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Mental Toughness - THE One Stop Landing Page For Answers.

Stew smith

What is Mental Toughness and
How Do You Obtain It? 

This is an accumulation of years of articles and videos about the topic of mental toughness.  None of the below will make you mentally tougher - that is not how mental toughness works. 

Big Question:
Mental Toughness: Are you born with it?
Or can it be developed?

Picture from @mcteams3842 - Instagram

Answer:  Both.  As human beings we all have an element of basic survival instincts that will allow us to do amazing things that will keep us alive. But to fine tune these skills when not in a life or death or survival situation, this skill of mental toughness has to be developed. How is that done?  One scoop at a time.


There is NO one event, motivational poster, movie, meme, or saying that makes you instantly mentally tough. This process is truly a consequence of disciplined habits of doing things that are hard, uncomfortable, and consistent.  For instance, running a marathon or 100 mile race when unprepared for it is not going to build mental toughness - it will more than likely build aches, pains, and injuries that will most likely prevent you from training for months to follow.

You get TOUGH from the daily and consistent grind of preparing for that event - training when you don't feel like it, getting up early in the morning to run in the cold rain, or enduring the heat of the day. You build mental toughness one spoonful at a time, one day at a time, not all in one shot.  After all, there is a fine line between mental toughness and stupidity. 

Outdoor Workouts in Uncomfortable Climates is Also A WAY...

The Stages of Building Mental Toughness

Inspiration Phase: We develop a mental toughness skill through initial inspiration and motivation - something must resonate with you in order to make good habits that allow for you to expend excess energy chasing this dream. During this phase, we can use this motivation to start working, doing research, and building habits.

Habit to Discipline Phase: Once the initial motivation is gone, there will be days when you are not particularly energetic or motivated to work toward a goal, this is when your motivation has to evolve into discipline through consistent work. Without this discipline and will to work even when you are tired, mental toughness is not developed. 

Mental Toughness Phase: Self-discipline, confidence, and the ability to create new habits will get you through any challenging goal at this point and you will find it will transfer into all aspects of your life. 

Mental Toughness defined: 
Finding the fuel when the tank is empty. 

Here is a list of related articles and videos on the topic:

Are You Mentally Ready? 

Not Knowing the Difference Between Mental Toughness and Stupidity is Dangerous to your Health / Future Plans - There are Two Types of Mental Toughness: One We Are Born With and One We Have to Grow. 

Don't Listen to Yourself - TALK to Yourself - This is important.  Learn how to do this BUT you have to be positive. 

Five Steps to Building Mental ToughnessAfter recent conversations with a few different Special Ops friends (Army SF, SEAL, Delta, UK Army Commando), we all agreed that to really be one of the few who graduate Special Ops training, you eventually have to do one thing without care...

Twelve Questions about Mental Toughness (article / video) - This is a thorough reivew of the mental toughness topic asked from a teenager.

Mental Toughness - Is it an Art or Science?

How to Build Mental Toughness

Increase Mental Toughness During Physical Events

Mentally Tough - POwer of the Mind is Spec Ops Training

Ten Ways to Build Mental Toughness and Stay Motivated

Teamwork and Mental Toughness - More Important than Fitness

Can You Make a Special Operator?

Tactical Fitness Reports On Mental Toughness

Tactical Fitness Report 174 - The Mind Body Connection with Brain Savvy Training with

Tactical Fitness Report 168 - Stress Mitigation with BASE-R ® Method
- Related article

Tactical Fitness Report 147 - Motivation - Habits - Discipline (also read this)

Tactical Fitness Report 123 - Mental Toughness:  Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Tactical Fitness Report 13 - Defeat the Quit Demon

Tactical Fitness Report 8 - Mental Toughness Discussion

 SPECIAL - Never Give Up with Stew Smith

General Tactical Fitness Training Information 

Learn How to do Seasonal Periodization to Build Tactical Athlete Skills

Twelve Questions / Answers About Mental Toughness

Quitting or Not Quitting - The Choice is YOURS  

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 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. 

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 -

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