10 Takeaways from Spartan's Joe De Sena on the Joe Rogan Experience

Our favorite not-so-average Joes have finally met. America’s most popular podcaster, Joe Rogan, recently spoke with Spartan’s CEO (and fellow podcaster) Joe De Sena to talk about… well, whatever they wanted. Such is the nature of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast and YouTube show. Its casual conversations about anything and everything - both deep and shallow - have built an audience that consume 130 million downloads every month. 

While Spartan is the leading brand in obstacle course racing, exposure from Rogan’s show undoubtedly introduced De Sena and his brand to millions of listeners who had never before considered running an OCR. These were our Top 10 Takeaways from the Joe Rogan Experience | Episode #1514 with Joe De Sena.  

1) Joe Personally Helped a Man Lose 300+ lbs. 

Joe De Sena on Joe Rogan Experience Podcast

You may have read about the 697-pound man who Joe personally helped lose close to 400 lbs in 18 months, but we prefer Joe’s telling of the story. The regiment involved a diet of only fruits and veggies while hiking 10 miles every day on Joe’s farm in Vermont.  

2) Joe Rogan Disagrees. 

While the conversation was interesting, and the guys seemed to hit it off well, every hit was accompanied by a few misses. First, there was the hunting story on which Rogan called B.S. He also challenged Joe’s Spartan Paradox theory that suggests even if you’re not ready, go ahead and register for the race because nothing motivates better than an event on the calendar. Rogan pointed out that some people always choose to cram for the test rather than prepping for it over time. It’s a matter of discipline. 

De Sena also floated the idea of the U.S. government getting more involved with our citizens’ health including “getting everyone to bed earlier” to which Rogan balked on the grounds of individual freedoms. De Sena went on to point out how the government limited the advertisement of cigarettes because they’re harmful to consumers. Likewise, Joe and Joe discussed whether similar interference in the advertisement of unhealthy food might be justified.

3) Joe De Sena Has Mob Ties. 

Discussed in his book, Spartan Up!, Joe had a successful pool business in which he became the go-to pool guy for a number of mob bosses. In his discussion with Rogan, De Sena admitted to envying their lifestyle and even inquiring how he could become a major player in their world. Fortunately, it was a mobster’s wife who told Joe he didn’t belong. 

4) Kids Beg to Leave Joe’s House.

Okay, this was the best story from the entire Joe and Joe conversation. De Sena and his family invited several of his kids’ friends to come camp out at their house for a couple of weeks. However, if you’re even slightly familiar with the lore of the De Sena home, you should know this wasn’t just a hangout. It was more like boot camp, and kids were texting home to be rescued. A father of one of the kids shared his son’s texts with Joe who in turn shared the texts with the entire JRE audience. Priceless.  

5) Joe De Sena Looks like Bill Burr.

Joe De Sena looks like Bill Burr.

JRE isn’t just a popular audio podcast. Over 9 million subscribers watch the show on YouTube. That means there are a lot of viewers seeing De Sena for the first time and then describing him in the comments. We counted a couple dozen comments insisting that Joe De Sena looks like comedian Bill Burr. Actually, the claims are that Joe looks like a mixture of Bill Burr + William Defoe, Bill Burr + Steve Buscemi, Bill Burr + Matthew McConaughey, or Bill Burr + Michael Keaton. It was also suggested that Joe looks like a mix of Bill Burr and the host (Joe Rogan); or maybe De Sena is just "Bill Burr’s super fit brother." Do you see the resemblance?  

6) Both Joes Love Kettlebells.

We've already mentioned the man who Joe helped lose almost 400 lbs. through a restrictive diet and long hikes. The hikes eventually included both Joe and the man he was helping carrying sandbags. The sandbags eventually evolved into a 44-pound kettlebell that would be carried beyond the farm. Joe committed to taking the kettlebell EVERYWHERE

Joe has traveled to many countries with his kettlebell, and the process for securing it before flights has included putting it in strangers’ luggage. He’s even waited for it at baggage claim only to eventually hear it tumbling down the shoot and crashing into the conveyor belt.

These guys are the perfect match in that Joe Rogan mentions kettlebells regularly on his podcasts. Supposedly, some people’s drinking games include taking a shot every time Rogan mentions MMA, marijuana, or kettlebells.  

7) Only One Joe Feels the Bern.  

Joe Rogan publicly endorsed Bernie Sanders in January of 2020. So, it was no surprise when Rogan asked Joe De Sena about living in Sanders’s Vermont. “I’ve got to be careful what I say,” said De Sena. He went on to add, “It’s much better when people work for a living.” The Joes were able to agree on that principle, but seemingly disagreed on Sanders’s platform. Overall, the exchange was non-confrontational. 

8) Jacksonville was a Wake-Up Call.

Joe was grateful that Spartan was able to pull off the Jacksonville race amid COVID-19, and he knew shutdowns would be devastating on the economy. However, when traveling to the event, even Joe was surprised by how little precaution states like South Carolina and Florida seemed to be taking. Joe insisted that his event was as safe as possible and that his team deliberately went overboard in taking every precaution. Nevertheless, “It’s not shocking that,” De Sena started as Rogan finished his thought, “the virus is huge down there.” 

Since Jacksonville, Spartan has cancelled the remaining 2020 race season in the United States. 

9) The Joes Have Different Eating Restrictions. 

Joe Rogan doesn't want to eat a primate.

Truthfully, they both probably eat healthier than most of us. However, while Joe De Sena praises fruits and vegetables while referencing Doritos as the villain in most of his anecdotes, Joe Rogan seems down for almost anything he can hunt - with one exception. I don’t want to eat a primate.”  

10) Kids Camp May Become Spartan’s Next Big Thing. 

When Rogan asked De Sena what his next big project is, Joe doubled down on how much he believes in the kids camp (bootcamp) he’s been hosting.

We mentioned the kid who texted his parents to pick him up from Joe’s camp. The punchline is that he later thanked Joe for the experience. “After the texts I saw them writing their parents about how terrible I was,” Joe explained, “and then seeing 14 days later the impact? I want more.”

With an audience the size of Joe Rogan’s, every episode will receive positive and negative feedback. The overall tone of Joe De Sena's first appearance on the show seems to be positive and includes a number of comments from listeners pledging to run their first Spartan race as soon as possible.

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