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110: Joe DiStefano — Spontaneous Digital Detox

By September 14, 2017Podcasts
Reading Time: 4 minutes
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Could you go a week without your phone, email, Facebook, or even text messaging? Sometimes the thing we try to avoid is the thing we need the most.

Whole Life Podcast Joe DiStefanoMy guest today, Joe DiStefano, found that, despite his fears, a “digital detox” was exactly what he needed to break out of stress and stagnation.

For more than six years, Joe has been working with Spartan Race, Inc, and is now Director of Sport & Training Initiatives at Spartan Race. He has a bachelor of science degree in Exercise and Sports Science from Fitchburg State University, and has almost completed his master’s degree in Sports Psychology.

Runga RetreatJoe is certified through the NASM as a Performance Enhancement Specialist and Corrective Exercise Specialist and is also a Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. He has been trained at the C.H.E.K Institute as a Holistic Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach.

About three years ago, Joe created the first Runga retreat in Costa Rica with a woman he had just met. It was a spontaneous immersion in simple living, far from his hectic, stressful digital life, and it changed everything for him. Joe talks with us about his work for Spartan Race, his training and coaching, and how escaping from our digital prison can be one of the most important things we can do for ourselves.

Episode Bullets:

  • What is the Spartan Race?
  • Joe tells how he get involved in adventure racing and eventually ended up helping to run the Spartan Race.
    — 20 min
  • What are the different Spartan Race levels?
  • How many, and what kind, of obstacles does a Spartan Race have?
  • What is your role in the Spartan Race business, Joe?
  • How does one train for a Spartan Race?
  • Joe explains how he handled the “digital overload” that occurred when Spartan Race exploded
  • The spontaneous birth of the Runga Retreat
    — 40 min
  • Whole Life Challenge social media blackout backlash
  • The daily habits that are addressed in the Runga retreat
  • The incredible importance of breathing properly
  • The benefits of kettlebells
  • Incorporating kettlebells into your training
    — 60 min
  • Joe Di’s training for Spartan and life
    — 80 min
  • Where the name “Runga” came from.


Andy Petranek Whole Life Challenge

P.S. If you only have five minutes, listen at listen at 40:00 when we discuss where resistance to positive change comes from, particularly when it comes to our electronic life.

BIG THANKS to Joe DiStefano! If you enjoyed this podcast, click here to thank him on Instagram.

Episode Resources:
Joe’s website –
Spartan Race
Eco Challenge Adventure Race
Balance Bar Series
Joe DeSena
Ian Adamson
USARA – US Adventure Racing Association
Dr. Jeff Godin
Peak Death Race
Spartan Ultra Beast
Ben Greenfield
RKC (Russian Kettlebell Challenge)
Gym Jones
Bobby Maximus
Maximus Body book

Connect with Joe:
Coach JoeDi on Facebook
Joe DiStefano on LinkedIn
Spartan Race on Twitter
Joe on Instagram

If you enjoyed this podcast, here are some others to check out:
105: Eric Remensperger — Curing Cancer, Saving Yourself
97: John Durant — The Past Leads the Way Forward

Connect with Andy to offer feedback or ask a question:

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Andy Petranek
Andy is what you’d call a modern day Renaissance Man: a former professional trumpeter who attended the Eastman School of Music; a snowboarder, mountain biker, surfer, kayaker, outrigger paddler, mountaineer, and former Marine (Gulf War veteran); a professionally sponsored adventure racer; and the oldest participant to qualify for and participate in the CrossFit Games at the age of 43.

Andy is a certified CHEK Practitioner and holistic lifestyle coach. He holds a spectrum of certifications from CrossFit and is also a Vivobarefoot certified running coach. He has trained as a Zen buddhist and graduated with a Master’s degree in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica.

Andy founded CrossFit LA one of the first and most successful CrossFit training centers in the world and the first to be featured in national media. He is the co-founder of the Whole Life Challenge, Inc, currently its president, and is also a consultant and life/business coach. Andy lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Julia, and son, Dashel.