60 Minute Core Crush

I’ve never been one to focus on abs, core, or six or eight packs as a standalone part of exercising. I felt like — and still believe — that you strengthen all the parts of your core by doing standard strength training such as 5×5, 5/3/1, and the like.

However, I’ve recently decided to see if I could focus on the aesthetics side of core strength and development and to do that, I had to first develop some more of the lesser used muscles there and of course shed some body fat to reveal the results. Where I’ve ended up is pretty cool and resulted in a nice overall workout I wanted to share.

Three quick notes on the below:

  • I use 30 second intervals with 15 second rests but feel free to alter these depending on your fitness level. It’s a nice way to build progressive overloading though. For example add 5 seconds to each exercise after you feel it’s getting too easy.
  • This is all bodyweight but you can do things like add a kettlebell to the Russian Twist or a 10Kg plate to planked knees to elbows
  • Focus on really hitting your form rather than struggling through. Better to do 20 seconds of near perfect form than 45 seconds rolling around like a dying fish.

The whole work out was inspired by and developed on top of the “6 Pack Abs for Beginners” from the Officialthenx YouTube channel. I’ve linked to his demonstrations below.

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Whey’d Protein Powder

In the crowded space of protein powder, Whey’d stands out. It’s a UK based company and they make a fantastic product. It’s light and not bloating and full off nice supplements, which means fewer things to worry about. It’s low calorie but very filling. I love adding it to unsweetened almond milk with a bit of Fage or Coconut yoghurt for my breakfast. The company also focuses on sustainability and their products are vegetarian.

The powder comes in two flavours – Chocolate and Strawberries & Cream – plus a natural, unflavoured version. They’re both pretty good but the Strawberries & Cream variant is a bit sweet for me. Both are about 85 kcal per 24g (one scoop) per serving, which are almost all from protein. Carbs are negligible (0.6g) as is fat (0.3g), which is why I add in the yoghurt.

 Each serving has: 

  • 5.2g – 5.5g of BCAA’s (18% higher than the world’s best selling whey protein)
  • 2.2g – 2.3g of Leucine
  • 4g – 4.2g of glutamine
  • 5 X CLA than grain-fed cows whey

There are a variety of sizes that range from single use sachets at 24 g to 2 Kg bag (100 servings). A standard sized 30 serving bag costs £33.99. The company sells shakers and offers a few bundles of various sizes.

If you want to buy locally (UK), are looking for a high protein, low carb and low cal powder, Whey’d is definitely one of the best options you’ve got. It’s tasty enough that I’ve never got tired of it and I love the sachets for business travel.

PhD Smart Bar

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After being on a ketogenic diet for long enough, especially if you’re pairing it with fitness and exercise, you’ll realise how hard it can be to actually find a tasty, filling, truly low-carb sports bar / meal replacement. So often these things are loaded with sugar through gimmicks like the phrase “No Added Sugar”. The ones that are truly low carb are frequently tasteless and have the consistency of breeze block.

For those reasons, you can imagine what a treat the new iteration of PhD’s new Smart bar range is. They’re chewy and delicious and have enough calories to sustain you for the afternoon.  The PhD bars don’t have that acrid aftertaste that so many polyol / sugar alcohol bars leave you with, which was a great surprise. They come in four different flavours:

  • Dark Chocolate Raspberry
  • Cookies & Cream
  • Chocolate Brownie
  • Choc Peanut Butter
  • Caramel Crunch

and each is pretty good despite the fact that the Brownie, Peanut Butter, and Caramel Crunch were all sorta the same tasting.

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The macros are as follows (for the Choc Peanut Butter as an example):

  • Calories: 239 Kcal
  • Protein: 20g
  • Carbs / Net Carbs: 24g / 0.6 g
  • Fat: 10g
  • Sweeteners used: Sorbitol; Malitol

You can buy them online at the PhD Shop (and save 20% apparently, if you’re registering for the first time).

Keto + Strength Training

There’s a lot about a ketogenic that’s either counterintuitive or counter to what you’ve learned or heard about diet over the years. Fat is good. Corn is bad. Low fat is bad. High fat is good. Don’t eat too much protein even if you’re working out. Up is down. Black is white. Cats and dogs, living together. You get the picture.

Well, for those of us that are living a keto lifestyle and like to workout , we’ve had to learn a whole other set of counterintuitive lessons. For example: Diet before Exercise always but also forget about cardio, focus on strength. Learn what HIIT is and break yourself with some tabata. New words. New techniques. New goals.

No one is a bigger and better proponent of this way of thinking than Mr. Keto Gains himself, Luis Villasenor, aka Mr. Ketogains. You should definitely read his blog (https://ketogains.com/), subscribe to his sub-reddit (http://reddit.com/r/ketogains), get his 5×5 Mobile App (https://stronglifts.com/apps/) and check out his YouTube videos. The one above will give you a great taste of what’s on offer.

Simply Keto Zimt Knuspmüsli (Cinnamon Müsli)

Simply Keto, in Berlin and reviewed by Keto Café in August 2017 makes this delicious keto-friendly cereal. It goes well with unsweetened almond milk or mixed through with Fage 0% Greek Yoghurt. If you’re feeling really decadent, throw in 25g of blueberries (another 5g net carbs).

This müsli is great and, if anything, actually a little too sweet for this keto-adapted palette. It’s crunchy and nutty and all the things you want in natural cereal. The base is an assortment of various nuts and seeds. These include: almonds, coconut chips, coconut flakes, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and cinnamon. It’s well balanced mix and the choices provide plenty of fat.

They could reduce the sugar alcohols by half and it would still be plenty sweet. As a quick aside the low carb count does come at the cost of quite high polyols (Erythritol) – 36.7g per 100g  to be exact – so if those are a problem for you, keep it in mind.

A 500g bag (about 8 servings) is €11.00 and can be bought on Simply Keto’s online shop.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 60
Servings Per Container 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories 228 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 32%
Saturated Fat N/Ag 0%
Trans Fat N/Ag
Cholesterol N/Amg 0%
Sodium N/Amg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 0.44g 0%
Dietary Fiber 5.52g 22%
Sugars 0.44g
Protein 5.94g 12%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Montezuma 100% Dark Chocolate

Montezuma 100% Dark Chocolate

This British dark chocolate is a rarity amongst the 100% dark chocolates — it’s palatable and won’t make your eyes water with bitterness. Despite not having any sugar whatsoever and only a few grams of carbs, it’s still quite soft and sweet in the mouth. It pairs particularly well with coffee or bourbon at the end of the night. It’s also a great way to get some extra calories without moving the dial on your protein or carb levels.

Highly recommended for anyone on a low-carb, high-fat diet.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 25
Servings Per Container 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 150 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 22%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Trans Fat g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 0g
Protein 3g 6%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Simply Keto – Berlin, DE

Fantastic to see a Keto Café in Berlin’s Mitte district. A definite focus on the more vegan / gluten free side of camp keto but great to see all the same.

The place is bright and cheerful with a library of different paleo, keto, and similar cookbooks, tip books, and others. Lots of BPC (bullet proof coffee) accoutrements. Maybe a few too many for my liking.

They sell a lot of their own stuff fresh and also have a selection of ingredients and prepared foods you can buy. Loads of MCT oil and coconut oil as well as a variety of sweeteners and bulking agents you might use if cooking yourself.

There’s a definite coffee shop, relax, chat and hang out vibe at play here. Plenty of seating outside.

Simply Keto is the first real world Keto Café I’ve seen and they seem to be doing well. The manager, Dominique, says they are opening a few more locations across Germany.

Definitely worth a visit if you’re in Berlin.

Invalidedstraße 154
Berlin, DE 10115
website: http://simplyketo.de