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  • Writer's pictureBennett Endurance

Joe DeSena - CEO and founder of Spartan and the Death Race

Updated: May 3, 2021

Joe DeSena - CEO and founder of Spartan and the Death Race

Episode 63: Joe DeSena - CEO and founder of Spartan and the Death Race

See below for Deals and Coupon Codes, Show notes, Timestamps, and Links

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Show notes (please see Timestamps below for more detail)

In this episode of The Greg Bennett Show, Greg has an inspiring conversation with Joe DeSena.

Joe is the CEO and founder of Spartan events and the Death Race.

He’s a NY Times best-selling author of Spartan Up, Spartan Fit, and The Spartan Way. And a host of the ever-popular Spartan Up podcast.

He’s an ultra-endurance athlete with remarkable stories of human endurance and perseverance - In one year, he completed fifty ultra-events and fourteen Ironmans.

But he’s far more than CEO of an events company, author, athlete, and podcast host… he has a life mission to get people moving, get people healthy, get people excited about taking on their personal challenges, and helping people find strengths inside them they didn’t realize they had. He’s one of the world’s most influential motivators. And I for one am grateful and inspired by his commitment to helping others.

In this episode, Joe describes why he started Spartan obstacle races, and why Spartan is different than Ironman and Triathlon.

Joe shares stories of his youth, growing up in Queens surrounded by the mob families, building a lucrative pool business with 700 pools, getting excepted into Cornell University, selling the pool business, and his time in Wall Street.

Joe is someone who desperate to squeeze everything out of life and he's ok with living a spartan life. In fact, he prefers it. Challenging himself and never getting too comfortable.

This is an inspiring conversation.

See the timestamps below for more detail.


0.0 - Introduction to show

1.30 - Sponsors

5.38 - Start to show – Introduction

6.26 - General chit-chat - Getting people moving - burpees and squats

7.45 - The name "Spartan" - from Sparta, Greece - the movie 300 influence

10.00 - Spartan and obstacle course racing - buying Tough mudder pre Covid - 325 events, 45 countries - strong retention rate

12.20 - Triathlon and Ironman verse Spartan and obstacle course racing - "Triathletes have lost some of the grit" - "We learn helplessness" - "Ironman has become about the gear" - buying comfort in Triathlon

18.00 - Scaling to get 100 million people up and moving - currently at 7 million - "I need the audience we already have to do that work"

20.40 - Spartan in the Olympics - Obstacle course racing in the ancient Olympics

23.10 - Both Greg and Joe DeSena - Sparta Greece

23.35 - Discipline and dedication - grew up in Queens with the mob - Joe didn't think he was tough enough to fit in - biked to a bike race on BMX pre-teen 70 miles each way - "The sport was going to jail" - "We learn helplessness" - "I lived in a crazy place with parents getting divorced, I had no guard rails"

28.40 - Raising kids - "You gotta get up early to get stuff done" -

29.55 - Midroll advertising

30.55 - Morning routine - "get the night routine right and the morning looks after yourself"

31.50 - Learning business - Pool business - "On time is late, go beyond the job, never ask for money" - he gave me all the bosses of the mob - sold the business with 700 customers - went to Wall Street and took 45 steps backward - bought a farm - started wedding business and Spartan

35.10 - Getting into Cornell University (Ivy league) - Textile business -

38.40 - Finding a passion for endurance sports - Finding "The Farm - Killington school trip - the "Farm" is where the Death Race and Spartan

40.30 - Racing so often - never had to train - "It's really nice to have a simple life a spartan life"

44.00 - Death Race - meant to emulate life, "what could go wrong will go wrong" - known as the toughest race around - From that Spartan was born

46.20 - Team family and relationships - who do you employ? - "the person we want to hire is an animal a savage, get the work done"

48.30 - Transitioning to media - Nutrition products - Taiyo International - the rebranding of Spartan of nutrition

52.30 - Unbreakable CEO on YouTube - Spa- rtan

53.50 - Where is Spartan now with events?

54.30 - Mental strategies - "Motivation is a crutch" - Spartan paradox = enter a race and prepare - "Its a weakness"

56.20 - Sleep and Recovery - Going to bed early and up early - "I just don't waste time"

57.20 - Joe's tips on what can people do to optimize their lives - 1. Get something on the calendar - a date, a test, an event - tell everyone you know you're doing. 2. wake up at the same time every day, drink 2 big glasses of water. 3. Sweat before breakfast 4. Don't eat except for an 8-hour window each day 5. Exercise after dinner 6. Try to eat more plant-based 7. Hydrate well 8. Stay off alcohol 9. Stay off coffee 10. Go to bed early

59.00 - Conclusion


Be sure and check out

Find Greg on social media:

Check out Joe DeSena at:

Podcast: Spartan Up

Books: Spartan Up, Spartan Way, Spartan Fit

Bennett Endurance is a high-performance consulting business for athletes of all ages and abilities and non-athletes wanting to optimize their performances, health, wellbeing, and longevity.


With a combined 50 years of racing as professional athletes, 30 years as coaches, and 30 years as athlete managers, Bennett Endurance has the knowledge, experience, and professionalism for intimate one-to-one, small group consultations, and mastermind groups. Helping you thrive and to live your high-performance life. Find out more >


Passion and Purpose. Greg Bennett is driven and cares deeply about optimizing and living a high-performance life. His passion will cause others to be inspired to optimize their own lives. Greg visibly enjoys entertaining his audience with incredible stories of finding his passion, aligning that passion with his strengths, and taking control of his own life. Be ready to be inspired and entertained. You will leave with the tools and tactics to go live your own high-performance life. Find out more >


An interview podcast show hosted by Greg Bennett. Greg interviews the world’s greatest Athletes, Entrepreneur’s and Executives diving deep into each guest’s life. Probing questions into each guests’ passions, strengths, sleep patterns, teams, nutrition, and everything else in between. These interviews are entertaining, inspiring, and educational. The lessons learned will give you the tools and tactics to optimize your life so you can live your High-performance life. Find out more >

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