Spartan Fit!: 30 Days. Transform Your Mind. Transform Your Body. Commit to Grit.

Spartan Fit!: 30 Days. Transform Your Mind. Transform Your Body. Commit to Grit.

by Joe De Sena, John Durant


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From the best-selling author of Spartan Up! a complete 30-day workout and diet plan to help you reach peak performance

Joe De Sena designed the Spartan races to test overall conditioning: strength, flexibility, endurance, and speed. His signature take-no-prisoners approach to achieving physical and mental fitness has taken the endurance world by storm and inspired millions. Now in Spartan Fit!, De Sena breaks down that approach and gives readers the tools they need to conquer the course — and life, including:

     • A 30-day workout and diet plan to prepare for the Spartan Sprint — or to just get you in shape
     • Full-body workouts requiring no gym, no weights
     • How to build on one race to the next
     • Inspiring, motivating stories of Spartans

A complete Spartan training guide, Spartan Fit! will arm readers with the strength, knowledge, and grit to never question their potential again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544439603
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 08/02/2016
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 520,402
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

A legend in endurance sports, JOE DE SENA is the CEO and cofounder of the Spartan Race and the best-selling author of Spartan Up!
JOHN DURANT is the author of The Paleo Manifesto and has been ranked as one of The 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness by Greatist. He is the founder of Wild Ventures, a venture group specializing in consumer health products and technology.

Read an Excerpt

“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
 ​— ​Thucydides 

 My name is Joe De Sena, and if all you want is a training program, there’s a list of exercises in chapter 6 and recipes in the appendix.

Or, to make things really simple: Go outside right now and run as far you can. Then do as many burpees as you can. Then run, walk, or crawl home. Eat whole foods, skip dessert, don’t get drunk, get some sunshine, take cold showers, lift something heavy, use the stairs, meditate or pray, find someone to love. Lights out at 8 p.m.

There’s your program ​— ​go do it.

Look, if being fit were as easy as having a list of the right exercises, the Internet would have ended the obesity crisis. There are a gazillion exercise programs out there! The team at Spartan Race posts a new workout every day ​— ​it’s all there, it’s all free. We have all this information at our fingertips. Lack of information isn’t your main obstacle.

Your main obstacle is you.

You are also your greatest opportunity.

And that’s as true for me as it is for anyone.

The purpose of this book is to help you overcome any physical or mental obstacle ​— ​and to achieve the opportunity that lives inside of you. To become Spartan Fit.

Specifically, this book contains a 30-day training program to prepare you to complete a Spartan Race, an obstacle race that I founded and oversee. Spartan Race drives competitors to their limits so they can surpass them. Our tagline is “You’ll know at the finish line”​— ​and you will ​— ​but I spend much of my time imploring people around the world to get to the starting line, which is even tougher. Once they’re there, the race takes over.

As tough as it is to get some people to the starting line, I’m constantly amazed by what those same people accomplish after the finish line. Jay Jackson didn’t wrestle blindfolded because he thought it might save his life one day; he trained for a sport and it changed his life in a way that he never could have anticipated. After that experience, Jay changed his career, became a high school teacher, and developed a curriculum with us called Spartan Edge to help kids overcome any obstacle through grit and toughness. I’ve received tens of thousands of emails from disabled veterans, cancer survivors, and ordinary folks who went on to do extraordinary things beyond the finish line. I’m committed to helping others build more strength and grit to achieve their goals in sports and life. I love to inspire people to achieve the seemingly impossible.

I’m an ultraendurance athlete who has been lucky enough to compete in challenging races all over the world. I have completed more than fifty ultramarathons, and more Ironman events than I remember. Most of these races were one hundred miles or more, with a few traditional marathons mixed in. I was roped into competing in the Vermont 100, the Lake Placid Ironman, and the Badwater Ultra in one week. The last of those events is a 135-mile run that travels from Death Valley to Mount Whitney in the middle of summer. That year it was 137 degrees. My shirt melted.

Yet, no matter the challenge, I never question whether I’ll finish a race. The rush of the starting gun drops me into an empty space where I hear nothing but the sound of my own breathing and the drumbeat of my heart. My body moves forward, but everything else stands still. I’m not thinking about hopes or regrets, what I’m having for dinner, or what my kids are doing. All I’m thinking about, if it’s thinking at all, is the repetitive thwap of my feet striking the pavement. I will finish, no matter how far I must go to reach the finish line. It’s simply what must happen.

As for why I’m so compelled to compete, I think back to my childhood in Queens, New York, in the 1970s. My mother introduced me to yoga, an ancient form of holistic training that captivated her imagination and changed her life, bringing calm to her troubled mind. True yoga masters could hold a pose for minutes, hours, or days. It wouldn’t make much difference, because for them time stopped. They had mastered the relationship between their mind and body to such a degree, fused them so completely, that nothing mattered other than the sound of their breath and the beating of their heart.

But even if you practice yoga, meditate, or run for hours on end, life will intrude in ways that leave you unprepared. Obstacles confront you and require quick adaptations, making a mockery of something like “the runner’s high.” So you’re cruising along, feeling in control of the situation? Great. How about when the trail ends and the terrain grows rocky and you break your ankle? Then what do you do? Or what happens when you need to climb a rock face to keep advancing ​— ​only, come to think of it, you didn’t train for that, and you could easily fall and break your neck? Do you adapt, or do you fall apart, because all you knew was the thud of the pavement, and now the pavement is gone?

Forget the challenges of an endurance run ​— ​some people are so ill-equipped at handling the unexpected that a cold cup of coffee or a traffic jam can ruin their day. Very seldom do we wake up and have our day unfold exactly as mapped, so I grew interested in how physically unprepared many people are for daily events, let alone extraordinary ones. Their training doesn’t reflect life’s complexities. An event such as a distance race, as challenging as many people find it to be, is highly predictable ​— ​an adjective that seldom applies to life’s great challenges, the ones that truly define us as human beings. If a 5K race seems like a good impetus for improving your health, consider an alternative, one that’s not totally preplanned and that will strengthen your mind as well as your body. Consider a Spartan Race.

I created the Spartan Race in 2010 to test people’s overall conditioning, a term that encompasses endurance, strength, stamina, speed, and athleticism. I also wanted to test their ability to adapt physically ​— ​and, perhaps even more importantly, mentally ​— ​especially to surprises. I wanted to stress test the weaknesses that make us vulnerable in a difficult and sometimes dangerous world, where the chaos of the battlefield increasingly characterizes civilian life and everyday society. My theory was that such a test would have broader implications for a person’s life than mere fitness. Attempting a Spartan Race, I believed, would teach people to handle the obstacles of everyday life, enabling them to function at a high level as parents, employees, public servants, or in any role that life might throw their way.

Spartans refer to this readiness as “obstacle immunity,” meaning an ability to move past, around, through, or over what life places in their path. In the races, we’ll position a mud pit, a greased wall, and other physical challenges in the way of racers ​— ​but, whatever the obstacle, its purpose goes beyond just trying to trip someone up and challenge them with thirty burpees. These obstacles are metaphors for the obstacles we all encounter as we move through life. A cancer diagnosis is an obstacle. A pink slip is an obstacle. A broken marriage is an obstacle. Life sends them our way in an endless procession.

Spartan Race was conceived as a test, but no one should race ​— ​at least not like this ​— ​without adequate training. The absence of physical conditioning would lead to failure, plain and simple. In my mind, the training for the race, even more than the race itself, was where the major life progress would occur. Training for a Spartan Race poses the same challenges as preparing to give a performance does for a jazz musician. It requires extensive preparation, but its content can’t necessarily be predicted. Musicians can’t prepare for the concert by rehearsing what they know they’ll play; it wouldn’t be jazz without improvisation. What they have to do is train, or practice, all the necessary skills they will need to improvise effectively.

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Spartan Fit!: 30 Days. Transform Your Mind. Transform Your Body. Commit to Grit. 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Trainer_Mel More than 1 year ago
All I can say is get this book to fire you up. The history of Sparta was neat but I liked the update narratives that inspire us to do great things. It is so easy to tune out and sit on the couch but its time to wake up! I also enjoyed the exercise section just to go back to the roots of training. It may look simple but it'll get the blood moving. I got mine on the Nook so it was well worth the price and it is a quick-easy read to help you get motivated.
stevenw13 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. It is part reminder and part kick in the pants to call us back to our physical self. We go around in "waking sleep" and this book gives inspiration and motivation for getting up and getting yourself into both mental and physical shape. I read Spartan Up! and this is not even considered a companion book but rather a stand alone book that helps people define their "WHY." We are so detached from ourselves both physically and mentally that we as Americans are in a sad state of affairs. De Sena gives stories of overcomers and doers that are just ordinary people that kick life in the face. It could be you or I and I am not saying this book will change your life, but it gives words to those emotions you feel. It gives a reason why your skin crawls in the middle of the night. It gives a reason why we freak out and lose our minds because we detached ourselves so far from our calling. I especially liked the historical references from experts in the field of Ancient Sparta. It is always interesting to compare how much has changed. Also the 7 pillars will give you the guidelines and the how to to achieve. If you are open to truly understanding these principals, this book will help YOU decide and dominate life. YOU will decide to get up and truly live life.