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Charlie Engle on Lessons Learned Beating Addiction, Running the Sahara, Going to Prison, and More

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Charlie Engle on Lessons Learned Beating Addiction, Running the Sahara, Going to Prison, and More

Charlie Engle has survived addiction, run across the Sahara desert, and done hard time for a crime he didn’t commit, and in this interview, we talk about his story and the hard-won lessons he has learned along the way that we can all benefit from.

Charlie Engle has had a lot of ups and downs in his life:

  • He ran 300 miles straight, without a break.
  • He ran across the Sahara desert.
  • He almost died from a cocaine binge.
  • He was a producer of a top-rated T.V. show.
  • He served 16 months in federal prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

And as you can imagine, he also has a lot of hard-won lessons and wisdom to share that we can all benefit from, which is what this interview is all about.

If nothing else, maybe by the end you’ll have a few things to remind yourself of the next time you’re tempted to tell yourself that you “can’t,” because let’s face it—we almost always can.

For instance, I loved how Charlie dealt with being sent to prison for mailing loan documents that, unbeknownst to him, had been illegally altered by his mortgage broker, which he proved in court.

Yes, Charlie beat the IRS’s claim that he forged documents and proved that it was in fact his mortgage broker and he had no idea, but was still sent to prison because he mailed the fraudulent documents to the bank.


Anyway, as you’ll hear in the interview, Charlie made the absolute most of the experience and by the end, was saying a lot of sad goodbyes upon his release.

Oh and I have to also give a big shout-out to Spartan for inviting me to their world championship to interview Charlie, who’s working on a very cool project with them that you’ll learn more about in this episode.


6:43 – What was the most extreme thing you did before running across the Sahara Desert?

9:31 – How did you get an academy winning crew to create your film?

12:05 – Why did you run across the Sahara Desert?

14:06 – What lessons have sobriety taught you?

15:36 – How did you become comfortable with discomfort?

32:59 – Have you recorded an audio book before?

40:13 – Do you still have inertia when you begin a project?

41:35 – Why is your project called 5.8?

58:56 – Why was your tax return such a mystery to the IRS agent?

1:00:19 – Did you overstate your income on your home loan?

1:03:28 – Have you read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius?

1:07:48 – What plans did you have after prison?

1:13:26 – Did you get a prison tattoo?

1:14:55 – Are prisons privately owned?

1:17:29 – What’s next for you?

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What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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