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Phase One of Tactical Fitness: Getting Accepted INTO Military, Police, or Fire Fighter Training

Stew smith

Phase 1 Of Tactical Fitness:
Getting Accepted INTO a Tactical Profession - Military, Police, or Fire Fighter Training

If you're one of the candidates or recruits for military, police, or firefighter profession who is sincere about wanting to get accepted into a competitive tactical profession, then this list of rules holds the keys you need. Did you know that there are THREE phases of Tactical Fitness?

Phase 1 - Getting Accepted TO the training
Phase 2 - Getting THROUGH Basic, Boot Camp, Academy, or Spec Ops Selection.
Phase 3 - Active Duty Member in the Tactical Professions

Phase One of Tactical Fitness -
Getting TO The Training

Each of these phases are different and many people get lost and not fully prepared for the journey if not enough time is spent in each of the phases as you start training for the tactical professions. 

 This Phase One Of Tactical Fitness Is:

Crush The PT Test The First Time You Take It Officially And Show The Recruiters You Are A Serious Candidate / Recruit. 

Would-be candidates or recruits for military, police, firefighter, or Spec Ops profession get in RECEIVE MODE and listen to this: Consider the first fitness test you take as a job interview.  Prepare yourself to crush it on DAY ONE because it shows your recruiters that you are ready to go which means less preparation work for them. Failing a fitness test repeatedly just means you are under-prepared for the journey and the recruiters do not take you seriously.  

Did you know that this spells the difference between success and failure? You do not want to be the person the recruiter never calls back or never returns your calls or emails. Be a solid candidate and recruit and get treated with more respect from the beginning to the end of your recruitment process.

Rule  # 1 - Don't Ask What The Minimum Standards Are - Exceeding The Standard IS The Standard

  • You will not get very far is your peak is the minimum standard on any fitness test especially one that has competitive entry standards. Strive to be in the top of the recruit class with regard to taking tests - both physical and academic. Set your goals higher on the scale of passing as you will have bad days in the journey and you will want to know that even on a bad day, you can easily pass the physical standards.

Rule  # 2 - Assess Yourself And Build A Strategy To Acing The Fitness Test

  • When it comes to taking the official PT test that could make or break your hopes to entering the next phase of training, having practiced the test and creating a high standard for yourself is key. You should know how to pace yourself to achieve competitive scores and how to push yourself to break perceived limits. Hitting new PRs is a combination of recovery, fueling, hydration, and knowing HOW to take the PT test to perform at your very best.
  • See Assessment Tool for getting TO and THROUGH Training.
  • Do you know what is good enough? 

Rule  # 3 - Start Competing Now - Train To Compete - Not Just Survive

  • This is a classic saying I learned during my Spec Ops preparation journey. When you train to a higher standard, your mindset changes. You no longer just think about surviving an event, you can think about crushing it and being in the top of the recruiting class. Learn this early as it will be most helpful in Phase two of Tactical Fitness - Getting THROUGH the training (selection). Remember, keeping the eye on the prize will keep you moving forward and having the ability to push yourself harder than a majority of your training class will enable you to lead by example and help those behind you. Even though you are competing, you still need to be a good team player.

Rule  # 4 - Once You Ace The PT Test, Start To Add Specific Training Of The Next Step In The Process (Boot Camp, Basic, Academy, Spec Ops Selection)

  • Acing the fitness test and then focusing more on building a foundation of fitness so your body can get THROUGH the actual training (BUD/​S, SF, PJ, Fire, Police Academies) is the specific focus on training you must have. You can combine phases 1 and 2 once you are crushing the PT Test. Depending on your fitness level and athletic history, this process can take 1–2 years if you are at a starting beginner level of tactical fitness or as little as 4–6 months if you are a well rounded athlete.
  • A tactical athlete needs to be good at all the elements of fitness: strength, power, speed, agility, muscle stamina, cardio endurance (run, swim, ruck), flexibility, mobility, and grip. All are important to your training and profession.
  • Regardless, you do not want to go to ANY training program without having reaching near the maximum standards of the fitness requirements. Otherwise, the likelihood of injury, failure, other delays are higher.

 Rule  # 5 - Get On A Program That Exposes Your Weaknesses

  • We all come into this journey with some natural weaknesses and strengths. You can focus on maintaining your strengths and work hard to turn any weakness into a strength as they will be exposed near immediately in the fitness test as well as the next phase of training.

  • Trust me, you do not want to have a weakness even though we all have them and they are more of something you have to suck up and bring your game face to the event every day.  For instance, strength, power, speed, agility were my strength initially.  I was able to maintain those and get good at swimming, running, and rucking and high repetition calisthenics.  I still had to bring my A Game to many events to do well enough to be competitive in the class - running was the biggest problem, but I never failed any - I just was not that competitive in those events but did well is others like PTs, obstacle courses, swims, etc...I was on a program for about 18 months that was basically triathlon training to turn a powerlifting football player into an endurance athlete.

  • Be patient and get good at everything!  See program ideas below:

The next step here is you should check out Book / eBook / Coaching Programs as they hold the answer to get TO the training (as well as THROUGH the training).  You have to work hard to get TO the training (Phase 1 of Tactical Fitness) and you have to work harder to get THROUGH the training (Phase 2 of Tactical Fitness).  You cannot just stop and Phase 1 of Tactical Fitness. 

If you really want to get accepted into a competitive tactical profession, the amazing ARTICLES section for the latest in tactical fitness posts ranging from running, rucking, swimming, lifting, acing fitness tests, and mental toughness. " Military, Police / Fire, and Special Ops Training Series" makes it super easy for you!

Check it out here

Other Related Articles:
Phase 2 of Tactical Fitness - Getting THROUGH Training
Phase 3 of Tactical Fitness - Active Duty Operator

The Pipeline of Training Options: 

Start off with calisthenics and work your way up to high reps, weights, running, swimming, etc...See workouts that do not need much equipment!


EBOOKS (Military, Police, Fire Fighter, Special Ops, General FitnessMost 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. We also have training programs to help you with training as you age in these professions (Tactical Fitness 40+ series).


As You Advance Into Spec Ops Level of Fitness...Check out the Pipeline of Training Options below: 

Here's the answer for solving this issue with What Every Special Ops candidate Needs to Know once and for all. If you're a Special ops candidate and still have questions, this an article every spec ops candidate should read - and start your journey TODAY! Get all the FREE details here. This Spec Ops Candidate article link gives proven path of advice on training preparation to crush the PT test without failure to get TO the training as well as how to get THROUGH the training pipeline without wasting your time not seeing results.


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. 


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.  


Tactical Fitness Series - Tactical Fitness, Tactical Strength, and Tactical Mobility are ALL encompassing programs 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.  Check out: Tactical Fitness 
Tactical StrengthTactical Mobility 

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. 

Personalized Training Programs
There are many more options as well as 
personalized training programs.

Try Our Stew Smith Fitness Members Only Club - #1 Best Selling Tactical Fitness Programs

Questions?  Just email me at

At - List of Products and Services

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