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Don't Listen to Yourself - Talk to Yourself

Stew smith

Your Body is Ten Times Stronger Than
Your Mind Will Let it Be

Photo by D. McBurnett @mcteams3842 instagram

Your mind will quit on you long before your body will, but you have to have a well-prepared body to go with your mental toughness as there is a FINE line between mental toughness and stupidity. 

This is not a weakness or lack of mental toughness, it is actually a survival skill. Humans / all animals are built to survive. When you put your body / mind through stress (real or perceived), your brain is working to relieve the pain and suffering as quickly as possible in order to survive the situation. Hormonally speaking physical stress, emotional stress, work stress and life / death situations put you into a survival mode and it does not differentiate what is causing the stress. The goal is to relieve it quickly by flooding the body with fight or flight hormones and survival thoughts. 

So yes - Your body is 10 times stronger than your mind will let it be. In order to tap into this "hidden strength" you need to know a few things and be able to do a few things:

1 - Positive Self Talk with Deep Breath - This 1-2 punch is required to turn off the voice inside your head and replace it with your own positive thinking.  Take a deep breath, focus on your goal and why you are there in this situation and get through it. Remember your why and start talking to yourself - quit listending. You may never completely turn off the inner voice in your head and that is OK, but you do not have to listen to it as long as you have a solid go-to answer when the Quit Demon starts to show up within the inner dialogue. 

Running Alone in Sub-Freezing Winter Wind Chills Before Dawn

2 - Understanding the Compete Mindset - If you are not going into any challenging journey in your life with a kick butt and take names mindset, you may have to endure the above quit demon more than you prefer. One thing is for sure is that you will never think about quitting when you think about winning or being the best at something. That kind of compete mindset pulls you away from the barely survive mindset that many people have. Stiving for the minimum standards in physical an d academic events along the journey of both preparation and the actual event / challenge / selection, etc. is going to keep you in the survival mode and not in a compete mindset.  You may not win everything, but you will win something along the way and be in the top 20-25% of the class with the compete mindset.  This standard is important if your journey entails a course of instruction that has a 50-75% attrition rate. Only the best make it. 

Photo by D. McBurnett @mcteams3842 instagram

3 - Turn off the Noise - Can you turn off the voice so you never hear the discussion of quitting even enter your brain.  YES!  You can do this if your why is strong and your life's journey and spcific preparation has helped you build the confidence you need in yourself to endure WHATEVER comes at you.  There is a fine line though between high confidence and over-confidence.  Both under-confidence and over-confidence are killers in tough life challenges. Check the ego at the door and be willing to learn at all times. Smiling in the face of the pain, cold, discomfort will help you turn off the noise believe it or not - try it - it completely changes your mindset if you can just force a smile. 

4 - Team Player - Worrying about the other's around you is also another way to help turn off the inner noise of quit demon. To be honest, between being there for your teammates and having a strong why that helps with confidence is all you really need. In an interview for a previous article, I asked more than 50 special operators, doctors, and lawyers (some both spec ops doctors / lawyers now) about their journey and if they ever thought about quitting.  100% to everyone I asked, no one ever thought about it seriously. The idea pops into your head of course when people all around you are dropping like flies in the first few weeks of training.

A few did mention that the hardest part of training was when their friend, training partner, or roommate quit. You have to be a good team player but you cannot be so tied into the team that you feel like a failure too if your buddy quits. Shake it off and keep moving forward.  Before you know it the quitting pretty much stops and you will know who your new crew is and you can rely on them more than ever when times get really rough. 

So putting this all together, the goal is to not quit and you do this by staying focused on the reason why you started this journey in the first place. People lose sight of that initial motivation, but if you trained correctly and you will have built solid habits and a strong foundation of preparation for what you are enduring, you will have the discipline to keep going when the motivation is low. Yes - your initial motivation has to evolve into discipline to work when you are tired, cold, and don't feel like you can move another step - but you still do anyway. That is unlocking the power that you have inside of you when  you quit listening to the quit demon.    

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Who is Stew Smith CSCS? Coach, Trainer, Writer, PodcasterI'm the former Navy SEAL that tactical candidates go to for books, ebooks and online coaching to prepare themselves to get to and through intense tactical assessment and selection programs and qualify for service in their chosen tactical profession.  See More at

Where to Find More Information About Optimal Performance Training Programs

When you start training again, consider the seasonal tactical fitness model.  I call it A WAY to train and obviously not the only way to train. But it offers the opportunity to never neglect your weaknesses, helps with flexibility and mobility, but will also put you at a level of physical abilities where you are happy with your overall ability to do just about anything. We have a system where the seasons dictate our training. When it is nicer outside, we tend to run and do more calisthenics. When it is colder and not so nice, we lift more, run less, and still maintain our outdoor activities with shorter runs and rucks. Check it out: Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization System.  

These Seasonal Tactical Fitness BLOCK Periodization programs will walk you through 4 x 4 weeks cycles with 16 weeks of each season in two programs. (32 total weeks)

Increase Strength & Crush the PST / PAST
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These programs will walk you through 4 cycles with 12 weeks of each season in two programs. 

The Specific Military / Special Ops Physical Fitness Workouts 

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1
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Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT
Navy SWCC Workout

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Army PFT Workout (Prep For Rucking, OPAT, ACFT)
Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout
Army Air Assault School Workout
Army Airborne Workout
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Advanced Running Program - Special Ops Supplement Plan
USMC OCS / TBS Workout


The Combat Conditioning Workout
Air Force PJ / CCT Workout  Battlefield Airman Prep Course
The UBRR Upper Body Round Robin Workout / Spec Ops version


The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer / Navy SAR Workout
The Service Academy Workout (West Point, Navy, Air Force Academy)
The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Boot Camp Workout


The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Workouts

The FBI Academy Workout  |   FBI Workout Vol 2  
The DEA Workout
The FLETC Workout - Ace the PEB
The PFT Bible: Pushups, Sit-ups, 1.5 Mile Run
The Fire Fighter Workout - Ace the CPAT


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