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Wheat Muffins: A tryst with ‘creativity’, perhaps

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Introduction
It all began at a friend’s place. As I was invited for dinner, he had prepared one of the best meals that I have ever eaten – salad, beef, you name it. As for me, I went there expecting a bottle of whisky, two glasses and some peanuts to munch on while we were discussing his latest business venture. To say the least, this experience completely shattered one of my long-held perceptions of this friend of mine, who was as macho as a man can get.

Cooking for a while now has been a woman’s domain – or so I thought, until now!

Holding on to a fixed (read: dumb) view such as this one is like confining ‘creativity’ to only the female part of the human race.

Creativity in Cooking
The question that I asked myself after all this was whether ‘cooking’, which is such a mundane task for some of us, could be considered ‘creative’. Yes, of course!

How do we know this?

Walk into a restaurant known for its taste in presentation and take in the aromas as well as the uniquely presented dishes. If you are an aspiring chef, you will have several of those “I didn’t think of that’ moments. However, creativity can only be measured by one thing: expression.

For cooks or chefs, their recipes will tell you how well versed they are in the art of preparing fine cuisine. Their own little jazz performance, if you will. Of course, one does not just prepare a recipe just like that – it comes from years of preparing a dish, and then finding ways through experimentation by which one can ‘add value’ to the taste and nutritious value of the dish. Thanks to the internet, one can source recipes according to their preferences.

‘Healthy’ Wheat Muffin Recipe
Now, here is a healthy Wheat muffin recipe that you can try out:

Not only does this wheat muffin recipe help you with weight loss and keeping well, you can be sure that they will taste good whether made sweet or spicy.

Ingredients
1 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
Half a teaspoon baking powder
Half a teaspoon baking soda
Half a cup dairy alternative milk or water
Three tablespoons liquid sweetener (maple syrup, agave nectar, apple juice concentrate, etc.), or water (use water if you’re making savory muffins)
One tablespoon of canola oil
One teaspoon of vanilla (omit if you’re making savory muffins)

Preparation
Step One: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Step Two: Lightly oil your muffin pan.
Step Three: In a medium-size bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
Step Four: Mix the wet ingredients in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup and pour into the dry ingredients. Stir together until batter is wet, but be careful not to over mix.
Step Five: Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes.
Step Six: Gently loosen muffins after they have cooled down for a few minutes (if it is necessary to loosen). Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for another 5 minutes. This recipe makes about 12 wonderful muffins.

NOTE
For sweet muffins, it is fine to add 1/4 cup chopped and soaked (for a couple of hours, or overnight). Do not worry about soaking raisins though.

For a more savory muffin, you could add a tablespoon or so of Italian seasonings, fresh chives, fresh, minced garlic, and/or 1/2 cup soaked sun dried tomatoes.

[As prepared by Kirsten Nissen and Derrick de Lay at VibrantVegan dot com]

Conclusion
It is no surprise that my pal understands the true meaning of creativity, which is to not be restricted to just being in the movies and music, but in all aspects of his life. Yes, he is truly the ladies’ man but while I could not care less, it doesn’t stop me from begging him to make another meal.

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5 Tips for Choosing the Best Location for Your Fitness Center

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A lot goes into building a fitness center and making it a successful business, and your initial instincts are right: One of the things that matters the most is location, location, location. Here are some tips to help you find the one that will work best for you.

1. Figure out what kind of building you need for your fitness center. Do you want your own, stand-alone property, or will you be best served in a building that houses many businesses (like a strip mall or office park)? If you want your own building, make sure you plan to budget for things like making sure the foundation is stable and solid, that all of the wiring is up to code, etc. It’s sort of like buying a house, but for your business. Of course, utilizing space in a shared building has its own set of issues you’ll have to deal with, too.

2. What kind of clientele do you most want to serve? Are you after the wealthy, nobody-seems-to-have-a-day-job types? Are you primarily interested in helping kids? Do you want to limit your clientele to one gender? All of these things factor in when it comes to where you should put your business. For example: If you want to serve business executives, your gym will work far better in your city’s business or financial district than it will if it’s all the way on the outskirts of town.

3. What kind of fitness center do you want to have? Are you going for the “standard” treadmills, elliptical, lots-of-equipment-type of fitness center? Are you going to be building a yoga studio or a center that focuses on fitness through martial arts training? Are you going to be offering Cross Fit or boot-camp-style programs? Each of these different types of fitness has different physical requirements.

4. How easy is it for people to get to your business? If you live in a larger city, make sure you take things like public transportation into account as well as easy freeway access. The harder it is for people to get to you, the less likely you are to build a business that becomes successful. Yes, people do actually take the bus or the train to go to the gym, especially if they believe that your fitness center is worth the trip!

5. Make sure you have enough parking. Why would somebody visit a fitness center whose parking situation forces them to have to walk half a mile from where they parked to your front door? That’s a quick workout right there! There are lots of different factors that go into figuring out how many parking spots you need. A good rule of thumb is to have a parking spot available for each piece of equipment you have (or each mat space, etc.) plus a few extra.

These tips are just the beginning. Try not to worry too much, though—your business will be up, running, and successful before you know it!

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How to Set Goals

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FC Barcelona Vs. Manchester United. In the Champions League soccer finals this year, it was these sides that clashed, and what a one-sided battle it was. Just like 2008, the latter gave up without any complaint, it seemed.

And if there was anyone who stole the show, it was Messi all the way, right from the start of their Champions League campaign.

And the beauty of it all is that they achieved this tough goal of being Europe’s champions by taking little baby steps that begins with the youth at the La Masia, Barcelona’s youth academy. (La Masia means ‘the farmhouse’)

It serves as an excellent example for those who love sport and are willing to put in long years of hard work in order to get to the top. And it’s no different with implementing a workout regime to certain goals either.

Goal Setting

While some people might refer to the phrase ‘the goalposts being moved’ as something that might throw you off guard if you are sticking to a plan, in most cases, these circumstances that are out of your control rarely occur.

Goal setting is not that difficult, really… and can applied to any area of your Life.

Whether it is to increase the amount of money you want to have in your bank accounts, or to pursue a quality education that will change your life for the better. What really matters here is direction and energy (quite literally, in the example of a workout regime) to pursue these goals… and you will get what you want.

One of the best methods to do this is by using the SMART goal setting technique that has been tried and tested now for years.

(Here’s a detailed link which shows you how to use the SMART technique for any goal that you wish to accomplish.)

While this is a more generic solution to the objective of goal-setting, let’s look at a few tips that might help use this technique smartly.

How to Set Goals for Achieving Results (in the case of a workout)

Here are five tips that can help you to set goals that are result-oriented in particular to a workout that has been designed specifically to get you looking fit:

Tip #1: Visualize, visualize, visualize…

Importantly, in being to get a mental picture of how you want to look, it often gives you a clear idea of what you have to work on in order to get there. If you think, “Oh, I’m working out to get fit”… this isn’t enough.

For example, use Arnie’s or another fitness expert pinup for inspiration. That should be a high-standard to work towards…

Tip #2: Be open

Some workouts can give you good results while others are a little slower. Don’t stick to the latter just because that’s the only thing you want to do. Try a new workout or two as you might just like it…

Tip #3: Mapping Progress

This aspect works as motivation as you work towards your goals along the way. Most people give up on working out because they are unable to map progress. If you can do this by checking how you fit into your old clothes or looking at yourself in the mirror, that can motivate you to try harder.

Tip #4: Goals take time

A tree doesn’t grow up in a day but it takes years and years until it begins to bear fruits. Reaching one’s goals is similar to this including workouts as well. Despite all the hoaxes and promises that you might read over the internet, most fitness experts have got that body to die for by putting years of effort in.

Tip #5: Giving up is for losers

This is as good as leaving a job half-done which any boss will not appreciate. So don’t give up. if you want, take a break… but DON’T give up!

In Closing

If you watch the Barcelona players when their on the field, you’ll know that they savor each moment of the game as they continue to make magic on the field. And it’s no different with working out either…

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Kettlebell Weights – Everything You Need to Know

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On a recent post that I read about Russians, I read that they believe that Americans believe that bears walk the streets in Moscow. Contrary to popular opinion, most Americans are said to actually believe that there are no bears left in Russia to begin with.

If that doesn’t tell how weird this former superpower was, it’s also said that sushi is far more popular in Russia than it is in Japan.

Speaking of popularity and Russia’s quirky ways, it’s only recently that kettlebell weights have gotten attention for their benefits even Russians have been using them since the 1700s.

Kettlebell Weights – An Introduction

So, what are kettlebell weights?

Of course, we’re all accustomed to the proverbial pair of dumbbells, weight machines as well as barbell weights.

One might wonder: Are they as good as the aforementioned gym equipment? Are they usable no matter which level of fitness you are at? If so, how are they used in a workout?

When kettlebell weights were first created, they weren’t used for anything but to just throw or swing around, until someone realized how effective they were for exercise.

Shaped like a cannonball with a handle, these weights are used for ballistic exercises nowadays to not only builds cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and strength, and available in the weight range of 8 to 48 kgs.

The secret to using kettlebells effectively lies in understanding how to use them, and so reading this article which deals with the question “why use kettlebells” tells you almost everything that you need to know about this form of training.

Yet one point appealed to me and that was the ability to burn fat from even a 20-minute workout, provided the exercises that you pick are intense enough.

Best part: you won’t need to rack on weight in order to build strength but do by going through with swinging or ballistic motion to really get into shape. And I mean really get into shape because this training implement is not only used by a plethora of movie stars but also those in the armed forces at the highest level.

While the benefits are plentiful and tend to offer a lot more than conventional weights do, the truth is that using these weights are only for those who have put some time in the gym, and are not necessarily averse to weights.

One more thing- if you’ve got a bad back, strained shoulders or a weak core, it’s advisable to stay away from these weights until you try using them.

Kettlebell Weights – What You Need to Know

So, what do these weights focus on, when performing a routine?

Apart from the benefits earlier, the exercises are designed to strengthen the lower back, shoulders, legs and one’s grip as well. And much more…

Here’s an article that explain why kettlebells are a smart replacement for dumbbells.

Finally, if you’re interested in a kettlebell routine, here’s a link to a few kettlebell exercises that can give you a good picture as to how these workouts are performed.

In Closing

Have you used kettlebell weights in training? If so, are there any benefits that you’ve noticed that aren’t mentioned here? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.

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