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Four Steps to Get Prepared for Spec Ops Profession

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Four Steps To Preparing Fully for
Any Spec Ops Profession

Often people will waste time during the preparation process and fail to work on weaknesses and maintain strengths they need to endure selection. Some won't even realize they have a weakness - the reason why is they did not understand the standards or their own abilities. That is why the first step before you join the military unprepared is to ASSESS YOURSELF or you can use the Funny or Die line of Check Yourself Before you Wreck Yourself:

Jeff Nichols and I did a podcast on these four steps and I want you to notice ONE important thing:  Did you notice that nowhere on this list does it say go see a recruiter.  Make step FIVE - once you reach the recommended standards before you do see a recruiter / mentor and start taking PST / PAST fitness tests. 

#1 - ASSESS YOURSELF: First assess yourself and read this article / watch the video I did with another Navy SEAL Coach / Trainer Jeff Nichols: Assessment Tool for Selection Prep

Do you want to know where your current fitness compares to most guys who succeed at BUDS / other spec ops programs?  Assess yourself and strive for these standards.  You may find some strengths that are above the standard - that is fine - maintain them.  You will find weaknesses - focus on them as we all had them during the phase of the journey. Turning weaknesses into more of a strength and taking strengths to spec ops levels may take more time than your arbitrary timeline 

#2 - SET A PERFORMANCE STARTING LINE - Don't Set a Timeline - Set a Performance Starting Line:  Now that you know your status and what you need to do, get to work. Read this article / video too as this timeline differs for everyone to truly be prepared. Over 50% of the people who attend these programs are grossly under-prepared physically which will quickly downgrade your mental confidence in your decision to be there. The preparation process could be as little as six months and as long as two years - just depends on your abilities, athletic history, and your assessment numbers. 

#3 - GET ON A PROGRAM - There are many programs that will save a lot of wasted time and money and to be honest help test self motivation and discipline.  Which one is right for you?  There is an article for that one too!

#4 - Do Your Research on the Process to Join the Military  - This will keep you busy as there is a lot to learn about a future profession in the military. How do you get there? Pre-testing, What happens after basic training / boot camp? Where will I live? Take your time during the physical preparation process to also learn about getting TO and THROUGH the training. There are two steps but unfortunately over half of the applicants did not prepare well enough to get THROUGH the training. 

There are many ways to prepare for military service and special ops preparation, I have A way that works for many - I don't have THE way.  Truth is THE way is the one that works for you and is part physical fitness preparation, mental toughness development, as well as personal will and discipline.  Your athletic history, strengths and weaknesses have to be addressed first and foremost and then a program can be arranged properly.  Primarily, what are your strengths and weakneses you bring to the starting point? This will determine how you should start training. 


My advice for anyone who seeks this profession is this:  ASSESS YOURSELF, SET GOALS OF PERFORMANCE, GET ON A PROGRAM, DO YOUR RESEARCH - THEN join the military when you have successfully crushed the PT test and started on your journey to get THROUGH the training.  


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 a 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


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

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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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