“High Tide!”, I anxiously responded in preparation for my first taste of this special root that was known for its relaxing effect on your body while leaving your mind as be.

“Give him a tsunami!” joked a lovely elderly man, Moses, from inside the formed circle of locals and visitors, alike.

I clapped my hands together and instantly a coconut shell filled to the rim with Kava was at my fingertips.

“Bula!” I yelled my new favorite word upon arriving in the awe-inspiring islands of Fiji.

One very long gulp later, the liquid that resemble dirty water was down my throat; leaving a unique numbness to my tongue and an acquired bitterness on my taste buds.

Three more claps followed by a smile completed my first experience with kava.

As the burning sunset turned into a dark sky illuminated by thousands of bright stars, the ceremony continued on until the hand carved, wooden tanoa bowl was empty and not a single drop of kava remained.

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In this single moment, I lived solely in the present. To the sound of laughter and strumming guitars, priceless memories and friendships were being made that would outlive our last night on Tokoriki Island. Life’s bullshit – scrolling through Facebook status updates, wondering about the macro composition of this kava, squeezing in that second session of metabolic work, and hitting tax deadlines – were the farthest thing from my mind.

All that mattered was that precious moment in the middle of the South Pacific.


Before arriving in Fiji, I had not taken an extended period away from touching a weight in over FIVE years. Sure, a day or two of planned rest days per week were the maximum. Three days away from my beloved iron babies? No way in hell.

Even though during those five years…

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My alarm clock startled me out of my slumber at 4:20 AM, five days out of the week.

My shoulder was constrained in a sling for 4 weeks after having surgery to repair a torn labrum.

I relocated across the country from the Big Apple to the City of Angeles to rebuild my business from the ground up. 

I relocated once again but actually to entirely different country!…This time to accompany a high profile client for her training and preparation.


Like anyone, I had my fair share of stresses and plenty of excuses to take some time off. But I never allowed myself. Let’s just say, training for me is like brushing my teeth. It’s a vital daily ritual. It’s my escape. It’s my healthy obsession.

Rewind to a two weeks before arriving in Fiji and pulling the trigger on a bucket list vacation, I had to mentally prepare myself for what was about to happen…


The time had finally come. I deserved this break, especially as I pushed it to new levels before seven whole days without a single bicep curl. My body sure as hell needed it as soon as I arrived to the same islands where Chuck Noland (aka Tom Hanks) was stranded in Castaway.

Making that decision ahead of time allowed me to completely relax, soak in the extremely brutal sun, and take in this experience of a lifetime. The mental relief of letting myself of the hook was the biggest factor in taking full advantage of the recovery period.

Leading up to that Kava ceremony, we met some great individuals that were on their honeymoon and grew a friendship with them. (I know, I never thought we would be “those people” that met other couples on vacation. But it’s a real thing.).

It just so happens my new friend was a professional athlete in the NFL. After learning each other’s professions, one of the first things he asked me was…

“You going to train here, bro?”

Confidently, I responded no. I was going to give my body the break it deserved and enjoy my time doing everything else under the Fiji sun.

Like myself, his body, training, and nutrition are his life and vessels to a successful career. We understood each other’s mindsets and spoke the same language. 

Having that conversation, I reassured myself that I was OK to take the week off and I’m pretty sure, I made him feel better about doing the same.


To my surprise, my body responded exceptionally well.

Without touching a weight beyond luggage, I lost around 4 pounds despite not counting a single calorie, satisfying my sweet tooth on an occasion or two, and sipping some “girly” drinks. The pinker, the better in my opinion.

To make sure those four pounds weren’t just lost muscle, I continued the same training program before taking this much needed vacation. My strength levels did not drop off an ounce but I was able to increase my intensity by adding weight to the bar. Hell, even the bellies of my muscles looked fuller.

As an experienced and educated professional, we are always ones to preach the importance of recovery and rest days. On the contrary, we are not very good to listening to our own advice and the research to support our coaching methods.

In the past the thought of not training gave me anxiety accompanied by fear that my body would go straight to shit. By overcoming that nonsense, I realized that a lack of a barbell or a pair of dumbbells couldn’t stop me from being active. This body I have worked so hard to mold and keep healthy was meant to express itself physically beyond sets and reps or boxing drills.

I replaced my pull-ups and rows with kayaking in a reef so blue that you would have to see it with your own two eyes. Snorkeling for the first time took over for my metabolic work and even caused my heart rate to elevate in the same fashion. Walks on the beach holding my lady’s hand triumphed any cardiac output session by far.  


Each and every one of us is in a different place in our fitness journey. You may just be getting started and taking a week off will be disastrous to building your habits. Maybe you have goals with an approaching deadline and need to stay on the path. Or vacation is a perfect opportunity for you to make time for your health and improving your body composition.

Like I said at the beginning of the post, I’ve been in your shoes for the last five years. I’ve never allowed myself time off. Along with Ryan, I always found a way to get my daily sweat in. Even if it meant sacrificing time on our vacations and with family.

You might run into two difficulty while trying to keep your physique game on point and building muscle.

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PROBLEM #1: The destination where you will be resting your head in the days to come does not have the proper equipment for you to keep going with your current program or any muscle-building workouts for that matter.

PROBLEM #2: A majority of the vacation workouts you can get your hands on are focused on keeping you lean. They are metabolically driven to combat the over-consumption of calories and act as damage control.


That’s perfect if your goals are aligned with fat loss. But if you are in the search of building thick, dense muscle, you need something better suited for your gains.

Lucky for you, these Sons have you covered. Put all those extra calories right to work and build muscle while on vacation. 

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We admit it. We love isometrics. Combine them with repetitions and it’s a perfect formula to build muscle by creating tension and challenging the weakest positions of a movement. To add to our crush on them, they are great to develop mental toughness and will improve mobility. The last damn thing you want to do while on vacation. 

You will use the same exercises every single day. However, the methods for each exercise will change instead.

The Exercises

  • Bulgarian Split Squat
  • Push-Up (Hold)
  • Pull-Up (Hang)
  • Squat (or Wall Sit)
  • V Up

The Execution.


  • Hold the bottom of the position in an isometric contraction for 10 seconds.
  • Upon completion, go into 10 explosive repetitions.
  • These can even be plyometric based (i.e. explosive push-ups, squat jumps).
  • Continue in this fashion without rest for 3 to 5 sets.
  • If using a unilateral exercise like Bulgarian Split Squats, complete all sets on one side before moving to the other.


  • Hold the bottom position for 30 to 60 seconds. This hold should be active, meaning one it should be difficult. Brace your core. Keep full contact with your hands or feet and the ground. Lengthen one side of the muscle and keep a hard isometric on the other.


  • Begin with a 5 second isometric in the bottom position.
  • Perform 1 repetition.
  • Then hold for 10 seconds.
  • Perform another repetition.
  • Continue in this fashion for as many as possible or until you hit 50 seconds total and total reps.


From Arnold and Franco, we learned about partner assisted pump sessions. The first two minutes of the video below one is pure gold. Talk about gains and one ass-kicking way to pump blood into the beach muscles while getting your competitive juices flowing.

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Simple execution methods by going to near failure on each set. Aim for 10 to 20 repetitions on each set. Perform 3 to 4 sets per exercise. You can use these as single sets, opposing supersets, or in a large all-out circuit.

All you need is a towel. Grab it from your hotel room. Then make each other work for every single repetition.

The Exercises:

  • Towel Bicep Curls
  • Towel Pushdowns
  • Towel Overhead Tricep Extensions
  • Towel Lateral Raises
  • Towel 1 & 2 Arm Rows



Whether you want to get swole on vacation and build muscle or decide to overcome your deload anxiety and take some much needed time away from the iron, we hope that our own honest struggles, personal experiences, and these bad ass workouts help you better enjoy your leisure time.

The MOST important part is to immerse yourself in the moment, enjoy your travel, and get the most out of your time off. Remember the reason why we train is so that we can go out into world and experience it with more confidence and physical ability in order to get the most out of each adventure.