rawbrah | 4L Magazine San Diego

These three life-hacking brothers host holistic health retreats around the world…showing you how to expect nothing and experience everything while, losing your mind and connecting to your hearts. They invite you to take this opportunity to polar plunge into your vulnerability and start turning your stumbling blocks into stepping stones, the uncomfortable into FUNcomfortable and your relationships into REALationships.

They go where no one else goes so you can form REALationships through RAW HONESTY and AUTHENTIC COMMUNICATION. Just like any plant and the Raw-Brahs will tell you; You’re either growing or dying. So if you believe you’re as passionate with growth as they are and really want to take it to the next level, their retreats are for you. They guarantee that you can get a better high by exploring the deepest depths of honesty and your heart with the person closest to you right now, than by bungee jumping off the highest bridge farthest away from you. After endless self-experimentation, they realize being healthy is far beyond fitness and diet. They help you bridge the gap between what you ‘want to do’ and actually creating the life of your dreams now. Their goal is to help you realize that some of your so-called ‘weaknesses and stumbling blocks’ are actually your ‘strengths and stepping stones’. This is the first leap to find your wings. These are just some of the tools they share with others that ultimately bring you to a place of love and abundance. Being in the presence of these three brothers; it is impossible to not feel the love and inspiration flow through you.

Max Wettstein: Welcome to Encinitas! You three brothers have traveled more than most, both within the US and abroad. You’ve held your Raw-Brahs’ retreats at some of the most beautiful, paradise locations in the world. You’re originally from the South and recently you relocated to Encinitas. We know we have it good here in North County San Diego, but we want to know what appealed to you most to make you pick up and move here?

RawBrahs: Thanks Max! You’re right! After galavanting the globe on a wide variety of trips around the world to places ranging from Israel to the Overthe-Radar Canadian Rockies to the Islands of Hawaii, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Jamaica to even frequenting Latin America (including Mexico, Panama, Peru, Ecuador, Nicaragua and even Costa Rica over ten times now) to the fine first world of Europe (including, but not limited to, London, Amsterdam, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, France) and most importantly not neglecting the homeland and have now been to about 45 of the United States, we learned the fun way that the grass may actually be greener in Encinitas along with waves, beer, and food being tastier.

Really what it was beyond the undeniable energy exuding from Encinitas; Danimal got married to his Princess Diana (half Thai/half Danish retreat attendee) a year ago. Being single and nomadic is one thing, but a nomadic married couple is a whole different ballgame.

We wanted to experiment with freeing up some energy (usually spent traveling) to really hone in on what we are currently passionate about, The RawBrahs! Additionally, what better home base than one where we are humbled every day by the amazing number of successful entrepreneurs that are getting paid to pursue their passion.

The pristine land and pacific is how supply meets demand here. What’s in demand is health, and you really can’t ignore the fact that we’ve never been anywhere else with more triceps on women LOL …Yoga, Surfing, and Sunshine really are a synergistic solution to sexy!

Although it’s a bit double-edged because we love empty waves as much as any other Encinitas surfer, there is something to be said about when the waves are up, most of the people in this community have built a lifestyle where their passions come first and can drop everything to join everyone else in the surf.

We could go on and on about North County, San Diego but because this is only the first question, and we can empathize with all our friends gifted with ADHD (Ambitious Defiant Happy Danimals), we’ll end by explaining that we are vigilant about the idea of an inevitable environmental influence, and how people are typically the average of those they spend the most time with. When we walk around and see so many guys twice our age, more shredded than us with happy healthy, wealthy families, we figured what better place to keep growing up because we want to look like Max Wettstein when we’re his age! That’s RawBrah!

MW: I was first drawn to the RawBrahs because we’re both holistic health advocates and we are workout aficionados. Define for me in your own terms what holistic health, or a holistic approach to health, means to you and how you incorporate it into your own lives.

RB: There are many different spokes to this wheel. Anyone that rides a bike knows that it just takes one spoke to be out of balance and the wheel won’t function to its fullest capacity. (Strong Body = Strong Mind = Strong Spirit = Strong Psyche)

When we see someone cut and jacked, yet neglects his family and friends to spend absurd amounts of time in the gym, it’s quite obvious that he’s living a life out of balance. We want to focus on all spokes including and not limited to spirituality, emotional stability, mental status, physique and social skills…the list goes on.

Some of us are genetically and/or environmentally predisposed to be naturally gifted in one arena of life but needs to work harder on others.

For instance, physical health may come easy to someone who grew up in a home full of world class gymnasts; however, they may really need to work harder at heart-based connections built on a foundation of being loved and accepted for who they are rather than their performance.

You’ve heard us say “Expect Nothing, Experience Everything” as we believe a key component to being holistically healthy is putting presence on a pedestal. Compulsive planning is a condition that many of us have, one that does not fit into the realm of presence or holistic health.

We released our “idol of control” a long time ago and surrendered our hearts to the most high, the will of our all-knowing God! Anyone of any faith/religion (including the faith that God does not exist) is more than welcome at our events. Can you imagine how dull life would be if we only surrounded ourselves with people who we agree with?! We practice self-acceptance through self-expression and highly encourage others to do the same.

For fitness, we focus on Functionality with an emphasis on the “FUN!” We do some sort of movement five to six days a week. Some of training looks like Olympic lifting, gymnastic training, stretching with weights, or just going for a surf!

We tend to do workouts that cater to a more fasttwitch explosive athlete. We are not big endurance guys. Just check out any sporting event and look at the physiques of the sprinters versus marathoners. We love the idea of hormone hacking using strategies such as cold showers, polar plunging, or even wetsuit-less surfing.

As far as Nutrition, we mostly just suggest “J.E.R.F.ing” as Sean Croxton would say, Just Eat Real Foods. We don’t need to beat or eat a dead horse, as we’re sure that if you’re reading this magazine you have a pretty good idea what’s healthy and what’s not. We’ve met plenty of fit Raw Vegans, Weston A Price advocates, Paleo People, or whatever the diet of the day is. One thing they all have in common is that they cut out all the junk!

Additionally, when we truly look at our eating habits, it’s more of a drinking habit. So many times people think they are hungry when they are really just thirsty. We suggest putting a liter of spring water (infused with fresh lemon and/0r ginger for extra taste and boost) before consuming anything else. “Dilution is the solution to pollution,” is a motto we live by. Fully Loaded Juicery in Leucadia even has a RawBrahs green juice to really get a taste of what we like. Between all the water, green juice, top quality coffee and beer, raw milk, teas, kombucha, and all the other liquids we consume, there is barely enough room for anything else except JERFing.

MW: In your early RawBrah days, you guys followed a strict, raw-vegan diet. However, now you eat all kinds of foods and no longer recommend eliminating any food groups. I’m the same way. Can you tell us why you decided adhering to raw-vegan principles did not work for the three of you, when at one point you were so committed to this type of diet?

RB: As much as we wanted raw veganism to be the holy grail of diets, our bodies were telling us different. After roughly a year and half of experimenting off and on with a Raw Vegan diet, and even about six months of basically eating nothing but fruits, vegetables nuts and seeds…we started experiencing some scary side effects.

We decided to get our blood tested and sure enough our testosterone levels were the equivalent to that of an average man in his 80’s or 90’s! Danimal had it the worst. His levels were so low that the doctor offered him a prescription of testosterone supplementation, which he did not accept by the way. Rather, we decided that we might want to have kids one day, so we went home and ate some fish. Immediately we felt as though we took some of Mother Nature’s testosterone. That along with other indicators such as receding gum lines, extreme muscle/strength loss (we were getting skinny fat for the first times in our life ~ sure sign of a hormone imbalance), lack of motivation and drive for life were all suggestions that maybe it’s time we try something different. We understand how slippery of a slope it is to have thousands of people expecting you to live up to their expectations and after personally seeing the hypocrisy behind the scenes and the incongruency many so-called “gurus”, authors, and public figures are living compared to what they are teaching. They are deceiving not only themselves, but countless others. We wanted to be ‘Raw’ in our authenticity of who we are on our journey of discovering ourselves.

MW: Another thing we have in common is our openminded-approach to training. I love how not only do you all refuse to follow one workout method or program but you are willing to go out and try them all – and I do mean them all – (just watch their YouTube channel)! I used to say, “I can workout anytime, anywhere, with anything.” I still believe this to be true. You brothers are the same way and even take this mentality to a whole other level. It seems to me that what allows you to train absolutely anywhere is by learning to effectively train using your own bodyweight for resistance along with any obstacles or objects your natural location may provide. Can you give us a few of your favorite bodyweight-only exercises that we can try anywhere?

RB: Number one for us is the handstand…we love handstands! This exercise alone is not one that will necessarily build a great physique but is just plain fun and addicting. After all, the best exercises are the ones that you do. So first and foremost our workouts are revolved around enjoyment and for us it doesn’t get much better than playing around in the grass on a sunny day with friends getting inverted on your hands. If you’re looking for some bodyweight only workouts that are not only fun but will also build muscle and burn fat, sprints are amazing! Find a friend who is close to your physical capabilities and go race some 50 yard sprints. Movements such as this that require 100% effort is a way of tweaking your hormones. It increases testosterone levels which is good news for those in pursuit of getting fit. Jumping as high as you can is another great one.

More importantly than the type of exercises for us are the quality in how they are performed. We love doing workouts at 110% with great form and when either the form or effort starts to drastically deteriorate, that’s when we like to call it a day. It’s fitness hacking 101 because under the veil of food, fitness, and all the exteriorstuff, we understand how hormones are a huge deciding factor to the success of any program. The way we eat, sleep, communicate, play-out, etc. are all key components to having healthy hormones behind all our actions.

MW: One can’t help but notice that you guys are always tone, tan and buff in your appearance. I don’t mean over the top but rather you have a very fit, but still natural look about you. I also know you all are very spiritual and that your retreats actually focus more on what’s inside of us: on radical-honesty, self-acceptance, love, featuring your flaws and emotional bungee jumping. That being said, how important do you think physical appearance is and do you think it is okay if looking good is the main incentive for folks to begin a training program?

RB: If your main incentive to start a training program is to develop a physique, you may be surprised at what you find when you get there. Some of the most self-conscious guys I know also have some of the best bodies. That whole mentality of “when I can look like that, I’ll be happy” is a real delusional trap. It’s almost like the more you get the more you want. So in a way, working for a physique is treating the symptoms and not the actual issue. The real issue is, you really care about what other’s think about you or that you are really trying to live up to “society’s” standard of what a great body looks like! With that being said, shedding weight or putting on muscle will most definitely be beneficial to your health. Don’t trick yourself to thinking that having a six-pack will make you happy and fulfilled.

MW: Speaking of radical honesty, some people may feel you guys are relatively young to be leading such life-changing, transformational retreats. Do you think you all have collectively lived through enough life-experiences, trials and tribulations to coach and mentor others that may be considerably older than you?

RB: We’ve taken on regular workout clients in the past, only to realize that we are not personal trainers. Our passion does not consist of training people to do just as we instruct. We want to inspire them to listen and trust in themselves. “Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I’ll remember. Involve me, I’ll understand”. We were talking about the epidemic of compulsive planning earlier and that’s definitely part of the therapy our “Expect Nothing Experience Everything” retreats offer. We give you the opportunity to let go of control, absorb all that’s happening in front of you, and detach yourself from tomorrow or expectations.

MW: Speaking of radical honesty, some people may feel you guys are relatively young to be leading such life-changing, transformational retreats. Do you think you all have collectively lived through enough life-experiences, trials and tribulations to coach and mentor others that may be considerably older than you?

RB: Me being the youngest brother, Nathanael, I can say this mindset of being “too young” has been a stumbling block for me to overcome the past several years. While a large part of our clients are free-spirits in their 20’s, I have given consultations to chiropractors, lawyers, married couples and countless others that have been in the personal development field way longer than I have.

When I sit down with a married man with kids that is twice my age, it’s easy to have self-defeating thoughts that I’m not capable to handle what will be thrown my way. Furthermore, through enough experiences, I have learned to not only believe, but to accept that I have a gift to share with the world regardless of how young I am.

Paradoxically, I now understand that those I once perceived as being “well-established, higher class” individuals are typically the ones that need our help the most. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “In the end, its not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

MW: You all seem to insist on nothing less than total raw honesty from your clients. Some folks may not be comfortable sharing their personal issues in front of other folks that they just met. Why is such authentic communication and openness so important within your retreats? Is this a key step to emotional and spiritual growth in your opinion?

RB: You would be absolutely correct to say some folks may not be comfortable sharing their personal issues with strangers but ironically we found that people tend to have a much easier time opening up with outsiders than with those that they are closest with. However, don’t get the impression that making our retreat attendees feel emotionally comfortable is by any means our objective. Outside your comfort zone is where all the growth takes place, and that is why we emphasize on turning your uncomfortable into “FUNcomfortable”!

Our world has an inferiority complex. We are living in a state of insecurity, suppression, and feeling inadequate. Authentic communication is for those who are interested in “REALationships”, which means forming real relationships with yourself and others. On our retreats, we give you the tools to build relationships that aren’t based on performance mode or trying to live up to others expectations. Rather, we give you the tools to help you own it all, your strengths, your weaknesses, your silly judgments and your insecurities.

MW: All of you seem so present and personable, ready to drop anything at moment’s notice and jump into a new situation or any kind of challenge head first, and have fun while doing it. What’s the best way for folks in North County to meet up with the RawBrahs if they want to learn more? You seem to have meet-ups all the time and the more the merrier.

RB: Wow Max, thanks so much for the kind words. Coming from a very authentic and transparent place, people tend to believe we serve as “clear mirrors”. Your appreciation of our lifestyle is probably a reflection of the part of your lifestyle that you love, so thank you for loving what you see in the mirror.

We love surrounding ourselves with people who reflect our greatness and vice-versa, so that is a huge factor of why we love our retreats. The amazing inspirational people we tend to attract tend to serve as great teachers for our evolution. We love meeting up with these people in “raw locations” for our retreats. Everyone is amazing in some unique way, and we love to see that spark of brilliance explode at our events. Some of our previous locations ranged from Kauai, to Costa Rica, to Nicaragua, to a private Panamanian Island, to Encinitas, California! The list goes on…

We have retreats back to back this year in Steamboat Springs, Colorado (July 3rd-7th), and in Traverse City, Michigan from Aug 10th – 14th. Also included are some potential surprises you catch at www.RawBrahs.com

We also have a community of over 70 RawBrahs Ambassadors around the world who are connecting in a meaningful way. They use the messages that we are passing along as context for their lives.

MW: Is there anything else you would like to share with us before we say goodbye?

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