Fit Balls, Swiss Balls, Physio Balls and Exercise Balls! Call them what you will, we all know what you’re talking about – those big blow up balls of different sizes and colours you have always wanted to try but never had the chance. They are becoming a favoured tool of the personal trainer, the ‘must have’ piece of equipment for the home studio, and an essential item for complete programming for the development of core strength and reduction and termination of lower back pain.

Because of a sedentary lifestyle, most people have poor posture. The muscles of the trunk are no longer able to support the body in the most efficient way possible. Because of external support from a chair, couch, car seat, etc., the neuromuscular system has “forgotten” how to maintain posture easily and efficiently. This usually leads to breakdown, pain and dysfunction.

I have found that using a Fit ball is a very effective way to correct postural alignment. Exercises on the ball can be very mild or extremely challenging depending on the needs of the client. By balancing on the ball, the client now has no other support to rely on except his or her own body. The body will automatically call on the righting and equilibrium responses, facilitating a coordinated effort of the postural muscles. The client unconsciously finds a way to balance on the ball with the least amount of muscle use possible, therefore reinforcing positive movement patterns.

Fit Balls are one of the most effective exercise tools to improve and develop spinal, pelvic and shoulder girdle stability. Total core stability is achieved along with improved posture and an increased awareness of your own body – the way it moves and the way it is designed to move. An enhanced kinesthetic sense is discovered and refined, allowing you to ‘feel’ your own actions and be able to adjust incorrect positions and movements performed throughout the exercises.

Fit Balls add variety to create new and challenging demands on the body in a number of different planes. Just about any exercise done in the gym can be performed using the Fit Ball. We all know how important variety is to every program. Not just from the point of view of changing the stimuli to allow for continued adaptation but to enhance motivation. Without it, the likelihood of adhering to our current exercise program and achieving our goals is somewhat slim.

Available in a number of sizes, from 45cm to 75cm in diametre, the right size Fit Ball is determined by your height and more importantly your leg length. While sitting on top of the ball, with calves perpendicular to the ground, your thighs should be parallel and at 90-100° with your knees and your body weight evenly distributed over both feet. This is your correct postural position. Imagine a straight line starting from your ear, travelling through your shoulder and stopping at the centre point of your pelvis. This visual connection will help you adjust and maintain correct postural alignment in the initial stages of learning with the Fit Ball.

Implementing the use of a Fit Ball recruits your ‘stabilizer’ muscles to establish and maintain a solid platform from which you develop strength, endurance and correct postural adaptations. They encourage the contraction and stimulation of deep muscle fibres within the trunk including external and internal obliques, rectus and transverse abdominals and the erector spinae and quadratus lumborum. I’m sure those of you who have sought professional advice for lower back pain and postural correction have heard of these muscles before. The relationship between the abdominal and lower back muscles is crucial to core stability, yet neither should be the sole focus of any particular training session.

When using the Fit Ball it is possible to reach muscular exhaustion without showing any normal signs of physiological fatigue due to the high involvement of stabilizing muscles and joint structures. Rotate exercises between the upper and lower regions and the trunk. This guarantees complete recovery of all muscle groups to allow each muscle to be utilized with maximum efficiency and productivity.

As with all exercise, the quality of the movement is more important than the quantity of exercise, repetitions or sets performed on the Fit ball.

The Fit ball is a great tool for the personal trainer to use. Clients enjoy using the ball, and it also promotes body awareness, improves balance and coordination, and reinforces proper spinal alignment along with a great new and challenging stimulus for your brain, as well as your body!

As a health and fitness professional for over 10 years, Daniel has personally trained more than 4000 people, on 4 continents towards the achievement of their fitness and lifestyle objectives using his unique holistic and functional approach to lifestyle enhancement. Daniel is a true leader and innovator in the industry. Daniel draws from an academic background in Human Movement, Exercise Science and Sports Management in Australia & also holds a Diploma in Massage Therapy, & Certificates in Workplace Health Promotion, Personal Training (ACSM) and Australian Training for Fitness Professionals (ATP), Golf Fitness & Conditioning, Postural Analysis, Weight Management & Fat Loss.

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!

Do you know if the red bean is one of the most famous pea in the world? Yes, red beans have been the variety of delicious cuisines in the world of vogue.

Red beans commonly consumed when it was really cooking in the form of dried beans. In Indonesia, dried red beans usually cooked into porridge, soup or mixed vegetable, rice or ice team. Red beans are also often cooked into a sweet jam is used as a filler such as Steamed Bun some cakes, moon cakes, cakes moci, dorayaki cakes, donuts content, and others.
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When considering the best coffees in the world, I went to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) for research. They are the organization that sets the quality standards for specialty coffee, which the public calls “gourmet” coffee. All specialty coffees use arabica beans. The other category of is the robusta bean, which is of inferior taste quality to arabica. Within these categories, there are several varieties of bean. Arabica beans are grown at a higher altitude than robusta.

Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world and is graded in a similar manner as wine. This event is called a “cupping” and has a set of strict standards. Winning a cupping is very prestigious and has a direct effect on the prices a coffee grower can get for his crop.

History of these “cupping” winners has shown that three areas of the world produce the most winners. Interestingly, these regions have a very similar latitude when looking at the world map. The three regions are Ethiopia, Sumatra and Panama.

Ethiopian/Kenyan Coffee (Africa)

Ethiopian coffee is aromatic, highly flavorful, and also known to be some of the best coffees in the world. It is also the origin of all coffee. The Ethiopian people have a legend that says that a goat herder discovered Ethiopian coffee around 850 AD. This legend claims that the goat herder noticed that his sheep were very excited and nearly dancing after eating red berries from a tree. The legend of the founder goes on to say that the herder sampled the red berries for himself and took some of the berries home to his wife who insisted that he take them to the monks. The monks supposedly threw the berries into a fire and noticed the delicious smell that the berries produced. The monks are said to have removed the berries from the fire and boiled the berries in water to create the beverage that we now know as Ethiopian coffee.

Whether this legend is true, or in fact just a legend is forever a mystery. Regardless, Ethiopian coffee has been used for religious ceremonies. These ceremonies are still held today and if a guest is invited to participate in the ceremony, it is well known to be a very beautiful experience.

Locally, Ethiopian coffee is served with either sugar, or in some parts of Ethiopia, salt. Milk or any type of creamer is never used in traditionally brewing. The process of making the coffee varies by region. In some regions it is dry processed and in some other regions it is washed. The Ethiopian coffee found in stores today is dry processed.

The process is often grueling and coupled with with importing adds to the reason of why Ethiopian coffee can be expensive.

When consumers purchase Ethiopian coffee to be brewed at home, it is wise to consider fair trade Ethiopian coffee. The obvious reason to consider fair trade is so that the producers of this wonderful product can reap the benefits of their hard work. Ethiopian coffee has a rich, bold, and exciting history and a taste that has been favored by many people for a long time.

Sumatran Coffee (Indonesia)

Sumatran coffee comes from the island in Indonesia called Sumatra. The taste of Sumatran coffee is spicy, herbal, and very distinct. It is considered to be one of the best coffees in the world and was first introduced by the Dutch around 1699 when the Dutch wanted to keep up with the demand of coffee to Europe. The Dutch traders knew the difference between Sumatran coffee beans and other coffee beans by the appearance, which are irregularly shaped and bright green.

Sumatran coffee is one of the best coffees in the world and has a low acidity which makes it highly favored among other types of coffee. The beans are usually grown in full sunlight and with no chemicals. A highly popular type of Sumatran coffee, yet thoroughly disgusting in many peoples opinion, is the kopi luwak Sumatran coffee. The kopi luwak coffee is coffee beans that have been eaten by the small animal known as a luwak. After the luwak digests and excretes the coffee beans, local villagers collect the excreted beans and roast them. These excreted and roasted beans are said to cost about $300 a pound. Of course, not all of Sumatran coffee comes from the excrement of the luwak. There are many other varieties of Sumatran coffee as well.

Most of the Sumatran coffee beans are processed using the wet and dry processing method. This processing method is another reason why Sumatran coffee is so popular. Most other types of coffee beans are processed by using either a wet method or a dry method, hardly ever both.

When purchasing Sumatran coffee for use at home, a person should try to purchase fair trade Sumatran coffee. Fair trade beans can be found at various online retailers and also at gourmet coffee retailers. This insures that the growers benefit from all of the hard work that they put into growing this delicious coffee.

Sumatran coffee has a taste unlike any other and once you try it for yourself, you may find that it will quickly replace your current brand or at least be a coffee that becomes one of your favorites.

Panamanian Coffee (Central America)

Although Panama is the smallest of all coffee producing countries, they grow most of the best rated coffees every year. The coffee region surrounds the town of Boquete in the western province of Chiriqui close to the Costa Rican border. Some say Panama has the ideal micro climate to grow coffee receiving winds from the north along with a light mist and cool breeze. Most of the coffee is grown on farms and is called an Estate coffee which signifies the farm it is from.

The process includes hand picking, washing and sun drying. The farms work closely with the indigenous people enhancing the community with social, medical and educational services. Because of this, fair trade is not a concern. It is a harmonious relationship between farm and worker.

For years, coffee from Panama was not well known amongst the public but the quality was apparent to the traders. So much so, that one trader was caught selling the lower cost Panamanian coffee beans as Hawaiian Kona beans, a much well known high end arabica bean.

Currently, Panamanian coffee has come of age winning numerous cuppings to the point in 2003 when the competition was changed. Previously, each entry was individual and Panamanian entrants would win up to five of ten awards. Now, they have groupings and each group can produce up to two winners that move up to the next level.

It should be noted that although Panamanian coffee has been established as the best in the region, wonderful coffees do come from Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Columbia.

Even though most of the world favors the western coffees, a true coffee lover should be adventurous and taste the best coffees of the world. Try Ethiopian and Sumatran coffees along with those that are in close proximity to those regions. You may be surprised at what you have been missing.

Many of us rely on coffee to get us going in the mornings, wake us up in the afternoons, and prepare us for that special business meeting. Go ahead, have a cup of coffee. It’s much healthier than you may be thinking right now.

Coffee is the most consumed beverage in the world. No matter where you go, coffee is usually available. Yet, until recently there’s been very little research on the effects of coffee on our health. The researcher’s are waking up however. There have recently been studies completed on a variety of health benefits to drinking that simply delicious cup of coffee. (more…)

Nourishment is key to good health. Unfortunately, many of us only think we are eating healthily. Consider milk, for instance. Humans are the only beings who drink milk after being weaned from our mother and even drink milk from another species. The pasteurization process destroys the vitamins and nutrients in the original product, so we then add artificial vitamins. We call this “fortified”.

There are a number of concerns with processed foods. In order to provide the consumer with a long shelf life, chemicals are added to the foods. Chemical additives are also added for color, consistency, taste and more. The problem is, the effects of most of these additives are yet unknown. Some of the synthetic chemicals used in processed foods are known to have carcinogenic properties. Processed meats such as hot dogs and bologna are particularly dangerous. (more…)

I did a personal food plan and exercise program that combined all of the individual actions that worked from each of the best weight loss plans I had used over the decades. I shopped at a health food store, so I ate no white flour or white sugar (both of which are chemically processed and create food cravings!). I ate protein, vegetables, and a minimum of whole grain breads at each meal. And I power walked 4.15 miles every day.

I have always been overweight, I have spent a lifetime searching for the best weight loss plan for me. I have done–starting in my pre-adolescent years–yogurt and granola, skim milk and banana, cabbage soup, Weight Watchers (three times), Jenny Craig, Dr. Atkins, The Zone, the Hilton Head, the Suzanne Somers, and numerous other plans. I went with low fat, low-carb, went with the body-type diet, and onto the grey sheet of the 12-step program, Overeater’s Anonymous. (more…)