The Hard Way w/ Joe De Sena

UFC fighter “The Spaniard” and lifelong wrestler, Charlie grew up in normal circumstances. As he puts it “I’m just like you,” he didn’t have to overcome a great deprivation or trauma, he just worked hard and went on to great successes. Brenneman dispels the myth that you must follow a Rocky type trajectory to compete with the best. Instead he shares the simple steps he took, including surrounding himself with good mentors and Consistency. He arrived by realizing that in a sport like wrestling in which “heartbreak far outweighs the triumph” the journey is what matters.

    1.    Being in a normal family that provides good core values and a supportive environment is an underestimated advantage. It doesn’t take extraordinary circumstances to do extraordinary things.
    2.    Every opportunity, no matter how small, counts. Things add up.
    3.    If you don’t move the proverbial line in the sand, you’re never going to get best.

Direct download: 109-Charlie_Brenneman_VOTAG_Audio_01.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

A former infantry officer Josh Mantz was shot by a sniper in Baghdad.  He flatlined, and his life was in the hands of a nineteen year old medic in the heat of battle. Mantz was revived ten minutes after the period that’s considered survivable. When asked why, the medic said simply that he never gives up.  Mantz moved on to Tesla, pioneers in electric vehicles. The atmosphere there is in some ways as intense as the military.  Why? They too are mission driven. Outside of Tesla Mantz has harnessed his healing to help veterans heal from their trauma.


    1.    You can’t do it all alone, sometimes even your very life is in the hands of others.
    2.    Recognizing and absolving yourself of guilt and shame is the first step in overcoming trauma.
    3.    A solid sense of mission and purpose precedes any great accomplishment.

Producer – Marion Abrams, Madmotion, llc.
Hosts: Joe De Sena with Johnny Waite, Sefra, Col. Tim Nye, Delle & David Deluca
Synopsis – Matt Baatz
© 2016 Spartan

Direct download: 108-SUP-Joshua_Mantz-FULL-AUDIOV_01REV.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

Former Olympic downhill skier Doug Lewis decided at 8 he’d compete on the Wold Cup level. Success came very early, but during his first World Cup race at age 17 he broke his back.  Failure, he now says, is critical to building confidence. He went on to win World Cup Bronze and represent the US in 3 Olympic games. The problem with peaking early is the looming question of what to do next - and will anyone care. Lewis chose to pass on the lessons he learned by creating a youth development program called Eliteam. He also chose to stayed close to ski racing and is a Skiing analyst for NBC for World Cup and Olympic games. Lewis is content with his life, but continues every day to look for new adventures and inspire kids to set lofty goals then dig deep to achieve them.

    1.    Good coaches set goals challenging enough to spur growth but not so overwhelming they create despair.
    2.    Students should set goals they may never reach, they will provide direction and inspiration.
    3.    Confidence requires failure.
    4.    In any meaningful life path, ebbs and flows are inevitable.

Direct download: 107_Doug_lewis-FULL-EXP-A_1_01.mp3
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The founder of a massive sports promotion company Matchroom Sport, started off without a clear direction. He says just start, take a scattershot approach and eventually you’ll find your direction by the process of elimination. Aim high, then adjust. Hearn wanted to be a heavyweight boxing champion, but his path lead him to be a promoter instead. His own passion could comes across as draconian, but that’s only testament to how strongly he believes in the power of the individual to create a meaningful life.

    1.    At first take a scattergun approach in life; don’t set limits and then adjust to find your place.
    2.    Start an hour earlier and end an hour later.
    3.    Champions are impressive, but the people at the back of the field who refuse to give in may be even more impressive.

Direct download: 106-SUP-Bary-Hearn_Audio.mp3
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His first memory is the moment his mother gave him away. Former NFL player, Anthony Trucks, wants to matter because his first memory in life was feeling like he didn’t. At 14 a harsh remark by a girl in school shocked him into self awareness. Sheer force of will it set him on a course that has defined his life to the present day as a successful business owner, athlete speaker & author.

    1.    Live a life that will produce a huge turn out at your funeral.
    2.    If you think the hand you’ve been dealt is an excuse, think again.
    3.    Practice effortless effort--that activity that resonates so deeply with you that the work you do starts to feel effortless.

Direct download: 105-SUP-AnthonyTrucks_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

Explorer and mountain biker Shannon Galpin brings cycling to Afghan women.  The 2014 National Geographic Explorer believes bicycles are a vehicle for transformation in a society where this simple freedom and pleasure is denied to women and girls. This simple act, easily taken for granted in the West, provides them with a stronger voice so vital in what often appears like an insurmountable obstacle--positioning Afghan women in a place of greater equality.

    1.    Simply doing something right can a powerful form of activism since it will inspire others to mirror you.
    2.    Hope and change prevail over fear.
    3.    Don’t take even the simplest things for granted.

Direct download: 104-SUP-Shannon_Galpin_Audio.mp3
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As a professional recruiter and founder of Executive Athletes Ken Lubin knows what it takes to build a career. As one of the ultra endurance athletes that built the epic Stone Steps in Pittsfield, Vermont he knows grit and hard work too. He says it’s what will get you hired, and what will make you successful once you land a job. Knowing the company culture, offering them what they need is crucial too. Become the indispensable lynch. Building a massive network that includes all types of people, not just those who can obviously help you may be the most important step of all. Garner lots of career development gems in this week’s episode.

    1.    Be the guy that does the hard thing and you’ll distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack.
    2.    Know the culture of where you want to work and find out how you can fit in.
    3.    Realize the power of the network: even when it doesn’t look like a connection has any benefit at the time it may prove to be beneficial down the line.

Direct download: 103-SUP-Ken-Lubin_Audio.mp3
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When Amelia Boone isn’t pulling i-beams out of frigid Vermont rivers for the Death Race or winning Spartan Races, she working as a highly competitive attorney. Every day she’s up at 4:07, running trails at 5 and at her desk by 7. Has she always been that way? Yes. As a child, in what must have seemed odd to observers, her family was encouraging her to relax and not take things so seriously.  She believes perseverance and drive can be a habit, don’t let them lapse. It’s harder to start or start again than just keep going.

    1.    Make success part of your routine as regular as brushing your teeth, not allowing yourself to opt out.
    2.    The difficult path is where the growth happens. Choose it often.
    3.    Make one small change a day and let it build into something great.


Producer – Marion Abrams, Madmotion, llc.
Host: Joe De Sena with Johnny Waite, Sefra, Col. Tim Nye, Delle & David DeLuca
Synopsis – Matt Baatz
© 2016 Spartan

Direct download: 102-SUP-Amelia_Boone_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

US Pentathletes Nathan Schrimsher and Dennis Bowsher.
The pentathlon has been an Olympic sport for over a century, but chances are most people don’t know much about it. What are the skills a messenger would have needed in wartime? Riding, swimming,running fencing and shooting. It has recently been given a modern upgrade: the guns shoot lasers instead of the original bullets. Joe talks to two of the best American pentathletes to discover what it takes to excel at this intriguing discipline - one on the current Team competing in Rio in a few weeks. Trust us, there are 4 or 5 key lessons that will carry over to whatever challenge you face on the way to your goals.


    1.    Run your own race, the race of life.
    2.    There is no substitute for the internal motivation to practice EVERY day.
    3.    Don’t underestimate the value of wisdom and patience.
    4.    Set aside your wins and your losses, focus only on what is in front of you now.

Direct download: 101-SUP-Pentathlon-Audio.mp3
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One hundred episodes in, Joe, Delle, Johnny, Colonel Nye and Sefra talk about the guests that resonated with them the most. Spartan UP! has interviewed writers, athletes, generals, monks, CEOs, entrepreneurs, nutritionists, farmers, lawyers, doctors, garner their unique spin on what it takes to succeed. There have been one hundred different answers, one hundred stories on how to live a fulfilling life, but many common threads. These inspiring people are telling us it’s okay to be afraid, but not to live in fear, to have a why, but live in the moment, and to find  a passion (or passions) and follow it with all we got.

Lessons from 100 Episodes:

    1.    Have a why.
    2.    Life is a series of moments. Live each one.
    3.    A challenging life is a satisfying life.
    4.    The first step to success is getting off the couch.
    5.    Surround yourself with good, supportive people. Lose those who aren’t.
    6.    Persevere, but if you find yourself on the wrong path, be prepared to go a different direction.
    7.    Aim to be a whole person, mind, body and soul.
    8.    Those who succeed aren’t afraid to fail, often.
    9.    Experiences are much more valuable than things.
    10.    Whatever you are doing, no matter how big or small, commit to it wholly.

Direct download: 100-SUP-100th-episode-Audio.mp3
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Alan Jope, president of Unilever’s Personal Care business, understands how to live. With such an high position many would not be surprised if Jove was a man completely consumed by his work. Though his commitment to his job is complete, it is not the source of his identity. He and four friends are riding stretches of a world spanning motorcycle trip with its share of mishaps and broken bones. What he does is not who he is, but enables him to become the person he always dreamed he could be. In this episode Jope also discusses the benefits of mission driven brands.


    1.    Where you are in the world is more important than what you’re doing in it.
    2.    Concentrate most of your energy into what you’re doing now, not worrying about the future, and opportunities will open up as a matter of course.
    3.    In life, follow the packing rule: put the big thing in first.

Direct download: 099-SUP-Alan_Jope_Audio.mp3
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Masha Gordon, a mountaineer who completed the seven summits and both poles in record time, ventured to take lessons in grit from the boardroom to the most challenging terrain on earth. Thirty minutes from the summit of Everest she was faced with an executive decision: should she risk getting caught in a storm and possibly putting her life in peril or divest and live to see another day? Luckily the risk was worth taking, but the tough mindedness she earned in business made her decision a sound one. Learn how doing great things has taught Gordon how little it actually takes to be happy and successful.  

    1.    Even when you invested a large amount in an experience the smartest thing could be to divest if it means living to see another day.
    2.    Move counter to stereotypes so that they no longer define you.
    3.    Let a healthy fear and respect complement the excitement of your expeditions.

Direct download: 098-SUP-Masha_Gordon_Audio.mp3
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The sole survivor in a vehicle obliterated by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, Earl Granville had to find a way to get up again, but with only one leg remaining. This interview transpired after Granville completed the seventy+ mile, sixty hour adventure known as Spartan Agoge, so clearly he is well on his way.  As if the accident weren’t bad enough, Granville’s twin brother took his own life, but in his greatest tragedy he also found his redemption. As a motivational speaker, he has used his misfortune to be in service to others. Granville’s life so far is a testament to the Nietzsche truism, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”


    1.    Sometimes the most unfortunate people are the ones who are never tested.
    2.    We should honor the privilege of being alive by giving back.
    3.    The upside of adversity is that it can be harnessed to find your passion.

Direct download: 097_SUPEarlGranville_Audio_Revised.mp3
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Bob Roth, transcendental meditation teacher of 45 years, has seen the progression of the practice go from a fringe activity to a scientifically backed technique taught widely in such institutions as schools and prisons. As Roth describes it, transcendental meditation allows one to be a better warrior, whether on the OCR circuit or in facing daily life, by bringing you to a state of level headed calm where you can make the best decisions. A large part of building resilience, after all, is finding ways to put the tumultuous highs and lows into the proper frame of reference so you can sail easily past  life’s obstacles.

    1.    No matter how much turmoil exists on the surface of the ocean it is insignificant compared to the depths of calmness that lie underneath. The mind is like an ocean.
    2.    Meditation is Spartan in that it gets to the essentials of your body and mind.
    3.    To the mind that is still, the universe surrenders--Lao Tzu. I.e., If you have a complicated mind, you’ll be a victim to life’s obstacles.

Direct download: 096-SUP-BobRoth-Audio.mp3
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The eastern philosophies that influence the school headed by Master Xi Qi Ling provide a valuable counterbalance to our western ones. In our individualistic culture we often forget that in order for our lives to function optimally we need to consider how they can harmonize with the greater whole. For example, the school realizes that if they merely teach the students and neglect what happens when they go home, then the teachings are at risk of being lost; therefore they teach the parents as well. In short, the universe is more powerful than any one person and if we nurture it, it will nurture us right back.

    1.    Health and well being depend on harmonizing your physical, mental and spiritual being.
    2.    Everything is connected.
    3.    Some problems can be solved very quickly while others can only be solved slowly. Knowing the difference is important.

Direct download: 095-SUP-XingQilin_Audio.mp3
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Tim Morris, adaptive athlete and SGX coach, didn’t need to get off the couch, his quest for the Spartan Trifecta started from a wheelchair. He powers through a course relying on the strength of his upper body. If, for some bizarre reason, this doesn’t impress you, try the same across your living room floor. He trains an increasing number of adaptive athletes as well as the able bodied. He can teach both groups much about grit. But his teaching by no means ends there--he demonstrates that by the simple act of living passionately those around you will learn what it means to be fully alive.


1.Talking about things merely kicks the can into the future; you have to do them.
2. Build your life around the three “p”s: passion, perspective, and perseverance.
3. Always be aware that your reality affects others and act accordingly.

Direct download: 094-SUP-Tim-Morris-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

Jennifer Gilbert, a wildly successful events entrepreneur, was assaulted to an inch within her life outside her friend’s New York apartment. Not only did she survive but she went on to live a very rich and fulfilling life. How? The struggle was all too real. It wasn’t an overnight transformation. She was able to recognize the vast, and sometimes elusive, source of resilience that she discovered that day and draw on it to create the kind of life she always wanted. Her story is jarring, graphic, visceral, enraging, senseless, but at the same time life affirming, hopeful, and deeply important.

    1.    The resilient person that you are in your most challenging moments is there for life to aid you whenever the need should arise.
    2.    Fear is the worst feeling to make a decision from.
    3.    Beautiful things often grow from dark, ugly places like flowers from compost.
    4.    You cannot control one thing in the world except who you are afterwards, whether you move towards the light or wallow in the darkness.

Direct download: 093-SUP-JenniferGilbert_Audio.mp3
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Before retiring Sgt. Major Frank Grippe was the senior enlisted Soldier for US Central Command in charge of military operations in 20 countries in Northern Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East. He came out of the subzero weather of the Spartan Agoge to share his wisdom of grit hard earned through his 30 years as a ranger in the army. His is decidedly a no nonsense approach. Grippe knew what he wanted and simply did the job day in and day out, learned all he could from the best mentors he could find and when the opportunities to advance presented themselves, he was ready. He has gone through life with a single minded purpose and one might come away with the impression that he hasn’t entertained  the idea of an alternative livelihood, even for a second.

    1.    Knowing exactly what you want makes getting it that much easier.
    2.    Force of will is everything.
    3.    Positions of responsibility demand complete transparency.

Direct download: 092-SUP-Sgt_Major_Frank_Grippe_Audio.mp3
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According to Col. Liam Collins, Phd., Special Forces Qualified Officer, West Point Professor,and past winner of the Best Ranger Competition - approximately one percent of prospective candidates persist to become members of the special forces. Joe’s always looking for these people but, alas, they are elusive. They may not not linger long by the waterfalls, but are always eyeing the craggy terrain just ahead. Understandably, it is difficult to find those who will consciously fling themselves into relative peril. How does Col. Collins find them and train them? That’s what we want to find out.


    1.    The true test of character is the decisions you make under duress.
    2.    You develop your mental fortitude like developing muscles: push to the limit of your capacity; recover, then push to the new limit.
    3.    The key to success in a highly competitive environment is not to wallow in your comfort zone.

Direct download: 091-SUP-LIAMCollins_Audio1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

Not too long ago every self respecting long distance runner was toting a dog eared copy of Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run, reconsidering their choice of footwear or forgoing shoes altogether. McDougall’s current explorations have led him to ask new questions such as: what makes a hero, are our vast human skills learned formally or innate and suppressed by culture? Is the ability to survive in dire circumstances unique or is it present in all of us and awaiting the opportunity to be unleashed? You may know Joe’s take on these questions, and in this episode learn if McDougall agrees.


    1.    To be compassionate can also mean to help someone with their problem while it’s small and before it comes back to affect the community at large.
    2.    Many skills are latent, lurking just below the surface, and our mass culture has  limited their full expression.
    3.    Being successful often means identifying and taking that one extra step that no one else is taking.

Direct download: 090_SUP-ChristopherMcDougall_Audio.mp3
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Kevin Cleary, CEO of Clif Bar, has his company on the right track if not the most trodden one. Whereas most companies only think of maximizing their quarterly profits, Clif bar is planning decades ahead and profiting from the foresight. Whereas most companies focus on satisfying their shareholders, Clif Bar has a firm social and environmental mission that strengthens the company and community at large. They’re one of the few, but important examples that doing good, yet remaining lucrative, are not as mutually exclusive as many believe.


    1.    It’s much better motivation to tell someone they’re a hard worker than to tell them that they’re smart.
    2.    A company that can focus on long term goals, despite the pressure to show quarterly profits, will ultimately make better decisions.
    3.    A purpose driven business keeps those involved with it engaged and passionate.

Direct download: 089-SUP-Kevin_Cleary_audio.mp3
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Wrestling requires a mindset that transcends sport. What can you learn from them? Everything. It’s a sport with no excuses. It’s just you and your competitor and if you fail, there is no one else to blame. The sport by its very nature develops mental toughness. Joe talks to three promising young wrestlers, Nate Carr Jr., an Olympic hopeful in a legendary family of wrestling greats, and All Americans from Cornell, Gabe Dean and Nahshon Garrett. They discuss  the unique aspects of the sport that prepare its participants to excel in life.  The thing that they all share in common is their sense of drive and moving forward no matter what.  The very tools that’ll help you grapple with life’s inevitable adversities.

    1.    If nothing changes, nothing changes.
    2.    Sometimes to master adversity you need to create it.
    3.    Treat people to your gift.

Direct download: 088-SUP-Carr-Garrett-Dean_Audio.mp3
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Biohacking ground breaker Dave Asprey, got the controversial trend of adding butter to coffee going and it turns out that’s just one of many hacks espoused by this alternative health entrepreneur. He believes that by gathering the right data, our bodies can be optimized through unconventional methods. Asprey himself has been hacking his mitochondria for many years. Besides the things we can monitor, Asprey describes the confounding array of activity that occurs without our conscious awareness. Yet this state that is most difficult to pin down turns out to be the one in which human performance peaks.


    1.    Recovery is a vital part of training but often gets neglected.
    2.    The flow state is elusive but when we reach it we do amazing things.
    3.    Biohacking attempts to understand when your body is helping you and when it’s betraying you.

Direct download: 087-SUP-Dave_Asprey_Audio.mp3
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While running the Boston Marathon, clinical social worker Jeffrey Zeizel had to call up all his expertise and coping mechanisms when a bomb went off at the finish line. His son was ahead of him and there was a chance he was caught in the fray. Though nobody would blame him for panicking, he immediately went into action administering psychological first aid reassuring others that the worst case scenario is not the most likely one and in the process helping himself to cope as well. Zeizel has a wellspring of insight on what it takes to be resilient and the good news for humanity is that, in short, it involves bringing all of our best qualities to the forefront.  

    1.    The last stage of going through grief is not really acceptance but developing the tools to cope.
    2.    Remember AAA: action alleviates anxiety.
    3.    It’s easy to fulfill mundane responsibilities, but to do the things that give life meaning is difficult yet worthwhile.
    4.    To be resilient optimism is crucial but it must be tempered with a healthy dose of realism.

Direct download: 086-SUP-JeffreyZiezel_Audio.mp3
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Reno Rolle, to paraphrase Hippocrates, let food be his medicine when seeking ways to ameliorate his son’s ADD. It worked so well Rolle pivoted his successes into a company, Boku Superfoods. He harnessed the power of nutritionally dense foods, popularly known as “superfoods,” to create a line of foods. In his years long effort to develop a superior product, Rolle not only fulfilled his mission of having a positive impact on people, but gained some valuable insights into a productive life as well. Obstacles are a part of life and a few successes in pursuit of a lofty goal provide the impetus to overcome them.

    1.    Nutrition is a key factor in meeting challenges.
    2.    In starting a business, focus on having a positive impact and the money will eventually take care of itself.
    3.    A taste of success may be all you need to provide the impetus to overcoming great obstacles.

Direct download: 085-SUP-Reno_Rolle_Audio_2.mp3
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If Ned Spieker is a typical billionaire real estate mogul, then the path to success isn’t what you might expect. According to Spieker, it’s not about being an autocrat, but being a servant, not creating a hierarchy, but sharing responsibility, and not about wanting it all, but starting small and working very hard. Serendipity, Spieker admits, plays a big part, but that’s out of our hands regardless. It often takes a little luck to get past seemingly insurmountable obstacles. But in the meantime we have to lay the groundwork that effectively loads the dice in our favor.

    1.    When you’re going through difficult episodes they’re crises; but in hindsight they’re blips.
    2.    Self esteem is earned; you can’t give it.
    3.    Good leaders eat last: when you serve your people and build trust they will work harder and smarter as a result.  

Direct download: 084-SUP-Ned_Spieker_Audio.mp3
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Aiden Chase, a spiritual healer for Hollywood types, entrepreneurs and regular folks, takes a holistic approach to success in life: we approach our highest selves through a balance of mind, body and spirit. Fanciful as it sounds, there’s common sense behind it.  The mind functions optimally when allowed to reflect clearly and honestly in the quiet places that are growing scarce. Importantly, he guides clients to identify their biggest obstacles, their fears, and no longer repress them, and then do it anyway. Chances are they won’t become billionaires, but then again it probably won’t matter. They’ll have obtained something far more valuable.

    1.    Success is achieved through a holistic integration of mind, body and spirit.
    2.    Fear is the biggest obstacle we need to transform to move forward.
    3.    Nature is the best place for quiet contemplation in order to envision your direction in life.

Direct download: 083-SUP-Aiden_Chase_Audio.mp3
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Zhong Lou’s path to MMA prominence was never in doubt. He started practicing karate not long after he learned to walk and talk and has mastered a strikingly diverse number of disciplines, from Chinese acrobatics to Mongolian wrestling, since. Forty years later Lou is determined to leave a legacy with his San Francisco gym, Dragon House MMA. The money to keep it up and running is not easy to come by, and it’s not unheard of for a student to sweep the floors in exchange for training. But the bottom line for Luo is human transformation, and in that he is making a tidy profit.

    1.    Even in solitary endeavors, mastery often requires a team effort.
    2.    When money isn’t quite cutting it, passion will keep the doors open.
    3.    Fitness priorities shift with age; training for invincibility while young must gradually shift to training for health if one is to remain viable.

Direct download: 082-SUP-Zhong_Luo_Audio.mp3
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Human guinea pig and journalist A.J. Jacobs has lived according Old Testament rules, outsourced his entire life, and subjected himself to every diet and fitness program he could find to he could to see what he could learn.  Besides the more obvious lessons, like sheep don’t do well in New York apartments and long beards are itchy, he gained valuable takeaways that he shares in his books which include “The Year of Living Biblically,” “Drop Dead Healthy.” He provides a whole other angle to the trope, “fake it til you make it.” Through his interesting experiments Jacobs proves that some of the best adventures can be conjured up in the mind.

    1.    Expressing gratitude for everything develops awareness of just how many things we have to be thankful for.
    2.    It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking then to think your way into a new way of acting.
    3.    In terms of genealogy, we are all one large extended family, so be kind.

Direct download: 081-SUP-AJ_Jacobs_Audio.mp3
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Col. Nye spent the weekend at the very first Spartan Winter Agoge to to get a taste of the lessons shared by instructors there.  We’ve also included a special message about Agoge’s meaning from Joe De Sena.  The Spartan Agoge is a 48 or 60 Hour test of mental and physical endurance. The goal is not just to break you down but to build you back up with greater purpose, resilience, commitment and knowledge of yourself.  The winter Agoge includes the practical survival skills you’ll need to complete the event safely even in the brutal sub zero conditions this year’s participants faced.  This is Col. Nye’s first time doing solo field interviews for Spartan Up, let us know what you think. PS- this is an episode we suggest you WATCH.

Direct download: 080-BONUS-Agoge_Spartan_up_Audio.mp3
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Hoby Darling, CEO of Skullcandy, in pursuit of his success, got out over his skis and accelerated through the turns, got up early every day, set the bar high for his community, and built up obstacle resistance by challenging himself on a regular basis. Darling demonstrates the wisdom of leading by example, not by decree. He shows that one of the most crucial aspects of motivation is redefining what is possible thereby opening the door for others to excel. In this episode, Darling will reveal what it takes to dream big and turn that dream into a reality.


    1.    Leaning into yes makes life a lot more fun and interesting.
    2.    The best way to motivate others is to set a great example and let those you’re trying to influence figure out their path.
    3.    The best way to advance in life is to concentrate on doing your best everyday and the bigger picture will often take care of itself.

Direct download: 079-SUP-Hoby_Darling_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

Synopsis: Which diet will optimize your obstacle resistance-- Paleo, raw foods, clean eating or some emerging trend? According to Cornell head nutritionist Clint Wattenberg, there is a time and a place for almost any kind of food as long as you eat it in moderation and your grandma would recognize it. Trying to be “perfect” with your diet will often drive you to the other extreme or, worse, to an eating disorder. If you love food and eating, then Wattenberg has some great news.

1. Be moderate with your diet, not extreme.
2. Only eat foods that your grandma would recognize and as many whole foods as possible.
3. Nutrition is the foundation to build a performance, not the golden key.

Direct download: 078-SUP-Clint_Wattenberg_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

Bart Yasso earned the title of Chief Running Officer at Runner’s World magazine through a rugged initiation that involved life altering missteps in his adolescence. It took a stark confrontation with his own mortality via the loss of a close friend to jolt him onto his path of pursuing his passion. This experience upheaved his frame of reference from a toxic one to one of redemption. It’s a running theme in our tales of grit: climbs to great heights very often begin at rock bottom. Yasso’s love for running and for life shines through in this episode.  

    1.    You are the average of your five closest friends, so choose wisely.
    2.    You need to think like a champion before you can become one.
    3.    Say yes often to new experiences; embrace and love them.

Direct download: 077-SUP-Bart_Yasso_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

Thom Beers,  successful producer of shows including Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers & Monster Garage has taken a treacherous path to achieve his success himself.  Starting at the bottom he worked his way up through grit, persistence and staying one step ahead of everyone else. His passion, apparently very much alive, propelled him through the rough patches. He has some valuable tips on how to navigate those icy roads and stormy seas that one will inevitably encounter along the way to any achievement worth pursuing.


    1.    Passion is the most important thing in the world: If it doesn’t make your heart pump Kool-Aid, it’s not worth doing.
    2.    Develop an optimal business culture by gathering together people with the same passion as you.
    3.    Hire really good people and then let them run.

Direct download: 076-SUP-Thom_Beers_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:13am EDT

What could Dandapani, a Hindu monk turned adviser to entrepreneurs, have to offer to a world seemingly far removed from the monastic life? Plenty it turns out. Through his practice he has come to personify the calm in the midst of the storm, and if there is one way of being that would be a boon in the tumultuous climate of the business world, this would have to be it. Calm reflection is the key to creating positive habits of the mind and Dandapani has mastered this in his many years of practice. He has built a solid foundation of wisdom which he will touch on in this week’s podcast.


    1.    Motivation requires a lot of energy, therefore it is important to let go of the things that drain your energy including negative media, tv, toxic friends and sometimes even family.
    2.    One of the greatest gifts you can provide yourself is taking a few moments each day to clarify your direction in life; once you do that, you can overcome almost every obstacle.
    3.    Use positive affirmations to shape and change your mind in order to attract good things into your life.

Direct download: 075-SUP-Dandapani-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

Entrepreneur and athlete Sami Inkinen, along with his wife, rowed 2,750 miles over 45 days without using any of the traditional “athlete foods” conventional knowledge says are essential: sugars and carbs. They didn’t starve, far from it. They came out of it healthier than can be expected from such an endeavor. Why? As fit as Inkinen is, he developed prediabetes by following the standard diet and surmised that sugar was the culprit. If someone like Inkinen is vulnerable, we should all be aware. Inkinen recounts his amazing journey from California to Hawaii.


    1.    The key to success is anything is a growth mindset: Don’t go through an experience, grow through it.
    2.    Sometimes you have to face a challenge as if you were eating an elephant, one piece at a time, slowly, as best you can.
    3.    The only way to escape an unpleasant experience is to embrace it fully, not fight it.

Direct download: 074-SUP-Sami_Inkinen_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

As Outside Magazine Editor, Mike Roberts has access to the stories of the top outdoor athletes in the world and to their wisdom as well. He’s seen Kelly Slater, “the Michael Jordan of surfing,” heal his life through the zen of the water, and age gracefully through his sport. He has also seen top climbers act boldly, but with a skill honed through the culmination of years of dedicated practice. Through these stories we can garner how to be a better human, how to risk without risking it all, how to truly be alive and not just live.

    1.    In tough times you can either be afraid or think “what an interesting time to be in” and seek creative solutions.
    2.    Use the lessons that you find in pursuit of your passion in the other areas of your life to help make you a whole person.
    3.    Excellence in sport doesn’t necessarily have to waver once you reach middle age: for one thing, you often gain the wisdom to keep going, to learn to suffer a bit better.

Direct download: 073-SUP-MIchael_Roberts_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

Spartan pro Isaiah Vidal, through the rough circumstances of his life, took the road less traveled to success: He saw the troubled path of his father and didn’t take it. Sons often repeat the mistakes of their fathers, how did Vidal manage to turn things around? In a nutshell, it was a combination of will, determination, and an orientation towards positivity as well as turning towards other strong role models in his life like his mom and grandfather for inspiration. Their influences, as Vidal will describe, laid the foundation for his transformation.


    1.    When proceeding with your life, think of the legacy you want to leave, the example for your children to follow.
    2.    Take measures to guard against negativity in your life.
    3.    If you want to get back on your feet, first you have to get off of your ass.

Direct download: 072-SUP-Isaiah_Vida_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

No one should ever wish tragedy into their own or other’s lives, but it has the potential to lead to some incredibly beneficial life changes. Chris Kresser transformed a decade long struggle with a rare chronic disease into something that benefits society. He was able to restore himself to health and is now doing the same for others. His main piece of advice, “eat real food,” is deceptively simple until you look at the food trends in American culture and realize that the majority of the people the majority of the time are doing no such thing. It may be the single most important thing you can do for your well being. Kresser explains why.

    1.    To stay focused, create a pointed mission in life; do everything that delivers you towards that mission, eliminate those things that don’t.
    2.    In order to accomplish your goals, you have to be a whole person: if you don’t optimize your physical and mental well being, then you’re not much help to others.
    3.    Eat real food. Maximize nutrient dense whole foods and minimize those that come from a box, bag or can or use sugar, white flour or seed oils.

Direct download: 071-SUP-ChrisKresser-Audio1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

Jay Jackson is the subject of Joe’s ultimate wrestling story, but you’ll have to wait to the very end of the episode to hear it. Jackson,assistant principal and wrestler, recognizes a need to nudge students into uncomfortable situations that will develop their grit, but that are often absent in an increasingly bubble wrapped society. He got his grit from his parents. His father, as a wrestling coach, would push his physical boundaries and his mom had clever strategies to develop his social skills. Jackson shares some valuable advice about how to advance towards your goals with a smile on your face.

    1.    To raise your children to be resilient, practice pushing them out of their comfort zone gradually through time, but not without building a solid foundation of security and love when they’re young.
    2.    Since a majority of your life is spent getting to a destination it is vital to find a way to enjoy the process.
    3.    If you can persist in every area of your life, physically, mentally, morally, you’ll succeed.

Direct download: 070-SUP-Jay-Jackson_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

In world renowned ultra runner Dean Karnazes, Joe tracked down a real Spartan by both disposition and bloodline. Does he eat gruel for breakfast, take cold showers, and run wearing a hundred pounds of armor? Maybe. He’s run marathons in every state and is now setting out to do the same in every country. Certainly that falls within the same spirit. So you might be taken aback to hear that Karnazes tells us that we should set out not only to fail, but to fail big. His advice is backed up by a life changing experience that he will describe in this episode.


    1.    To achieve great things take small steps and ask yourself at every step if you’re conducting yourself with discipline.
    2.    Never stop exploring: don’t be afraid to try new things and eventually you’ll discover your passion/s.
    3.    Fail boldly: the most useful lessons are learned from the most dramatic failures.

Direct download: 069-SUP-Dean_Karnazes_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

According to writer Andrew Marantz, if you want to have a fulfilling life, take the largely accepted wisdom “live each day as if it were your last” with a large grain of salt. On the road to success, merely satisfying every desire as it appears will get you nowhere. In a philosophical conversation on the Spartan Cruise Joe and Andrew discuss the the crossover between perseverance and success in artists and athletes, the importance of future memory, the strong drive towards innovation and a variety of other topics. They also attempt to answer whether human achievement is driven by chemical releases in the brain or something more complex.


    1.    “Live each day as if it were your last” may be a misleading aphorism: There are clearly many things you must do to achieve long term fulfillment that don’t involve instant gratification.
    2.    The thing that often gives you the most satisfaction, your life’s passion, is paradoxically the thing you frequently don’t enjoy doing at all, but after all is said and done, love regardless.
    3.    On one extreme are virtuosos, those who strive for mastery, on the other are innovators, those who create change. We need both equally, and often we ARE both.

Direct download: 068-SUP-Andrew-Marantz-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

Growing up as the child of holocaust survivors, Broadway director Jerry Zaks, often found himself overprotected with his family wanting him to enter a “real” profession. At the moment he found his true passion and was happiest his family felt sorriest for him and that he had thrown his life away. But he had inherited from them a ferocious will to live that enabled him to take nothing for granted and propelled him in a vocation in which the odds are stacked up against you. Though not apparent on the surface, performers and directors are Spartans and in this episode Zaks will describe why.


    1.    Seek out the roles in which you best fit and then make fulfilling them a matter of life or death.
    2.    Getting the part, whether it be the leading actor or position in a dream job, involves translating your talent into behavior that’s unforgettable.
    3.    Protect the possibility of a happy ending for as long as possible.

Direct download: 067-SUP-JerryZaks-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

Xand Van Tulleken, a doctor who practices in hostile regions, had a taste of the easy life growing up, but it did not sate his appetite for adventure. He has worked in such places as Sudan, Uganda and Peru and the excitement of the challenge has made it difficult to go back to a conventional existence. He and his brother have even started a TV show in which they immerse themselves in traditional indigenous medicine with no other recourse. The takeaway? Western medicine has a lot to learn.

1. When things go badly wrong it's because of indecisiveness and uncertainty, therefore, be prepared.
2. People can live quite well without western medicine. It has little to offer to the indigenous way of life, for example.
3. Some of life's happiest moments are in the midst of doing difficult things.

Direct download: 066-SUP-Xander-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

To say the least, Lewis Howes had a focused vision. He wanted to make the Olympics and figured that the best way in was by joining the national handball team. There was a slight problem, he never played the game. He brought his athleticism and Arena Football experience to New York City, practiced intensely and now finds himself tantalizingly close to his daunting goal after an incredibly brief quest. He has some sage advice for the longer road to greatness as well.


1. Live in the moment, in the flow and take tiny steps.
2. The health and performance benefits of quitting, or limiting, simple carbs and sugar are a game changer.
3. If you lack natural talent, you must seek out alternative means to gain an edge.

Direct download: 065-SUP-Lewis_Howes_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

Tucker Max is an author who pioneered the genre known as “fratire,” an irreverent,  tongue in cheek description of his testosterone and beer fueled exploits that gained a decent following about a decade ago. Now CEO of, his life appears to have taken on a decidedly different tack as he stands head to head with Joe in the MMA octagon. By his own admission, he’s only achieved modest success in the ring, but what he has learned is priceless. In the ring, as in life, there is no such thing as “losing.” There is only winning and learning.


    1.    There’s no reason to worry about losing. There’s only winning or learning.
    2.    Great mentors shorten the learning curve and speed the way to mastery. Take the effort to find one.
    3.    If you want something, make sure you have something to offer first.

Direct download: 064-SUP_Tucker_Max_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

Unwittingly paddling into hippo infested waters on the Zambezi was the perfect, if unintentional, predictor of later success for Juliet Starrett who co-owns the San Francisco Crossfit with her husband Kelly. After the most lethal mammal to man upended her canoe, she was already strategizing her plan to survive midair. This is the perfect metaphor for making it in business: peril will gauge a sneak attack at the most inconvenient times and you gotta summon up the fortitude and flexibility to adjust your strategy when suspended at the height of danger. There is simply no time to lick your wounds.


    1.    Taking risks in your day to day life helps prepare you for the risks in business.
    2.    Be or recruit someone who is highly organized as an essential member of your team.
    3.    To retain quality staff, create enough space for them in the company to diversify and grow.

Direct download: 063-SUP_Juliet_Starrett_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

“Chefrepreneur” Jeffrey Zurofsky, co-founder of Wichcraft sandwich shop and judge on Bravo’s “Best New Restaurant,” suggests the obstacles of running an efficient kitchen and a successful restaurant should be a model for entrepreneurship. A high quality restaurant is like a virtuoso pianist playing a finely tuned piano: a great deal of talent, coordination and practice goes into an end result that appears graceful, effortless and exquisite. As paradoxical as it seems, for him creativity thrives within the bounds of a certain amount of discipline. In this episode Joe and Jeff discuss some of the finer points of applying these lessons to your business and life.  


    1.    To get the job done effectively, follow the kitchen inspired concept of mise en place--organize everything into its proper place before getting down to work.
    2.    In it’s essence, service is a well crafted method of preparation that ensures that the results are consistent and high quality. It is well worth honing this technique.
    3.    Avoid the big mistakes but accept the small ones as necessary obstacles to shape the unique character of your business.

Direct download: 062-SUP_Jeff_Zurofsky_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

John Durant, author of the Paleo Manifesto, dispels the myth that Paleo is a meat intense, monolithic diet. There are many indigenous cultures, he explains, with different levels of meat consumption, and therefore many models to choose from. What he doesn’t accept, however, is that vegetarianism exists in our nature. In his research, Durant could not identify even one xexample. He does agree that the most important aspect of this and any other health conscious diet is the elimination of processed foods.  He describes how our cultural shift towards expediency and convenience has made us sick.

    1.    Vegetarian and vegan diets are not noted in indigenous diets and are largely grew out of our industrial cultures.
    2.    The most important aspect of the paleo diet is not to increase meat consumption, but rather to eliminate processed foods from our plate.
    3.    We are products of our habitat. To effectively change your diet, change your surroundings.

Direct download: 061-SUP-John_Durant_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

In this episode, Dr. Fred Bisci tells us how to cut out processed foods from our diet to vastly improve health and athletic performance. In his case, though, “processed” also means any form of cooking. Bisci has found through fifty years of eating a raw vegan diet that meat and cooked foods are optional - and may even be detrimental. Incredibly active at age 85, Bisci certainly makes a good case. Yet he urges us not to follow his and Joe’s example: instead of taking the extreme measure of going 100% raw from the start, try making a more gradual transition.

    1.    In Bisci’s experience, athletic performance can be amazing on a diet of only raw fruits and vegetables.
    2.    If switching to a purely raw diet is too extreme, the most important way to improve your diet is to eliminate processed food, anything from a can or a box.
    3.    When coming off of the standard American diet onto this one, it’s common to go through a detox period in which you’ll feel ill. Persist through it and you’ll feel great eventually.

Direct download: 060-SUP-Fred_Bisci_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Becoming the only person to win the Boston and New York marathons AND medal in the Olympics, Meb Keflezighi stepped up to the challenge by remembering his father’s sacrifice. His father fled war torn Eritrea carrying only a canteen, stick, sack of barley and matches to ward of hyenas; Keflezighi is grateful for regular aid stations to ease his way. He and his family made it to the United States via Italy and through hard work and perseverance all became successes in their respective ways. Keflezighi details his inspiring journey in this episode.


    1.    Frame of reference can push you towards your goals. Running a marathon with the luxury of aid stations is nothing compared to hiking hundreds of miles through hostile lands to save your family.
    2.    A goal bigger than yourself, that impacts people in a positive way, is an excellent motivator.
    3.    It’s not about winning, but getting the best out of yourself.

Direct download: 059-SUP_Meb_Kerflezighi_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

How does one, like Evan Dollard, become an American Gladiator? The frank answer, according to him, is that you don’t. Instead you make all the preparations within your power; go where the action is; pursue your passion to the fullest; make yourself known and talk to the right people and do everything to put the odds in your favor. If it doesn’t work out chances are that you’ve created an environment where something else, maybe even something better, will. This is the way to live a fully realized life, one without regrets. Dollard is living it and he has some valuable wisdom to help you live it too.


    1.    It’s worth laying the groundwork when pursuing an opportunity because even if it doesn’t pan out, you’ll be ready for the unexpected opportunity that may be around the corner.
    2.    The riskier path is worth it even if you don’t meet your goal since it means eliminating the “what ifs” and “if onlys” and living a life without regret.
    3.    Always move forward: If you see a stagnant pond you don’t drink from it but instead seek out the fast flowing stream with the freshest water.

Direct download: 058-SUP_Evan_Dollard_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Mike Reilly is the voice of the Ironman. He has lent his voice to over 1000 events and his declaration, you are an ironman, has helped transform lives. Reilly takes great care in choosing his words because he knows they’ll have not just an impact on the racer’s life, but everyone around him as well. Reilly is a firm believer in the power of the individual to shape their own experience, but this doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t benefit from some words of encouragement to propel them towards the next finish line.


    1.    If you live by the adage, “you’re the cause of your own experience,” you’re on the right path.
    2.    Experiences, unlike things, permeate to other people which makes them more valuable.
    3.    Live from the inside out and everything else falls into place.

Direct download: 057-SUP_Mike_Reilly_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

As one might expect from the author of the “Four Hour Work Week,” Tim Ferriss has a solid, well established routine. He awakes, meditates, exercises, journals, blocks off four hours for creative work, then frees himself for meetings and phone calls. This well balanced approach has taken him far.  When the inevitable drudging task comes around he slogs himself through it by building momentum with “Scooby snacks,” short, fun activities preceding the boring ones.  From the start of this interview it quickly becomes apparent that Ferris is a wellspring of great advice for anyone who is aiming to build a successful business or life.


    1.    Narrow things down to one or two things to focus on daily.
    2.    Volunteer for great organizations then go the extra mile to stand out.
    3.    Find a small but fast growing company to work for and observe the deal makers at work. Note the kind of questions they ask to get ahead. Example: “I know its impossible, but if there was a way to make it work, what would it be?”
    4.    When things start going well in business, to maintain focus, separate the great opportunities from the potentially overwhelming number of good ones. Ask yourself, what it the one step that will make all the others irrelevant.

Direct download: SUP-56_Tim_Ferris_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Forget what your first grade teacher told you, according to Kelly Starrett, owner and cofounder of Mobility WOD, children should never sit still in class. He believes that we learn better, are healthier, and by burning more calories are starting to reverse the obesity epidemic when we are standing. Even healthy adults who work out regularly suffer from the negative affects of too much sitting. Starrett, through his crossfit gym, encourages the type of holistic practice that will prepare an elite athlete, or a normal person, for any situation. In this episode, he describes how in depth.


    1.The benefit of having a good conditioning program is not learning how to suffer but learning how to problem solve in the face of discomfort.
    2.There’s no way to solve the obesity epidemic without tackling sitting and inactivity.
    3.If we can’t use the lessons of elite sport to help the layman, then sport is just folly.

Direct download: 055-SUP-KellyStarrett-MixedAudioExp-C.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Travis Macy, an avid ultrarunner, wrote The Ultra Mindset after he learned a valuable lesson himself. He was working to become a school principal, a respectable position and by all means a sensible decision, but stopped in his tracks to write the book. Pushing forward in the wrong direction for the wrong reasons would’ve left Macy unfulfilled. Raw perseverance without deep purpose is not enough. Lucky for us, Macy channeled his mental toughness into the right endeavor and he shares a number of strategies for you to do the same in this podcast. 


1.When things get tough it’s helpful to focus on why you’re doing something and not on the drudgery of the task.
2.Training is equally important for developing a strong mind as it is for getting fit.
3.Quitting is okay when you find yourself on a path that doesn’t align with your values, but if you are on the right path, don’t give up.

Direct download: 054-SUP_TravisandMarkMacyAudioRevised.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

To be a success, or even to survive, emotional intelligence often trumps raw IQ, as Jordan Harbinger discovered while being detained and interrogated in Serbia. He used his humanity to escape. Similarly, being empathetic and genuine is just as important in finding and keeping friends and lovers as it is in advancing in your chosen field. Harbinger taught this through his Art of Charm podcasts and life coaching, and now on his "Jordan Harbinger Show.". As he describes in this episode, it’s not so much the skills you add that are important, but the bad habits that you subtract in order to expose your best self.

    1.    Unless you are at the top of your field or a workhorse, relationship skills are the key to advancement.
    2.    If you want to present your best self you need to silence the self criticism.
    3.    External sources of validation (fancy cars, houses, etc.) are not as impressive to emotionally healthy people as displaying your true self.
    4.    If you’re not creating good habits you’re creating bad habits, but you’re creating habits no matter what. 



Direct download: 053-SUP_Jordan_Harbinger_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Adventure race champion Robyn Benincasa delved into her paddling passion by entering and excelling in a kayak ultra endurance race several hundred miles long. Several world records and hip replacements later, she is still going strong. It is her core philosophy that once you find something that you’re good at, pursue  it with every ounce of your being. Since she’s channeled much of her boundless energy into her foundation, Project Athena, that helps women who’ve survived medical setbacks, this is great news for them. Benincasa will describe the transformative power of adventure and persistence in this episode.


    1.    Make the effort to find your strengths and continue down that path.
    2.    To bypass the victim mentality, always be working towards a big goal.
    3.    Success is driven, not by money, but the desire to fully realize what you’re capable of.

Direct download: 052-SUP_Robyn_Benicasa_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

After successful real estate businesses in Lebanon and Iran, Karim Jaude arrived in Los Angeles in 1979 with only $17 in his pocket and not a friend within a thousand miles. By merely being in the wrong place at the wrong time, he lost almost everything … twice.  He was kidnapped, tortured and forced to flee the country, but, in an extraordinary display of resilience, he got up and thrived again and again. Jaude’s determination started early in life and pushed him through the rough spots, of which there were many. He recounts his extraordinary journey in this podcast.


    1.There will never be justice in the world but we have the ability to reduce people’s suffering and not add to it.
    2.Adversity teaches you to float over the small hassles in life.
    3.What happens to you doesn’t matter as much as how you react to it.
    4. Help one person every day.

Direct download: 051-SUP_Karim20_Jaude_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Austin Malleolo is a formidable CrossFit competitor and level three trainer, but he says there was not much indication earlier in his life that he would achieve what he has. He was a troubled youth who was making many bad decisions that ultimately lead him to his path and passion. Instead of allowing him to continue down a trajectory that was aimed straight at a life of dead ends and possible prison, his father wisely opted to derail that destiny. In this podcast Mallelollo describes how this change in his frame of reference got him back on the track to a fulfilling life.


    1.    Physical disadvantages just mean that you have to work harder than everyone else to succeed.
    2.    Everybody needs someone in their corner.
    3.    Practice with someone better than you.
    4.    You control your own destiny.

Direct download: 050-SUP-Austin_Malleolo.Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Joe navigated his way through tough neighborhoods, a broken family life, organized crime, a near hopeless bid to enter the Ivy League, Wall Street, a human Iditarod, and daunting business prospects in backwater Vermont until he found his true calling.  As usual, Joe insists he isn’t special and outlines how you can do it too.  

1.  Commit: Say what you’re going to do and do what you say.
2. Go above and beyond.
3. Never complain. Practice gratitude.
4. Choose your path and stick to it.
5. Persevere and persist.
6. Practice upside/downside decision making.
7. Change your frame of reference and develop grit.
8. Do something you’re passionate about and it will no longer be work.
9. Road blocks are obstacles to overcome.

Direct download: 049-Mastermind_JoeDesena_Audio.wav
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

According to the Entrepreneur, Investor & Best-Selling Author Gary Vaynerchuk, he was bad at many things. But what he was good at was crucial for his successes: he knew himself very well and acted on his strengths, intensely. He was equally adept at reading others and is living proof that EQ (Emotional Intelligence) is as important as IQ in the world of business. His grit was shaped by a tough Eastern European upbringing tempered by compassion. In this episode,  Vaynerchuck explains what obstacle resistance means from a humanistic perspective.

1. If you know who you are, by nature you’ll bet on your strengths, and if you bet on your strengths, you’ll win.
2. You must be willing to invest several years ahead of time to realize a payoff.
3. Almost anything you do is good as long as you’re “all in.”

Direct download: 048_SUP_Gary_Vanerchuck20Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

How did Kris Halenga, diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer at 23, with no business experience, manage to become such an admired and inspirational charity CEO?  Her version of grit was a mix of passion and taking small steps that eventually added up to something spectacular. She was kind to herself along the way and is now extending that kindness to others by raising breast cancer awareness. Just as compelling is the story of how she was able to take a potentially devastating condition and use it as a foundation to build a life she loves.

1. Passion and a willingness to learn along the way can stand in for business skills in entrepreneurship.
2. Don't let a challenging situation consume you but change it into something good that can help others.
3. Achieving small things each day can make you happy and will soon build into a big thing.

Direct download: 04720SUP20Kris_Hallenga_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Marc Von Musser, the director of coaching for Tony Robbins, says find the why and the how will follow closely behind. He shares the secret in this interview.  If you're like most people, you've been lulled into complacency, seduced by the sirens of comfort and convenience. But Marc Von Musser says that you're wasting your precious life. So what do you do to get out of this predicament? Work harder? That will only take you so far and will prove to be a partial solution. Work smarter? Naturally, but again this doesn't probe deep enough. As Von Musser elucidates, we're asking the entirely wrong question: We should be asking why and the rest will follow closely behind.

1. If a person has a big enough why, they can do anything.
2. Once you find a why, backload it with intelligence and inspired action.
3. To find your why ask yourself what you would do if money wasn't an issue.
4. Don't question the price of success; pay it gladly and success will come to you in droves.
5. Most people who play it safe are bored to death. And most people play it safe.

Direct download: SUP2020046_Marc_Von_Musser_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Explorer Club members have ventured to the bottom of the deepest ocean, the top of the highest mountain, to both poles and to the moon and back. Next stop for their iconic flag - Mars. According to executive director Will Roseman, members of this venerated organization have undertaken extraordinary expeditions that have significantly advanced the cause of humankind, they’ve also used extraordinary means to survive everything from panther attacks to avalanche burials. Counted in their number are a US president, a hugely successful movie director, astronauts and many legendary explorers. Roseman tells their stories and reveals some of their secrets.

1. "Never give up. Never give up. Never give up." Winston Churchill
2.  But, on the other hand, go into an endeavor mindfully: Assess risk. Do your homework. Be prepared.
3.  The will to survive is indomitable.

Direct download: SUP2045_Will_Roseman_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Levison Wood just finished walking the full length of the Nile. Walking, that is, when he wasn't running from charging buffalos, elephants and crocs or wading through python infested swamps, or dodging bullets... Yet for this seasoned explorer it was well worth the risk, not only for the exhilaration of being the first, but also for the richness of the experience. Often the biggest obstacle was not escaping the perilous but enduring the mundane. Wood describes how he developed the grit to push through.

1. Manage risk; don't avoid it. No risk no reward.
2. We need much less stuff than we realize. Simplify your life.
3. You're the only one who determines what you're capable of, so persist through the naysayers.

Direct download: SUP2044_20Levinson20Wood_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

The span of Tyler Wren's 13 year pro cycling career included a time when doping was rampant. Giving in to the status quo, while risky, could almost certainly have landed Wren a coveted spot in the Tour de France. He was too well grounded in his values: To him success was not about his position relative to others, but becoming the best person he could be. Learn about his journey which has taken him, currently, to directing bucolic, community oriented cycling events, the next of which takes place at the birthplace of Spartan Race in Pittsfield, Vermont.


1. Success is personal.  It's about focusing on and achieving your own goals without being diverted by other's opinions.
2. Align your values with your actions by writing them down and hanging them in easy view.
3. Just stepping out the door is simultaneously the simplest and hardest action you can take in service of success.

Direct download: SUP2043_TylerWren_audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Howard Chang was a karate champion at 17, but he derives more satisfaction from being bad at something than he does from being a master. At 17 he completely switched gears to endurance racing, a sport which he admits no natural affinity towards. He eventually excelled at that as well. Learning to fail and get back up, Chang believes,  is the key to success in any endeavor, and he is eager to practice this at every opportunity. Not content with the everyday challenges of life, Chang seeks out adversity. This gritty strategy has propelled him to high places. He is currently CEO of a Toronto ad agency which is renowned for its high standards of environmental and social responsibility.

1. The fast track to growth is to take on a challenge you're not necessarily good at and let adversity be your teacher.
2. The ability to fail, pick back up and rebuild is essential in business.
3. Don't coddle your kids. Teach them a work ethic while still allowing them the freedom to have adventures. Don't shield them from difficulties.

Direct download: SUP2042_HowardChang_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Carl Quintanilla, weekend NBC Nightly News anchor, decided to make the jump from The Wall Street Journal to Television when the future of print looked uncertain. Though he has secured a coveted position, he initially paid his dues by always saying yes to opportunities, including reporting in Iraq, where by that time, fortunately, hostilities were on the wane. The resilience he built up in such an ambitious career track explains why he coasted through the Spartan course prior to the interview. Joe and Carl discuss what they have learned through their interactions with the successful as well techniques that have helped them in their own lives.

1. Set a limited time to reflect on failure (3 days max) then move forward.
2. In general, yes is the best answer. Don't build walls.
3. The key to success is surviving long enough to get lucky.

Direct download: 041-Carl_Quintanilla_SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Dr. Galasso has, in his work with developmentally disabled Spartans, motivated some 2000 gritty children across the finish line. This endeavor is a great model for the no less formidable challenge parents face in setting a worthy course for their own kids. In this episode Galasso describes a strategy framed by hope, healing, empowerment and connection. Celebrate Father's Day by striving to be the type of parent that enables his children to thrive in the face of life's obstacles.

1.Support children in a way that instills the belief that they are capable of anything.
2. Notice the things you like about your kids, even in the teen years.
3. Being a strong father figure is the will increase the chance that your children follow a righteous path.

Direct download: SUP204020Joe20Galasso20Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, is an extreme example of the high school reunion paradox. We all have seen it. Homecoming kings and queens who have sunk into mediocrity while awkward "nobodies" have somehow made it big. Costello, the one who was always picked last for the team, is now CEO of Twitter. He describes how he used his perpetual outsider status to scrap his way to the top. His strategy is surprisingly simple; it's only the execution that's difficult.

1. With enough perseverance even the most unlikely to succeed may find themselves on top.
2. Simply being willing to put yourself in uncomfortable situations is the best way to build resilience.
3. Success in business is like forestry management: you may be surrounded by wildfires, but the key is to identify and extinguish the most urgent ones first.

Direct download: 03920SUP20Dick20Costello20Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

The Underground Strength Training crew is about to be subjected to a 24 hr. workout, but as entrepreneurs they are well accustomed to that dynamic. They have some great insight (Like the failsafe man in the mirror test) on what it takes to navigate through the hard times in service of a passion. 

1. Look at sacrifices made for success as an investment.
2. If you can delay gratification, you will be more successful in all areas of life.
3. Find your why by telling it to yourself in the mirror since it’s almost impossible to lie to yourself this way.
4. Surround yourself with supportive people of a like mind, if they can’t be found in person find them in books and podcasts.

Direct download: 3820SUP20Underground20Strength20Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Dan Richards, Global Rescue CEO, is here to remind you that there’s a fine line between pushing through adversity and putting yourself in unreasonable peril. His company Global Rescue rescues those who walk that line then somehow slip, any place in the world. He shares stories of some of those rescues and what they taught him.

1. Never underestimate the environment.
2. You need to correctly calibrate your perception of risk to the environment you're entering and not just try to push through adversity.
3. The law of numbers will catch up with you, so scout out risks beforehand by analyzing the situation.

Direct download: 037-SUP-DanRichards-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

How far would you take a dare, especially one that started as a joke? These guys took it all the way up Mont Ventoux, the iconic slog of the Tour de France, on a clunky cumbersome rental bike built for flat city lanes. They attempt the same feat up Mt. Washington.  Why? Because others were calling it impossible. They were also driven by a worthy cause, Macmillan Cancer Support. Faced with adversity every step of the way, they pushed forward, always eking out a solution. Their achievement epitomizes the adage "Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid."

1. People saying it's impossible makes it all the better.
2. Keep going even when it doesn't look like it's going to happen. Things will often pull together at the last moment.
3. Just start it.

Direct download: 036-BorisBikeGuys-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Professor Robert Sternberg, psychologist and psychometrician thinks schools have been testing and teaching the wrong qualities for the last century. What if we've been frittering away vast amounts of human potential in that same time frame? Cornell Professor Sternberg has found that success in academics and in life is more closely tied to creative and practical thinking, wisdom and ethics than it is to IQ and memorization, the measures currently in use. He's on a mission to shake things up. Sternberg also has some invaluable advice on perseverance and seeing through our passions, and he speaks from experience as his path stretches all the way back  to elementary school.

1. The most valuable qualities for success are not tested for in schools: creative and practical thought, wisdom and ethics.
2. Keep going in the face of obstacles; persevere, but also realize when you're in the wrong race.
3. Achieving success is not always getting to your original goal. Sometimes the path was right but the goal was wrong or the goal was right but the path was wrong. Constantly reexamine your path and your goal. 

Direct download: 035-Robert_Sternberg-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

As superhuman as skilled parkour practitioners appear, Dan Edwardes reveals a very different view of the sport he helped popularize. Through running, jumping, crawling and climbing it brings us back to our roots, the functional ways that humans were meant to move, quite apart from the desk jockeying and couch denting now common. According to Edwardes, Parkour is a metaphor for life: one person's obstacle is another's stepping stone. As he proves, this amazing sport has the ability to completely flip flop your frame of reference.

1. Treat fear like a cowardly friend--it's advice might be right some of the time, but you wouldn't want it to rule your life.
2. Obstacles are really stepping stones we can use to better our lives.
3. If you are content on the path you have chosen, then you are successful no matter the opinion of others.

Direct download: 034-Dan_Edwards-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

For the founder, chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group, getting fired in the prime of his career is the best thing that ever happened to Barry Sternlicht. He recruited a couple of friends, borrowed a few million dollars, followed a business plan that bucked all conventions, and set off on a path that would make him a real estate and hotel investing star. He tucked away this mantra in his wallet for eight years: “Perseverance is genius in disguise.” He found it in a fortune cookie. Sternlicht, in fact, is a treasure trove of adages which have no doubt driven him through the tough times. His father, a holocaust survivor, was one of his first inspirations.

1. Perseverance is genius in disguise.
2. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
3. Find the freight trains in your life and then get on them instead of in front of them.

Direct download: 033-Barry_Sternlicht-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Amit Kumar studies happiness at Cornell University. Can money make you happier? Is the key to happiness a newer car, bigger TV, & more electronic gadgets. That's what the ads tell us, but according to happiness expert Amit Kumar, enduring happiness is manifested through experiences. That's great news for everyone who has ripped themselves off of the couch. And though many of you undoubtedly drew that conclusion already, Kumar explains the fascinating theories behind it.

1. Experiences and not material goods lead to long term happiness.
2. Due to our capacity for adaptation, you can live a happy life after a negative event.
3. The “hedonic treadmill” will not sustain happiness; you will always need to “up the dose” of material goods.

Direct download: 032-Amit_Kumar-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Jimmy Binns will never stop challenging himself. Becoming a police officer at age 74 is just the latest in a lifetime of impressive feats. He passed the bar exam in 20 states just to see if he could, was a marathoner and a boxer. He was a lawyer to the boxers, most notably representing Don King against Mike Tyson, and practiced for half a century. His track record of determination and perseverance is legend and inspirational.

1. Motivation is a contagion. If you're around motivated people you'll either drop out or become motivated.
2. Preparation is everything.
3. You're never too old to take on a serious challenge.

Direct download: 031-Jimmy_Binns-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

A marathon finisher on seven continents, an aerial skiing Olympic hopeful, head of a prostate cancer awareness foundation, and she’s just 15. That's just how Winter Vinecki rolls. She already holds a world record and she is nowhere close to her prime. She nurtures a healthy positivity that covers all eventualities. Should anything go awry, she's still on track to go to Stanford and perhaps try a little skydiving. Winter leaves little doubt that she'll succeed no matter her path.

1. A worthy cause is a great motivator.
2. Active and supportive parents are great role models.
3. Have a good backup plan.

Direct download: 030-Winter_Vinecki-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:31pm EDT

Sir Ranulph Fiennes holds the greatest number of exploring world records of any living person and almost inconceivable endurance in every facet of his extraordinary life. Considered the world's greatest explorer, he has a decidedly different take on concepts such as grit, obstacle resistance and success. But even if his views don't take on the traditional motivational parlance, they have clearly worked in his life, an extraordinary one to say the least.

1. You never “reach success”; you're only as good as your last movie.
2. It’s never too late to face your fears.
3. To surmount obstacles, have a cup of tea and figure out how to go around them.

Direct download: 029-SUPSirRanFiennes-FULL-V2_for_AUDIO-FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Risa Mish, an expert in critical thinking, problem solving & leadership teaches at Cornell. In her interview she shares critical thinking tips that apply to life, business and racing. Learn how and when to set aside assumptions, why more experience isn’t always better, why flexibility is important and some concrete ways you can bring these lessons into your life.  Mish demonstrates how critical thinking can move us with greater success through a race, business and life.  
Watch the video episode at

1. Mitigate failures by predicting ways you might fail and troubleshooting preemptively.
2. Place yourself around people who are different than yourself as a way checking your biases.
3. Problems always have multiple causes.

Direct download: 028-Risa_Mish-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Until Joe dragged him out to do burpees, Wes Chapman hadn't  formally exercised in fifteen years, but don't label him gritless. He is the founder of three successful podcasts and is a master at identifying and fomenting human potential where many have lost hope. When he calls people who want to change the world cocky, crazy, stupid yet confident, one has the sneaking suspicion he's engaging in self deprecation. He has started A Human Project which empowers troubled youth to rise above their situation through respecting them, and it is bound be world altering.
Watch the video episode at


1. Empower troubled kids by giving them responsibility and ownership over their situation.
2. To change the world you have to be cocky enough to think you can, crazy enough to know you can, stupid enough to actually try, and confident enough to share the responsibility.
3. Just be good and it doesn't matter what you believe in.

Direct download: 027-Wes_Chapman-SpartanUp-Audio__NEW.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Crawling toward the Iron Man Kona finish line, the end in sight, Chris Legh collapsed before he could reach it. Despite winning 96 triathlons, Chris Legh is best known for the one he DNFed. He clawed his way into contention only to fall violently ill. Legh staggered towards the finish line but fainted and crossed the finish line unofficially, prostrate on a stretcher. It took a lot of guts, as you'll find out, but he thinks you'd do the same thing in his position. Whether you would or not is largely a question on how much you take Legh's compelling lessons on grit to heart.
Watch the video episode at

1. It's only pain.
2. Don't do anything half heartedly; make a decision and focus on something with all your power.
3. To stay motivated, get an hour down the road even if you're tired, and chances are you'll go further anyway.

Direct download: 026-Chris_Legh-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Richard Branson defies conventional wisdom on success. With Virgin Airlines - he started a thriving airline literally in an afternoon. With Virgin Cola - he took one of the most successful companies of all time head on and almost won. With Necker Island - he acquired the island first believing that the money to develop it would show up eventually, it did. A notorious adventurer, Branson is clearly, within reason, not afraid to live.
Watch the video episode at
1. Get out of your comfort zone and go into the world and explore.
2. Push yourself beyond your limits.
3. Practice balance. Learn to trust your instincts.
4. Find fun ways to stay fit - involve your friends and family.
5. Look for the best in people. There is always something special to acknowledge in a person.
6. Forgiveness mends.
7. Expect things to be hard along the way but be sure to enjoy the sense of satisfaction from simply trying and being on the journey.

Direct download: 025-Richard_Branson-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Matt Segal, an accomplished rock climber, will be returning to the Bugaboos in British Columbia for the fourth time this summer. Their seeming insurmountability almost got him down, but their inspiration lifted Segal right back up again. Where else would he be except faced with all the things he loves--beauty, challenge, the thrill of a first ascent, and the satisfaction of overcoming failure? This is Segal's formula for creating a life filled with passion and grit.  
Watch the video episode at

1. To prevent burning out from your passion, vary the ways you practice it.
2. Letting yourself be inspired by the objective paves the way to success.
3. If you're succeeding all the time, you're not trying hard enough.

Direct download: 024-Matt_Segal-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Mark Owen was one of the SEALSs on the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden.  He revels in the gritty life. He prefers not the sugar cookies taken with tea, but the variety Navy SEALs dole out--soldiers moistened and rolled in beach sand and made to tolerate it the rest of the day. This is the kind of discomfort Owen loves, that forges men. Find out what molded him through his rugged childhood in the extremes of Alaska. He's mastered getting through tough times and his secret is surprisingly simple. Find it in this episode and get on the fast track to grit.

Watch the video episode at

1. The only easy day is yesterday.
2. Break difficult tasks to one bite at a time and prioritize. The greater the pressure, the smaller the bites.
3. Be all in all the time. Do what you're doing in the moment the best you can.
4. Put everything in perspective. If you've done it before, you can do it again.

Panel Notes:
Joe Desena: Who jumps into ice cold water in third grade in Alaska and then starts his own fire to make sure he can handle himself? Mark Owen, that's who- one of the men who took out Bin Laden. Obviously there's lots of controversy around the book he authored, but even with those questions looming, it's always very interesting to learn about someone who accomplished such a massive task in front of the entire world.

Sefra Alexandra: I recently met Kevin Maurer co-author of "No Easy Day," while working at the Global SOF Foundation Symposium for Col. Nye. The attendees were the elite of the Special Operations community and viscerally familiar with the adage that, "the only easy day was yesterday." Matt hails from the great state of Alaska, where he was raised being comfortable with being uncomfortable. His tactics to accomplish any goal: "break it down into one bite at a time!"

Direct download: 023-Mark_Owen-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Taylor Phinney, an Olympic cyclist, recently sacrificed some "skin for glory." He fractured his leg after crashing his bike at speeds usually reserved for the highway. As with many champion athletes, he found a way to turn adversity to his advantage. The recovery process has pushed his pain threshold that much higher enabling him, in turn, to push the limits of his endurance. He has learned to trust the struggle as a way to impart valuable lessons on how it can make him that much stronger.
Watch the video episode at

1. Children should be allowed to find their own way as athletes.
2. Black Top Effect suggests that athletic talent is a mixture of nature and nurture.
3. You've got to play every day as if you were a pro.

Direct download: 022-Taylor_Phinney-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Monty Halls, a BBC host and adventurer, has the definitive test of grit: See what happens when people are denied their next seven meals. Hunger will transform us all into gritty, foraging survivalists. When voluntarily stranding himself on a remote island in Scotland, the rugged individualist in him leaned on the strength of the community. After all, it was their hard earned knowledge and culture that helped them survive the rugged environment and it would be foolhardy to ignore this.
Watch the video episode at

1. Wherever you go, it's best to learn from the locals.
2. We're seven meals away from a savage. I.e., all inherently capable of grit.
3. We all need to go slay dragons now and then.
4. "I can't do this" is sometimes a brave decision.
5. Unfulfilled potential is the biggest crime against self.

Direct download: 021-Monty_Halls-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Suzette Clarke is on a mission to reconnect thousands of kids a year back to the land. Slide Hill Ranch, the original organic farm in America, offers a holistic remedy for the childhood epidemic she identifies--lack of exercise, unhealthy eating and a disconnect with nature. This sort of alienation doesn't discriminate between the wealthy and impoverished. Both groups are isolated from the earth in distinct ways. But all kids who pass through the ranch are left no choice; the cardinal rule is “get dirty”.  
Watch the video episode at  

Direct download: 020-Suzette_Clarke-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Mark Divine opened SEAL Fit, a Navy SEAL preparation center, in response to the stark proposition candidates faced: Ninety percent will fail if left to their own devices. Fortunately Divine has the key for bolstering their mental toughness and dramatically increasing their odds for success. He took the same journey himself after upheaving a stable but miserable career as a CPA. What he found along the way defies stereotypes. According to Divine, philosophies similar to those of gentle spirits such as the Dalai Lama and Eckhart Tolle are a more effective way to grit than those of the average drill sergeant.
Watch the video episode at  
1. The human spirit soars when it's challenged.
2. Life is made up of the small choices you make from moment to moment, rarely the big ones.
3. The essence of mental toughness is to notice when you unconsciously make the wrong choices.
4. The most important lesson for mental toughness is to know your "why."

Panel Notes:
Joe Desena: He looks exactly like the Navy Seal in the movie Captain Phillips that helps take out the pirates. I  am not so sure it wasn't him. Great guy, great friend that was a Seal and wrote to talk about it, but not in a way that upsets the military. He writes to help all of us develop an unbeatable mind.

Col. Nye: SEAL Fit Sauna. Always know your why.  Must be disciplined.  Inspirational fitness guru and bona fide hero.  Holistic view of fitness, body, mind and spirit.  He is there to teach resilience and toughness.

Sefra Alexandra: “SealFit develops warriors of all walks of life in elite-level fitness, awareness, durability and longevity. We thrive on cultivating the “Kokoro” (warrior) spirit in our clients, helping them be unbeatable in life.”

We as a culture have much to learn from the Navy SEALS and Special Operations/ veterans community at large in terms of physicality, strategy and endurance. My twin brother runs a similar venture- Tactivate - to bridge the gap between the skill sets of special operations x entrepreneurship.

Loyalty – to our family and our team
Service – to others before self
Honor and integrity – in public as well as in private
Leadership and followership – we must be good at both to be effective at anything
Responsibility – we take it for both our actions and those of our teammates
Discipline – the only easy day was yesterday
Innovation – adapt, improvise and overcome

Johnny Waite: This one is all about how to teach grit. A former Navy Seal, who now operates SealFit; he knows what it takes to develop physical and mental toughness.

Direct download: 019-Mark_Divine-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

The fact that soldiers came out of retirement to follow General McChrystal back into a very challenging war in Iraq speaks to his effectiveness as a leader. He knows a thing or two about motivation and how to bring out the best in people. McChrystal has adapted this gift to start up a consulting firm. His facility to raise expectations and adapt in the most trying of circumstances has served his clients well in the equally competitive corporate world. McChrystal posits that adaptability is the new efficiency.
Watch the video episode at 
1. Performance usually rises and falls according to expectations.
2. What got you to the first success will not necessarily take you any further.
3. Adaptability is the new efficiency.

Panel Notes:
Joe Desena: Talk about a no-nonsense guy that can teach us about success. You don't just get handed four stars when you become a general. You earn them and he did. He is all business and has been getting the job done throughout all the modern wars we have been alive for. He knows what makes great warriors and what makes successful missions and organizations.

Col. Nye: Grit, success, self discipline can be taught.  Surrounding yourself with exceptional people rubs off.  Organizations and people must constantly set new standards and goals. Great organizational stress. Raise the bar at every chance but the bar has to be achievable.  EQ is the ability to look long term. Adaptability is the new efficiency. 

Sefra Alexandra: “Leaders can let you fail and yet not let you be a failure- I came to believe that a leader isn’t good because they’re right; they’re good because they’re willing to learn and to trust.”
From General Stanley McChrystal’s 2011 TED Talk, “Listen, learn… then lead”
General McChrystal imparted the words of wisdom to Joe that, "the first thing you should do each morning is make your bed, so you have already accomplished something when your day starts." My bed has been made first thing every morning since. Thank you gentleman.

Johnny Waite: This guy is so impressive! Incredibly intelligent and compassionate. He gives some very clear advice that anyone can follow to achieve higher level of success and, just as importantly, how to help others succeed!

Direct download: 018-StanleyAllen_McChrystal-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Nate Carr grew up with a full team of elite wrestlers in his backyard. Out of five competing brothers, all were Division I NCAA All-Americans and two reached the Olympics. Nate managed to edge above the rest, earning Olympic bronze. What spurred him on? It could have been his indomitable attitude. His positive mindset is a motivational machine first leading to his success and then to that of the wrestlers he coaches. Listen in to hear the sort of self-talk that leads to greatness.
Watch the video episode at

1. Never personalize failure.
2. “No” means “next opportunity.” “Yes” means “you expecting success.”
3. Speak the end of the thing at the beginning, i.e., state the goal then set the strategy.

Direct download: 017-Nate_Carr-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Starting out homeless in 2008, Johnny Waite has certainly emerged from adversity and hit the ground running. He's gone on to finish the Death Race, and become a master at motivation, hypnosis, psychology, adversity and raising his two children. Johnny's official title is Quality Manager for Spartan Race. His obstacle laden path has taught him the value of a challenging life and its ability to unleash positivity into the world. His mission is to compassionately dole out that same hardship to others so that they too may build up obstacle immunity.
Watch the video episode at

1. An easy life is no life at all.
2. Always ask, “so what?” meaning in the face of this situation, what will you do now?
3. Most of us live in abundance and can therefore be producers instead of consumers.
4. Interrupt a person's usual pattern and you may spark a positive change in their life.

Direct download: 016-Johnny_Waite-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

ll Mimi Anderson really wanted was thinner legs. She ran the windiest road imaginable to get there, a journey that brought her across frigid tundra and blistering desert alike and placed her in the record books for posterity. Along the way, what she found hidden underneath her compulsion to thin down was a passion to challenge herself and grow. Anderson runs it in 100 mile+ chunks, but swears that 5k is plenty if that's what challenges you. She has one deceptively simple piece of advice: Just sign up and you'll find a way to make it happen. 

Watch the video episode at
1. Just sign up and it and you'll find a way to make it happen.
2. When the going gets tough, think of all the people who expect you to fail.
3. If you don't constantly push boundaries, you're not going to grow as a person.

Panel Notes:
Joe Desena: Who would take a hair dryer on a long distance multi day run? Multi day! She ran across South Africa.  Most people complain when they need to drive that far. Find out what helps her get through that kind of adversity.

Col. Nye: Remarkable woman, staggering accomplishments, tough as nails.  Driven by challenge and adventure. Growth comes from challenge. Listen to your body.  Must be mentally prepared at all times. Uses visualization.

Sefra Alexandra: “The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible”
Mimi has run across deserts in the Sahara, Libya, Chile, Kalahari and Namibia to name a few: feats a Land Rover would be whimpering about. Speaking of the Kalahari, the San Bushmen are masters of persistence hunting: a combination of running, walking and tracking to pursue prey to the point of exhaustion. A hunt for a kudu (antelope) can last 2-5hrs covering around 22 miles in 104-108 °F… try that as a change in your frame of reference. (GERONIMO)

Mimi is Co-Founder of Freedom Runners - a 2350km run across South Africa’s Freedom Trail to raise money to provide products to keep South African girls in school.

Direct download: 015-Mimi_Anderson-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Mike Sandrock, a formidable marathon runner and author of Running with the Legends, finds that excellence and talent are not necessarily interchangeable. It is those with the wherewithal to actualize their potential who reach the highest levels. Raw talent is not enough to drive an athlete to give everything they have every day which is what it takes to be the best. It takes a desire, usually spurred by adversity, to dig deep into the essence of who they are.
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1.  Find your passion and thank those around you who help you along the way.
2.  If you want to be great don’t cut the lines in practice and life.
3.  Inspiration is hard work.  No complaining.
Panel Notes:
Joe Desena: Mike Sandrock was talking Spartan before many of us knew what it was to be a Spartan. He has studied all kinds of ultra-endurance athletes. Tune in and learn a little about sports and persistence beyond what you thought was normal.

Col. Nye: Author of Running with the Legends.  Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Smart guy - great quotes. Desire to actualize their potential  Follow your Bliss. Speaker of Words and Doer of Deeds.  Praise Be what Hardens Us. Build from Adversity.  Greatness requires 100% effort.  Cheating is quitting.

Sefra Alexandra: Mike believes “be the best you can be to discover who you are, we create ourselves by our choices.” The Tendai Monks or “Marathon Monks” embark on the quest of kaihōgyō: a1,000-day challenge that only 46 men have completed since 1885. It’s a seven year challenge where you run  40-84km per day for 100-200 days a year, increasing as the years go on and in year 5 going 7.5 days without food, water or rest… now they Run Tough.

Direct download: 014-Mike_Sandrock-SpartanUp-Audio--N.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Steven Pressfield, author of "Gates of Fire," War of Art," "Warrior Ethos" and many others tells us what we can learn from the original Spartans and how to overcome resistance in everyday life.

One of the first things Steven Pressfield learned in researching his book Warrior Ethos is that the Spartans were serious about their laconic ideals. To his knowledge, they wrote a grand total of twenty four words about themselves so Pressfield had to rely on hearsay and poetic license to flesh out that  portion of his tome. But, fortunately, the actions of the Spartans spoke volumes, imparting valuable lessons on honor, determination, discipline and overcoming adversity. Pressfield harnessed these lessons when faced with the challenges of a blank writing page and the ultimate obstacle, a resistant mind.

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1.  Honor yourself.
2.  Embrace Adversity.  The harder it is the more you get out of it.
3.  When you wake up, expect the negative force of resistance.  Be ready and conquer it.
Panel Notes:
Joe Desena: Before you listen in here you should look Steven Pressfield up and find out who you are listening to. He is an incredible author and writes about things we care about-- how to push through, succeed in the face of adversity, deal with life's daily challenges…oh,  and he is the preeminent expert on Sparta!

Col. Nye: Historically, Spartans got a bad rap. They thought of brutish thugs but they have a lot to offer today’s world.  Current society could learn from Spartan mindset, focus, philosophy, expression of honor, soldierly honor, and grit.  Modern peoples are lost and need an identity. They need honest pursuit and need to face adversity.  The voice of resistance is always there.  Expect the negative force. It’s relentless; it must be defeated.

Sefra Alexandra: "All warrior cultures start with a great man. In ancient Sparta, that man was Lycurgus. He took the city from a normal society and made it into a warrior culture." Warrior Ethos: Ch. 12 “How the Spartans Became the Spartans”

Hmm... Joe Lycurgus DeSena... has a nice ring =]

Direct download: 013-Steven_Pressfield-SpartanUp-Audi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Obstacle immunity became a kind of obsession for Mark Webb after attempting, and failing, the Death Race for the third time. First he overhauled his mental toughness, and next his physical, then came redemption and the iconic finisher's skull. His growth as a human became all too obvious after he lost his leg below the knee in a freak motorcycle accident. Just days before the accident he completed a Spartan Sprint with his young son. In retrospect, these races seemed like a dress rehearsal by comparison, but by now Webb was well tooled to take on the next challenge with grace and an indomitable spirit.

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1. You can’t quit life. You only get one shot at it so you must keep going.
2. You can’t stop doing the things you love in life because there is risk.
3. Recognize that you will have days that you don’t want to do your workout so just do a small amount and more often than not you will achieve your goal.
4. Aim as high as you can for a goal and then chip away with small increments.
Panel Notes:
Joe Desena: How would you do if you lost a limb? Would you be upset? Would you get angry? Could you just roll with what life throws your way? Mark and I saw each other just a day before he had a tragic accident.  This guy is more twisted steel than a Harley Davidson. If he doesn't give you inspiration, I don't know what will.

Col. Nye: The student becomes the teacher.  You can’t quit life.  Positive mindset and the injury give him motivation to set and achieve new goals.

Sefra Alexandra:  What is obstacle immunity? Are you born with it or is it learned? Neuroplasticity refers to neural pathways (how information is transmitted through your body) and how they change due to behavior, thinking, or bodily injury.  Was it Mark’s history of overcoming adversity in training and races that has fortified him with such heroic resolve and resiliency in the face of a life-changing incident?

Direct download: 012-Mark_Webb-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Angela Duckworth, Associate Professor of Psychology at Penn, not only studies grit, she epitomizes it. She has doggedly researched the concept for a decade. Despite what may appear to be over the top determination, even obsessiveness, those with the quality are unusually down-to-earth. They're that rare breed who has their head in the clouds but their feet on the ground, which, surprisingly, means that Spartan Race co-founder Joe Desena may not be so crazy after all. 

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1. Sustaining passion and endurance over time (years) is essentially the definition of grit.
2. People who are gritty have a cognitive mindset to focus on things that they can change. They are positive and optimistic.
3. Always remember that no great human achievement exists that doesn't have thousands of hours of work behind it.
Panel Notes:
Joe Desena: Do you know what grit is? Do you have it? Have you ever quit anything and regretted it? Well, Angela has been studying grit for a long time and knows how important it is as a predictor of success. If you don't have it, get some.
Col. Nye:  Grit is sustained passion over a length of time for a singular long term goal.  There is an environmental component. It’s not just genetics. It can be developed.  Gritty people have a cognitive mindset to focus on what they can change and screen out that which they cannot.

Sefra Alexandra:  In 1777, sixteen-year-old Sybil Ludington rode through the night on horseback to alert American Colonial forces of the British’s approach completing a similar feat as Paul Revere’s, yet covering twice the distance Revere travelled by herself without getting captured. This, by any standard, personifies grit. Professor Duckworth will explain why.

Direct download: 011-Angela_Duckworth-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Four time NCAA wrestling champion Kyle Dake's parents raised him in a nurturing environment that would pave the way for his success. Yet this never meant that he could bypass the hard work. Every day, and he's in the gym just about every day, Dake pushes the wall back a little further, extending how far he can go without breaking. As a result, he has complete faith in his invincibility. He doesn't believe in losing. He wants to be the best, and, more importantly, he knows the way there.  

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1.  Actions speak!  If you want to be great, commit to it and do the things you need to do to be successful.
2.  Be positive!  You can always take something away something positive from an experience.
3.  You can only lose when you quit.
Panel Notes:
Joe Desena: What does wrestling have to do with success? Everything! Life is one giant wrestling match. You have to hand it to a guy that can go up four weight classes in four years, while everyone else is losing weight, and take the title year after year. This is a true champion with the most incredible attitude i have seen on a young man. Take notes.

Col. Nye:  Arguably the greatest college wrestler of all time.  Strive for excellence in everything you do.  You must make the commitment to be the best and be better than you were yesterday.  With the power of a positive mental attitude, find the silver lining in all your endeavors.  Entertain zero thoughts of losing  and remain focused on the goal. There is always someone training harder than you. Actively push the wall back a little further every day.
Sefra Alexandra: The rough translation of  abracadabra from Aramaic is: I create as I speak. The immensely positive words and mentality of Kyle Dake serves as a true litmus test of mental fortitude, obstacle immunity and success. His attitude rings true as a siren call for our generation to Spartan Up and truly dedicate ourselves to our dreams, fight to get stronger and achieve our goals. Knowing you are getting better every day is the reward.
Johnny Waite: His father did not push him, but held him accountable. Kyle got to choose what he committed to and was then not allowed to quit. You might have an awful day, but there is always something good that will come of it. Sometimes the most important stuff comes out of the toughest experiences. You don't need harsh circumstances to develop grit. It can come from inside with enough determination.

Direct download: 010-Kyle_Dake-SpartanUp-Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT