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Recruit: Welcome to the Special Ops Journey

Stew smith

Going Into Special Operations Programs as a Candidate is Very Similar to this Mountain Road in this Picture:

It is dark. You can see the beginning of the path, but the unknown around the corner appears to be going up a steep hill and into a cold and dark winter storm. Welcome to the Spec Ops Journey!

Prepare Smart or This Journey Can End Before it Even Starts

When you're preparing to join a military special operations program, you need to make sure you're as fully prepared by doing the hard work…not just interested in joining. You're embarking on a journey that will require intense physical, mental, and emotional toughness, and you need to be ready to take on the challenge. At some point in this journey, all you can do is get tougher.

Preparing properly for military special operations programs requires a great deal of dedication and hard work. You must be in peak physical and mental condition and have a strong sense of commitment to the task at hand because your desire will be tested and you need to have an answer WHY you still want to do this when the days turn dark, it is cold and wet and sandy, and there appears to be no end in sight to the evolution you are enduring. 

The first step in preparing for a special operations program is to get yourself in the best physical shape of your life. You'll need to develop power, strength, speed, agility, endurance (run, swim, ruck), muscle stamina, flexibility/mobility, and grip to be able to complete the rigorous physical activities required of you to get both TO and THROUGH the training program (aka selection).

Next, you should get familiar with the military's physical fitness tests in the branch of service you are considering. These tests are designed to measure your physical abilities and evaluate your readiness for a special operations program. These initial tests are truly your entrance exam into training.

You'll want to start training for these tests early and practice the exercises until you can complete them with ease - even on a bad day. My advice is DO NOT even talk to a recruiter until you are crushing the fitness test that allows you to enter the gates of spec ops training (phase 1 of tactical fitness). THEN spend the remaining time you have before you actually start basic military training / boot camp focusing on the specific events of your selection (aka – phase 2 of tactical fitness – getting THROUGH the training).

Keep doing your research on your future profession. Once you've got your physical training in order, it's time to focus on the mental and academic aspect of special operations though if you are training hard and training even when you don't feel like it - you are building the discipline and mental toughness you need.

You'll need to be able to think quickly and clearly under pressure. You should begin studying up on tactics, strategies, and military history to stay sharp. Additionally, practice problem-solving and critical thinking exercises to help hone your mental skills. You should develop a thorough understanding of military culture and the regulations associated with special operations programs. You should familiarize yourself with the chain of command, military lingo, and the various regulations governing the conduct of members of the armed forces. Having a strong grasp of these concepts will help you to be better prepared for the intense training you’ll undergo.

Instead of having an arbitrary timeline to join, you should establish a performance starting line once you have achieved goals and objectives related to the program that you regularly assess (see assessment tool). Once you hit these standards of performance, it is time to join. This will help you avoid what most people who attend special ops training do – not be fully prepared. Additionally, it is important to learn to cope with stress and fatigue, as you will be more resilient to tough days and long nights of training you will encounter both during the program.

By taking the time to prepare for a special operations program, you'll be ensuring that you're ready to take on the challenge. Get your body and mind in shape, and you'll be ready to take on anything the military throws your way! Time to get training...

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 a 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.  

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 

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