DiscoverPlaymakers: On PurposeNo Retreat: Spartan Up (ft. Joe De Sena, Founder & CEO, Spartan + Host of CNBC's 'No Retreat: Business Bootcamp')
No Retreat: Spartan Up (ft. Joe De Sena, Founder & CEO, Spartan + Host of CNBC's 'No Retreat: Business Bootcamp')

No Retreat: Spartan Up (ft. Joe De Sena, Founder & CEO, Spartan + Host of CNBC's 'No Retreat: Business Bootcamp')

Update: 2022-04-06


No Retreat: Spartan Up (ft. Joe De Sena)

Entrepreneur, athlete, and all-around fighter Joe De Sena on moving forward no matter what


“What I learned early in life was that I had to put, for me personally, I had to always have a fight on my calendar. If I don't have a fight on my calendar, I'm not pushing limits.”

—Joe De Sena


Joe De Sena is the founder and CEO of Spartan, the world's leading endurance sports brand. From Wall Street to rural Vermont, Joe turned his passion for adventure races and endurance events into the Spartan Race— one of the most respected adventure events on earth. Now a multiple-time New York Times bestselling author and host of CNBC’s new show No Retreat: Business Bootcamp, Joe’s work has been featured in Business Insider, Men’s Health, Inc., Forbes, ESPN, and the Joe Rogan Experience. 



[2:30 ] - The No Retreat Mindset

What Joe wants his viewers and listeners to know

Joe has built his life on the idea that we all can go so much further than we think we can. When we begin to feel ourselves getting pushed, we retreat. But what if we took that feeling of discomfort as a sign to push even further? What if we never retreated? Who knows what we might accomplish, individually and as a human race.

[5:03 ] - Want Toughness? Practice It.

Why toughness is like a muscle

The science agrees— mental toughness isn’t something you’re simply born with, and it’s not generational. Babies born in the 1800s were evolutionarily identical to us today. They survived without the internet, without AC or heat, without the ability to have whatever food they wanted anytime. And yet, they survived. Identify the things in your life that are causing your mental toughness to atrophy, and develop exercises that will help you strengthen it.

[11:09 ] - Marks on the Brain

The effects of facing challenges in children

Neuroscientists have shown that between the ages of 7 to 20 years old, kids that willingly take on hard challenges in life leave marks on their brain. These lines look like train tracks— and they’re the result of making permanent changes to the parts of your brain that determine resilience. When you practice resilience— and help young people in your life practice it— you create a generation of resilient, driven individuals.

[17:22 ] - Put a Fight on the Calendar

Advice from legendary boxer Mickey Ward

Mickey Ward once told Joe De Sena that while he’s always in pretty good shape, whenever there’s a fight on his calendar it inspires him to take his fitness to a whole other level. What’s the ‘fight’ you can put on your calendar to inspire you to stay resilient, stay tough, and stick to your goals and systems? 

[24:43 ] - Purpose & Resilience

Two principles connected by grit

Purpose and resilience are closely tied together. When you live your life with purpose, allowing it to drive your decisions, it strengthens your resilience because you have the confidence of knowing that the path you’re heading in is the right one for you— even if it's all uphill, through the pelting rain, with no shoes. Find your purpose and you’ll find your resilience. Develop your resilience and it will help you stick to your purpose.


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The WHY Institute

Are you ready to find your ‘why’? Our partners at the WHY Institute have created the single most high-impact assessment for finding your personal why in life and work. In just five minutes, discover more about who you are, how you think, and why you do what you do than any other personal assessment available.  

The best part? It’s completely free for Playmakers listeners. Are you ready to find our WHY in just five minutes? Take your assessment now.



The Playmakers: On Purpose podcast is an all-access pass to a purpose-centered tribe of leaders in business, sports, and life who are on a mission of meaning and impact. The show takes purpose from an out of reach North Star to a practical and tactical exploration of how we can step into each day, ON PURPOSE, where life no longer happens “to us”, it begins to happen “for us”. 

From the Why Coach of the San Francisco 49ers to your coach, take a seat at the table with sports industry executive, #1 bestselling author, personal transformation expert, turned senior leader and advisor to PurposePoint and the Why Institute, Paul Epstein, in this inspiring, yet immediately actionable podcast. 

From formative stories pre-purpose to personal and professional transformation’s post-purpose, each show will share a high-energy, prescriptive blueprint to ignite impact and drive inner success, fulfillment, and purpose no matter your starting point. It’s time to meet Paul at the 50 and get ready to live and lead ON PURPOSE.

Learn more at:


In Detroit, history was made when Barry Gordy opened Motown Records back in 1960. More than just discovering great talent, Gordy built a systematic approach to launching superstars. His rigorous processes, technology, and development methods were the secret sauce behind legendary acts such as The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

As a nod to the past, Detroit Podcast Studios leverages modern versions of Motown’s processes to launch today’s most compelling podcasts. What Motown was to musical artists, Detroit Podcast Studios is to podcast artists today. 

With over 75 combined years of experience in content development, audio production, music scoring, storytelling, and digital marketing, Detroit Podcast Studios provides full-service development, training, and production capabilities to take podcasts from messy ideas to finely tuned hits. Here’s to making (podcast) history together.

Learn more at:


Paul Epstein may not be a hard charging running back on the actual football field, but his list of high-profile wins in the world of sports will have you thinking that he could be.

Paul has spent nearly 15 years as a pro sports executive for multiple NFL and NBA teams, a global sports agency, and the NFL league office. He’s transformed numerous NBA teams from the absolute bottom in league revenue to top-two in financial performance. He’s broken every premium revenue metric in Super Bowl history as the NFL’s sales leader. He opened a billion-dollar stadium, helped save the New Orleans NBA franchise, and founded the San Francisco 49ers Talent Academy.

He's since installed his leadership and high-performance playbook with Fortune 500 leaders, Founders and CEOs, MBAs, and professional athletes.

Now, as a global keynote speaker, #1 bestselling author, personal transformation expert, turned senior leader and advisor to PurposePoint and the Why Institute, and host of the Playmakers: On Purpose podcast, Paul explores how living and working with a focus on leadership, culture, and purpose can transform organizations and individuals anywhere to unleash their full potential.

Learn more about Paul at


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No Retreat: Spartan Up (ft. Joe De Sena, Founder & CEO, Spartan + Host of CNBC's 'No Retreat: Business Bootcamp')

No Retreat: Spartan Up (ft. Joe De Sena, Founder & CEO, Spartan + Host of CNBC's 'No Retreat: Business Bootcamp')

Detroit Podcast Studios, Paul Epstein, Connor Trombley, Joe De Sena