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“It’s Hard Now”…(spoken in a tone of it is going to get much better)

Stew smith

Times May Be Tough Now...
But It Gets Much Better

Hard work, Patience, and Attitude are everything when you are going through tough times and trying to finish each day that leads to the ultimate long-term goal you seek. Attitude alone is more important than skill, fitness level, talent, and the past and future. Attitude is NOW and how you perceive what is happening to you NOW, but allows for a clear hope for a much better tomorrow and the ability to learn from past mistakes. A positive attitude brings these valuable traits to a life changing mindset.

I recently had two separate conversations. One with a minor league baseball player and the other with a BUDS student about to start First Phase / Hellweek. Both stated times are tough now (long days, and nights, under constant coaching/instruction, expected to perform better than you did yesterday, living away from home at a young age, etc.) but life is going to get tremendously better once I get through this phase of training/testing. 

The actual conversions went like this:

To the Minor League Ball player - I stated - "First of all, my wife and I are big fans so welcome to Annapolis. You guys don't have it easy - in fact this life is hard even though it is a game you love. Young guys away from home, working long hours (playing high-level sports), riding on busses for hours, and staying in cheap motels, are expected to improve during games 6 days a week for the 6+ month season plus off season games / training. We enjoy seeing your dedication to playing a game we love watching."  

The ball player stated optimistically, "Well, it's hard NOW..." This was stated with an attitude that he just has to up his game this year, get the call to AAA baseball team, and then one more level to the Big Leagues - a dream since he was in Little League as a kid. Later that week, this same ball player, hit a walk-off hit to win the game in extra innings. Attitude matters.

I know comparing pro sports to military special ops may not be seen as very similar situations, but the same positive attitude is needed in both and a constant new guy expected to perform at higher levels than yesterday is identical. I have always seen similar mindsets and levels of resilience and mental toughness needed to bring your abilities to the highest levels in any profession. 

To the BUD/S Student - I peppered with the typical questions - "Hey having fun yet (sarcastically)? How are you feeling (aches/pains)? Is performance on tests going well? How is your class/boat crew coming along? Has it gotten hard yet? 

He stated - "Yep - doing well. Above average on all the testing events and we have a good class so far. The days are long and tough for sure but it is so fun (and funny). I am tired and missing sleep but have no aches/pains (thank God) To be honest, I cannot believe I am here now - been waiting for this since I was an 8th grader. It is actually surreal. 

After some small talk about his class and certain events, he stated, "I'm just going hard until the next meal." At SEAL Training, you do get a break every six hours to eat, drink, and re-fuel up for the next events of the day/night. This attitude and foresight to create more bite-sized sub-goals are very helpful to the process of getting through hard times which are several months or years of grinding it out. 

By the way, this student has since finished Hell Week and is continuing well into the training pipeline. 

Congrats - You GET to Be Here...

No matter what is going on now in your life, the attitude that you bring to each day will make or break your ability to get through difficult times as well as your performance at optimal levels. As a coach, I see a wide variety of attitudes starting and finishing a workout. For most, a neutral or even negative attitude can change after a 10-minute warmup whereas a positive attitude just keeps getting better from the start. Before and during this magic 10-minute warmup, I often talk about the fact that “you do not have to be here right now – you get to be here.” Countless people in this world would gladly trade places with you to be able to train the way we do and just be able to run, swim, lift, etc., and can't due to circumstances beyond their control. Remember that. You GET to be here so make it worthwhile. 

Pay Your Dues Now…Tomorrow Will Be Better

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

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

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.  

Where Optimal Performance Will Be Tested Each Day

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 CFT 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


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

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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.


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