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Book Review: ‘Spartan UP!’ by Joe De Sena

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9780544286177How many times have we been told to get out of our comfort zones, stretch our experiences, and live life to the fullest? I know I’ve been told that more than a few times. A new book, Spartan UP! A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life by Joe De Sena with Jeff O’Connell offers an out-of-the-box idea that may take many by surprise.

De Sena is the founder of the Spartan Race. He writes, “Spartan Race is for anyone and everyone looking to make a difference in their life and the lives of those around them.”

The race has three levels, Spartan Sprint, a three-mile race with 15 obstacles, Spartan Super, an eight-mile race with 20 obstacles and the Beast, a 13.2-mile race with 25 obstacles. What exactly are the obstacles?

Racers could end up getting stuck in the mud, paddling, climbing, biking, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and traveling by boat or car or other vehicle. Participants have to agree to acknowledge that they understand the risk of injury is “significant.” And, they have to “freely assume and accept all risks, both known and unknown.”

The author includes a disclaimer, “Living a Spartan lifestyle, although rewarding, can be dangerous and should be considered carefully.”

The Spartan Race

De Sena writes that the mission for the Spartan Race is to, “wow our racers, push their minds and bodies to the limit, and help make them healthier through superior, extreme, and challenging obstacle races.”

The author writes that racers come from a cross section of American life. Men and women from teenagers to people in their 50s tackle the race. De Sena said they had 650,000 entrants by the end of 2013 and were seeing a 90 percent completion rate of the first two level races. Why do people subject themselves to such challenges including lots of mud?

“They do this because they want something more out of life than comfort, mediocrity, and a fancy toilet bowl brush,” De Sena writes.

Noteworthy Features of Spartn UP!

De Sena offers four life lessons throughout the book including:

  • Every obstacle presents an opportunity
  • Everyone matters
  • Always remember those who served
  • Giving when it counts no matter the cost

There does seem to be a trend for people to test themselves in this manner. Some television shows have been showing people competing and completing in these kinds of races. This book does offer insights into the races, the racers, and why someone would subject themselves to such activities.

For those looking for a challenge and are thinking of trying such a race, this book will provide a good foundation for preparing yourself mentally and physically. The author gives the reader the sense of his own commitment, which had even me believing I could try it.

About the Author

De Sena is the founder of Spartan Race. It was named the number one obstacle race by Outside magazine. He has completed the Badwater ultra marathon of 135 miles, the Lake Placid Ironman, 140.6 miles and a 100-mile trail run in Vermont all in the same week.

De Sena writes about the challenges he experienced in his own childhood. While his father lost his fortune in the 1980s and his parents ended up divorced, he grew up watching his mother do yoga, meditate, and eat healthy foods. He also writes about his own career and how he got started in racing.

 

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  • Dr Joseph S Maresca

    These look like good activities for people who value movement in their lives.