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From Chafing to Soreness: The Ultimate Recovery Plan for Special- Ops Trainees Post-HellWeek

Stew smith

Sleep, Nutrition, and Motion:
Some of The Best Weapons for Recovery in Special-Ops Training

PC: D.McBurnett @mcteams3842

If you've been through a grueling multi-day special-ops training event like Hell Week at BUD/S, you know how important it is to properly recover and prepare your body for the next several weeks of continued challenges. After the grueling gut check of events like Hell Week, you need to quickly figure out your recovery and rebuild as fast as possible. These tips apply not only to BUD/S but also to other special-ops training programs and rigorous military training within programs such as the Army and Marine Infantry.

First, avoiding banned substances, including supplements, is essential at BUD/S. You'll have to get extra protein and carbs from your food instead—lots of good food. 

Clean Everything - Take Care of the Feet and Avoid Infections - After a long day or several days of running and rucking in boots and wet/sandy clothes, one common issue is chafing and blisters. If you find blisters forming, clean them out and let them dry when you can. This may not be possible until the end of the event. When done, the number one thing you should do is start cleaning yourself. From the feet to your head, every crevice in between sand will continue to grind and create blisters and infections if you do not clean yourself immediately. Long showers and hot tubs will help get the sand that has started to scab over chaffing off your body. Get medication if you think any open cut is getting infected. An anti-biotic cycle can be helpful after swimming in open water all week. 

BUD/S students during drown proofing in First Phase. Don't mind the blisters,  chlorinated pool water will soothe the pain. [2160×2052] : r/MilitaryPorn
PC: D.McBurnett @mcteams3842

Let your feet dry out and all areas that are chaffed. Walk around in flip-flops or sandals for the rest of the weekend. Use alcohol to clean and help dry out the wounds. If the blister contains fluid, you can pop it with a sterile pin, making sure to get assistance from the class medic. Some people also like to remove the dead skin and clean the area beneath it, as sand is often trapped underneath. After cleaning, rub the blister with alcohol and let it dry and toughen overnight.

The next work day, you can cover it with duct tape or apply a generous amount of Vaseline before securely wrapping a bandage around the area. Wear a thin pair of polyester and rayon blend socks underneath the issue dive socks to keep sand out. Remember to clean the blister again at the end of the day, remove any Vaseline, apply alcohol, and let it dry. This process may take a few days. Once you make it to the weekend, avoid wearing shoes and opt for cotton clothes to allow the chafed areas to air out. Also, don't forget to protect your skin with sunscreen.

Motion is Lotion - Soreness is another common issue you'll have to deal with after the selection gut check training such as HellWeek, the Crucible, Team Week, and many other events that push students to and through their perceived limitations. Learning to use foam rollers and massage tools can greatly alleviate the pain caused by overuse injuries like tendinitis.

My advice is go back to doing the Mobility day you did (if you used my programs) prior to attending BUDS. It looks like this:

Repeat 3-4 times
5 Minutes of Bike or tread / swim (or other nonimpact cardio)
5 Minutes of stretching and foam rolling / massage tools.

*personally, getting in the water (warm) and soaking/moving is one of the best therapies for soreness (and continue to clean your body too). Find a pool and get moving with treading, aqua-jogging, or dynamic stretches in chest-deep water.  I would find time to do this multiple times over the weekend. 

To get a Massage or Not - I say no. Some consider getting massages but be cautious of deep-tissue massages as they may require additional recovery time. You don't want to add further trauma to your already exhausted body. You can find helpful foam rolling/stretching tutorials on YouTube if you're unsure about the technique.

Do Not Ignore Near injuries -  Joint soreness, pulled muscles, inflammation of soft tissues, and pain that persisted throughout the event but you sucked it up MUST be addressed. Clean open wounds constantly. When resting, elevation and compression of swollen feet and knees can help with swelling, but take time to move slowly after resting cycles. The less you move, the more stiff you will get. gentle massage tools and foam rolling may also be helpful with relieving pain, so address the pain through medical professionals and tender care of small aches that could get worse if not treated. 

#1 and #2 Most Important Pieces of Recovery (Nutrition / Sleep) - Wake up hungry and go to bed full. Sleeping and proper nutrition (food and hydration) is paramount to your recovery. Try to go to bed early and wake up refreshed as often as possible. Take advantage of the weekends to sleep in and ensure you never go to bed on an empty stomach. Like a bowl of cereal with milk, a bedtime snack high in protein and carbs is a good choice. Additionally, eat snacks throughout the day and evening after your three daily meals at BUD/S.

I recommend beans and rice with chicken or tuna as a post-dinner snack. Or order out and get burritos delivered to you. During the day, bring along honey packets, baby carrots, and apple slices for a quick and nutritious boost between events. Finally, don't forget to prioritize hydration and electrolyte intake. Consider including protein-rich snacks like beans, canned chicken, tuna, and fruits and vegetables like baby carrots and apple slices. Stay properly hydrated and replenish electrolytes regularly.

By following these tips and caring for your body, you'll be better equipped to handle the demands of a special-ops training program like post-Hell Week BUD/S. Recovery is just as important as the training itself, so make sure you give it the attention it deserves. 

Remember to prioritize your recovery as you navigate your special-ops training program. Taking care of your body is crucial to your success. These tips passed down from experienced trainees will help you overcome your challenges and ensure you're prepared for whatever comes your way. Keep pushing forward and never give up – you've got this!

There is More To than a You May Know

Who is Stew Smith CSCS? Coach, Trainer, Writer, PodcasterI'm the former Navy SEAL that tactical candidates go to for books, eBooks, local 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

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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.  

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Advanced Running Program - Special Ops Supplement Plan
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The FBI Academy Workout  |   FBI Workout Vol 2  
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