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Book Review: 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 and John Durrant is the newest book by Joe De Sena and is geared at getting you fit and ready for a Spartan Race, or life as De Sena would rather you look at it. 

41dirjom-nl-_sx331_bo1204203200_This took me longer to read and longer to write than I would have liked.  That said, I liked this book. There was a bit of wading to do to get through the life that Joe lives and what he has his children do and the unrealistic standards they seem to live by.  Life is about living, not simply surviving.

The book is broken up into sections covering how to get started, the history of Spartan Race and what is Agoge and how is it tied to the new event, examples of obstacles, the pillars of Sparta, a 30 day plan, recipes, options for the elite, and of course, making a case for the Olympics.

Once I got past the braggadocio of Joe De Sena and got to the meat of the book, I found it to be great. For someone who has never ran a Spartan Race or is a seasoned veteran, you can find something worth your time.  The plan is designed to need little to no equipment other than sandbags and things you can make.  It includes a warm-up, cool-down, options to make it harder or easier, and is laid out in an easy to read manner. There are examples of what obstacles you might face, how to execute them, and how to train for them.

While I didn’t take on the 30-day workout, what it offers is a great starting place, something to add-in to your current routine, or something to break you out of a funk!

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Review: “Off Course: Inside the Mad, Muddy World of Obstacle Course Racing”

offcourseWe all have our stories of suffering through the VT Beast, a hard fought push through the finish, or even just a silly themed mud-run. This book, “Off Course: Inside the Mad, Muddy World of Obstacle Course Racing”, unlike all the OCR training guides; is the written journey of a woman who has taken on triathlons but had been dealing with nagging injuries. After proverbially writing off running altogether, Erin Beresini found OCR and fell in love with it, as many of us have.

“Off Course…” pulls back the veil of what it takes to not only train for an Ultra-Beast, which Erin completed, but also walks us through the emotion, pain and absolute suck that only Killington mountain can serve up. Her wit and humility make for a great read. I found myself not only nodding my head when I knew exactly what she was going through, but I laughed out loud more than once too.

Erin also delves into the history of OCR and has done a fantastic job of crafting the story-line of how it all began, where it is, and where she thinks it may go. From Mr. Mouse to Joe Desena to Will Dean and more, Erin takes us inside some of the dark parts too. From the rivalry between Spartan Race and Tough Mudder, to the lawsuits against Tough Mudder via Mr. Mouse (who runs Toughguy in England) and even the details on the athlete that drowned at a Tough Mudder some time back.

I’d definitely give her an A for getting down to the nitty gritty of what has gone on behind the scenes. I appreciate the fact she is also not writing with rose colored glasses on. Unless I missed something, there is not an ounce of OCR polarity in this book. She takes umbrage with anyone and writes what some might not want to say. Are the facts shocking? Maybe not to us, I mean you are on this page because you are “in the know” as far as the OCR scene goes, right? We all know that Will Dean is “Mark Zuckerberg” of OCR, like Erin likes to call him. We all know that Joe Desena is a tyrant, but a tyrant who has an interest in bringing us back to our primal selves. Knowing what we know about these characters, some of the antics will not surprise you but you will just shake your head and say, “yup, that’s who ___ is alright!”

It’s a quick read. Erin’s words are light-hearted and you’ll find yourself cheering at times for her. At other times you may slouch down in your seat as she faces some of the barriers that you very well have faced on a course or two.

It’s and excellent read, I suggest it 100%!

Check out the book details at where you can purchase the book direct from the publisher.

You can also find it on Amazon at

Erin also has her own persoanl page, which links to her old Triathlon blog which was interesting to look back on, go to to check that out if it interests you!

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Review: Spartan Up

spartanupI was lucky to receive an advance reader copy of the book from Houghton Mifflin. And while I am breaking a golden rule of advance reading reviews, I’ve seen a ton of them posted already so I figured what can another one hurt? If anything, it could help drum up some interest in our community, not that a ton of you haven’t already pre-ordered it right? And if you haven’t, click the cover right over there —>

We all know and love Joe DeSena, well some of us do at least, all those damned burpees he’s doled out has a few too many people hatin’ on him. That said, we know him as one of the founders of one of the most successful OCR companies, Spartan Race! You can search the history, but nuts and bolts of it is, Spartan had their first Spartan Race event in 2010. Since then they have exploded and are currently one of the largest international OCR racing companies. They push the limits and are driving the industry.

“Spartan Up” lays out the groundwork not only for Spartan Race from the past, present and future, but gets us into the head of what makes Joe DeSena the man he is. From humble beginnings, to desk jobs and then finally getting fed up with it all. Joe tells stories of how he broke and realized there was more to life than the rat race. I had no idea the extent of what Joe has accomplished in his short time on the planet. From running Badwater to doing other ultra-marathons and endurance hikes, he’s done it all.

desena1His wit and wisdom (did I just call Joe witty?) is expounded by the page and parallels are drawn from every possible angle. His advice is not medical advice, and should not be taken as such, but is practical and could save your life. You’ve heard it before, simple things like changing your diet, making time for movement of any sort. Joe basically talks about our roots as animalistic beings. We used to have to scavenge for our food, now it’s in a machine tucked neatly inside of cellophane and a box. We used to scavenge for our foods, which were fresh and free of preservatives. We have become so lazy that the most effort we put into our food, for the most part, is to tear open the package and shove it into our mouths.

He also talk about dealing with pain and prioritizing that pain. For instance, and I am not typing this verbatim, he mentions marathon running. Instead of focusing on the pain the whole lump sum of 26.2 miles may bring, prioritize it to each telephone pole. Deal with it bit by bit, it’s easier to cope with and is less daunting. It won’t control your mindset the whole run and maybe, just maybe you might enjoy it.

I have a new respect for this guy, nothing was handed to him on a silver platter, he made himself into the man he is today. One word you will read throughout the book, and that describes Joe the best, is grit. He has it, it’s been a driving force for him. Without it, he would be nothing. Spartan Up can very well provide you with a path toward building that grit of your own.

One thing I respect the hell out of Joe for is the fact he is what he is. There is no sugar-coating, there is no filter at all on this man. He will tell you like it is whether you want to hear it or not. Call it tough love, because I honestly believe he wants to see you become the best YOU that you can be!!

Highly recommend you read this!

Order the book by clicking the cover up above or CLICK HERE!!

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Review: Mud And Obstacle Magazine #1

mudandobstacleBy the time this review is posted, the first issue of Mud And Obstacle Magazine should be on the stands. That said, I wanted to give a review of the copy I received.

Published by Active Interest Magazine, the publishers for great magazines such as Black Belt, MuscleMag, The Box and a plethora of others ranging the gamut from rock climbing, equine sports and more. With that type of history you could only hope it would be great and they would treat the sport respectively. That is exactly what they have done.

By now you’ve seen the cover to your right. Gracing that cover is none other than Hobie Call, to many, the face of Obstacle Racing. While he has emerged as the sports most well-known athlete, as of this moment though there are myriads of other OCR heroes, both men and women, to look up to and admire. That aside, the article about Hobie is written well and if you didn’t know a bunch about him before, you will know enough to know he is one of the most dangerous guys in the game. He’s not going to whip out a shiv and shank you behind the showers after your heat, but dangerous in the way that he can, and will, push himself to get to the end before you. He has, and will for some time, be the man to beat.

Mud And Obstacle does a great job mentioning as many of the OCR’s out there, but mostly the big guys are written about. It’s my hope that as the magazine gains some traction that they maybe reach out to some of the smaller races and feature them. We all know, as Spahtens, that there are a ton just in our area alone. If you’re listening, Mud And Obstacle, check out our race review section and see what races your magazine is missing. Hell, drop me an e-mail at and I’d be glad to put you in contact with whomever you like as far as our scene here goes!

Aside from interviews with the Spartan Race founders there are articles on gear, training and more. So far it’s not to ad heavy, which is nice as there was more content to read and less stuff to flip through to get to the good stuff. Coming from a print background I can appreciate the quality of the paper, the layout is clean and easy on the eyes. All in all, it’s a great package!

You can subscribe and save a bit, or head to your local Barnes and Noble to pick up a copy. For those that head up to Shale Hill, Rob will be selling copies as well. TEASER: Look for a Spahten in the issue, you will see at least the one that I saw!