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Phase TWO of Tactical Fitness: Completing Training / Selection And Never Think About Quitting or Worry About Failing The Standard

Stew smith

Phase 2 Of Tactical Fitness: Completing Training / Selection And Never Thinking About Quitting Or Worrying About Failing The Standard

If you have read much of my writings or listened to my Tactical Fitness Report Podcast, you might have heard me talking about training to get TO and THROUGH the training.  This is a short way to describe phase 1 and phase 2 of tactical fitness training and preparation for candidates, recruits and students either seeking to enter or complete their prospective tactical training (boot camp, basic, academy, or spec ops selection). Everyone who starts this journey wants to graduate and become a member of the tactical population, but sadly the journey is cut short due to simply a lack of preparedness and a strong why you want to serve your country or community in the first place. 

If you're one of those candidates or recruits preparing for your future military, spec ops, police, or firefighter training who is serious about learning how to successfully complete challenging tactical training program (boot camp, basic, academy, selection), then this Phase 2 of Tactical Fitness - Getting THROUGH the Training / Selection Rules holds the keys you need if you want to avoid having to deal with failing the standards, quitting, or getting injured during training. 

The Point Of This Phase 2 Of Tactical Fitness - Getting THROUGH The Training / Selection Rules Is: You Have To Specifically Prepare For The Challenges That Will Be Required Of You In Training.  Sounds simple, but many of these are addressing the very things we normally are not naturally good at doing or even hate doing. Like running - many of us hate running. But we got good at it anyway. 

The #1 thing you need to understand with this is weaknesses are exposed on day 1 of training. Do not leave your conditioning, durability, and work capacity to chance by not being fully prepared. And that means Assessing yourself and giving yourself time to train properly so you limit weaknesses and endure the long days and nights of tactical training / selection. Don't set an arbitrary timeline to join - join when you are ready by meeting a performance starting line.

As a Candidate or recruit preparing for your future military, spec ops, police, or firefighter training you can't neglect this list because you do not want to be the guy who fails the standards or is so out of his/her league that quitting sounds like the best option. 

Photo by D. McBurnett (

Rule  # 1 - Assess Yourself And Focus On Your Weaknesses Using This Assessment Tool.

  • After you crush the PT Test, there is much more to do. Give yourself time to reach new levels of fitness by getting stronger to handle load bearing, rucking, obstacle courses and equipment carry. Get in even better cardio shape and run, swim, ruck longer and faster to meet and exceed the standards even on a bad day. Most people can easily get TO the training. But, when you know that 75-80% of the people trying out do not make it THROUGH the training - that should tell you something about how seriously you need to take your preparation. 

  • This level of training may take more time - that is fine. Work on the weaknesses so you have no weaknesses and you are a well-rounded tactical athlete with strength, power, speed, agility, muscle stamina, cardio endurance, and grip.  Not being so stressed out physically so you can learn quickly is also part of training as you will need to learn new tactical skills quickly. (SEE PICTURE)

 Rule  # 2 - 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 training class. You have two ways of getting through training: competing to win or struggling to survive.  The less struggling you do each day, the less you have to access the mental toughness you have. You will have to tap into this at some point throughout training, but the less often you push through perceived limitations the less likely you will get injured.  In the end, it depends on how durable you really are both mentally and physically. And, even though you are in compete mode, you still need to be a good team player and help those who need it as we all have a bad day every now and then. 
  • In fact, don't train for your own security, train like your buddy's life depends on it. One day, your fitness level will be part of the factors that you, your buddy, or someone you are trying to help survived a life / death situation. 

Rule  # 3 - You Never Think About Quitting When You Think About Winning

  • Use the "Train to Compete" mindset and take it to the next level making everything a competition even if it is just competing against yourself and a watch. Even if you don't win, you place yourself in good standing and a solid effort level that places you with the top of the class and that is important especially if your training program has a high attrition rate to graduate. Think about it - if you have a 75-80% attrition rate, is their room for being the bottom 50% in ANY event? Crush Everything is a real thing and you can do it IF you prepare yourself.

Rule  # 4 - Get On A Program That Exposes Your Tactical Training Weaknesses

  • Are you not a good swimmer and you know you will be diving and swimming? Make sure you get good and comfortable at swimming, diving, and treading with and without fins. CSS Training
  • Are you not a good longer distance runner? Running a 1.5 mile timed might feel like long distance to some, but when you soon will have 4-6 mile timed runs during your training, you need to build up your volume logically and progressively. Run faster
  • Are you good at PT tests, but not strong with weights? Build some strength with a few lifting cycles that will help you with the durability you need to lift and carry heavy loads for long periods of time without breaking. Add Lifts. Full Cycle of Tactical Fitness Periodization
  • Are you good with weights, but not good at high rep calisthenics? Get better at muscle stamina exercises by dropping the heavy weight and focus on your work capacity and ability to do many sets of moderately high repetitions for long periods of time. Add Calisthenics / cardio. 
  • We all come into this journey with some natural weaknesses and strengths mainly through our athletic history. Athletes have to be really good at a few elements of fitness and tactical athletes have to be good at all of them (strength, power, speed, agility, flexibility, mobility, muscle stamina, and endurance (run, swim, ruck). Tactical Fitness Programs
  • 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.  Be patient with the process, join when you are ready, and get good at everything!  See program ideas below: 

Now the thing for you to do is to 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). . 

The next step here is you should check out Book / eBook / Coaching Programs as they hold the answer to get TO and 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. Phase 2 has to be a significant time investment.  How long?  Depends on you and how you stack up with the initial assessment tool above. 

If you really want to graduate competitive tactical training and join the ranks of tactical professionals, check out 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 1 of Tactical Fitness - Getting TO the Training
Phase 2 of Tactical Fitness - Getting THROUGH Training
Phase 3 of Tactical Fitness - Active Duty Operator

If you want help, that’s what I do…. Check out these resources that have helped spec ops candidates succeed where others have failed for the last 20+ years!

There is More To than You May Know

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

Who is Stew Smith CSCS? Coach, Trainer, Writer, PodcasterI'm the former Navy SEAL that tactical 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

Where to Find More Information About Optimal Performance Training Programs

Consider the seasonal tactical fitness model. 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.  

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) 

Increase Strength & Crush the PST / PAST
3 Weeks Strength - 1 Week PT / Cardio Focus 
(16 weeks)

These programs will walk you through 4 cycles with 12 weeks of each season in two programs. 

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


Online Coaching Options

Online PT CLUB - Weekly Workouts created personally for you.

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If you want access to years worth of workouts, many of the top eBOOKs, favorite workouts of the week, free fitness APP, closed Facebook Group, video / picture library of exercises, and more access to LIVE Q/A sessions check out the Stew Smith Fitness Members Section

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.


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Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness store if you're looking to start a workout program to get you TO and THROUGH any tactical fitness training program OR create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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