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Be a Better Recruit Timeline

Stew Smith

Being a prepared recruit for any branch of service is on YOU.  There are processes to enter military service to learn, physical fitness standards to crush, and tough selection programs to prepare for. Many people ask how long that preparation must be - to be honest - it depends on you, your current fitness level, your general state of readiness, and of course - your goals. 

Here is a general timeline, that varies (longer or shorter) depending upon the recruits age, athletic history, and current fitness abilities. * Note - these are MY recommendations and not the US Navy or Department of Defense. 

* Note - these are MY recommendations and not the US Navy or Department of Defense.

Here are my recommendations to helping yourself along this journey:

1 - Crush the PST / PFT / IFT test before you ever talk to a recruiter.  Make your first PST an awesome event and a good first impression to perhaps one of the first special ops members you have ever met (or at least applied for a job in his world).  Consider this a job interview. 

2 - Now you can maintain your PST scores and focus on getting better at future events like longer runs and swims (4 mile runs / 2 mile swims with fins BUD/S for instance) or longer runs and rucks for Army and USMC preparation.  This may require some strength training if you are having issues with load bearing events (rucks, logs, boats, equipment, gear etc).  This progression can take some time if you are coming from an endurance background (strength building) and it can take some time if you are coming from a strength background (longer runs / swims).  Neither are easy processes and take time so be patient and give yourself time to focus on any weaknesses you may have. 

3 - Give yourself time to get through some training cycles. This may include a strength cycle or a high rep calisthenics and cardio cycle or both depending on your abilities.  Having the maturity to acknowledge weaknesses is critical.  Are you a cardio machine? 

Here is a video podcast that Jeff Nichols and I did discussing the process and being a better recruit.  Also one of the highlights is when we pretend we are the Sec Def or CNO and share how we would fix the process.  

However, the process is the way it is mainly because of the influx of unqualified candidates entering the pipeline through the recruiter process.  Really in the end, there with no excuse to not being a better recruit. 

Official Military Special Ops Recruiting Links:


Navy SEAL / SWCC  - (if going SEAL or SWCC)

Army Special Forces - Special Forces, Ranger, 160th SOAR, Civil Affairs / Psy Ops are jobs within Army Special Operations Command.  

Air Force Special Warfare - ParaRescue, CCT, TACP, Special Recon, SERE are jobs within Air Force Special Operations Command - ground fighters. 

Marine Corps - RECON Recruiting and MarSOC Info   

For You Special Candidates
(Get in Shape LONG Before You Join)

High Intermediate Military / Advanced Spec Ops
Building Programming:

Which Program is Right For Me?
It Depends...Special Ops Candidates  

(Special Ops) – Most of my programs tend to focus on getting TO and THROUGH a specific tactical training program.  So you may see a mix of all the seasons in some of these books, but if you are training long term, you can take advantage of Seasonal Periodization and save yourself some of the over-use, long term pains that tend to follow many of the tactical preparations - especially on the spec ops level of training. 

Start training today with workouts that focus on the specifics of getting to and through tactical profession training from firefighter, police, swat, military to special ops. We have programs to help you get TO and THROUGH training. We also have training programs to help you with training as you age in these professions (Tactical Fitness 40+ series). 

These programs have Lift Cycles in them as part of our Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization System. But, do not get these lift cycles confused with ACTUAL strength / power lifting programs, these are strength / power programs that also have a focus on cardio fitness maintenance BECAUSE you need to be good at all the elements of fitness and develop into an all-round Tactical Athlete.  

Most Recent Spring / Summer & Fall Winter Programs:
(click to read more)


Get Weekly Unpublished Workouts Tested and Evaluated by local Stew Smith Training programs. 

Stew Smith Fitness Membership You have access to years of workouts for both beginner / intermediate and advanced / special ops levels of fitness. Each week you will receive new and unpublished workouts being tested by Navy SEAL veteran / Stew Smith CSCS and his local group of future tactical professionals in both basic training and advanced spec ops training programming. The latest videos, articles, and other programming will be part of the weekly data feed to members as well. We go through the Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization program one week at a time.

Join the Online PT CLUB:
One On One Coaching with Stew Smith

If You Need a More Personalized Approach to Fit Your Needs, Goals, Time per Day, Days per week, Facilities, Abilities, etc...Try Online Coaching

Questions?  Just email me at

At - List of Products and Services

  1. FREE Articles
  2. Podcasts and Swimming Videos at page  
  3. eBooks
  4. Books and eBooks in PRINT
  5. Stew Smith Fitness Club membership site
  6. Online Coaching  


The Heroes of Tomorrow program was developed by former Navy SEAL Stew Smith, fitness author.  We can help prepare you for ANY profession that requires a Physical Fitness Test and YOU pay nothing for the training!  Warning - it is rather advanced but we can scale it back a bit and teach running and swimming techniques and help you build up to your goal level of fitness.


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