Building a Resilient Brain: Tips for Greater Mental Toughness - An Interview With Joe De Sena

Building a Resilient Brain: Tips for Greater Mental Toughness - An Interview With Joe De Sena

Dr. Dan Stickler: All right. Welcome to Collective Insights. I'm Dr. Dan Stickler, I'm the medical director here at the Neurohacker Collective. And today I have the honor of hosting someone who I admire a great deal Joe De Sena, he is the CEO and founder of Spartan, a series of high endurance obstacle courses, he's also a New York Times bestselling author of Spartan Up! Spartan Fit! and The Spartan Way. He's been an entrepreneur since eight years old and he's had a passion for life that moves the ball forward against all odds. In his latest book the 10 Rules for Resilience: Mental Toughness for Families, he takes that passion for mental toughness and applies it to the family unit. So welcome Joe, it's an honor to have you here.

Joe De Sena: Thanks for having me. The Neurohacker Collective, I love it.

Dr. Dan Stickler: Yeah, it is very appropriate for the type of the team we have and the people that follow this. I love Spartan Race, I did it in 2018, in 2019, and obviously 2020, and 2021 had a little bit of a hiccup in it so I'm planning on doing it again this year. But I can tell you, it's one of the most favored events that I've done and mainly because it hits so many different areas, not only endurance and physical but also the mental piece of it. So can you talk to me about really what motivated you to do this? I mean, what's your story here?

Building Greater Mental Toughness

Joe De Sena: I'll answer it in a strange way. We just moved to Florida, we kept the farm in Vermont where Spartan was started, it's definitely a resilience farm up there, it's always cold, we've got a mountain in the backyard that we climb, and the family we packed up and moved to Florida just because it's been very hard on the business to operate in places where you can't get people back to an office, et cetera. So we packed up and my understanding is that a very difficult time in anybody's life is moving, so here we are, we went through this move and just this morning my daughters were having a meltdown for a whole host of reasons that any daughter would have a meltdown, right? Like new friends, new sport, the whole thing.

And so when you ask that question where Spartan came from I think back to my childhood, I was reflecting on it this morning with my daughter, my mom was tough as nails. We were all Italian, we grew up in an Italian neighborhood where lots of people went to jail, got killed or owned businesses and grinded from 5:00 AM to midnight every single day seven days a week, so I grew up around that. My mom did it with yoga and meditation, right? The complete antithesis of the Italian neighborhood, the cannoli, the ravioli, right? She meditated and fasted for 30 days straight, she took no prisoners, my dad took no prisoners. So when you ask, where did the Spartan thing come from? I guess I grew up in it. And I was introduced to a race at a young age that still exists in Queens, New York, 3,100 miles around a one mile loop.

And so I have this in my head, I don't take responsibility or commitment lightly, everything I do I'm all in, I can never sit still, I'm just wired, right? And so how do I create an event that instills all of that, that gets people to really push themselves way outside their comfort zone, find out what they're made of, introduce them to themselves, what would I call that? Well, there's no better name than Spartan, right? Not because it's ours but because that's what they embodied 2,500 years ago. So it really was just an effort to put everybody through what I went through as a child, my mom and my dad, and make people tougher and to stop complaining about the nonsense. Who cares that the Wi-Fi doesn't work? Who cares that the shower is not hot enough? Who cares that you couldn't find a parking spot? These are ridiculous first world problems, suck it up buttercup and let's get going, right? That's where it comes from.

Dr. Dan Stickler: Yeah, I love that. And even just the ability to be as versatile athletically going through this I have to say in going through it the mental piece of it was probably the greatest piece that I had to overcome because you just want to quit at multiple places in it and you want to just go around obstacles and you're just like, no, I got to stick with this and move forward. And one of the things it did for me was it allowed me to do a whole host of training, so if I don't have anything to train for it's difficult for me to get motivated to work out.

And when I'm training I'm usually sports specific for it but with Spartan, I mean, there is no sport specific, I mean, you are all over the board with what you need to be able to do from leg strength to arm strength, to endurance, and really just doing awkward things that people just don't normally do but should be able to do if called upon, but I love the mental component of this. And you keep mentioning resiliency, I mean, how does resiliency play a role in your life?

Practicing “Hard” in Everyday Life for Greater Resiliency

Joe De Sena: Well, I mean, I just went through it, right? Where this morning I was dealing with it. As you're speaking I'm actually thinking about my speech to my family tonight that I'm going to have, right? And so, look, everything we're sold, everything we're touching on a daily basis, is an attempt to make our lives easier, faster, cheaper, more optimized, everybody is selling us things, right? That make our lives easier. I don't see how that makes us better, we're all going to face challenges, we're all going to die, why wouldn't we practice and prepare for those challenges? Why wouldn't we get ourselves to be a little more callous? Let's build some callouses on the brain so that when the shit hits the fan we're better able to deal with it. You practice piano, you practice math, you practice cooking, let's practice hard.

Dr. Dan Stickler: My medical practice we focus on human performance optimization, when I say performance I'm talking about the whole human system performance. And one of the things that we've really kind of keyed in on is something from, and I give credit to Nassim Taleb on this is the antifragility. So I hear resiliency a lot and we work with the lot of military special forces people and they're just hammered with being resilient and what we look at is really the antifragile state which I think is what you're talking about too is where for me I see resiliency as you're faced with a challenge, it really stresses the system but you come out on the other side back to normal. And I think in antifragility which Spartan Race actually helped me to achieve is that ability to go through the stressors and come out the other side even stronger than you went in.

Joe De Sena: There's no doubt about it. I mean, if you go in and do bicep curls you stress the muscle, you then let the muscle rest, you feed it and it grows stronger, it's no different than the rest of the body. Here's a great analogy, ready?

Dr. Dan Stickler: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joe De Sena: Would you and your family want to grow up in a greenhouse where the temperature is controlled, the sunlight comes in perfectly when it's supposed to, you're always watered on time, and what ends up happening is you become really delicate plants? Or would you rather grow up on the side of a mountain in a wind and rain and hail storm where you got to grow roots around the side of a rock to hang on? What plant would you rather be? Would you rather be a wolf or a Cocker Spaniel? Right? I mean, it's that simple, so we're breeding and raising wolves, we're attempting to. Now the reality is my family and I we're not growing up in Siberia, I'm manufacturing adversity, I'm doing the best I can in a very soft, cushy world. But by the way the point is, it'd be pretty hard to compete, I know, it's pretty hard to compete with people from a much tougher background.

The one huge advantage someone has growing up in a tough place is they're tougher, they're hungrier, they're willing to get after it, they want to get ahead. So I'm doing the best I can to manufacture some adversity in my own life, my family's life, my friends, and then the 10 million Spartans just to give them micro doses of hard. And it also changes your perspective, when stuff does go wrong you're able to reflect back on what I call a resiliency data point, an RDP, so that you could say, wait a minute, this is hard right now but it's not as hard as X, Y, or Z that I did, that I achieved, that cold shower I took this morning, that mountain climb, whatever it may be. So it changes your perspective, your frame of reference, gives you something to reference when needed.

Dr. Dan Stickler: It reminds me of Nietzsche, had talked about two forms of man, he talked about the Ubermensch, the overman who would go out, take the risks, understand there's pain involved but have the exquisite ecstasy of the outcomes. And then the rest of society was the last man and the last man was the one that made choices that were directed towards the greatest comfort and the least pain. And I think there's a lot of people like that right now in the US and I think people who choose to do Spartan are more of that Ubermensch. And right now this is a time when it should be obvious to people that we need to have that resiliency, I mean, look at what's happened with COVID, look at the people who typically are getting the most impact from COVID. They're mandating vaccines, how about mandating exercise? How about mandating healthy eating or a healthy lifestyle? I think we've lost our bearings quite a bit in society.

Joe De Sena: We have definitely lost our bearings. There's no rite of passage for this culture, right? There's no really tough challenge to graduate from being somebody youthful to somebody grown up with responsibility. So if I had my way wouldn't it be amazing if there was a mandatory 12 or 18 months of bootcamp for everybody. Look, I'm not creating a military state, I'm not suggesting that, but we should at least do 12 or 18 months, give something back to our country because it gives so much to us and if you don't think it does go live in a favela in Brazil or in the slums in India where they're missing literally 500 million toilets. You have it pretty damn easy if you're listening to this or you're watching this, you have it pretty damn easy and you need to be the Ubermensch.

Dr. Dan Stickler: Yeah. And a lot of people that look at Spartan because I've told people about the race and highly recommended it to them and they're like, oh, I'm just not in the right shape to do that, and they're modest exercisers, they're not aggressive. And I've had some talks with Mark Divine about this, he's a friend of mine, and he talks about the people who go through SEALFIT Kokoro and you look at these people and a lot of them are CrossFit athletes and people from different sports that come in and they think they're going to be fine going through this because they bet the physical attributes but he said it's the ones with the mental attributes that he sees that finish it more frequently than the ones with the physical attributes. And I seem to see that in the Spartan Race too, I mean, obviously it requires a certain degree of physicality but that mental attitude is huge.

Joe De Sena: It's all mental. I always tell people 99% of it is mental and the other 1% is mental. It's all mental the whole thing because if you and I were in a foot race or we were climbing a mountain or we were swimming across a bay, let's say you're in much better shape than me, you've been swimming your whole life, maybe two hours in I get tired, maybe six hours in you get tired, but now we're both tired, what's your next move? It's all mental, right? So we have a crazy race we put on called the Death Race and the job of this event is to just get you to quit, to just punch you in the face until you can't take it anymore and you go home and you're pissed off and you hopefully to come back stronger than next year, you get to reflect on it for a year.

So I would challenge anybody listening to this, come out, you form a team, it's on me. If you're willing to commit to 2022 and you're listening to this you send me an email, [email protected], come out and attempt the Death Race because everybody over the last 20 years that has attempted the Death Race sends me an email or sees me in-person or calls me or texts me and says, you changed my life, I got to meet myself, I got to find out what I'm made of, or you broke me and so I had to rebuild myself.

Dr. Dan Stickler: Is this part of Spartan or is this something separate?

Joe De Sena: No, this is part of Spartan. This is our craziest event, it existed before Spartan. You could look it up at, and only crazy people apply. But shoot me an email, [email protected], if you're listening to this. The doctor could put together a team and it's on me but you got to commit right away, take the plunge, leave the shore as they say, and I promise it's a life changing experience.

Dr. Dan Stickler: I'm going to look that one up for sure, that sounds like right up my alley.

Joe De Sena: Yeah.

Why we Need to Increase Our Fear IQ

Dr. Dan Stickler: Hey, so you've spoken a little bit, and we're talking about mental toughness here, but you've spoken a little bit about stepping into our fears or increasing our fear IQ in mental toughness, so can you take us through that?

Joe De Sena: My whole life I have for some reason figured out that if I'm fearful of it it's probably something I should do. Now, you got to do a mental check, you got to find out, really assess what your values, your beliefs are, et cetera, you don't want to push through fear that's warranted. This morning when my girls were running with me it was a dark road we were on in a new neighborhood, we just moved here, and we were coming around a turn and my older daughter was like, "Oh no, no, I don't want to run on the sidewalk over there," and I thought, gee, that seems a little fearful. But then when I looked it was like, you know what? A young girl actually should because the way the bushes and everything were it looked like a scary area.

So you got to make sure your beliefs, your values, you've done a head check on where you are in life, like maybe if I'm looking to be the fastest runner ever and I'm a little fearful coming around the corner I just described I go for it anyway because my mission in life, my goal, my true north is to be the fastest runner ever so I go for it, if I'm with my young daughters and I'm not looking to set any records, we'd probably move away from those dark bushes and run out the streets. So you got to make sure you're able to ascertain in your brain when it's time to pivot and when it's just some fear that's creeping in.

In most cases, I mean, we've got legacy hardware and software that we're built with, doc, you know this, and the amygdala it's giving us signals that are just not rational signals, it's wiring that was based on 1,000 years ago, there were different kinds of fears and they were legitimate, like if a lion showed up to attack us or we're going to fall off a cliff or freeze to death. But now most of our fears are really just the avoidance of discomfort, that's all it is, so if you can quickly do a head check and say, oh, I know what's going on there, my brain is just looking to get me to stop running right now or stop climbing or get away from the cold shower because it doesn't want to be uncomfortable, that's not a legitimate fear.

You'll love this one, I had a guy who was 696 pounds, he came to live on my farm where Spartan was started, where the Death Race is held every year, and I got him down to 260 some odd pounds, we lost over 400 pounds. And I remember during the process he was very uncomfortable as you would be or I would, he was just miserable, we were in a knock down drag out fight every single day. And one day he says to me, "I got to go to the doctor," at this point he's probably down 250 pounds, his skin looks good, he's becoming healthy, he's doing 15 to 20 miles every day, he's eating raw fruits and vegetables. "I got to go to the doctor Joe," "Oh yeah, why do you got to go to the doctor?" "I got to get my liver levels checked because you're only letting me eat raw fruits and vegetables and I'm walking so much, I need my liver levels checked." Am I allowed to curse on this podcast doc?

Dr. Dan Stickler: Sure. Go for it.

Joe De Sena: I said, "You stupid motherfucker," I said, "Your brain is just trying to avoid the discomfort, you don't want to eat vegetables anymore, you don't want to do the hike anymore." I said, "Let me ask you this, when you were eating eight egg McMuffins a day and two two liter sprites did it once occur to you to get your liver levels checked? No, it didn't, so you don't need your liver levels checked you need your radar for discomfort checked." And there was an example where it was fear based that wasn't legitimate, it required a head check. And most of us probably need a couple of people around us that hold us accountable and help us to a reality check because our brains will shut us down well before we need to be shut down. One of my sayings you guys could all live by is, are you pissing blood yet? Because if you're not pissing blood you're probably okay, keep going.

Dr. Dan Stickler: Love that. So with all of this that we've talked about, I mean, people will say, oh well, people are born with that kind of mental toughness, and I'm constantly telling them, no, you can actually learn this mental toughness. Do you have any specific techniques that you use to help people to achieve that?

Joe De Sena: Well, I want to just comment on what you said and then I'll give you some specific techniques. Number one, I would say the opposite doc, I would say we are all mentally and physically tough, we're all born the same what happens is that we learn helplessness, we get layers and layers of flannel put on around us by all the stuff that we have, and especially in this country we have it so damn easy. We got to take the flannel off, we got to peel away the onion and get back to our core which is naturally resilient. It's kept us on the planet for one million years in some form or another species, we are resilient creatures just like dogs and cats and mountain goats and other animals, right? We could take a beating and keep on ticking. And so how do we peel away those layers? Well, in our very soft society in this world we live in you're going to have to manufacture some adversity, you got to practice it, you're going to have to take micro doses of tough.

And here's the thing, if you do it alone most of us, you and I doc will push ourselves to the red line, but if you do it alone and I do it alone we'll take it to level five, if we do it together we might take it to level eight, if we do it together and we have an instructor we'll take it to level 11. So you could push yourself only so far, the gas pedal only goes so far, you definitely have to have some friends around, and then I would argue, it's going to sound self-serving, you got to sign up for something that scares the shit out of you, you got to sign up if it's scary. I remember once, you'll like this, I was in Scotland at one of our events and here's one of the things I do, one of the tricks I use in my brain, I saw two 50 pound tent weights, they were holding down the tent, they looked like dumbbells, and it was raining out and we were getting ready for this race in Scotland and my mind immediately said, no Joe, don't do it.

And as soon as my mind said, don't do it, I said, I'm going to carry those two 50 pound dumbbells through the course, oh, don't do it, I'm going to do it. And the more my mind said, don't do it, you do a quick analysis, it's not going to kill me, I guess I could quit, it's going to suck, it checks all these boxes, it's completely outside my comfort zone and then a little trick I do is, how do I make it fun too? How do I make it fun? And so I found a bagpiper and I paid him a couple of hundred dollars and I said, "Can you just follow me on the course playing the bagpipes the entire time while I carry these two weights." And so I made it fun, I turned it into a story, it was incredibly hard, I wanted to quit 50 times but I got through it, and the next time I'm doing something hard I can reflect back on that.

So you got to practice it, you got to get way outside your comfort zone, you gotta have friends around you, by the way, this is not Joe De Sena, this is ancient Spartans figured out if they were going to live a stoic lifestyle, if they were going to push themselves and become the ultimate warriors, they had to be around a group of people that believed in we're going to do the same thing otherwise it wouldn't work. You couldn't have 80% of the population doing it, everybody had to buy into this so you got to find a bunch of friends that when you're not feeling it they're feeling it, you prop them up, they prop you up and then you got to sign up for really hard challenging outside your comfort zone things. And I guess before you do all that it starts with the acceptance that there is a reason for this because if you don't accept that there's a reason to do hard your mind is going to shut it down when you're in the middle of hard.

Dr. Dan Stickler: Yeah. You remind me so much of my favorite coach, you may know him, Dan John.

Joe De Sena: I don't know Dan John.

Dr. Dan Stickler: Oh, Dan John is an amazing coach just like you, I mean, he competes in the Highland Games every year and he has these athletes he trains, decathletes, for the Olympics but he's also a big power lifter. But he said, these people would come up to him and they'd say, hey, I'm not ready to work out, I haven't done my pre-workout drink and I need my protein drink and everything like that, and he said that people nowadays just don't get it, he said, I go into the Highland Games and I do a couple of shots of scotch before I go to compete. And this is a guy who is just like, get in there and do it and quit trying to analyze, quit trying to do the questions and just get in there and do it. Yeah, you should hook up with him because you guys are alike.

Joe De Sena: I think Dan John could be the official trainer of the Death Race.

Dr. Dan Stickler: Oh, he would love that, he would absolutely love that.

Joe De Sena: Connect us, that'd be amazing.

Dr. Dan Stickler: I will. So we've talked about the mind, we've talked about the physical body, how about diet? I mean, is there something with the diet that will, and this is an obvious question, but that will help with resiliency? What's your technique with that?

Joe De Sena: Well, let me ask your audience this, let's just say we were an automobile, I love analogies, let's say we were an automobile and our goal as an automobile was to race across the desert, the Baja 500, we're a rugged automobile. And we make sure all the parts of the vehicle are rock solid and the shocks are strong and the outer covering and we got helmets, we did everything we could from a training perspective, all that stuff is organized really, really well, and we got our maps laid out, we got our mind right. So we got our mind right, we got our body right, we're ready to go Baja 500, what if we don't use the right fuel? It doesn't work. So I see this all the time with kids, my boys, I have two boys, two girls, the boys wrestle and they work so hard training every day and they win some and they lose some but they still don't understand how important diet is.

It seems to creep in once an athlete gets to college or goes beyond and it's just frustrating because here you are doing all that work and then you're going backwards at least 20% by having a poor diet, I believe fitness starts in the kitchen. You could see a very, very fit person just eating well and exercising minimally, you can get a lot done eating well. So now, I'm a personal believer in minimizing the amount of animal protein, I don't eliminate it completely but I minimize it. I'm a big believer in more vegetables, more raw foods, salads, I recommend a big salad with every meal and after that you're going to eat meat, fish, not eat meat, fish, vegan, keto, whatever, it doesn't matter, but at least a big salad with every meal I believe and a lot of water.

I was pushing this idea of two giant glasses of room temperature water every morning upon waking, I've now changed that in the last month to a liter of water every morning upon waking and that's from a Japanese doctor I met said, Joe, two glasses is not enough, and I feel 1,000 times better on a liter. I'm a big believer in not eating two close to bedtime or too close to waking, that just makes sense to me. You're going to like this, I used to clean swimming pools, I used to clean 700 swimming pools, me and my team, I had a swimming pool business when I was young, every week so I became very intimate with a swimming pool. A swimming pool is 20,000 gallons of water, the human body, call it, 10, 13 gallons of water, it's basically a swimming pool. It's got a pump and a filter, it's got a heart, it's got lungs, it's got kidneys, right? So it filters out your blood, a liver, just like a swimming pool has a pump and a filter.

Swimming pool by the way, if you dump a bunch of leaves in the pool and French fries and coffee and beer and all the things we eat and you turn the pump off and you don't clean the filter the pool turns green pretty quickly and that's 20,000 gallons of water and we're only 10 or 13 gallons of water. We're tiny and we're expecting these tiny little filters we have and this tiny little pump to clean out our blood and clean this whole swimming pool and we're feeding it garbage every day. So when you ask me about diet, I don't know, pretty freaking important to me. By the way, it doesn't mean I don't make mistakes, I make mistakes every single day, but what I don't do and what you can't do if you're listening or watching this, I don't throw in the towel based on a mistake, the mistake is that meal, right? We got another meal coming up afterwards, let's get it right next time.

Dr. Dan Stickler: Yeah. And we educated our clients a lot about really feeling into the interceptive aspects of the body because we see this in a lot of our athletes and special forces soldiers, they tend to have this ability to really read what the body asking for. People will ask me, well, should I fast in the mornings? So I'm like, well, are you hungry? Is your body hungry when you get up? And most people aren't really hungry when they get up, they just tend to eat, so we get them to start listening to the body. When they're running, I mean, it's amazing that with these special forces guys and the athletes they seem to know what they have in the tank and how fast they can go and they know if they exceed a certain thing they're not going to make it there. And I've seen so many people be able to learn that and I think we've lost that connection because of modern society. I mean, even just the light bulb has changed our circadian patterns and we're not following what the body really is asking for or needing.

Joe De Sena: There's no doubt about it. We sit and watch too much screen, we sit and eat too much, 75% of us are chronically dehydrated, we're not drinking enough water. Most people are waking up drinking a cup of coffee, getting dehydrated, before bed they're drinking a couple of beers, they're getting dehydrated. They're completely dehydrated, they're overeating, they're not sleeping enough and they're not sweating enough.

How to Build Resilient Families

Dr. Dan Stickler: Can you tell us a little bit about what you're talking about in your new book, the 10 Rules for Resilience, as it pertains to families? I mean, where does this mental toughness come in for families?

Joe De Sena: Well, I mean the biggest thing, when I would tell people individually how to become tougher it's got to start with true north, what is your true north? Because if you don't know where you're going, like when you get in a car and you don't put in your address, assuming you don't read maps anymore on paper like you and I used to do, but if you don't put in the address, if you don't know where you're going you're going to go in circles, you're not going to get there, right? So you have to have a true north individually and as a family. It's like a code of arms, hey family, let's sit down, what do we stand for? Because we need a place to reflect back on when we're having a tough time.

Wait a minute, dad said, mom said, we stand for this, whatever that thing is, there's no judgements here, you guys have to decide as a family, as a company, as a group of friends, what do you stand for? From there, what rituals are you going to take on each day that ladder up to what you stand for? What is your belief system? What is your language related to what you stand for? And then everything else is the stuff we're talking about if you want to be more resilient like, as a family get your diet right, as a family get your exercise right, as a family start to understand that you're all feeding each other a lot of bullshit and let's get rid of the bullshit and let's focus on the stuff that really makes a difference.

Let's drop the devices, how much screen time is your family spending wasting time? Right? What time does the family go to bed? Because it becomes a negative cycle. If you're putting the kids to bed late and then they're having a tough time waking up forget about even working out, they're having a tough time waking up, they're late for school, you're stressing the entire family, that leads to fights, you want to set yourself up for success not for failure. And this really stems, this book stems from the fact that we're raising four children now, hopefully in 20 years we'll find out that what we say is working, who knows, but I suspect it does. But folks around us were so shocked that we would be out early in the morning working out, that my boys might be carrying a kettlebell from their friend's house to mine, that I didn't want the kids to have cookies when we were out.

These were things that made so much sense to me based on the conversation you and I just had and didn't make sense for the rest of society around us except for a few neighbor that would start sending their kids over and say, hey Joe, would you mind if the kids come over and start working out with you and pick up some of the lessons? And that happened anywhere we lived, whether it was the farm, we lived in Singapore for years as a family, we lived in Japan for years as a family, we lived in Vancouver for years as a family, Boston, now we're in Florida. Anywhere we went families would start showing up after a while and dropping their kids off to be with us.

Dr. Dan Stickler: I mean, we raised five boys, my wife and I, and they're in their mid and early 20s and they complained a lot about the way we ate, the way we kept them doing activities, taking them on adventures like rock climbing and all that. Now they look back on it and they're grateful for that and they actually live a very healthy lifestyle and I think that example is so important when it comes to the families. What you were talking about with the screen time, I mean, it was about 15 years ago my wife and I decided all we do in the evenings after dinner is sit around and watch TV and we just said, we've got to stop doing that.

And so what we did is we started going to bed, we go to bed anytime between 8:00 and 9:30 and it's rare that we ever go to bed after 9:30. But we wake up between 4:00 and 4:30 in the morning and that is just such a productive part of the day for us from a relationship standpoint, from an activity standpoint, because nobody is up and we have from 4:00 to 9:00 of our own time. And in the mornings you have no desire to watch TV or anything so that's off the table and it really changed our life dramatically by shifting our lifestyle in that way, so I love that you're saying that.

Joe De Sena: The biggest mistake most of us make is we set our alarm clocks for the morning but really we should set it for the night, right? The alarm should be going off at 8:00 PM. What the hell are you doing? If you don't have a late night job what are you doing past 9:00 PM? What are you doing?

Dr. Dan Stickler: You're watching TV or you're playing video games, some people will read and I'll give them credit on that one but, I mean, the shift for us was dramatic. I mean, most people in the evenings their brain power is zapped anyway, I mean, they just don't have anything left in them so that's why they tend to choose the stuff that doesn't require much thought processing at that time. But yeah, I love that you're on board with that approach as well and it's been a big thing for us. So what's next for Spartan right now?

What’s Next for Spartan?

Joe De Sena: Well, we landed a CNBC television show that launches February 22nd and it's basically applying everything you and I just spoke about to business. So the same way we're recommending families should build resilience, we're recommending businesses should build resilience. And I bring businesses to the farm and we literally put them through the paces you would be proud of and they come out stronger for it. So that launches Feb 22, that's been a lot of work leading up to this. Thank God the world is opening back up, even though cases for COVID are through the roof it appears that everybody has learned finally we got to live with this, there's no way out other than just deal with it. And we eventually we want to be a house of brands so whether it's hiking or biking or running obstacles, whatever it is, if it's really, really challenging and it's going to break you down we're interested, that's who we want to be.

Dr. Dan Stickler: I love that. And I very much enjoyed talking with you. We've never met before but I was at the Spartan Championship in Tahoe three years ago and I think you were there, I didn't get a chance to meet you, I was there but.

Joe De Sena: I bet we met.

Dr Dan Stickler: But it's been a real pleasure, I love what you do, I love to see it growing the way it is and hopefully be adding more and more things to the mix to really build that life of excellence for people.

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