Cart 0

Preparing to Get THROUGH the Training (aka Graduate)

Stew smith BUDS BUDs prep selection spec ops to and through training

Do Not Miss Out On What a
Majority of Spec Ops Candidates Fail to Do
(Train Specifically to Get Through BUD/S, Selection, etc..) 

Many people focus simply on getting accepted into difficult programs but never consider that they should also be preparing themselves for the challenges of getting THROUGH the training. This requires specific focus and ALWAYS a level up in effort levels. Believe it or not, most people do not know, understand, or have ever experienced what they need to do to prepare themselves. Here's why I say that... 

Most Spec Ops Candidates Think They Are Ready Because:

  • Often military / spec ops candidates will hear from the recruiter / mentor and other candidates that they must ace a fitness test to get a contract THEN they ship off to join the military. While that is true, you absolutely need to ace the fitness test to get TO the training, there is a whole new phase of fitness most people (80-90%) fail to prepare adequately enough for - Phase Two of Tactical FItness - Getting THROUGH the training and graduating. 

  • Yes, you must prepare yourself to graduate. And to be frank, Navy Boot Camp and BUD/S Prep is not enough to prepare you for the challenges of ANY spec ops program - specifically BUD/S.  This means longer runs, longer swims with fins, preparing for load bearing of log and boats (lifting weights), and rucking. 
  • If the BUD/S candidates had to take a PST immediately after boot camp in order to ship to BUD/S Prep, a significant number would fail to meet the standards to get into BUDS. If you go into boot camp with only a max effort level barely passing PST score, you will be failing after 10 weeks of the de-conditioning that takes place at Navy Boot Camp (comparatively speaking).

  • The PST has to be so easy for you that you will not fail it on a bad day, after a workout, or even while ill. That is the type of conditioning and toughness that has to occur well beyond just passing the PST. 

I used to believe I was ready like this too. Here's exactly what I mean:

I have not only seen this happen with my own eyes for decades, I was one of those people at 18 years old myself that thought my physical ability as a three sport athlete in high school was more than enough to crush PT tests and my first military training. I busted my butt in all ways (academically, athletically, academic test taking prep, working out for sports, leadership roles) in order to get accepted into the Naval Academy.  My goal was to play football and become a pilot at that age. Well - long story short, I did neither and failed my first fitness test and chemistry test.  I was on the fast track of failing out of the 4-year program. 

  • However, I soon realized I needed to UP MY GAME. I found good role models, people to emulate, and took advice from anyone willing to give it. Though I failed to make the football team, I did start playing rugby and had a great source of upper-class leaders on the team to learn from as they were crushing school, physical mission, sports, leadership, and were preparing themselves for their next challenge to become Marines and Navy SEALs largely. 

  • If I had not made this decision to work even harder than I did to get accepted TO the Naval Academy, I would have never would have made it THROUGH the Naval Academy. 

Then something happened that changed my mind completely: 

  • My personal change from pilot to SEAL candidate occurred largely because of the people who were going after these jobs. I wanted to be like many of my teammates and push myself even harder than I was. I wanted to UP MY GAME another level and serve with those same type of people. I knew that was not going to happen if I just focused on a fitness test. I took that TO and THROUGH mentality with me for the next challenge – getting accepted to attend BUDS after graduating from the Naval Academy. Once again, getting TO the training is just the start of a longer road of training to be fully prepared and ready to get THROUGH the training. It was a long journey, and I would do it all over again as it has made the difference in everything I have done since. 

This is what MOST candidates do not understand - There are THREE phases of tactical fitness.  

First, you must work hard to get accepted into any tactical profession.  Usually that means a variety of tests from physical, medical, academic, psychological, and even personal history checks. It is quite an ordeal to get accepted into these jobs, so you do have to prepare for those challenges. Getting TO the Training.

Second, once accepted you also have to have a solid physical foundation to endure the physical challenges of boot camp, basic training, academy, and especially spec ops selections like SEAL training. You will be an attrition statistic IF you skip this phase of training.  Getting THROUGH the Training. 

Then there is the operator phase (Phase 3) – You made it BUT...You have reached your goal, but the work never stops. It is just different. You will need to maintain your physical abilities but be in a constant state of learning new tactical skills which will come down to how well you mitigate stress and learn to recover from the day-to-day challenges that is being a tactical professional. 

There are always two sides to a coin of preparation for any challenge - getting the opportunity to pursue your goal and achieving your goal. The front side of the coin everyone knows and focuses on usually for too long that they neglect to concern themselves with the backside of the coin that needs even more attention. Getting TO then THROUGH the challenge requires an exponential level of increased efforts. If you arrive to your challenge unprepared with weaknesses, they will be exposed in the first week. You do not want to go that route - trust me. 

The most important thing to get with this is to know and fully understand that with any dream or goal you have in front of you, there are always three steps to becoming what you aspire to be. Getting accepted TO the program. Getting THROUGH the program. And continuing to grow as an active member of that program. You never stop leveling up on a challenging journey and goal achievement (and maintenance). Understanding these three phases will make the difference between success or not.


Remember - the PST will only guarantee you get TO the Training....Getting THROUGH BUD/S requires much more:  See How This Candidate Built Himself to get GOOD at everything:

See what is "good enough" - PST Type Scores for Spec Ops Training:

How about your durability-strength numbers? (click)

Training is What We Do: 

Need Programming for Fitness Tests and Beyond?  We are all about getting you TO and THROUGH your future training program.  See how that works.  

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

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.  

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


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


Online Coaching Options

Online PT CLUB - Weekly Workouts created personally for you.

New Member's Only Content / Services Program!

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.


Questions?  Just email -

At - List of Products and Services

  1. FREE Articles
  2. Podcasts and Swimming Videos (Youtube, TikTok, Instagram)
  3. eBooks
  4. Books and eBooks in PRINT
  5. Stew Smith Fitness Club membership site
  6. Online Coaching  

Stew Smith Fitness 


Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published