Spartan Up

Spartan the f*** up you a******.  Yes, that is the title the author originally wanted to use.  Now that the tone has been set, that's exactly the type of book this is.  Tells you what you need to do, how you should act and makes no apologies, but don't be offended it is all the self help you could ask for between two covers.  As you've gathered by now the book is actually titled Spartan Up by Joe De Sena.  Joe is the founder of the spartan and death races.   Both are international sensations with the obstacle race boom the past few years but his races are different and the book explains why.  The death race is for those select few who truly wish to push the limits.  The race is only over when a certain percentage of racers quit, and anything that happens before that is completely random and borderline torture.  The spartan race however is for the everyday athlete.  Anyone can compete but it will tax you and show you what it means to embrace the spartan mentality that Joe touts.  

This past summer I was at a convention where Joe was the guest speaker.  I knew of the spartan race and have participated in other fun runs myself but never a spartan.  He caught my attention with his straight forward attitude that could have been misinterpreted as rude at first, but he wouldn't mind the thought I'm sure.  He was there to tell us how he became successful through guts and hard work.  

His life story is straight out of a movie, growing up with weatlh and then suddenly loosing it and having to find his own way.  He began cleaning pools for his neighbor who happened to be a big name in a big crime family.  The story continues and I'll leave it for you to read but the way in which he puts his heart into something beginning with that pool cleaning business until it has no choice but to succeed is inspiring.

Joe told stories of moving his family to the middle of nowhere and raising a farm.  He would bring people out from all walks of life who were interested in a better way of living and health and would throw them into the mix.  Everyone from severely obese people who wanted change to the best wrestlers in the world looking for a bit of torture.  Inspired from the lecture and confused as to how this man can literally put everything he has into everything he does and stay standing I needed to know more and I picked up his book.  Not surprisingly, it was more of the same... a blueprint on how to live and work in a way that you will meet your goals without any possibility of failure because he simply doesn't allow failure to be an option.

Change your frame of reference

Maybe the biggest point in the whole book is changing your frame of reference to appreciate your life.  Joe speaks about his employees from his pool business and how the only people willing to work the hours and the labor he was were eastern Europeans.  He found that the people who were use to not having anything were the only ones who could hang with him.  As a society we have grown accustomed to things being handed to us.  When you drive to work everyday in a cushy Mercedes then that car no longer seems as luxurious as it once was and a walk to work in the snow could be traumatic.  Joe suggests resetting your farm of reference early and often throughout the day.  He learned the skill through adventure racing.  In the middle of an incredibly long and grueling endurance race you come to a point where you only think about survival: food and water.  Once your at that point in your life, he explains, coming back to your real world is a walk in the park.  Coffee is cold, baby is crying... so what, I could be starving and staring death in the face.  As crazy as this sounds, and when I first heard him say it I thought he was nuts, it makes so much sense.  Every day Joe explained that he wakes up and does 300 burpees and takes a cold shower because immediately his frame of reference is set.  Anything that happens after that couldn't be as bad as a cold shower and 300 burpees. 

Joe's passion for living a more healthful life is evident and again he speaks with piercing honesty.  At the convention he made fun of the attendees who spent 3 days listening to lectures and working out just to go drink beer at the social.  He explained your believes and values should always align with your actions.  

Sense reading the book I notice when mundane things get me upset, or if I begin to loose value in things that I should constantly appreciate.  The book is fantastic.  Joe is fantastic.  Please read it yourself.  It will inspire you and maybe your frame of reference could use a reset.