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Getting Prepared For a Hard Day's Work vs In Shape to Pass a Fitness Test

Stew smith

A Hard Day's Work and Adding Workouts
Before or After

Times have changed. Some for the better, but also somethings that our kids do today expose a weakness in the system of preparing ourselves for any of the tactical professions. Working out and handling a hard day's work are two different things. There is such a thing of being in "work shape" as well as being in "workout shape". You need both as there is no workout that prepares you fully for a day of tactical training - especially special ops training. Your work ethic throughout your hard work journey will prepare you for the hourly challenges that come with a long day's work, especially when that work is manual labor in the heat of the day. 

So Are You Farm Strong Too? 

Farm Strong Article

One of the things that helped me at a young age create a better foundation of work ethic was waking up at 5am during the Summer Break during high school and working in the watermelon patch.  The hours were typically 6am until 6pm and we made $50 for every semi-truck we could fill that day.  Some of the days turned into later nights so we could finish a second truck with melons. 

Then after a decent day of work in the field, most of the crew were part of the football team and we would go back the high school weight room and get after it for a lifting session during our pre-season training. It was what we did then and it was fun growing up in rural North Florida. During school, we also had PE classes every day for an hour. I think the system was good preparation for your basic military fitness training programs even with little to no personal preparation.  Our life and sports were preparation enough for military, police, and fire fighting service jobs right out of high school or college. 

It is Up To Us Now

Times today are not that simple - I am not saying today is worse and this younger generation is weaker than our generation. Today's kids just have to work harder to seek out these challenges and they often are done in extra-curricular activities as club sports, personal workouts, and other competitive racing event preparation. There are still many manual labor jobs, in fact, today's article was motivated by a young man asking about training after 10-12 hour days laying black top. See my Stew Smith Live Video below:   

Today's generation are squeezing in more college classes in high school than our generation did (which is NOT easy).  They are not being offered daily physical education classes anymore and can only take it as an elective when it fits into their academically challenging college prep courses. However, there are the few who do not go after impressive internships and actually get hard work done in the summers.  Many of our local guys who train with us get an early morning workout accomplished then work in warehouses, move furniture, do landscaping, construction, and a few commercial divers. There are people still putting in the time working out hard and opting to do manual labor jobs as they need the money but also see the benefit of getting "WORK STRONG". 

How Do You Do Both? (You Will Need Both)

As mentioned in the video above, you have to have your recovery components balanced perfectly.  That means your nutrition for energy and sleep for recovery have to be rock solid. Sure, you can add more Recovery Tools of the Trade to help with the missing 10% of recovery, but if you solidly focus on nutrition and sleep - you have nearly 90% of your recovery you need. When working long hours in the elements, you have to be fully hydrated all the time and if sweating profusely, you need to add your salts (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium), but for the most part sodium is the most critical to your performance at work and during workouts afterward. Eating throughout the day is needed as well meaning snacking throughout the day if exerting yourself with workouts and manual labor for long hours afterward. Remember every meal is recovery from the previous workout as well as well as energy for the next workout.  And your sleep is the ultimate recovery tool that you cannot neglect. If you do, you will see many of the over-training symptoms that lead to poor performance even if your training, work load, and nutrition are locked on.  Sleep is the key to recovery.  Get some!  If you can get 7-8 hours a day that is ideal for optimal recovery.  Anything close to that is still good - just not perfect.  Sometimes your situations requires "good enough". 

One day, you will see the hard work that goes into a day of military training. If you are seeking a special ops level of service, that preparation has to be even more structured around your athletic history, workouts, and work load (school  / work). Of course, you have to ace a fitness test to get TO the training, but there is a lot of preparation that follows to get THROUGH the training. This journey will make you tougher - I promise. I know it is awesome to workout hard, come home and take a nap, and work out again later in the day, eating and hydrating all day at your convenience. This method will be great for getting the perfect PT scores on fitness tests and regular selection events, but the overall grind of the day is what crushes people in the end at spec ops selection programs. You have to prepare for the grind as well.  Meeting deadlines with projects and work or school, being on your feet all day, just getting things done - and done well is what you also have to consider during your preparation phase.  Has your life prepared you for that type of grind? 

Stew Smith Leading PT at USNA Summer Seminar

If this article teaches you anything, you can always work harder and your schedule could always be worse. Sometimes, you just have to take the harder path and you will never regret getting through long days and nights when you put in the time and effort to get a job done well and on time. Your world in the tactical professions will require the same mentality and work ethic as you have to be willing not to be out worked by your peers.  This mindset will serve  you well especially during your special ops selection and throughout your career no matter what you do in life. 

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VIDEO TESTIMONIAL:  Jim started with me several years ago needing help with his fitness and health. Over the years, we became friends and even business partners on a few joint ventures - I still send him weekly workouts. Here is a video testimonial that was placed in the middle of his podcast - I was shocked but wanted to share as it is a great story and quite typical of clients on any of the Online Training Programs.

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Which Program is Right For Me - Special Ops Candidates 



Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1 Beginner Weeks 1-9 
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3 - Intermediate Weeks 1-12
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4 Grinder PT - Four weeks before Hell Week

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.  

Navy SEAL Weight Training Book
Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness Book

The Pipeline of Training Options: 


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. 

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


and even more at Complete List of Books / eBooks...

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. 

At - List of Products and Services

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  5. Stew Smith Fitness Club membership site
  6. Online Coaching 

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