Author Archives: 24fast

Becoming a Personal Trainer

I talk to a lot of people who are interested in becoming personal trainers. In this article, I will briefly share some thoughts on motives, attitudes and resources if you are thinking of becoming a personal trainer. I would recommend that you start by getting a legitimate certification. You can research the internet or talk to personal trainers at health clubs or private studios. As a suggestion, you could check out the International Association of Resistance Trainers, ISSA or ACE. These three certification organizations can be found on the internet and have several areas for you to consider. When considering a legitimate certification program, check out personal training / liability insurance.

Be sure that the certificate you earn will have clear guidelines on how to purchase insurance once you actually start to train clients. There are many fitness certifications that are not recognized by any insurance companies, stay away from these. If you choose to train without insurance, you are taking a big risk. Depending on the physical location of where you will train your clients (club, private training studio, corporate fitness center) you will need to check with their individual requirements regarding acceptable certifications and insurance policies.

After you have done your research on the above issues, if you are still interested, get started today! Whether you remain interested (out of the people who go into fitness training, many more drop out than stick with it) you can always use the information to further your own personal fitness programming. I believe that your initial training / certification will never be a waste. You will want to check out other certification programs later (may be required based on place of employment) in order to get plenty of exposure to all the different training methodologies.

Try to stay grounded – many programs are not that reality based. With any training information, ask yourself the question: How will I use this for my own, as well as my clients, fitness program? I have many doctors, other trainers and people with sports / human performance degrees who hire me to help with training issues. The rubber hits the road when you have a client who is depending on you to give them a cardio, strength training, eating, supplementation, injury recovery and / or flexibility program complete with personalized scheduling. You do not need to have all the answers but try to establish your own process for giving them the answers or effective referrals for what they need.

Not knowing what your previous experience is regarding working with people in general, I would suggest that you assess what your tolerance is for complainers and whiners as there are so many issues for so many people that you will need to address at some level (as a fitness professional). If you want to be a good trainer, you need to commit to the total client. I think too many trainers end up wanting to legitimize their own training priorities and believe that by becoming a personal trainer / fitness professional, they can focus all their time on themselves (not an acceptable mindset). They should stay out of personal training if they are not ready to commit to their clients. Do not fall prey to canned programs or using a cookie cutter approach for everyone you will train.

I come from a human service background (double major in Social Work / Criminal Justice) and worked my way up to manager in a juvenile diversion program over a period of 10 years before getting into personal training. BUT, in the first three years of being a personal trainer, I placed in three international personal trainer contests. These were great experiences but in all three instances, success was based on the commitment to the client more than caring about winning any contests.

Coffee Storage Myths; Freeze Your Fresh Roasted Coffee & Other Popular Misconceptions

So you are finally fed up with that bland black liquid, you once called coffee, brewed from the finest can of generic supermarket grinds. You are financially outraged at the price of a single cup of designer coffee shop coffee. It’s now time to take matters into your own hands!

So you invest in the latest technologically advanced coffee maker, including your very own coffee bean grinder. Even the engineers at NASA would envy the bells and whistles on this baby. You splurge on several pounds of the finest fresh roasted Arabica bean coffee the world has to offer.

You pop open the vacuum-sealed bag and release that incredible fresh roasted coffee aroma. Your eyes widen at the site of all those shiny brown beans as you begin to grind your first pound of gourmet coffee. You feel like a mad scientist as you adjust every bell and whistle on your space age coffee maker and you revel in this accomplishment as you finish your first cup of home brewed gourmet coffee. No more long lines and outrageous prices at the neighborhood café for you!

Now it’s time to store all those pounds of unopened packages of fresh roasted coffee beans and the unused portion of the black gold you have just ground. Then you remember what your mother told you; “Freeze the unopened beans & Refrigerate the freshly ground coffee”.

At this point, it would be best if you just returned to the supermarket and purchase a stock of those generic grinds you had grown to loathe. Having the best coffee beans available and using the most advanced coffee brewing equipment will do little to provide you with the best cup of coffee you desire if the beans are not treated correctly.

Looking at the facts, we learn that the natural enemies of fresh roasted coffee are light, heat and moisture. Storing your coffee away from them will keep it fresher longer. Therefore, an airtight container stored in a cool, dry, dark place is the best environment for your coffee.

But why not the freezer, It’s cool & dark?
This does make sense, but if it be the case, then why do we not find our supermarket coffee in the frozen food section?

Here’s why!

  • Coffee is Porous. It is exactly this feature that allows us to use oils and syrups to flavor coffee beans for those who enjoy gourmet flavored coffees. For this same reason, coffee can also absorb flavors and moisture from your freezer. The absorbed moisture will deteriorate the natural goodness of your coffee and your expensive gourmet coffee beans will taste like your freezer.
  • The coffee roasting process causes the beans to release their oils and essences in order to give the coffee its distinct flavor. This is the reason why your beans are shiny. These oils are more prominent on dark-roasted coffee and espresso beans and the reason why these coffees are so distinct in flavor. The process of freezing will break down these oils and destroy the natural coffee flavor. So unless you don’t mind frozen fish flavored coffee, you should avoid using the freezer to store your gourmet coffee beans at all costs.

There are some exceptions to freezer storing your coffee, but you should proceed with caution! Fresh roasted coffee will remain fresh for approximately 2 weeks. If you have more than you can use in this 2 week period you can, and I shutter to say, freeze your coffee but you should follow these steps:

  • Apply the Freeze Once Rule. What this means is that once you take the beans out of the freezer, they should never go back in. The constant changes in temperature will wreak havoc on your coffee. The frozen moisture on your coffee will melt and be absorbed into the bean, destroying the coffee oils and allowing absorption of unwanted flavors. When you put it back into the freezer, you are repeating the process and destroying your expensive gourmet coffee
  • Keep moisture out! Remember, moisture is coffee’s natural enemy. If you have a five-pound bag of coffee to store, divide it up into weekly portions. Wrap those portions up using sealable freezer bags and plastic wrap. If possible, suck out the excess air from the freezer bag using a straw or a vacuum sealer. Remove the weekly portion when you need it, and store it in an air-tight container in a dry place like your pantry. And remember, Do not put it back into the freezer!

So when is it best Refrigerate Coffee?
Simply put, Never ever, unless you are conducting a science experiment on how long it takes to ruin perfectly good coffee. The fridge is one of the absolute worst places to put coffee. The reasons why not to freeze fresh roasted coffee also apply here.

Other Popular Coffee Myths Exposed.

  • Grind all beans before storing Absolutely wrong!. Grinding the coffee breaks up the beans and their oils, exposes the beans to air, and makes the coffee go stale a lot faster, no matter how you store it. This especially holds true for flavored coffees! For the best tasting coffee, you should buy your beans whole and store them in a sealed container in a dark place. Grind right before serving!
  • Vacuum-sealed packaging equals fresh coffee. Again, absolutely wrong. The coffee roasting process causes the coffee beans to release a gas by-product, specifically carbon dioxide. This gas release process continues for several days after roasting. In order to be vacuum sealed, the coffee has to first release all its CO² or it will burst the bag, which means that it must sit around for several days before it can be packaged and shipped. This sitting around begins to rob the coffee of its freshness. Vacuum sealing is best for pre-ground coffee, which we already know is not going to taste as good as fresh-ground coffee. The best method for packaging and shipping is in valve-sealed bags. The valve allows the carbon dioxide gasses and moisture to escape but doesn’t allow oxygen or moisture in. Therefore, the fresh roasted coffee beans can be packaged and shipped immediately after roasting, ensuring the coffee’s freshness and taste.

A quick review for storing your gourmet coffee

  • Buy fresh roasted, whole bean coffee directly from a coffee roaster if possible
  • Look for valve-sealed bags, not vacuum-sealed
  • Store your coffee beans in a sealed container in a dark place
  • Grind your beans just before brewing
  • Enjoy!

Health Foods With Harmful Ingredients

Sometimes we all probably feel like we are walking through a nutrition mine field. What one person or organization calls healthy is deemed unhealthy or even deadly by another. So what is a person to do when faced with the idea of trying to improve food choices in order to achieve a healthy fit body? Luckily there are a few things that we are absolutely certain of and these things are the focus of this article. There are a lot of everyday, common foods and food storage items that most people don’t give a second thought, but that in actuality could seriously affect their overall health and quality of life. Continue reading

Turkish Coffee FAQ

Turkish coffee is the oldest way of making coffee. This is a short article answering frequently asked questions about Turkish coffee. You can also post your question as a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it.

Questions are in bold.

What kind of coffee must I use for Turkish coffee?

Turkish coffee nowadays is usually made of Latin American blends. Usually the blends contain two kinds of coffee: Arabica and Robusta. Except for the Latin American coffees the blends may also include coffees from Asia or Africa. Some of the best coffees for Turkish blends come from Brazil, Ethiopia and Yemen.

Should I use a coffee particularly made for Turkish coffee or can I use any blend?

Turkish blends are created in a special way to be optimized for Turkish coffee making. Most people that drink the popular Turkish coffee brands are used to a special characteristic taste. This doesn’t mean that you cannot use another coffee blend to make Turkish coffee. For example you can use an espresso blend. The only requirement is that it must be ground very fine like powder. If it isn’t ground fine enough there will be no foam on top of the coffee after you make it and the taste will be weak.

So, in other words you can experiment with any blend you want if you grind it fine enough for Turkish coffee. The taste will be different than the usual though.

Is it healthy?

Turkish coffee is as healthy as any regular coffee. Actually according to some some researches a quantity of two small Turkish coffee cups (demitasse cups) can be beneficial for the heart. If you exceed this amount then it may become bad for your health like any other coffee. Bear in mind that Turkish coffee is made almost as quickly as instant coffee but it’s far better for your health.

What is this thick thing on top of Turkish coffee? Is it like espresso?

When you make Turkish coffee properly you will notice on top a layer of dark, thick and homogeneous foam. This is also known as kaimaki in Greece. If the coffee doesn’t have kaimaki then something is definitely wrong with the coffee making:

  • small quantity of coffee used
  • not properly heated
  • ground coarser than required
  • very stale coffee

In some Eastern countries it is an insult to serve Turkish coffee without this special foam on top.

Kaimaki foam is looks similar to the espresso crema but it very different in terms of physical properties. The espresso crema is formed not only due to heat but also because of high pressure so it’s quite different.

Do I need any special expensive equipment for Turkish coffee?

Making Turkish coffee is very easy and very fast. All you need is a small coffee pot and a heat source. You can use a small stainless steel pot and your electric stove top but it’s preferable to use a traditional copper or brass Turkish pot. Regarding the heat source it’s better to use low fire to make the coffee. A gas burner or an alcohol burner is my favorite heat source for home use.

What size coffee pot do I need?

This is a question that creates a lot of misunderstandings. Basically it depends on how much coffee you are going to make each time.

First, what you need to know is that you will need a coffee pot that holds approximately double the amount of coffee. This is because coffee must have enough room in the pot to foam up and furthermore because of the so-called “oven effect”.

Let me explain…

Traditional Turkish coffee pots have an hourglass shape. This special shape creates an oven-like effect when making Turkish coffee. The oven-effect is highly desirable for better taste. The only requirement for this “oven-effect” is to fill the pot till the point where the pot diameter is smaller. Usually this means a half-full pot.

So, If you want to make two demitasse cups, for you and your friend, you will need a 4 demitasse-cup size coffee pot.

Please note that sizing differs among manufacturers. So instead of looking for a 4-cup size coffee pot look for a coffee pot that holds 4*60ml which equals 240ml. 60ml or approximately 2oz is the size of a demitasse cup.

What about a coffee pot for just one cup?

In this case you will need a coffee pot that holds 2*60ml=120ml coffee.

What about one normal cup?

One normal cup is approximately 250ml so you will need a 500ml pot.

These numbers are not exact. They are just guides to help you. Most of the times buying a bit smaller coffee pot will also be adequate.

Can I grind Turkish coffee with my coffee grinder?

Turkish coffee is ground at the most fine grind setting. Most grinders for home use are incapable of grinding so fine. If you have a blade grinder consider upgrading to a burr grinder. This doesn’t mean that every burr grinder can grind Turkish coffee. So if you are in the market in research of a burr grinder make sure it has a Turkish coffee setting. Some burr grinders don’t have a Turkish coffee setting but they can be modified very easily to grind fine enough for this coffee. This information can be easily found if you make a couple of searches in a search engine.

Another solution are manual-operated Turkish coffee grinders. These grinders are much cheaper than burr grinders and because of their low speed coffee is ground gently without getting heated. In cheap burr grinders because of the small burr dimensions the rotating speed is higher. This way the friction is bigger and the heat generation is higher. More heat means more coffee taste destruction! So in other words small grinding speeds of manual grinders are better for your palate! The big drawback is that this sort of grinding can remind you of manual labor sometimes…

Is there any special way to serve Turkish coffee? Any special tradition?

If you have guests and you want to impress them with your coffee making mastery and your hospitality you can do some simple things. First use a big traditional looking serving tray and put some glasses of water for your guests. Water is used to clean the mouth before tasting the coffee. Prepare the coffees immediately before serving time so that they keep their kaimaki foam and their temperature. You can pair the coffee with some cookies or muffins.

For dessert after the coffee you can offer traditional Turkish delight or baklava. Your guests will be grateful!

If you have any questions about Turkish coffee please post your comments. Enjoy!

Fruitarian

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about the value of a raw foods diet. A raw food diet consists primarily of uncooked, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, sprouts, seaweed, nuts and juices. It’s a vegetarian diet, but one that rejects any animal products. Its central tenet is that cooking and processing take out the majority of essential vitamins, enzymes and nutrients that our bodies evolved to thrive on.
Fruitarians, as the word implies, eat primarily fruits, with nuts and grains as well. A fruitarian diet also includes foods like tomatoes or avocadoes, which are fruits.
Fruit is nourishing and refreshing for your health. It doesn’t clog the body’s vital arteries; better still, it actually flushes and cleanses. A fruit diet also lightens our bodies and spirits, in line with the general lightening of our planetary vibration rate which many higher sources tell us is taking place at this time.

You need to eat carefully if you choose a fruitarian diet, because it can be more of a challenge to get enough essential protein in your diet. A fruitarian eats nothing which has been killed or stolen. That supplants meat, dairy, and plants with the thousands of fruit and nut combinations on the planet. E.g., a fruitarian can eat an avocado sandwich, a coconut milk shake or the purest coconut ice cream made from the milk and meat of the fruit, veggie burgers made of lentil or bean paste or tofu, a succotash of corn, limas, peas, and tomatoes, sweets made with pure maple syrup or date sugar, pecan pies made with fruit sugars, fruit shakes made of a mixture of orange and banana, pear and peach, pomegranate, papaya, and plum. A pizza of tofu, tomato, and pepper (not pepperoni), salads of tomato, cucumber, green and red peppers (but not lettuce, cabbage, or celery), nut butters such as almond butter or tahini, hummus {chickpea paste}. In other words, fruitarian may eat fruits 99.9% of the time, but occasionally do indulge in the delicacies of other food groups.

Phentermine Tablet: a Magic Pill that do the trick to Cut your Flab

Despite the number of weightloss pills you find in the marketplace these days, phentermine diet pills still take the top place exactly where you can get rid of those stubborn fats effectively.  Phentermine is mainly classified as a hunger controller which was acknowledged by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1959. It is one of very well known weightloss pills that work fast that have been assisting overweight people to keep their fat under control.

The usual dosage of Phentermine diet pills is 15, 30 and also 37.5 milligram. It is to fulfill necessities and aspirations of different people.  People should take the Phentermine diet pills in empty stomach at least one and a half hour before breakfast. Take into account that you shouldn’t present these pills to kids.

Phentermine tablets act as a suppressant and you’ll satisfy your appetite much faster. For best results, it’s far better to exercise and keep a proper diet when taking up the pill. The effect of the drug  head towards the hypothalamus gland, the one that handles appetite and will tell to slow down.  And, decreased appetite handles one’s food consumption which allows fat not go in body.

what ot boasts off takes price in ads

You can buy Phentermine tablets online.  Online pharmacy agents help make this pill readily available to you. Buying Phentermineonline not simply saves lots of time, but also keeps overweight people away from embarrassment of heading to diet drug shops, and request pills that work quickly with obesity.

Upon taking up Phetermine tablets one might encounter some negative effects like sleeplessness, stress and dryness of mouth may occur. If these negative effects continue over a long period of time, you need to stop use and make contact with the physician. Though, one needs to be aware of some precautions while making use of this pill that truly work. Before you can have these pills, ensure you have your prescription from a doctor.

If taken correctly with the right dosage and observing the right time for taking up the medicine, phentermine is the best answer for obesity. Phentermine diet pills that really work are the fastest and easiest way to lose weight.

Beauty from The Outside In, Know-How on Raw Food

Raw food and beauty

The raw food diet is a very effective way to ensure flawless skin for yourself. Many people have accepted the strict raw food regime mainly because of this extraordinary effect. The raw food diet gives you great skin and makes you look younger than ever before.

Cooking destroys many important enzymes that are present in the food material. Apart from the enzymes, the extremely high temperatures in which cooking is done results in the destruction of many important nutrients as well. Thus, when you consume the cooked food, the enzymes present in your own body are used up. Raw Food does not let this happen. The enzymes present in the raw food help in the process of digestion.

Thus, by consuming raw food, you are getting more enzymes in. papaya and sprouts very rich in enzymes.

Antioxidants are another important thing present in raw food like carrots, apricots and berries. Berries have antioxidants that encourage collagen formation and carrots have beta-carotene antioxidants that protect the skin from sun damage.

The function of the antioxidants is to fight the free radicals that do a lot of damage to the skin, hinder collagen production and result in wrinkles and premature aging. The raw food also protects the skin from harmful rays of the sun. Many citrus fruits, like lemon, grapefruit and orange also help fight the free radicals.

Coenzyme Q10, also called CoQ10, is a great antioxidant that fights open radicals and aging. Raw food like Broccoli, peanuts and spinach are rich in them.

Anti oxidant like alpha lipoic acid, found in spinach, tomatoes, peas and brewer’s yeast, is another anti-oxidant that increases the power of Vitamin C and E and encourage the energy production in the body.

Sulfur, a material needed in the production of good skin, tresses and nails, is a mineral. The sulfur present in natural food is said to be destroyed during cooking. The raw food rich in sulfur are asparagus, pumpkin seeds, red pepper, garlic, onion etc.

Silicon, a mineral that decreases in content with age, is required for good skin, hair, nails and bones. Green leafy vegetables and fruits like apples cherries etc are the best source of this mineral.

The Spirit of Coffee – Coffees of the World

Ever wonder where the coffee beans in your morning coffee come from? You probably know words like Arabica and Robusta in terms of taste, but did you know that these words can also tell us where those coffees were grown? Here is a look at three of the world’s best specialty coffees and the regions in which they originated. Read on to discover the rich history of these coffees.

Yemen Arabian Mocca

Grown in the mountainous region of Sanani in south Yemen at an altitude in excess of 4,500 ft, Arabian Mocca is the world’s oldest cultivated coffee, distinguished by its richness and full body with chocolate undertones. Yemen is on Asia’s Arabian peninsula, a stone’s throw from Africa. Since there are no other Arabian coffees, it is classified as part of the family tastes of North African coffees.

It is here that the term “mocca” was coined. Its correct spelling is Mokha, for the port city that Yemen coffees ship from. Yemen’s arid climate contributes to the production of one of the best-loved specialty coffees that led Europeans to fall in love with coffee many centuries ago.

Yemeni coffee is one of the most distinct and prized coffees in the world. It’s been called a “wild” or natural cup, earthy, complex, pungent — to some it may be strange and bitter. This coffee can also be characterized as dry, winey, and acidic with chocolate and fruit undertones, rustic flavors, and intense aromas.

(Source: http://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.arabia.yemen.html)

Mexico “Spirit of the Aztec”

The state of Veracruz produces many average coffees in its low-lying regions, but atop the tall mountains near the city of Coatepec an excellent Arabica bean coffee called Altura Coatepec reigns. The word Altura itself means “high grown”. Altura Pluma indicates the finest coffee of Mexico. Coetepec, a coffee district of Veracruz, provides particularly outstanding coffee beans. Mexican Altura beans have a full medium body, fine acidity, a wonderful bouquet and a satisfying flavor that is mild and sweet. This fine Mexican coffee is noted for delivering a consistently smooth taste and fragrant flavor with good body, depth, and overall balance. It is likely one of the most underappreciated coffees around.

Mexican coffee botanists celebrate Mexico’s highest altitudes (with their approximately one hundred species of Arabica coffee plants) as the finest region of all the world’s gourmet coffees. An inferior grade of coffee bean known Robusta grows at lower altitudes. Mexico itself produces huge quantities of these unremarkable coffee beans, often utilized as dark roasts, supermarket coffees and beans for blending.

Arabica coffee arrived in Mexico at the start of the nineteenth century from the West Indies. Today, Mexico ranks among the world’s top coffee exporters. Most Mexican coffee is processed by the wet method to ensure better acidity and body. Mexican coffee is graded based on the altitude where it is grown. The plantations of Veracruz account for 60 to 70 percent of the Mexican coffee crop. Approximately 5 million bags of coffee a year originate in Mexico. Most of the better beans are grown on large plantations in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Guerrero. These are producers of “high-grown” Altura Coatepec coffees, among the finest coffees grown in the Americas.

Their flavor is light and nutty with medium acidity and a mild, well-balanced body. With a fine chocolate tang and a hint of sweet undertone beneath the finish, these coffees make an ideal beverage for those of us who enjoy a smooth, mellow-tasting brew that is not overpowering. Altura’s smoothness produces many loyalists of the coffee drinkers who sample it. Mexican Altura Coatepec is an incredible morning coffee, as it could be used in a blend to tone down accompanying fuller-bodied coffees, or better yet, alone for the pure regional flavor.

(Source: http://www.coffeeuniverse.com/world_coffee_latin.html)

Java “Dutch Estate”

As a synonym of coffee, “java” introduced itself in the seventeenth century when the Dutch began cultivating coffee trees on the island of Java (part of the islands of Indonesia) and successfully exported it globally. Often the standard by which all other coffees are measured, Java’s finest golden beans are roasted to yield a piquant aroma, displaying an exquisite acid balance, a heavy body with chocolate undertones, and a lighter finish than Sumatran.

At one time the island of Java was ruled by sultans and dominated by mysticism. The early Dutch settlers who came in the late 17th century found Java to be a wonderfully diverse place with high mountains, thick tropical rain forests and a sultry climate that revolved around the monsoon rains. The Dutch and the Javanese settled the coastal volcanic plains, while much of the interior of the island was left to the jungle and a few tribal groups. The Dutch found that coffee grew very well in this climate, and began to set up plantations around their initial foothold in Batavia (modern day Jakarta). Initially Arabica coffees were planted, but many of these were killed by the coffee rust plague that devastated the region in the 1800’s. Robusta was the logical replacement — a tough plant resistant to many diseases.

Eventually the Dutch plantation owners conquered Java and took on the elements. Large plantations were established in the east of the island, as well as in Central Java and the west. After the Japanese occupied Java in the 1940’s many of these plantations were destroyed or absorbed back into the jungle with their owners imprisoned by the Japanese. After the war and the ensuing independence struggle, many of the larger plantations ended up under the control of the government. Today the big Java plantations (such as Nusantara XII) are still government-owned. However there are many medium and smaller growers who produce excellent quality Arabica beans. These coffees are known as “Government Estate” Java. They are primarily produced at 4 old farms (Kayumas, Blawan, Djampit, Pancoer). The Government body grows about 85% of the coffee in East Java, close to Bali on the Ijen area. The range of altitudes suitable for coffee production is 3,000 to 6,000 feet, with most growing in the plateau region at 4,500 feet.

Cooking for Crowds Shouldn’t be a Frightening Proposition

Most people balk at the idea of cooking for large crowds of people. With images of huge stockpots boiling over and becoming chained to a hot stove and oven for countless hours on end, it’s no wonder that so many people avoid the idea of cooking food for large crowds with more tenacity than they avoid being last in the dinner line. Continue reading

Choosing a Personal Fitness and Nutrition

A personal fitness and nutrition trainer can help you enter a race where there’s no engraved cup or money award at the finish line. Unlike the Thoroughbreds racing at the local park, you will be running for your very life instead. Fitness and nutrition are the keys to a quality long life.

Racing for Fitness

Almost 60% of people in the United States are overweight or obese. The consequences of having too much fat on your body can be severe. Obesity is a major cause of many serious illnesses including Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and even certain forms of cancer. Continue reading