Death to Dadbod: Vacation Aftermath

Danial Hooper Death to Dadbod

We went to Vegas, again.

This one is about a workout after vacation. Heaven knows I needed it after the last week. I don’t think I can call it our “best” family vacation, but there’s no doubt it’ll be remembered as our most memorable. 

A few things to note, in the event you’re going to Vegas with your wife and kids:

  1. Don’t stay at Circus Circus. Unless you like boogers on your walls and enjoy the smell of stale cadavers. (We left after 45 minutes of being at the casino, yikes)
  2. When waiting in line to check into your hotel, make sure you’re actually IN your hotel. (I waited 45 minutes for the Treasure Island front-desk lady to tell me I’m actually at the Mirage.)
  3. Avoid stomach flu. At all costs.
  4. Drink more water.

All the things happened. I puked. The baby puked. My 10-year-old daughter saw a very intoxicated woman talking to herself and asked her, “I don’t see anyone, who are you talking to?”

And I didn’t workout once.

Do I feel guilty? No.

Guilt should be saved for actual problems. Missing a few workouts isn’t a good reason to self-hate. Instead, just know you’re off the horse and get back on. I was making the most of my family time, and a good workout didn’t get to happen. That is… until you count the 60 minute “dad vs kids” wrestling match or my volunteering to be the pack-mule to get everyone’s luggage from car to casino. So, yeah, I might not have logged anything. But the dadbod got worked.

We drove back to SLC. What should have been a 6 hour drive turned into 8. Our littlest hooplet pooped off schedule. Twice. He’s like his father: anytime he poops his pants, he cries. Last thing ya want to do is force him to sit in his own dookie for any duration of time. Especially when he’s screaming louder than the speakers can go.

Back to life, still smelling like vacation.

It was about 7:00 PM when we finally got home. Everyone needed a shower. The adults needed therapy and a visit to the chiropractor. Hooplet needed to eat. The kids needed to get ready for school tomorrow morning. We needed another day, honestly.

My body felt the effects. I could have went to bed, stank and all, and not missed a beat. The luggage will be waiting for me tomorrow. There’s always laundry. Joanie was putting babe to bed. Kids were good, they knew what they were doing. Dada could disappear into his bed and no one would miss a beat.

*Cue the inspirational music*

But no. I chose to workout. Not out of “flab-induced guilt” or an innate need to feel validated by my fitness. I can’t claim to workout for health and then have an unhealthy relationship with working out, ya know?

I made the choice because I wanted to feel better. My body wasn’t happy. Exercise is like a big sweaty hug from me to myself.

The best workout after vacation


The first workout after vacation.

It wasn’t easy. As a matter of fact, I almost changed my mind at 50 meters into the warm-up run. This ol’ rickety dadbod felt every stride and hated the first 7 minutes of activity. Still, decision made.

Shall we get to this? I say we shall. Shall we shall. Fo’ shall, pal.


The Workout

25 Single Arm Dumbbell Clusters – Left Arm

Dumbbell Overhead Carry, 100 m – Left Arm

25 Single Dumbbell Goblet Clusters – One DB, Both Arms.

Dumbbell Overhead Carry, 100 m – Right Arm

25 Single Arm Dumbbell Clusters – Right Arm

*Pick Load.

For Time



My weight: One 25 lb. DB.

My goal: try to do each cluster round unbroken. This is meant to be an easy workout after vacation. Active recovery, nothing too crazy. Other than, ya know, the fact that I’m doing the workout and will probably lose patience with myself about midway through and decide to sprint.


3… 2… 1… Go!

25 Left Arm Clusters

Starting with the left arm seems like a good idea. I’m not going to have any juice at the end of this workout, so I should lean into the stability of my right arm to finish. The first 10 clusters create a nice little burn from my buttocks to my biceps. I always struggle with whether to pull the DB on the outside or inside of my knee. I’m going outside on this one, only because it’s outside the box, not inside your crotch.

Every rep grows incrementally more difficult. Who decided it was a good idea to workout after vacation? What horse’s patoot makes the choices around here?

Workout After Vacation

It’s me.

Shoulders start feeling really shaky at about rep 17. The rest of my body follows for the remaining 5. My cats are watching me from the kitchen. They think I look like a cold baby deer.

Dumbbell Overhead Carry, 100 Meters – Left Arm

Remember when I said I wanted to do this unbroken?  SURPRISE! I’m twenty meters into the walk before I break. My goodness, it’s like someone put a hot fart inside my rotator cuff. It’s a deep burn! Ohhh, sweet Oden’s Raven! I make it another 20 meters and set the weight down. My face is grimacing like I ate an onion. The distance is mocking me. So are my cats. They no longer thing I’m the alpha. I bet one of them leaves a mouse inside my shoe tomorrow morning.

TLDR; It takes me 4 sets to get through the Overhead Carry. 20-20-30-30 meters.

25 Single Dumbbell Goblet Clusters – One DB, Both Arms.

Knowing I took so long to do the Overhead Carry, I jumped right into the clusters. I like this movement when the weight is light. The only question: How deep does I go? Set the weight down on the ground each set? Lower to the shin and explode up? I tried 5 of both movements, wondering which would be worse. Spoiler alert: more distance is worse. Not only are they more difficult, but they create more tension on my lower back. I decide to finish the remaining 15 lowering to shin-height. Less tension for this one. Someone feel free to correct me later. I’ll ignore you.

Dumbbell Overhead Carry, 100 Meters – Right Arm

I love Pyramid-style workouts. There’s something about having a place to build up and then having the downhill momentum to finish. Makes me happy.

You know what doesn’t make me happy? Overhead Carries.

They make me sad. Super totes sad.

Except, this round I’m not just finishing 25 Single Arm Clusters with my weak arm. I’m able to move way better on this one. My right arm is significantly stronger (I mean, one shoulder has 2 surgeries, the other has 0) and I finish in almost half the time.

TLDR; 40-50-10 meters to finish this one.

25 Single Dumbbell Goblet Clusters – Right Arm

Woooooweeeee. Grizzle my drizzle. Butter my biscuit. I might’ve come into this workout thinking active recovery, but those competitive juices are sweet as can be right meow. We’re on the home stretch, and while I darn sure don’t have a second wind, I’ve found myself experiencing something special…


This is what happens when you mix less-than-desirable situations with perseverance. There’s a euphoria about overcoming. If you’re going to workout after vacation, and work out the kinks of your time away, then you’re bound to find some relief in the end.

25 Right Arm Clusters. Unbroken. I might not have won any trophies on this workout, but I’m growing. Blooming where I’m planted.

Time: 13:05


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Tune in next week for another Death to Dadbod.

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Danial Hooper Editor
Word Wizard/Lead Brewmaster/First Contact Seeker
I’m the family lab rat, if your family is a group of mad scientists. I mask my weaknesses by being funny and telling stories. Basically, I write posts for the blog, type up some emails, help where asked, and cry when Taz makes us run. My novels are available on Amazon. Something’s got to pay my daughters’ dance fees. I have four kids, three cats, and one wife. I love all of them dearly.