Now more than ever, life requires a super-sized serving of mental (and, for people on the front line, physical) toughness. 

And while many a reality show has challenged its participants to prove how strong they are, a new summer series from CBS, Tough As Nails, does that with a twist: it highlights first responders, veterans, and everyday Americans. 

We've all seen the fitness competitions with ultra-fit athletes and we've even seen the obstacle course competitions with people just there for a good timeTough As Nails lands somewhere in the middle, with 12 challengers whose fitness and mettle comes from doing the hard jobs that keep America running; the cast includes a welder, firefighter, farmer, roofer, deputy sheriff, and a Marine Corps veteran, among others. The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan serves as host and executive producer.

Over the course of the season, competitors will be tested on the endurance and strength they'd use in their real gigs; challenges include laying railroad tracks and a timed lifesaving exercise. (Full disclosure, yours truly did this on a visit to the set one day — video to come — and it is hard.) In the end, one competitor will be crowned the Tough As Nails champion, although nobody will go home in the game. Even after they finish individual competitions, contestants will have the opportunity to win additional prizes in the team competitions that continue throughout the season.

Tough as Nails, CBSTough as Nails, CBS

Tough As Nails premieres Wednesday July 8 at 9/8c on CBS.