Conflicting Training Advice That Can Help You Get Through BUD/S:
There will be high physical standards, tactical tests, and medical tests to get through BUD/S. To master these testing events will require consistent training, technique, endurance, skill acquisition, and now testosterone and epitestosterone testing. The reaction to students using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) at SEAL training has led to a reason to test BUDS students for signs of abuse of testosterone or other PEDs that affect testosterone levels.
However, some who are clean and never used PEDs are getting caught up in the tests. Typical training advice starts with the following if you want to master your recovery and achieve optimal performance:
Ways to Boost Testosterone Naturally:
This is basic advice I normally give to any one who trains as well as follow myself to master both longevity and optimal performance:
- Eat a diet of fresh foods (avoid overly processed foods)
- Control your portions each meal - Avoid overeating
- Work hard to not gain weight from inactivity each year (5lbs / year can creep up on you)
- Continue to exercise FOREVER even if only 20 minutes a day
- Sleep well
- Learn stress coping skills (breathing, yoga, meditation, prayer, etc)
However, if you naturally have a high testosterone and low epitestosterone level, you need to follow some of the best and worst training advice I have ever given:
#1 Best Advice - DO NOT DO PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS OR SUPPLEMENTS AT BUDS – PERIOD. Higher testosterone levels can be deadly in BUD/S-like-training and yield greater than average numbers of people who cannot recover from Swimmer Induced Pulmonary Edema (SIPE) quickly due to heart inefficiencies. They also snowball into more serious ailments such as pneumonia, rhabdomyolysis, or become a heat casualty.
#2 Best Advice - Even if you are 100% natural, get a T/E ratio test done (testosterone and epitestosterone). You may have to go to a civilian lab as the Navy is not currently pre-testing this ratio prior to getting to SEAL Training. The chances are low that you will screen above the ratio limit if natural but a few students each class are having these very issues. The numbers when placed into a T:E ratio should be less than 4. Understand, a normal male should have a ratio of 1:1 however those who train smart, eat well, sleep well, and do healthful activities to increase optimal performance may see a higher level. There is unexplained genetics that can cause high or low T/E ratios as well. So, get a baseline test to see where you rank on the T/E ratio scale. If you are well below a ratio of 4, you are fine, however if you are border line, you may have to consider the worst advice a coach would ever give an athlete.
Ways to LOWER Testosterone Naturally:
This is advice I have never given (until now)...
If you are scoring high on the test and you have never taken supplements, consider these options to naturally reduce your testosterone. Once again, this is the exact opposite of any advice I would ever give for an athlete working hard to mastery recovery.
#1 Worst Advice but will reduce testosterone – (science behind advice) – Sleep LESS! Yes, if you sleep 7-8 hours a night now, drop it to 3-4 hours per night for a week prior to testing and you may be able to reduce testosterone levels by 10-15%. If you are naturally high with a 4.4 ratio, that could be the very difference for you get yourself within standards naturally.
#2 Worst Advice but it will reduce testosterone – Eat processed foods. Buy a package of ham and enriched white bread and enjoy the ham sandwiches you had when you were a kid for boxed lunches. Avoid meat and eggs and replace with soy products and plant-based meats. According to Medical News Today, there are several foods that can reduce testosterone by as much as 10-15%: Soy, dairy, alcohol, mint, omega-6 fatty acids...
Vegan / Vegetarian Diet Study – To be fair, there is conflicting research on the reduction of testosterone using a vegan / vegetarian (low fat diet). A few weeks may not be enough time to reduce the testosterone levels, nor would you want to prolong eating these types of supposed testosterone reducing food choices for too long anyway if you are about to endure selection.
#3 Worst Advice but will reduce testosterone – Be dehydrated when getting tested. Be careful here as foods that are natural diuretics and hard training that brings profuse sweating requires water and electrolytes replacement immediately. In a training environment like SEAL training there is not a window where this is a safe option. Foods like watermelon, grapes, ginger, cucumbers, onions, and caffeine are known for having a diuretic effect. Normal exercise can increase testosterone, however not rehydrating during or afterward may prevent that increase. I would avoid over the counter diuretics because if you are training hard the chances of becoming a heat casualty are increased.
Read this (links included - articles and videos)
So You Wanna Be a Frogman - Check out this list of articles / videos you need to watch.
Do not join the spec war training pipeline based on a time - do it based on your physical conditioning as it may take more time.
Getting THROUGH BUD/S requires much more:
See what is "good enough" - PST Type Scores:
Now how about your durability - strength numbers
Who is Stew Smith? Coach, Trainer, Author, Podcaster: I'm the former Navy SEAL that special ops 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 StewSmithFitness.com
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 just about anything. We have a systems 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.
My most recent programs that walk you through these four cycles with 12 weeks of each season in two programs.
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)
The Specific Military / Special Ops Physical Fitness Workouts Where Optimal Performance Will Be Tested Each Day
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