Two 24kg Metrixx® Classic E-Coat Military Grade Cast Iron Kettlebells by Kettlebells USA

Maybe you should be swinging a much heavier kettlebell

Kettlebells USA 24 kg - 53 lb Metrixx® Elite Precision E-Coat Kettlebell

One of my 24kg bells

The kettlebells I have been swinging every day have been too light from the beginning. I have been cycling between a 12kg, a 16kg, and a 20kg competition kettlebell but really should have been putting the work in and struggled with my 24kg kettlebell instead. Maybe you’re swinging a kettlebell that’s too light for you.

Mind you, 24kg is possibly too heavy for some of the other kettlebell workouts like the Turkish get-up (TGU) and the clean and press; however, the kind of full-body ballistic workout that the two-hand swing really demands the sort of benefits that a heavy weight provided by a 24kg kettlebell now—and a 32kg later—offers.


My 12kg & 20kg CFF bells

And, because the two-hand kettlebell swing is a full-body ballistic movement, tapping a chain of the strongest muscles in the body, I can really swing well above my actual strength.  I personally recommend the 24 kg – 53 lb Metrixx® Elite Precision E-Coat Kettlebell by Kettlebells USA.

I will still use my 8kg, 12kg, 16kg, and 20kg kettlebells for kettlebell exercises like the around the world, the kettlebell sit up, the figure 8, the one-hand swing, the tactical lunge, the sumo deadlift high pulls, the clean, the clean and press, the goblet squat, the single arm pull, the single arm overhead square, and, of course, the Turkish get-up—I don’t think I’ll ever be a one-kettlebell does everything Girevik like quite a few people I know who just carry a 32kg kettlebell with them—two whole pood!

Pressure Cooker Porcupine Meatballs: Classic retro dinner, made in the pressure cooker. Ground beef and rice meatballs in a simple tomato sauce. (No porcupines!) 30 minute dinner.

Traditional porcupine meatballs recipe prepared in a pressure cooker

Pressure Cooker Porcupine Meatballs Recipe
Serves 4
My mum's pressure cooked porcupine meatballs were the ultimate special treat comfort food in my home growing up and the only time she broke out the pressure cooker.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
  1. 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  2. 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (reserve half)
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced (reserve half)
  4. 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  5. 1/2 cup water
  6. 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  7. 1 pound ground beef (85% lean)
  8. 1/2 cup long grain rice
  9. 1 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Sauté the onion and garlic
  1. Select the “Sauté” program on your pressure cooker and add the oil to the pot. (If you are using a stovetop pressure cooker, heat the oil over medium heat.) Add half of the chopped onions and garlic. Sauté until the onions are softened and translucent, about five minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and water. Let this warm until it comes to a simmer.
Make the meatballs
  1. While tomato sauce is coming up to a simmer, make the meatballs. In a mixing bowl, combine the beef, rice, salt, pepper, and the rest of the chopped onions and garlic. Roll into ping-pong ball-sized meatballs (1 1/2 inches or so).
Cook the meatballs
  1. Gently place the meatballs in to the pot a single layer. Spoon a little bit of sauce over the top of each one.
  2. Place the lid on the pressure cooker. Make sure the pressure regulator is set to the “Sealing” position. Select the “Manual” program, then set the time to 15 minutes at high pressure. (For stovetop pressure cookers, cook at high pressure for 12 minutes.)
  3. It will take about 10 minutes for your pressure cooker to come up to pressure, and then the actual cooking will begin. Total time from the time you seal the pressure cooker to the finished dish is about 25 minutes.
To serve
  1. You can either perform a quick pressure release by moving the vent from “Sealing” to “Venting,” or you can let the pot depressurize naturally (this takes about 20 minutes), then open it when you’re ready to serve the meatballs. (For stovetop pressure cookers, perform a quick pressure release.)
Stovetop Instructions
  1. Sauté half of the onions and garlic in oil in a thick-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the tomato sauce, water, and Worcestershire sauce, increasing the water to one full cup. While the sauce is coming up to a simmer, make the meatballs. Drop the meatballs into the simmering sauce, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Let simmer until meatballs are cooked through, about 45 minutes.
Adapted from Simply Recipes
Adapted from Simply Recipes
Happy belated mother’s day. It took me a couple days to write this porcupine meatball recipe but it isn’t any less sentimental or special to me. My mum’s pressure cooked porcupine meatballs were the ultimate special treat comfort food in my home growing up. They have such a unique smell and mouthfeel. While it was tomato-based, it was also very savory and the sauce looked a little more like a brown sauce than tomato sauce.

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Sometimes it takes 18-months to motivate enough to commit and get started—and that’s okay!

I have had this timer set up to prompt me to do 90-seconds of kettlebell swings every single hour of the day. I’ve been ignoring it for over 18-months but started doing it again today.

I’m using an ebook I found on Amazon, Get Fit, Get Fierce with Kettlebell Swings, as my guide.

Eventually, I want to integrate Pavel’s Kettlebell Simple & Sinister everyday workout into my workout as well once I sort out my Turkish Get Ups.

I’m starting again with 12kg bells but will shortly adapt to my 16s and I’m sure, eventually, my 24s and ultimately 32s.

But I need to make sure my body, my muscles, my core, my lungs, and my heart become used to the hourly stress.

Wish me luck!

JLRacing Unisex Polypro ErgTrou rowing trou for indoor rowers and rowing ergometers

JLRacing ErgTrou are the ultimate trou

Polypro ErgTrou logo by JL RacingAt first, I thought that the polypro unisex ErgTrou by JLRacing was a gimmick. All I could see that was any different at first blush was that gimmicky alternative logo of a stick figure little unisex person on a Concept2 indoor rower and a slit pocket at the small of the back in which you can stow your smartphone or MP3 player while you’re doing all the meters on your erg. 

I special-ordered an XXL pair. Not really special-ordered but when you order an XXL from JLRacing I always get a bespoke pair made for me and my big ass. They don’t keep the XXL trous or unisuits in stock so plan on waiting a couple weeks for delivery. They’re not slow, they’re just making a polypro Erg Trou just for you.

jlRacing unisex polypro erg trou waistband front

When I received the two pair I had ordered, they could stand on their own. I have a dozen pair of Lycra/Spandex trou and unisuits from JLRowing and they’ve always arrived soft and malleable and almost silky-looking, with a sheen like you would expect any stretchy workout compression shorts. 

But no! Unlike regular JLRacing rowing trou that only double-seated, ErgTrou are double lined in the back, all the way from the cuff of the short all the way up the back to the drawstring waistband.

Since I am addicted to counting steps and activity when I am at home and at work, I often try to keep my phone on me in addition to the Fitbit Zip that I always have clipped to the cuff of my trou. Whenever I wear my ErgTrou while I am spending the entire day walking on my treadmill desk, I just tuck my phone into the very wide but maybe too shallow slit pocket that they placed from 3-o’clock to around 6-o’clock on the outside of the waistband (maybe not deep enough or with enough retention to keep even your waterproof Samsung S9 or iPhone X from falling into the water if you wear these on the river). 

jlRacing unisex polypro ergtrou waistband rear with rear slash phone pocket

While my Zip catches all my steps for my Fitbit Challenges, it doesn’t feed all those another activity tracking apps that live on my Samsung S8 Active such as Bixby, Google Fit, and Samsung Health all the other ones. So even though I need my phone to work every day, I try to keep it on my hip while I am walking and swinging kettlebells and the like just to make sure that Google knows I am not a lazy-ass. 

These JL Racing Unisex Polypro Erg Trou are like Levis or Wrangler jeans: they start off all stiff and cardboardy but, after some use, they begin to become much more comfortable after a number of uses and a number of washings. 

jlRacing unisex polypro erg trou shorts leg and hem front without ergtrou icon logo

My two ErgTrou came without the iconic ErgTrou logo—lame!

While I mostly wash all my trou and unisuits in the shower with me (have I told you that I shower exclusively with Dawn dish soap?), whenever I do send my laundry to the wash and fold, they are never any worse for wear. So far, they’ve been fine going through the washer and the dryer (I just learned that I should never put any of my unisuits or trou in the dryer).  From the JL Racing site:

  • When using a machine, use cold water (30 degrees centigrade for Europe, just cold setting for Americans)
  • Be absolutely sure there is no bleach, chlorine bleach, or bleach alternative in your detergent. We recommend SportWash by Penguin for best results 
  • When on the road, using shampoo is a good substitute for detergent.
  • Don’t hang garments on lamps to dry, believe it or not, this has been known to start fires.
  • Do not iron your rowing garments.
Marks Mexican Meth Recipe of the Gods

Mark’s Mexican Meth is fit for a king but made for a pauper

Mark's Mexican Meth
Serves 11
It's so good that Mark just wants to eat it until he dies, which is why he called it Mexican Meth. It's a perfect combination of flavors and body satisfaction. The beans are the trick.
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Prep Time
13 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
33 min
Prep Time
13 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
33 min
  1. Iberia Long Grain Brown Rice
  2. 1 tbs Kirkland Organic Extra Virgin Olive oil
  3. 3 cans/45 oz black beans, cooked
  4. 1 tbs Kirkland organic extra virgin olive oil
  5. 1 large onion
  6. 1 medium to large orange
  7. 1-2 elephant garlic cloves
  8. 3 tbs apple cider vinegar
  9. Kirkland Signature Mexican Blended Shredded Cheese
  10. Daisy Sour Cream Costco/Walmart
  11. Fresh diced 1 roma tomato
  12. 1/2 Hass avocado
  13. Costco organic spring mix lettuce
  14. 1 tbs Kirkland Organic Extra Virgin Olive oil
Prepare Beans
  1. With olive oil, sautee diced onion and garlic in pot until translucent. Add cooked beans (lightly rinse off juice if using canned beans). Add apple cider vinegar and squeeze orange in, scraping out the pulp and adding that as well. Salt to taste. 10-15 min
Prepare Rice in Microwave
  1. Put 1 cup of long grain brown rice in microwave safe bowl. Add 2 cups of water. Cover bowl with a mircowave safe plate and nuke at 100% for 5 minutes. After that 5 minutes, nuke for 20 minutes at 50%. 30 min
Assemble Meth
  1. In a microwave-safe bowl put in the rice, then on top of that, the beans, then on top of that the cheese (this order keeps ingredients from burning to the bowl while microwaving). Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes (depending on your microwave) until rice and beans are hot and cheese is melted. 3 min
  2. Spoon sour cream on top.
  3. Add a handful of the salad. Put tomato and avocado on top. Dress with olive oil and salt.
  1. If you don't eat all 11-12 servings at once, be sure to keep all the ingredients separate until the next plating. Some things are meant to be heated and the salad and sour cream should remain cold.

Scrooge mcduckFor someone who is so historically financially successful, Mark Harrison is the Scrooge McDuck of entrepreneurship, affiliate marketing, and influencer marketing.

Mark’s life is partially driven by his extreme frugalness. He’ll gladly starve himself to keep his per-day food costs down to two-dollars-a-day. He often calls it fasting or even “whoops, I totally forget to eat.” I, on the other hand, have never missed a meal.

Mark HarrisonWhen he’s around the people in his life, he’s profoundly generous; however, alone, he finds solace and pride in being able to eat like a king while spending like a pauper. Mark’s Mexican Meth is such a thing.

He’s totally figured it all out. While the cost of all the supplies for Mark’s Mexican Meth is around $71.77, this beautiful meal is a miserly $2.44-per-serving. Not only that! If you do all the maths for macronutrients, it turns out that this vegetarian triumph is also extremely nutritious to boot! 

Albert Ernest Clifford "Cliff" Young, OAM was an Australian potato farmer and athlete from Beech Forest, Victoria, best known for his unexpected win of the inaugural Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon in 1983 at 61 years of age.

I’ve been doing the Cliff Young Ultra Shuffle

2016 Four Courts Four Miler produced by Pacers Running. Photo by Brian W. Knight/Swim Bike Run Photo.I just discovered Cliffy Young via Amazon Video today. At 61, he ran 500 miles from Sydney to Melbourne, Australia.

He was a quirky potato farmer that shuffled everywhere he went–even to visit the beach, routines a 35 kilometer run each way.

While I only watched the movie about Albert Ernest Clifford “Cliff” Young as acted by Kevin Harrington

in the 2013 movie Cliffy, they must have been faithful to his running gait and pace. And they were! In fact, the Young Shuffle is a thing, also called the Ultra Shuffle.

2016 Crystal City 5K Fridays, race #1 produced by Pacers Running. Friday, 1 April, 2016. Photo by Brian W. Knight/Swim Bike Run Photo.

Now you know why many ultramarathoners run like that. It’s the best way to move your body, technically at a run, and preserve as much energy and energetics as possible. 

That’s exactly how I run! That’s exactly how I’ve run since I’ve been in my forties. And I’m perfectly happy with that.

What does the Young Shuffle look like? Well, it looks exactly like this:

That’s how I run! Well, not 800 kilometers just yet, but if anyone has seen me run, they recognize that style, though I would call what I do a loaf as opposed to a strictly shuffling.  Maybe even a zombie lumber (move in a slow, heavy, awkward way).

Chris Abraham finishing the 2016 Four Courts Four MilerDoesn’t matter! This is brilliant. I already had Slow Jogging in my back pocket and now I have the Young Shuffle which has been widely adopted by the all the other ultramarathoners as the Ultra Shuffle (cultural appropriation, to be sure).

You know that when I run, I run slow and I run far. In fact, in races, I am generally dead last.

In the last decade, I have generally kept a 13-minute-mile or slower pace–oftentimes upwards of a 16-minute-mile–gladly and happily.

chris abraham at 300 pounds on a 4 mile runIn fact, I would sometimes get passed by regular walkers, which means I can sometimes dip down to a 19-minute mile. And about this, I am bragging.  My average is generally a 15- to 18-minute-mile. Seriously. 

The moment I discovered Slow Jogging, I realized that I wasn’t the only one who was doing this. This funny little video featuring Japanese running guru, Professor Hiroaki Tanaka, sold me (embedded below).  The book is brilliant as well and you should pick up and copy and read it: 

Slow Jogging: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Have Fun with Science-Based, Natural Running by Hiroaki Tanaka and Magdalena Jackowska.

While I have been doing all of my miles on my treadmill desk at a deplorable-but-workable 2 miles-per-hour (gotta work) and I have been doing all of my kilometers on my Concept2 indoor rower, slow rowing with quite a lot of intense power-10s, I haven’t gone outside or onto a proper professional-grade treadmill make for running. 

So, here’s my pledge and my commitment: in memory and deep respect of and for Cliffy Young and out of deep respect and admiration for Sensei Hiroaki Tanaka,

I will start back up with my ardent, persistent, and blissful practice of slow running at least 4-miles every single day without fail. 

I won’t start with that as I am smart enough to let me poor body adapt and to allow my heart and lungs to remember that I’m a runner, but my goal will be a daily four-mile visit to runner’s church.

Runner’s World has assured me that even if I am dead fucking last, as long as I run, I am a runner, even if my running is slow, jogging, shuffling, lumbering, and loafing as well.


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Umami Anchovy Vinaigrette

Uncle Mark’s Anchovy Vinaigrette Umami-Bomb Sauce of the Gods

So many raw cloves of garlic simmered in oil go into this amazing anchovies VinaigretteMy buddy Mark Harrison never recommends recipes for me. However, he’s become obsessed with this recipe to the point of really pressing it on me because he knows how much I love strong flavors, olive oil, garlic, and even anchovies! So, in order to make healthy giant salads more appealing to this carnivore, he suggests that I liberally pour this recipe over just about anything and everything—especially if I plan to spend the day and night alone (there’s a lot of garlic in this umami-bomb sauce of the gods

Mark's Umami Bomb Anchovy Vinaigrette of the Gods
The secret weapon to flavor is anchovy vinaigrette. It's god sauce.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
2 hr
  1. 1 can (2 oz.) of anchovy fillets in oil
  2. 1 cup of raw garlic cloves, peeled
  3. 1 cup canola oil, or enough to cover the garlic in a saucepan
  4. Extra virgin olive oil
  5. 1 lemon
  6. Salt
  1. Add all the garlic cloves into a saucepan and cover with enough canola oil to submerge the garlic. Turn the stove on low heat; you want a very gentle simmer. Check on the garlic often, you don’t want to burn it. After 90 minutes or so, the garlic should be pale and golden, soft enough for a fork to poke through without resistance. Taste it: It should be sweet, not bitter.
  2. Dump a tin of anchovies and its oil into a food processor. Then add all the softened garlic cloves and process until smooth. Keep the paste moving in the processor, slowly drizzle in the garlic oil, about half a cup, and then a few swigs of olive oil. You’ll want to achieve a thick emulsion that resembles spackle in consistency, and this may require more (or less) oil depending on the anchovies and garlic. Once you have a very thick mixture, squeeze in lemon juice and pulse until the mixture thins to salad dressing viscosity.
  1. Taste and adjust with lemon and salt.
Adapted from The Takeout
Adapted from The Takeout


Potomac Boat Club

Membership in the Potomac Boat Club Concept2 Team is Empowering

2018 Concept2 2018 Concept2 2018 Concept2 World Erg ChallengeThe Concept2 virtual team challenge, World Erg Challenge, is ten-days old and I’ve only clocked 24,607 meters so far–but I am still mid-pack in the Potomac Boat Club. For context, challenge leader, Parker Sheppard, has clocked 126,445 meters–more than 100,000 meters ahead of me. But I am picking up and am hopeful and am also having fun and am happy, to be honest, that I am not at the bottom. Maybe by the time I am 50–I just turned 48 this month–I will be hitting 100,000 meters by ten-days in (that’s an attainable 10,000 meters-a-day–totally do-able). 

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2018 concept2 mud season madness challenge

Mud Season Madness starts today on March 1—get in those 10km days!

2018 Concept2 Mud Season Madness

I haven’t erged yet today but I am going to aim at rowing at least 10,000 meters every day on my Concept2 Model C indoor rowing ergometer for at least 25-days during March.  Why am I being so specific with 10,000 meters and 25 days in March?

10k-A-Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Why don’t you join me in completing the Mud Season Madness by dusting off your nearest Concept2 Indoor Rower that you store at home, in your garage, in your building’s fitness area, in your local gym, in a nearby YMCA, or at your local boathouse and putting in either 5,000m or 10,000m every day for the rest of March.

Concept2 Mud Season Madness 2018from today, March 1, 2018, through March 31, 2018, and row 10,000 meters, by hook or crook, every day for 25 days or more in March? Actually, there are two levels: The Basic Challenge and The Advanced Challenge5,000 meters each day or 10,000 meters each day, respectively, for 25 days.

Mud Season Madness is an individual challenge so you don’t need to be part of a team to participate, you only need to log your meters over on the Concept2 online logbook

If you are able to row more than 5km/day for 25-days in March, you’ll complete the basic challenge and if you can muster 5km/day for 25 days, you’ll complete the advanced challenge

Good luck!  I’ll be rowing right there with you!

2018 World Erg Challenge

2018 Concept2 2018 Concept2 2018 Concept2 World Erg ChallengeThink of it this way: rowing 10 kilometers every day will prepare your body for the World Erg Challenge from March 15 through mid-April.

If you just start with some slow-rowing, then you can develop your strength, stamina, and endurance enough in the two weeks leading up to WRC, pulling 10k/day, to really benefit your virtual team.  The World Erg Challenge is a team challenge so you must belong to a team to participate (see the team member page).


My One Burrito a Day (OBAD) One Meal a Day (OMAD) Diet

My One Burrito A Day (OBAD) for my One Meal A Day (OMAD) dietFor a couple weeks now, I have been following the one meal a day—OMAD—diet. I am trying it out because after reading about and trying the keto diet, which is very prescriptive, I wanted something easy that amalgamates intermittent fasting, one very satisfying meal that fulfills all the calories I need for a day that actually satiates me, and no food to cheat with in my fridge, cupboard, or larder.  

If I do a good job of tracking my macros—50% carbs, 30% fat, and 20% protein—the chicken burrito with everything on it that I can get from Burrito Bros on Columbia Pike, South Arlington, is perfect: flour tortilla, grilled chicken, yellow rice, black beans, pinto refried beans (the mixture of the two is called “black and tan“) , cheese, guacamole, sour cream, cucumber, lettuce, pico de gallo, and sweet corn with a squirt of chipotle and cilantro hot sauce. 

My macros on one daily chicken everything burrito

My macros on one daily chicken everything burrito

It’s almost perfect.

Burrito Bros is closed on Sunday which is why it’s my cheat day when I can eat brunch and dinner like a normal yuppie. 

I’ll report on how it is working for me. Today, on Presidents’ Day, I did another OBAD but in this case, it was a double gruyère and onion burger with fries—one burger a day, in this case—but two patties are too much.

On that note, Burrito Bros, which also owns L.A. Bar and Grill, where I got my 1/2 priced lunch burger, also offers double meat burritos but that’s too much food as well. I don’t want leftovers because they’re too tempting for me, so I just ate them—the double burger and the double steak burrito, both—but I regretted it and won’t do that again.

L.A. Bar & Grill burgers are deliciousA single-patty burger and a regular everything burrito are good for me. 

And burgers and fries are only for special occasions. I would really like to make sure my single meals aren’t a series of junk foods with a multivitamin chaser. I would like to cycle in big salads with chicken and those sorts of things, but I don’t want to become a slave of cooking for myself.

With food in the house I tend to be seduced into breaking the essential daily 23-hours-a-day fast, drinking only coffee, water, tea, and sometimes broth or bone broth and sometimes some dill picked juice.