Live Long and Master Aging podcast



Changing and enhancing lives the Spartan way

Joe De Sena: CEO and co-founder, Spartan Race

Spartan Races have become a worldwide phenomenon. Weekend warriors and elite, endurance athletes go into battle on military-style obstacle courses, mostly just for the fun of it. The Spartan Race is the brainchild of Joe De Sena, a former Wall Street trader who was so bothered by his sedentary lifestyle, that he gave up his lucrative career to spend more time outside. He quickly became addicted to adventure, and activity that worked his body to exhaustion. An entrepreneur from an early age, Joe made good money from his desk job, but he always yearned for a life of physical challenges. After competing in ironman triathlons and other ultra endurance events, he created the Death Race, followed by the Spartan Race, an event that is more accessible to the masses. After a difficult start, the race has grown into a global challenge, across 40 counties, with millions taking part every year. Joe is the author of Spartan Up!: A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life – and he hosts the Spartan Up podcast. In this LLAMA podcast interview, with Peter Bowes, Joe explains why he believes humans need to sweat and challenge themselves. He also discusses the mental and physical benefits of enduring a reasonable amount of pain, and why it’s so important to step outside of your comfort zone.

Published on: 16 Jul 2018 @ 14:27 PST


Connect with Joe: Twitter | Facebook | Spartan website | New book: The Spartan Way | Podcast

In this interview we discover:

  • How Joe found success with Spartan Race, centered around physically grueling exercise, after foregoing a financially successful life on Wall Street.
  • Why Joe believes being active and physically exhausted, is something we need.

“Doing anything out in the sunshine and just moving and being active, you feel human.”

  • Another use for a sheet of plywood.
  • Why Joe no longer carries around a kettlebell.
  • Why Joe’s idea of a vacation, to escape his mundane desk job, was to go do crazy races and torture himself.
  • How Joe believes experiencing pain and suffering helps you to be more rounded and grounded.

“I’m addicted to ideas and I’m addicted to pushing the envelope and creating things.”

  • How Joe motivated Spartan Race participants to follow healthier habits, like consuming less alcohol and getting a good amount of sleep.
  • What types of exercises and habits Joe follows to offset the sedentary lifestyle of office work.

“I like to remind everybody that we’re animals. Animals are meant to climb, crawl, jump, be in the dirt.”

  • Why learning and trying new things can improve your fitness and the health of your brain.
  • How pushing your body physically can prepare you for other challenges or big moments in your life, unrelated to exercise. And why allowing yourself to be uncomfortable, or in a bit of pain, can make you stronger.

“I believe that happiness comes from actually taking some comforts away .. and then you reintroduce the most basic thing and you’re happy as can be.”

  • Joe’s morning routine. What he does during the first four hours of the day.
  • How Joe became extremely fit and is able to stick to a very regimented diet and exercise plan.

“Moderation, in my opinion, leads to mediocrity.”

  • What is the “silver bullet” healthy habit that Joe ranks as more important than cutting out or reducing alcohol, and getting enough sleep.
  • Why Joe believes depriving yourself of some basic, daily luxuries – like a small treat, or even a hot shower – will actually make you happier.

“Cold showers always suck. Burpees always suck. These things always suck, but you come out the other side feeling better.”

  • Why commitment to a healthy and active lifestyle is worth it when it comes to your healthspan, even though it can be extremely difficult and strenuous in the present

“I’ve got to imagine, when you’re 88, if you made all those decisions that were very focused on instant gratification, you might regret them.”

  • Could we see Obstacle Course Racing in the Olympics?

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