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How to Develop Tenacity & Unbreakable Willpower w/ Spartan’s Joe “Di” Distefano

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“Every day that goes by that we don't test ourselves, that we don't learn something about our capacities, those capacities diminish”
— Joe Distefano

Greetings, SuperFriends!

Today, we are joined by the Director of Sport Initiatives at Spartan Race, Joe DiStefano, aka “Joe DI.” If you haven’t heard of Spartan, they’re a company that has started a movement all across the world, hosting events, training seminars, and all-out, extreme obstacle races that push people to their absolute limits. Spartan is a sport, community, a philosophy, a training and nutrition program – with daily advice, a podcast, a series of books, an activity for kids, workout gear, a media channel, an NBC Sports series, a digital magazine, and a timed obstacle race.

I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes, my biggest challenges are overcoming not physical limitations, but mental ones. Often times, when the going gets really tough, I give up on myself, bargain, compromise, or convince myself that I can do it.

That’s why, in this episode, we talk with one of Spartan’s best and brightest trainers on the topic of mental tenacity. As someone who has helped create some of the world’s toughest sporting events, and an acclaimed personal trainer, our guest today has a lot to say on the subject, and I’m sure you’ll take away not only a huge dose of inspiration, but also some actionable principles you can use to sharpen your focus and increase your mental tenacity in all of life’s challenges.

As always, please share your thoughts with me on Twitter @gosuperhuman, and if you haven’t already, please remember to leave us a review on iTunes or Stitcher.

This episode is brought to you by the all new SuperLearner Academy!

This episode is brought to you by SuperLearner Academy – home of my exclusive masterclasses. Check out a free trial using the link above today!

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Joe Di's background and how he came to be where he is today
  • How one of Joe Di's college professors became a mentor and inspiration for him
  • What is Spartan, what do they do, and why do they exist?
  • What's the difference between Spartan, P90X, CrossFit, and Insanity?
  • The “40% Rule” used by the Navy SEALs
  • What does it take mentally to complete an endurance race, and how can you develop that skill?
  • How do you motivate yourself in the darkest moments of suffering and anguish?
  • How Spartan Race is a beautiful metaphor for life and it's struggles
  • Knowing how much is too much, and preventing injury or overtraining
  • Is it OK to train too hard sometimes and fail?
  • What are some of the most inspiring stories that Joe Di has seen at Spartan?
  • What are some practical tools and suggestions for increasing your endurance?

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Favorite Quotes from Joe Di Distefano:

“My sport didn't even exist 10 years ago.”
“I didn't know if I was going to be a 30 year old vegetable.”
“I call it the flow. Sometimes life just throws these things your way and you just gotta jump on it.”
“I always tell trainers: Your #1 job is do no harm.”
“We want people ENDURING… When you're out in the woods for 9 hours, that's a whole other chapter of tenacity and learning about who you are as a person.”
“Once you cross that start line, there's no turning back.”
“When you cross the finish line, you're gonna feel something that you've never felt before. And you're gonna be able to leverage that strength.”
“People have all the same thoughts. But those that continue have experienced, more often than not, success.”
“Aim small, miss small. Do NOT miss a day.”
“Remove the world ‘try' from your vocabulary. Don't try anything. Either do it, or don't.”



  1. Luiz
    at — Reply

    Thanks, I learned a lot of interesting things in past episodes.

  2. Shivaditya Purohit
    at — Reply

    loved th heart and the depth of the conversation. The way that Dr. Metivier shared from his enormous experience and insights was just amazing. Thank you Jonathan for doing this podcast!! 🙂

  3. Rob
    at — Reply

    Great interview with Dr. Greg Wells! He mentioned a doctor from Colorado around the 42:30 point of the podcast, discussing turmeric and black pepper. I couldn’t make out the doctor’s name. Can you provide me with his full name and maybe his website or contact info. Interested in his products.



  4. Muhammed Sani Ibrahim
    at — Reply

    I am new here, and learning really fast.
    Thank you.

  5. Leonia
    at — Reply

    Maybe oarts of the things he has to share are right, maybe not. If I look at him which impact his nurturing and living style has on himself I see a very old looking man! He is year 1973!! That is not old and he looks definitly much older!! If I would not know his birthyear I would guess that he is in his mid-60ies!! A bit concering for someone who claims his lifestyle is suitable for a long life, isn’t it?

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