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The Best of 2018 - Stew Smith Fitness Articles

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Best of 2018 – Here are the articles that got 2018 moving in the right direction, made the most impact, and created some ideas for people to use in their own training plan. Check out the best articles of 2018 and see if you can take what you learned this year and apply it to 2019!  Let’s get after those goals!

1 - Crawling into 2018 – We started off the year crawling into 2018. The first article in January of 2018 was a piece about crawling as a progression from planking and other core exercises but as a fundamental movement pattern.  Even started off the year with a quote from Jeff Nichols (former SEAL / Exercise Physiologist) from the Tactical Strength and Conditioning Conference:  "If you think fundamental movement patterns are not important, try loosening the lug nuts of your car. Driving slowly, it may not be that noticeable, but pick up speed and you will better understand the need for proper movement."

2 - Don’t Just Train for the PT Test but we also focused on the importance of fitness testing on many levels of reasons.  When billets to enter programs such as Special Ops, SWAT, and branches of the military and departments in the law enforcement world are tight, the better you do physically on entry level fitness exams the more competitive you are.  Also, with the studies (Journal of Athletic Training (National Athletic Trainers Association) listed below, you can see how important a higher fitness level is to your performance in training and following longevity in active duty.  These studies took the performance on the entry fitness test of candidates and observed how they did in training.  The studies focused on overall physical performance as well as injury statistics getting to and through the training.

3 - Who needs a reason to train?  We all do!  Sometimes, we need concrete reasons “why” to train.  We created a top ten list of personal markers / bucket lists ideas that many find very helpful with keeping the motivation high to training. Check out the list for more ideas each year you train.  Here is a list of many standards that hard-charging military, police, firefighters, and equally tough civilians use as their benchmark of fitness.

4 – Special Ops Journey is Competitive – Every step of the way, the road to a special operations career is challenging. This was one of the first posts where we broke down the differences of Phase 1 of tactical fitness – Crush the PT test to get TO the training. Phase 2 – Prepare specifically to get THROUGH the training. Then Phase 3 of Tactical Fitness is Operator Fitness focused on mission readiness, maintenance, recovery, stress mitigation.  Know your place along the journey and prepare properly.

5 – Top Ten List – Ready to Serve – You may think you are ready to serve just because you turned 18 last month, but typically that is not the case. Especially, if you are thinking about special operations pipelines, you need to take MORE time to prepare for all the challenges in front of you as your assessment / selection program will find a weakness that you never developed into less of a weakness / more of a strength in about 2-3 days.  Join when you are ready – not just because you can – there is a huge difference.

6 – Dealing With Failure, Quitting – Growing Stronger – In a world where attrition rates are higher than graduation rates you will find countless reasons why someone does not complete any challenging special ops selection program.  There is only one way to deal with this and that is to become stronger from it or it will eat you alive. Keep the faith and keep moving forward and check out the article for some tips past this mental road block for many.

7 – The Tactical Fitness Rules – Developing your physical abilities and mindset are required during your preparation phases of training for anything challenging – especially in the tactical professions. There are different rules, strategies, and training methodologies you should understand before taking your training down the tactical fitness pathway. Traditional athletic training is not that much different, but you should be aware of some subtleties exclusive to tactical training. See the article for the “rules” that help to describe the differences in training as well as mindset.

8 – Tactical Fitness for Athletes over 40 has been a big hit with many active duty, veterans who still like to get after their fitness pretty hard. But there are some things you need to learn if you want to help yourself reduce the typical aches and pains of a life well-lived.  Fitness Over 40 and into your 50s was a popular article this year and led to an entire series of programs for Tactical Fitness 40+.

9 – The biggest problems confronting Tactical Athletes - In the world of Tactical Athletics, many mistakes are made by members of the military, police, and fire fighting. There are those who quit training after boot camp or police / fire academies and start to gain weight and get injured on the job.  There are those who go hardcore everyday with little to no recovery cycles and get injured training.  And there are those find the right balance of work outs to help with job performance, mobility, recovery, longevity, and probably most important – stress mitigation.  With the latter being the optimal goal for the tactical athlete, this article lists ways they are failing to meet that balance.

10 – And finally, we all need to refocus our efforts from time to time.  In this article:  Proven Methods to Rebuilding the Fitness Habit we discuss that we are all creatures of habit.  We can get out of habit very easily and build a habit of doing something else (or nothing) for a very long period. The longer you spend not exercising builds a habit of not exercising.  That is why in order to achieve a new goal you must deal with two habits:  one you must break and one you must start.  Article number 10 has a list of considerations that are reframed to help with dealing with the two habits.

Enjoy and I hope 2019 is better than ever for you and your journey!

Consider the new program created at the end of 2018! (Click)

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