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Spartan Up!

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The epitome of Grit, Joe Desena, founder & CEO of Spartan Race and NY Times best-selling author, travels the globe seeking and answers from experts like Sir Richard Branson, Steve Pressfield, Barbell Shrugged, and many more. Joe’s interviews with authors, academics, athletes, adventurers, CEOs and thought leaders will shift your thinking, make you laugh and and give you the tools you need. He’s on a mission to find the secrets to success in all aspects of life. Not only does Joe interview epic people, he has brought together an amazing panel to break down and analyze every aspect of these interviews. We give you the ultimate blueprint and action steps to assimilating these powerful conversations into your own life.




157: Beauty Queen and Death Racer Neely Fortune

Wearing a pageant sash did not come naturally to Neely Fortune, that’s why she did it. Her challenges with social anxiety, especially in public speaking, were what spurred her into the pageant world in the first place. Then she used the platform to promote PTSD awareness, a cause close to her heart. Through a number of happy coincidences it lead her to Spartan Race, the Death Race all eventually to a role as Race Director of a Spartan Agoge. In this episode Neely talks about the qualities...

Duration: 00:25:54

156. Ray Zahab | Ultra Runner, Expeditioner, Motivator

He’s faced death more than once on his adventures, but ask him which was the toughest and he’ll always answer “the last one.” It’s always the freshest in his mind. Ray believes in the possible and started a foundation called Impossible to Possible. i2P brings his expeditions to classrooms, sharing his journeys and his lessons with kids in an interactive way. Zahab uses these experiences to inspire kids to see possibilities in their own lives. He wasn’t always adventurous, hear how he went...

Duration: 00:27:27

155: It’s All About Your Desires says Angel List Founder Naval Ravikant

www.spartan.com/155 It all boils down to desire. Is it possible to tame your monkey mind ever distracted by desires and pleasures that only soothe you in the short term? Naval Ravikant, the founder of Angel List, says to reach a true sense of happiness, it is not only possible but necessary. Ravikant explains how to find your true calling and why doing so gifs you the upper hand in any business or personal venture. You become unbeatable. Success may involve years of hard work, but...

Duration: 00:20:26

154. Joe Polish | Addiction & Carpet Cleaning Taught him to Sell Anything

http://spartan.com/154 A marketing genius, a renowned connector of the elite, carpet cleaning taught Joe Polish everything he needed to know about business. But there’s much more to the story. Joe is best known for his his Genius Network, a meeting of industry transformers. He is known as the master connector. In the interview he also discusses his path from a troubled childhood of addiction and abuse in which connection was hard to come by and what he’s doing now to help addicts of all...

Duration: 00:53:03

153: Vanessa O’Brien | A Mountaineer’s Life Lessons

Will lessons learned behind the desk transfer to physical challenges? This week’s guest says yes! When you stop climbing corporate ladders, what do you climb next? For Vanessa O’Brien the answer is almost everything! The more difficult the better. She applied what she learned in the challenging environment of the Fortune 500 to the natural environment in a dramatic way. The extreme conditions taught her valuable lessons about happiness and success. Growing up, she was thrust into a...

Duration: 00:26:56

152. Ben Weiss | Why should you unbelieve?

The founder of Bar beverage has 5 tenets for success: be audacious, authentic, tenacious, obsessive and inspire others to be great. No wonder he built a company that just sold for 1.8 billion. A company that uses the civet to represent the highest achieving employees, has to be a little different. Bai has bucked many beverage company trends and has been incredibly successful. See the quirky company tour in this week’s episode, the secret Bag basement, and hear how he built the company and...

Duration: 00:25:35

151: Roman Tsunder | Plan to Take On the World

What’s the point? Is it money? Is it something more? Roman gathers today’s most influential icons and leaders to do what’s NBDB (Never Been Done Before.) How can we drive culture in a positive direction? Roman Tsunder thinks he’s found a way. In this episode, he explains his mission with PTTOW (Plan To Take On the World) and WORLDZ, and tells Joe how he carved out success from rejection. When he received 73 rejection letters in response to 72 applications, it just meant “yes” must be...

Duration: 00:39:24

150: Dan Pena | Has a Simple Formula for Success

Dan Pena is an F-ing maniac! He lives in a castle in Scotland, has run ultra-marathons, has made and lost fortunes, never uses a cell phone and his motto is just F-ing do it (obviously). He’s a living contradiction. He speaks at Oxford but you can still hear the echoes of his gritty upbringing on the streets of East L.A. in his voice. He can dance the waltz, play tennis and golf, but you wouldn’t want to mess with him. He knows how to make money, fast. And he’ll tell you and you had better...

Duration: 00:44:12

149: Dr. Erika Schwartz | Don’t Let Your Doctor Kill You

“Love is the answer” is the conclusion you might expect from a new age guru not a successful internal medicine doctor and trauma center director as Dr. Erika Schwartz was. But she always went against the grain of conventional protocol. Only now are her views starting to be vindicated. She urges doctors to connect with their patients and for patients to take greater responsibility for their health. How can they do this? Joe and Dr. Erika Schwartz discuss the ways modern medicine has gone...

Duration: 00:30:36

148: Robb Wolf | Paleo, CrossFit & Business

Is Paleo the best diet? The CrossFit pioneer who authored “The Paleo Solution” says maybe. Results may vary according to who you are. The point is you’ll need to experiment a little. Similarly when he started the first CrossFit gym. Rob Wolf didn’t have the franchise model or rule book, He had to write it himself. If you’re going to be successful, he urges you to do the same. Listen this week to learn why Robb Wolf got into CrossFit, wrote “The Paleo Solution,” why you should read his new...

Duration: 00:18:56

147: Peter Cohen | Don’t Give Up!

Have you given up? Know someone who has? There’s an answer for everything and Peter Cohen thinks he has it. We live a life our ancestors may have envied, largely free of hardship, so why are so many unsatisfied? Why, Cohen asks bluntly, is the world so messed up? A lot of us, he says, have simply given up. It shouldn’t be this way. Cohen taps from a career of helping people and seeing his wife beat the odds of “terminal” cancer to give you strategies to optimize your life. Three...

Duration: 00:24:58

146: What's Next for Spartan Up?

People are kidnapped, run away to the circus, sell a business for 1.7 Billion, complete the explorer's grand slam, and just talk philosophy, grit, and resilience. Today the team previews the next batch of podcast episodes. We have guests that will change your frame of reference, give you tools to change your life, and teach you to rewrite your own story

Duration: 00:11:31

145: Ric Urrutia | What is the Example You Set?

When a leader changes his life, the implications can be great. With fifty pounds shed in five years, Ric Urrutia now sets an example for his 550 employees and for his family. His company, Taos Mountain Software, has been growing for twenty-five years and his clients include all the biggest names in Silicon Valley. What makes for a successful employee? What are the secrets to running such a successful company for so long? The answers are not what you’d expect. Lessons: 1. The best...

Duration: 00:23:41

144: Jose Luis Abajo | It's in the Mind

Knowing your opponent wins championships. For Olympic fencer Jose Luis Abajo this has been paramount to his success. Self-knowledge too, knowing what will bring out the best in himself. It's what's in the mind that wins the match. This has meant being prepared for the unexpected, for just about anything that comes his way. How do you get ready for unfathomable circumstances? Abajo has a few secrets you can follow. Lessons: 1. We’re still animals and have the survival instinct;...

Duration: 00:21:17

142: GT Dave | The Story Behind the Kombucha King

Kombucha, heard of it? If you have, GT Dave is the reason. He says Kombucha, and restores an essential balance to your body. The Kombucha King dropped out of high school to spread his love of this drink after seeing it’s positive effect on his mother’s recovery from cancer. In the process he created a $600 million category--one that he still dominates. In this episode you’ll hear the story behind his love of Kombucha, and how he blazed his own path. Lessons: 1. Gradual, organic growth...

Duration: 00:23:10

140. Dean Graziosi | The Not to Do List

What is a “Not to do” list and why would you need one? Dean Graziosi found business success at a young age. It was a way to gain control in his own life in what felt like an out of control world. He has been doling out, through books and television, the techniques and wisdom that worked for him for nearly twenty years. It’s the mindset, he says, not the medium. The principles are the same whether you’re selling real estate, flipping cars, or building Spartan Race. He shares a few...

Duration: 00:20:57

139. Mordechai Weiner | The simple Steps that Changed his Life

When feeling stuck, what do you do to get back in the game? What’s the one thing you can do right now? Mordechai Weiner discovered a series of simple steps that changed his life. A self-made success in business, he had been unable to control his eating or his weight. What he discovered was that it wasn’t about restrictions, shame, and punitive measures, but a few simple steps. Learn what those things were and the best way to apply them in this week’s episode. Lessons: 1. Eliminate excuses....

Duration: 00:26:41

138. Elizabeth Weil | How Non-Negotiables Can Facilitate Success

One of the most successful women in the venture capital field and dedicated runner, Elizabeth took her cue from her mother. Come hell or high water, she would be out the door at 4 am to swim or run, and in her 70s she’s still at it. Similarly, Weil never stops driving toward success. Within her hectic schedule of career, and raising twins, she stresses the importance of “non-negotiables.” They are key to a successful career and happy life. She describes them and her three keys to success...

Duration: 00:20:57

137: Rod Dixon | How This Marathoner Got Kids to Do Better In School

Olympic marathoner Rod Dixon believes in the transformative power of physical activity so much that he started the Kids Marathon program. He won the New York Marathon in 1983 and an Olympic Bronze, now his program trains kids to run as soon as they enter school. The schools are realizing that keeping kids active brings test scores up, improves student’s focus and brain power, and reduces the reliance on pharmaceuticals to keep the more rambunctious kids in line. What Dixon also found...

Duration: 00:21:35

136: Keno Knieriem | Can you Surf Without Ocean?

Is it possible to develop a surfing culture without an ocean? What would that mean? Keno Knieriem left the navy and to developing surf parks on man made lakes that simulate Hawaiian waves with his company Honokea. It is either the best thing or worst thing to happen to surfing. Will it nurture a whole new generation of surfers who would not experience the sport otherwise? Will introducing the sport to the masses allow for the proper amount of respect to grow around it? The company hopes to...

Duration: 00:25:06

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