Ep68: How to Go From Couch to the (Spartan) Course | with Rose Wetzel, ANW

Rose Wetzel is a 2-time American Ninja Warrior finalist, a professional obstacle course racer, a personal trainer, and a new mom (as if she wasn’t running around enough already). She has spent her whole life pursuing athletic endeavors including trying out for the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials (coming just seconds short of making it), and she has literally run hundreds of Spartan races and other brands of obstacle course racing in her career. She is so good that she actually makes a living as a professional racer, something very few are able to accomplish.

Rose and I chat today not about what it’s like being a kick-ass elite-level obstacle course racer (even though she is indeed a badass), but instead she and I discuss what it takes for someone who wants to run their very first Spartan race. Beyond just the physical side of training (which we touch upon), we dive much deeper into the mindset you need to develop to get over the fears and apprehensions that so many people face when thinking about registering for an event they most likely aren’t capable of finishing…YET. We talk about how to set the right goals and create a “Diversified Portfolio of Motivations” so no matter how you perform at the race (or during any given day of training) you are set up for success instead of failure. And we talk about how to focus on small progressions every single day rather than much larger goals.

If you’ve ever been on the fence and thought to yourself, “Man it sure would be cool to run something like a Spartan Race, but I’m not ready yet. Maybe SOMEDAY…” then this is the conversation to inspire you to get off the couch and onto the course!

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • How Rose became one of the top female obstacle course racers in the world
  • Learning to enjoy pushing yourself out of your comfort zone
  • Reminding yourself that everyone has improvements to make
  • The importance of focus and a dedicated mindset in a sport like obstacle course racing
  • Confronting your fear by breaking daunting tasks into bite-sized pieces
  • Rose’s race injury and how she pushed through the pain to finish despite it
  • Planning and preparing for your obstacles before they surprise you
  • Setting performance goals, not weight goals
  • Sign up for the race first, then let your fear drive you to prepare you for it

Useful Resources Mentioned:


Stackit Mamas Facebook Page

Our Generous Sponsors:

This episode is made possible for you by Ergodriven, the makers of the Topo Mat, my #1 recommendation for anyone who stands at their workstation. The Topo is super comfortable, an awesome conversation starter, and it’s also scientifically proven to help you move more throughout the day which helps reduce discomfort and also increase your focus and productivity. Click here to learn more and get your Topo Mat.

Guest Bio:


Growing up in Seattle in a family of nine kids (could you imagine?!), Rose loved the feeling of running outside after tackling piles of dishes and laundry. Her love for running grew, and it landed her a track scholarship at Georgetown, where she met wonderful women she still calls her best friends, over a decade later. After college, Rose fulfilled a childhood dream of working at a summer camp before starting her own personal training business in order to encourage others to reach their health and fitness goals, while she tried to make the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. After coming up a couple seconds short in the 800 meters (half mile), Rose took a friend’s advice and tried a totally new challenge – an obstacle course race!

A perfect match for her running background, strength skills, and love of adventure, Rose became a professional obstacle course racer (thanks to sponsors like Clif Bar), running up mountains in Spartan Races around the country and flying through obstacles on the hit show American Ninja Warrior.

A year and a half ago, Rose and Tim, her husband, welcomed Baby Taylor Joi into the world, and after moving from Seattle to Boulder for more mountains and Ninja gym training options a couple months later, Rose battled post-partum depression for many months, finally emerging from the condition mentally stronger than ever. Her physical fitness recently caught up as she started the Spartan season strong last month, finishing Top 3 at the first Spartan National Series race, just one minute behind the reigning Spartan World Champion. She looks to race hard all year and inspire the moms out there to continue to chase their dreams if they so desire, and remember to make self-care a priority, through her Stackit Mamas program for new moms.

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared and published by Elyse Rintelman. The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).

Note: I believe in 100% transparency, so please note that I receive a small commission if you purchase products from some of the links on this page (at no additional cost to you). Your support is what helps keep this program alive. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor & producer (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, an American Ninja Warrior, and the creator of Optimize Yourself. He believes we all deserve to love what we do for a living...but not at the expense of our health, our relationships, or our sanity. He provides the education, motivation, and inspiration to help ambitious creative professionals DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time and creative energy so you can produce higher quality work in less time. “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people and passions in your life…all without burning out in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”