about one minute in the microwave. Yummy and healthy? Yep!

I decided to stuff these babies with a little extra cheese. They turned out perfectly! They’re not greasy at all and that little surprise of extra cheese inside is really nice.

Seriously. These are super kid friendly and are even great for company. Flax seed provides a healthy dose of omega 3s and is also low in carbs. Your taste buds and your waist will be equally happy with these!
Provolone-Stuffed Chicken Parmesan Meatballs 
 
Ingredients: 
 
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (not ground breast, but if doubling the recipe you could mix the 2, you want some fat)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup ground golden flax seed
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 jar no sugar added organic marinara sauce (trader joes carries a couple)
  • 3 slices unsmoked provolone cheese (about 2.25 oz.), cut into small pieces
Directions:
 
1. Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease a 9×9 (approx.) baking dish with nonstick spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine chicken, egg, flax, parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix with your hands as your would meatloaf mix until all ingredients are mixed well.
3. Cut provolone into small pieces (about 1/2 inch) and set aside.
4. Form the meatball mix into medium sized balls, about 2 1/2 inches in diameter (should make about 14 meatballs).
5. Stuff two or three small pieces of provolone into the center of each meatball, being careful to encase it in the middle so that it’s not sticking out.
6. Place meat balls on lightly greased foil lined baking sheet and bake meatballs at 350 on the middle rack for approximately 25 minutes.
7. Place tomato sauce in crockpot or large sauce pan and add cooked meatballs, stir to coat. Simmer in sauce for at least 30 minutes…..you could prepare these earlier in the day and keep the crockpot on low.
8. Serve over gluten free pasta or if you are being carb conscious serve over a fresh spinach salad.
Nutrition (1/6th of recipe): 210 calories, 3 g carbs, 2 g fiber (1 g net carbs), 11 g fat, 22 g protein
courtesy of http://www.cutthewheat.com/
November 30, 2014

Holiday Wishes


At this special time of year we want you to know we are thinking of you and we are sending you this note to wish you all the best the season has to offer.

“Traditionally, the holiday season is a time to highlight the truly human qualities of peace, of generosity, and of understanding. No matter how we choose to celebrate this season, regardless of whom we share this time with, and no matter where we decide to gather, this time of year reminds us that the beliefs that unite us are far greater than those which divide us.”

-Shawn Graham and Roxanne Reeves

CrossFit-Snow-Day

As we begin the month of December with all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season here are some tips to stay on track and begin 2015 running on all cylinders. It seems every other blog or magazine has “motivational tips” this time of year. The trouble with these tips is that they’re usually BS!

So, instead, we’re going to give you Five No-BS Ways to Stay Motivated:

1.) Stop reading BS! If it sucks, put it down! Life’s too short to put crap between your ears. Don’t be fooled by the quick fix scams that are being pushed on you. There are no 14 day transformations!

2.) Keep going! Go to the gym. Make a plan, make a schedule, and stick with it no matter what. Rest when you need to. You know it, so do it.

3.) Kick yourself in your own butt. Stop making excuses for yourself. “My life is too stressful. I’m so busy. I have so much to do.” Guess what? So does everybody else! And some people are doing their stuff with far greater limitations and restrictions than you.

4.) Exercise is a de-stressor. Remember that exercise will help with the stress. Studies show that exercise improves well being and quality of life.

5.) Expect more of yourself. Be something to yourself. Everyday decide to be __________ (fill in the blank). Be kinder, be happy, be accountable, be strong,….wake up each morning for the next 31 days and a make a conscious decision to be something. Carry that thought with you the entire day.

Lets all unite together, supporting each other  and encouraging each other this holiday season!

Coach Casey

November 23, 2014

“Thanks”giving


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Dear friends and family,

Wow I can’t believe Thanksgiving is already here! Time to eat amazing food, spend time with family, and watch football! Oh and I couldn’t forget pumpkin pie…my absolute favorite! I really enjoy this part of the year…temperature changes, fall colors, fire in the fireplace, and lets not forget that 75 degrees in November is pretty phenomenal.

Commonly this is the time of year that we begin to take stock of what we have accomplished throughout the year. Sometimes however we can be bombarded with all those items that we didn’t finish and we might find ourselves in a state of not having much to be grateful or thankful for.

This year has been a whirlwind of crazy and often I find myself too busy, too tired, or too spent to be thankful. All too often I find myself taking for granted my family, my health, my friends, being able to do what I love, even the small things like having food to eat, hot water, and a roof over my head…the list can go on and on. Moreover I become frustrated when I should be feeling thankful and yet I still find things to complain about. However when I make time to reflect in the quiet spaces between all of the racket and madness I am afforded an opportunity to take into account just how fortunate I am and that acquiring just a little thankfulness can go a long way.

There is so much to be thankful for. We here at CrossFit West Hills are so blessed to have so many wonderful friends, supportive family, and so much love in our lives. Although there are tough times, we fortunately get through them (maybe not a gracefully as we would like) but we try with care and maybe even a little humor. Trust me I know that this is not always an easy task!

 

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So here is my challenge to you…starting tomorrow take a moment before the pandemonium of the week begins to pause and acknowledge those things – great and small – that resonate in your life. I encourage each of you to spend some quiet time in reflection and make a list of all those things that you are thankful for and maybe share them with your loved ones on Thanksgiving.

 

 

From all of here at CrossFit West Hills we wish you and your family a very wonderful “Thanks”giving!

Coach Casey

November 16, 2014

Kid’s Play


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Kid’s Play

As most of you already know I recently attended a CrossFit Kids certification for our gym. I had the immense privilege of attending this cert at the epicenter of where CrossFit Kids started. CrossFit Kids was founded in 2004 by Jeff and Mikki Martin and is based on the CrossFit methodology but for children, ages 3-18. The weekend consisted of games, lectures, and breakout groups; where we had the opportunity to teach movements to a bunch of adults pretending to be “kids”. It was nerve racking but insanely funny watching so many of us as we struggled to be on stage and teach in this artificial way. Nevertheless what we learned had a huge impact on me and hopefully will help me continue to become a better coach.

Among the great many things I brought home with me that weekend the “real” message was simple. The idea behind CrossFit Kids, says co-founder Jeff Martin, is to pair fitness and fun. That’s it, fitness and fun; and I am going to add play. Fitness, fun, and play; these are three components that we will build on to ensure our kids program is successful.

According to Merriam-Webster play is defined as “activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation.”

 

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Benefits of Play
for Children

  • It is through play that children grow and develop – individually, with others, and as part of a larger community.
  • It builds self-esteem and self-worth.
  • Collateral skills learned during play contribute to success in other settings, like school and work.
  • Increases in leisure skills helps to reduce or eliminate negative, excess, and ‘high-risk’ behaviors.
  • It helps children meet other kids in the neighborhood and at school and to develop relationships and friendships.
  • It strengthens families.
  • Recreation is the spirit of life. It revitalizes, energizes, stimulates, and relaxes us.
  • Play improves one’s quality of life!

 

Since that weekend I have spent time thinking about what I could do to continue to become a better coach and how I could get the message out to more families. We already know that this generation of children are at greater risk for developing obesity, diabetes, and much more health related risks from lack of exercise and poor nutrition habits. I have heard and told countless stories of when we were children and how we ran around our neighborhoods from morning till night, riding bikes, skateboarding (I can remember skateboarding everywhere), hiking, building forts, not to mention many of us were involved in organized sports; we also all had P.E. at school. That is a crazy amount of activity! No maybe we didn’t always eat the healthiest as kids but I know the food we ate was from whole food sources and didn’t contain nearly the amount of artificial junk that’s in our food today. Even with a few bad meals or food that was less than nutritious (I admit I had a pretty bad Slurpy habit when I was 10) we can’t overlook the amount of activity we participated in over the course of a week! Unfortunately, our children just do not have the same access and availability to physical activity or play. The world is a different place and the thought of my two boys roaming around the neighborhood frightens me to death. So how then are kids supposed to have the opportunity to play, engage in fitness activities, and have fun?

It is hard not to recognize the benefits of play. I want for all kids to have a safe place where they can play, have fun, and learn about fitness and how their bodies work. It doesn’t take a bunch of scientific studies to show us the detrimental effects of not being physically active. According to CrossFit Kids, “Keeping things simple, instructing kids, teaching good movement, having fun, and play are essential throughout childhood and adolescence. What’s more there is a vast body of research that indicates exercise is beneficial to cognitive function, which means that consistent adherence to a physical fitness program can have a positive impact on children’s academic achievements.”

I am very adamant about these blogs not sounding like a sales pitch or an advertisement selling you on all the services or specials that we have going on in the gym. I will keep message real simple…your children and my children are the future and we have a responsibility to their health and happiness. Our kids program is here for your children’s health and happiness.

For those of you that already have kids in our program you know I am beyond passionate about these kids and I am honored and humbled that you have entrusted them in my care. I love them dearly. I just want to say thank you.

Coach Casey

 

Reference:
  1. “About Us.” CrossFit Kids. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.
  2. “Play.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.
  3. “What Is Play.” Leisure Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.
  4. “Is CrossFit Training Good For Kids?” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.
November 9, 2014

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

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Autumn is here, and I greatly love this time of the year for a variety of reasons; cooler weather, family gatherings, thanksgiving, and winter holiday festivities but unfortunately, it ushers in something that I have been dealing with much of my life. The best way to describe my symptoms is that it feels like a slight “heaviness” descends upon me and affects my energy levels and concentration. After much investigation I have come to realize that I may suffer from what is known as: Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as SAD.

After researching the subject I have discovered that I have a mild form of SAD and know that it impacts me in a few ways, so as I continue to find out more about this disorder and find natural and healthy treatment options to combat SAD I want to help others that may be undergoing the same changes.

What is SAD?

SAD is a form of depression that happens at the same time each year (typically fall/winter) and is thought to be associated with a lack of sunlight. Right about this time each year, the days get shorter and darker and it often seems as if the sun is on sabbatical. For some people, the lack of sunlight during the fall and winter can lead to feeling seriously blue and even depressed. Known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), it is estimated that 2-10% of Americans are affected by this condition each year.

 

More Than Just the Winter Blues

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed. (DSMV-IV), categorizes seasonal affective disorder (SAD) not as a unique mood disorder, but as a specifier of major depression. Because SAD is a subtype of major depression, it may overlap with other diagnoses that share similar mechanisms, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, bulimia nervosa, late luteal phase dysphoric disorder, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

 

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   What Causes SAD?

SAD is thought to result from a shift in the body’s circadian rhythms, due to changes in sunlight patterns. The reduced  level of sunlight in fall and winter may disrupt your body’s internal clock, which lets you know when you should sleep or  be awake. This disruption of your circadian rhythm may lead to feelings of depression. Shorter, darker days also disrupt  the balance of melatonin, a naturally-occurring hormone which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood. When you are  exposed to less sunlight, your melatonin levels can increase and make you feel depressed. Finally, a drop in serotonin, a  brain chemical that balances mood, caused by reduced sunlight might play a role in triggering depression.

 

Treatment for SAD

Light therapy is arguably the most popular form of SAD treatment and works by mimicking sunlight. Light therapy causes a biochemical change in your brain that lifts your mood, giving you relief from the symptoms of SAD. Light boxes emit intensities of light of 2,500 to 10,000 lux (as compared to a normal light fixture that emits 250 to 500 lux) and produce similar effects to the sun’s natural rays.

Regular exercise, eating right, and managing stress can be extremely helpful techniques to combat feelings of the blues in the winter. Some people who suffer from more severe cases of SAD might find that anti-depressant medicine, in conjunction with other forms of therapy, assists mood.

 

Signs You May Be Suffering From SAD

Symptoms are most likely to occur in winter, but some forms of SAD do occur during the summer. They may start our mild and become more severe as the season progresses. Symptoms include inability to concentrate; increase in irritability; fatigue; appetite change, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates, social withdrawal; feelings of sadness, unhappiness, or restlessness; or loss of interest in work and activities you once enjoyed.

 

Top Points About SAD

Here are some notes I took from the Mayo Clinic’s pages about SAD and other sources:

1) As mentioned by the Mayo Clinic, WEBMD, and many others, SAD is a form of depression. So, it’s not “just the winter blues”. If you have more than mild symptoms when the seasons change, it could be worth asking your doctor about this.

2) Serotonin levels. A possible cause of SAD is low serotonin levels. The Mayo Clinic says, “A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in SAD. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.” I have had my serotonin levels tested and they were lower than they should be.

3) Sunshine and Vitamin D3. Sunshine is a very important treatment for SAD. Unfortunately, unlike sunlight, light therapy boxes don’t appear to stimulate the production of Vitamin D so it’s still far more important to get as much sunshine as possible in the fall/winter. Another possible treatment if recommended by your doctor/practitioner is to supplement with high quality vitamin D3.

4) Family History. The Mayo Clinic lists family history as a risk factor, stating “People with SAD may be more likely to have blood relatives with SAD or another form of depression.”

5) Light Therapy. The Mayo Clinic also says, “Light therapy is one of the first-line treatments for fall-onset SAD. It generally starts working in a few days to two weeks and causes few side effects. Research on light therapy is limited, but it appears to be effective for most people in relieving SAD symptoms.”

6) Diet and Exercise. The program of a good diet and consistent exercise is very helpful with the treatment of SAD. Exercise in particular can help you deal with stress, which can help with SAD.

 

My Take Home Message

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my wife (thank you honey, I love you!) who is the one that not only has helped me through SAD year after year, but also took the time to research this disorder and bought me the light therapy. I have always tried to use alternative forms of therapy whenever possible and at this point do not feel the need for traditional western pharmaceutical interventions. As I said before I believe to have a very mild form of this disorder and am going to try all natural forms of therapy that are available. Seeing that most of you know I already exercise with regularity and I am pretty conscientious with my nutrition; I am going to try the light therapy and see if this works. So starting tomorrow I will begin the light therapy for 1 month and will see how it goes. I will report back in 1 month with a detailed schedule of light therapy dosage and my finding on how I feel from day to day.

I am a firm believer that information and education are vital to helping those in need. If you or anyone you know may be experiencing any of the symptoms above I hope that this may give you a little insight into SAD and if you feel this information may help someone else please forward this blog. If you are or some you know is experiencing symptoms that seem to be more intense then the one’s listed above or are unsure of what they are experiencing, or suffering with major depression, or suicidal thoughts please contact your doctor or 911 immediately.

Let’s all work together to stay happy this fall/winter instead of being sad.

Have a great week everyone!
Coach Casey

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References:
  1. Baumann, Michelle. “Diagnosing and Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).”Breaking Muscle. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2014.
  2. Gregory Lande, “The Winter Blues can be a SAD Story,” American Osteopathic Association, Accessed November 16, 2013.
  3. John Grohol, “Treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).” Psych Central. Accessed November 16, 2013.
  4. Normal Rosenthal, “What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?” Accessed November 17, 2013.
  5. American Psychiatric Association. Task Force on DSM-IV. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 4th ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 1994.
  6. Partonen T, Magnusson A. Seasonal Affective Disorder: Practice and Research. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2001.
  7. http://breakingmuscle.com/health-medicine/diagnosing-and-treating-seasonal-affective-disorder-sad – _ftnref6Northwestern Memorial Hospital, “Battling Seasonal Affective Disorder,” accessed November 17, 2013.
  8. Grohol, “Treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).”
  9. “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).” Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2014.
November 2, 2014

4 WAYS TO STAY FIT DURING THE HOLIDAYS


 

4 WAYS TO STAY FIT DURING THE HOLIDAYS

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Starting today, we enter into the official start of the holiday season. For many this brings about trepidations about losing all the hard earned fitness they have acquired throughout the year but fear not, there are still many ways to remain active, fit and healthy during the holidays! Here are 4 solutions for you to stay on track:

1.Be selfish… with all the craziness of the holidays we often get out of our normal routine. It’s really important to carve some time out of your day for yourself. It is important to schedule and prioritize you! Schedule your workouts on a weekly basis so that you know exactly when you are coming into train. Layout out your clothes the night before or have your gym things already in your car so that you have no excuses not to make it in. We have many class times available for you to come in a train, can’t make your usual morning? Great come in the evening. The point is don’t let life’s hectic schedule deter you from making your fitness a priority.

 

2.The second part of the solution is to move and be active. You know you will be moving if you come to CrossFit West Hills for a wod but you can also grab a friend or love one and bang out a wod at home. Be creative and have some fun. Where ever you do it, I always find that taking a bit of time to get away from all of the holiday madness and letting myself be active helps reduce some of the stress. There’s no reason why the holidays should put a damper on your fitness or your happiness! Here is a list of at-home WOD’s you can do 100 Travel Workouts with very little equipment.

 

3. Go outside and enjoy your fitness! Whether that be going for a hike, swim, run, or bike ride, go outside and play a sport and HAVE FUN! Coaches may be going on hikes as well so check our Facebook page for updates and times when you can meet up!

 

4. Most importantly, keep up with your nutrition! There may be many tempting occasions to cheat when surrounded by family and friends but the quickest way to lose your momentum is to completely give in to those urges. Keep your cheats at bay and you’ll be better for it in the New Year!