Book Review: Living with a Seal by Jesse Itzler

Book Review: Living with a Seal by Jesse Itzler

Book lovers, be forewarned. If you are not a fan of reading profanity, you can skip right over this review.

Waiting, waiting .... you've been warned.

My new favorite thing to say?

"Burpee test, motherfucker!"

A friend and fellow lover of the page messaged me the other night, telling me I had to read Jesse Itzler's "Living with a Seal: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet"—that it was a cross between "Born to Run" and a Rob Lowe memoir. I had just finished an upcoming piece of fiction that I wasn't all that enthused with, and needed something quick, funny, and inspiring.

"Living with a Seal" knocked it out of the park.

Make no bones about it—Itzler enjoys a lifestyle of which very, very few of us can relate. He's a former rapper, a co-founder of Marquis Jet and the owner of the Atlanta Hawks. And his wife? Well, she just invented Spanx. So, there's some serious coin to be tossed about by the family. The strange thing is, though, while that previous piece of fiction had me recoiling over the way the main character acted about her wealth, with the Itzler family, it's kind of a non-issue. They're living a glamorous life, for sure—but it just kinda feels normal. Plus, this is a couple that worked their asses off for it. Which makes living in the same building as Sting a little more palatable.

But I digress.

Itzler's already kind of a health nut. But he's a nut in a rut. And when he first sees SEAL at a group-style 24-hour ultra-marathon where he's running on a team of six and SEAL is a team of ONE, he's intrigued. So he tracks down SEAL and asks him to move in for a month, to shake things up.

So he did, and he did.

SEAL goes by SEAL. He is a Navy Seal, and he takes life very seriously. During the course of the book, it feels as if the reader learns very little about him, but at the end, you realize you've learned a lot. This is a guy that lives for honor. Lives for commitment. Never gives up. And, he likes to swear a lot and make Itzler do some crazy, crazy shit. Like ...

  • Stand balls deep in a frozen lake
  • Do a thousand push ups in one day.
  • Fireman carry him over and over.
  • Complete a burpee test mid-workday.
  • Get up at ungodly hours to run in Central Park. Every day.
  • Stay up late to run again, in Central Park. Almost every day.
  • Work out drunk.
  • Sleep sitting in a hard chair.
  • Get quotes for bulletproof windows for the weekend home in Connecticut.

SEAL IS A BADASS. And after finishing the book and whining about the humidity, I knew I had no excuse except to get my fat butt out the door for a run. SEAL gives zero fucks about any excuse you might have not to get something done. ZERO. He's there to remind you that you have no idea of what real pain and suffering is, and, he's right. My guess is that he's seen and maybe even felt what it's like, and being tired after a long day of work and returning to Central Park West for dinner in front of a game on TV is not it.

This was a great, quick read and a little reminder that excuses are just that. Excuses. Time to go run.

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