Book Review: Spartan Up! (A Take No Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life) by Joe De Sena

Spartan Up!I’ve had this book for awhile now, but I finally got around to reading it. I like to alternate between reading
fiction and non-fiction, and I really like fitness non-fiction lately. Completing a Spartan Race is one of my goals, so I thought it would be cool to learn more about the race, its founder, and what it stands for.

 Here is the Amazon summary of Spartan Up!:

“Twenty-six point two miles isn’t enough anymore. Obstacle course racing, which combines the endurance challenges of a marathon with the mind-bending rigors of overcoming obstacles along the way, is taking the world by storm. At the center of this phenomenon is Joe De Sena, the driving force behind the enormously popular Spartan Race. De Sena offers a simple philosophy: commit to a goal, put in the work, and get it done. From that philosophy, as played out first in his own life and now for millions across trails, through mud, and up mountainsides, Spartan Race was born.

Now in Spartan Up! De Sena gives you a life strategy guide that takes you out of your comfort zone and
into a combat zone. As he breaks down obstacles from his many races, detailing how each parallels real life experiences, you will learn how to:

• conquer your greatest obstacle—your will

• embrace your greatest friend—discipline

• make limitations vanish and establish a new normal

• achieve the ultimate: obstacle immunity

Other events breed sheep; Spartan Race breeds wolves. Filled with unforgettable stories of Spartan racers as well as hard-won truths learned along the course, Spartan Up! will help anyone reach their full potential—in life, business, relationships, indeed anything one sets out to do. It is the blueprint that takes you right past Go to your finish line.”

Basically, this book has multiple angles: it discusses the Spartan Race, its history, and stories of the race while also offering the reader healthy life advice from fitness to nutrition to goal setting. Spartan Races, and its philosophy, is intense, which is summed up by this quote:

“it’s not that we’re trying to avoid death; we’re trying to enjoy our lives fully, to wring every wonderful
drop out of life that we possibly can.”

My rating: 4/5 stars. Overall, I enjoyed this book and still want to pursue my goal of completing a Spartan Race (although I may stick to the Sprint distance for now). While I did enjoy a lot of the information in the text, I also found some of Joe De Sena’s philosophy problematic and inconsistent with my own beliefs. To each their own. This was a cool book, but it isn’t my favorite in the fitness non-fiction genre. I would recommend it for anyone interested in doing a Spartan Race or who is looking to break up a mundane lifestyle.

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