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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.

Who Is The Coach, Trainer, Author Stew Smith?

 I'm the former Navy SEAL that special ops 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

What Programs Are Right For YOU?

It depends on your scores compared to other successful students.  See the Assessment Tool to Make it To and Through Selection and se where you stack up with all the elements of fitness - not just a PST score. 


It depends:  The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness is a classic and focuses on high rep calisthenics and running and swimming base.  You will build up your running over 12-18 weeks to 20 miles but very fast paced focus on both the 1.5 mile run for the PST and the 4 mile timed run for weekly run test at BUDS. If you are an athlete with a strong power / strength background in lifting and not running or swimming, Navy SEAL Fitness is ideal for you. IF you need some place to start Navy SEAL Fitness is ideal for you as well because a calisthenics base / running / swimming progression is a good place to build a foundation.  Though you will likely need to spend some time in the Navy SEAL Weight Training Book OR if Navy SEAL FItness is too challenging, go with Navy SEAL SWCC, EOD, Diver, PST Phase 1 Workout.  Phase 1 is a good starting point if Navy SEAL Fitness program is too tough. 

Navy SEAL Weight Training - This is part two (winter lifting phase) of my SEAL Prep program. If you have done the Navy SEAL Fitness (12 weeks to BUDS) program a few times and need a break, this is the next program that integrates lifting with the Navy SEAL Prep training. This is ideal for people who have come from an endurance athlete background.  Athletes like swimmers and runners will also require some strength training as you will be exposed to challenges under logs and boats during the first phase and many miles of rucking 50+ lbs of backpacks and gear in 2nd and 3rd phases of BUDS.  Do not skip lifting in your year of training prep.  However, if you are coming from a powerlifting / football background, supplementing a few lifts into your endurance / muscle stamina focus plan is something you may enjoy especially if training for a year or more during your prep phase. 

Navy SEAL / SWCC, EOD, Diver Program Series - Phase 1 is what I call a beginner guide, but it is still challenging.  It is geared toward those who are scoring minimally or failing their Navy PST test - 500yd swim, pushups, situps, pullups, 1.5 mile run.  It is easier than The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness and a good prep course before attempting it. 

Phase 2 and 3 of the Navy SEAL / SWCC, EOD, Diver program is about the same level of intensity as Navy SEAL Fitness and is also a good follow-up plan after Phase 1

Phase 4 ot the Navy SEAL Key to Mental Toughness is by far my toughest workout ever created.  It resembles a day of BUDS, complete with "wet and sandy", runs after eating, high rep punishment push-ups, 4 mile timed runs, 2 mile swims with fins, log PT simulation, and even a HellWeek Simulator with 3 workouts a day.  

Tactical Fitness Series - Tactical Fitness, Tactical Strength, and Tactical Mobility is an ALL-encompassing program that focuses on lifting, calisthenics, run, ruck, swim, speed, agility, and flexibility / mobility. Many people focusing on USMC (OCS, RECON, MarSOC) Army Ranger / SF, Air Force Special Warfare, SWAT / Federal Law Enforcement, and Navy Special Warfare have done very well focusing on the Tactical Fitness Series and developing themselves into an all-round Tactical Athlete

The Warrior Workout Series - If you are solid with making your own workouts, but need some ideas.  This three part series has 300 workouts (100 / book) to pick from focusing on all the elements of fitness and training programs. Each book is organized with periodization cycles in mind along with calisthenics only, weights / calisthenics mix, cardio options and more. Warrior Workout 1   -  Warrior Workout 2  -   Warrior Workout 3. 


More Options:   

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.


Seasonal Tactical Fitness Programs 

Especially These That Are Used For Local Spec Ops Candidates Last Year


 OR Do You Want my REAL TIME Seasonal Periodization Training - Delivered Weekly?

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

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