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"Exceeding the Standard IS the Standard"

Stew smith

"Exceeding the Standard IS the Standard"

 How to Crush the PT Test and Get Through Basic Training, Boot Camp, Police / Fire Academies, or Spec Ops Selection Without Even Thinking About Quitting...

There are many quotes about having high standards for yourself but this one can be applied directly to ANY student, recruit, candidate, or active member of any of the tactical professions to be better than average – be an asset – and actually be someone that trains like your buddy’s life depends on it. It does.

I can only speak for how I have seen "exceeding the standard IS the standard" work for myself and my students. Bringing your A-Game to your preparation then eventually your testing / selection will set you apart many ways:

  • You will never think about quitting when you think about winning. Exceeding the standard puts you in good company with those who win events in training.
  • Setting the highest of standards requires significant preparation, but during that journey is where the real magic occurs - you get stronger, faster, and more mentally tough.
  • Your motivation builds habits. Your habits build discipline. Your discipline helps you get to where you are going when you don't feel like moving. Your discipline allows you to find the fuel when the tank is empty.

  • Your motivation evolving into discipline and mental toughness will never occur IF you do not make "exceeding the standards IS the standard" as your mantra. It may not be that exact quote, but you need to set high standards for yourself especially with your fitness when one day your fitness could be the difference between life or death for you, your partner, or someone you are trying to help. 

The big idea here is that sure, minimum physical standards exist for a reason, but so do Cs and Ds in academics. These grades are passing and acceptable, but just average. If you want to stand out in any profession, being "just average" is not the way to go. This is particularly true for the tactical professions and especially special ops preparation, testing, and training. When only 20-25% of those who start actually finish, there is no room for average. .

Here's how this applies to us and get TO and THROUGH Training:

  • This quote will work for you only IF you make it work, by doing the work. You can read all the motivational quotes you want but until you put in the work, nothing will work unless YOU do. Once you realize this, you now have a high mark to reach. There will be work required no matter what the goal is. If you are below the minimum standards currently, keep striving for the standard then don't stop there. Make the maximum your standard - then build yourself to be able to meet them - even on a bad day.

So, let's put this into action:

Look at your goal objectively and start making sub-goals to achieve the standard first. Then set bigger goals to exceed the standard once you are making progress. But, you need to get on a program, seek guidance, look for mentors to help you if you do not know what you are doing. Once you have the mindset right, now you have to find smart ways to reach your goals within a reasonable timeline.

One more thing...

If you're one of those recruits, candidates, and students seeking to serve in any of the tactical professions whose #1 desire is to turbocharge this process, take a minute to Assess Yourself and Don't Set a Timeline - Set a Performance Starting Line of where you need to be compared to where you are now in relation to the standards. at the following three articles:

Getting TO and THROUGH the training so you understand this journey requires two phases of training.

Assess Yourself and see how you match up with recent spec ops level candidates who succeeded their operational goals. 

Set a Performance Starting Line - Not an Arbitrary Timeline that may leave you under prepared for your journey. 

This makes it easy for you to crush the PT Test and get through basic training, boot camp, police / fire academies, or selection without even thinking about quitting.

Training is What We Do: 

Need Programming for Fitness Tests and Beyond?  We are all about getting you TO and THROUGH your future training program.  See how that works.   If you want help, that’s what I do… Check out these resources that have helped spec ops candidates succeed where others have failed for the last 20+ years!

There is More To than You May Know

(In fact, there are more than 40 books, 1000+ articles, online coaching - and more) 

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
3 Weeks Strength - 1 Week PT / Cardio Focus 
(16 weeks)

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
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT
Navy SWCC Workout

Army / Air Force Advanced Fitness / Special Ops 

Army PFT Workout (Prep For Rucking, OPAT, ACFT)
Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout
Army Air Assault School Workout
Army Airborne Workout
Air Force Special Warfare IFT / OFT / Selection Prep


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


Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced Fitness Guides 

The Beginner / Intermediate Guide to Fitness
Reclaim Your Life  Erin O'Neill Story (beginner / intermediate)

Veterans Fitness  Baby Boomer and a Flat Stomach 
Circuit Training 101  Beginner / Intermediate Guide to the Gym


The Busy Executive Workout Routine
The Obstacle Course Workout  Prep for Races or Mil, LE, FF
TRX / Military Style Workouts  Adding TRX to Military Prep Workouts


Tactical Fitness Over 40 Series

Tactical Fitness (40+) Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3, Phase 4


Online Coaching Options

Online PT CLUB - Weekly Workouts created personally for you.

New Member's Only Content / Services Program!

If you want access to years worth of workouts, many of the top eBOOKs, favorite workouts of the week, free fitness APP, closed Facebook Group, video / picture library of exercises, and more access to LIVE Q/A sessions check out the Stew Smith Fitness Members Section

The dashboard below has the links to all the information, archives, videos, and links to workouts, podcasts, live Q and A lessons. 

Consider this! - A Membership Program and Gain Access to Exclusive Content
(click for Fitness Club Dashboard - members only)

Best of all, if you have questions, email Stew Smith himself (  Join the tactical fitness group discussions, latest articles, videos, podcasts at the Stew Smith Tactical Fitness Training Closed Group on Facebook.


Questions?  Just email -

At - List of Products and Services

  1. FREE Articles
  2. Podcasts and Swimming Videos (Youtube, TikTok, Instagram)
  3. eBooks
  4. Books and eBooks in PRINT
  5. Stew Smith Fitness Club membership site
  6. Online Coaching  

Stew Smith Fitness 

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Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness store if you're looking to start a workout program to get you TO and THROUGH any tactical fitness training program OR create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to



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