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The Ten Rules of Tactical Fitness Training

Stew smith

 There Is A Process To Becoming A
Tactical Athlete...Here Are Some Rules:

When making a transition into the world of "tactical fitness", there are some things you need to consider whether you are a long time athlete in sports or completely new to training.  In no particular order (other than my personal preference), here are the Ten Rules of Tactical Fitness:

#10 - Understand the THREE Phases of Tactical Fitness if you want to succeed with your professional goals.

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

Focusing specific on the immediate goal is the best approach to not just getting INTO the training (acing the PT Test), but also focusing on events that you will see in your future training in order to graduate (boot  camp, basic, police/fire academy, SWAT training, Spec ops Selection). Then, you will find your training will change significantly when you are in phase 3 and an active duty operator. 

#9 - Your Weaknesses Will Be Exposed Near Immediately - When you take a fitness test or have to do challenging events in your training day, you will find that there will be something that you have to dig deep to pass. Assess Yourself Often.  If you struggle too much or fail, you found your weakness.  You do not want to do this in official PT tests or during a day of military training.  It is important to assess yourself regularly to see if you are making progress and turning a known weakness into more of a strength AND maintaining your strengths. 

#8 - Your success and spectacular achievement is only preceded by unspectacular preparation. Consistency, time, and patience allows you to develop resilience (the ability to handle stress better), durability, work capacity, discipline, and even builds mental toughness. You build all of these over time - which patience allows for. You build all of these through logical progressions which patience allows for. And you build a better foundation for growth and upping your game to new levels that will be required of you along your journey of challenging goals. In the end, patience allows for you to build confidence in your abilities through these stress inoculations of preparation. 

Getting Good at ALL of These Takes Time

#7 - Crush the PT Test, THEN Go to the Recruiter's Office - If you are considering a competitive program, you have no business even talking to a recruiter until you are crushing the PT Test. They are only going to take the best scores. You should already be well into Phase 1 of Tactical Fitness before joining. Then with the time remaining before you ship you can focus on Phase 2 of Tactical Fitness and actually be a graduate of the program you are seeking. Many people get TO the training, not many will get THROUGH the training.  Do NOT blow phase 2 off - most people do. 

#6 - Train Your Body To Save Another - One day your life, your buddy's life, or someone you are trying to help will depend on your physical abilities. Joining as a deconditioned and non-athletic candidate will lead to multiple issues typically with overuse injuries (tendonitis, rhabdomyolysis, shins pain, etc) even when enduring boot camp, basic training, police/fire academies. You do not have to be an athlete to be above average fit, but you have to work hard to get conditioned - like your life or your buddy's depended on it. The time it will require to build a decent foundation of fitness so you do not get hurt during training and able to meet the standards will take a few to several months for this subset of the population.  

#5 - It is NO ONE'S job to motivate you to serve your country or community but your own.  Do not look outside for motivation to serve. There is nothing wrong with motivation, but eventually your motivation has to evolve into discipline. Serving is a calling and should come from within as self-motivation and determination. Sure, you can be inspired, learn from, and be coached by others, but the reason why you show up everyday and stay even though you do not feel like is on you!  

This old poster was a source of inspiration for years for me. 

#4 - You Never Think About Quitting When You Think About Winning - You will either think about winning, surviving, or quitting. Surviving on the bare minimums is tough to do each day and will lead to pain and moments of weaknesses mentally. However, focusing on winning something changes everything about your attitude. The three mindsets are diametrically opposed to each other. Going through a program when there is a 75-80% attrition rate, competing to become one of the students constantly in the top 10-20% will keep you in good stead with those remaining classmate who graduate.  

#3 - There are no TIPS, Secrets, or Hacks that really matter to your success in getting TO and THROUGH selections. Instead of asking for tips, secrets or hacks, how about focus on hard work, processes, testing strategies, programming, and a never quit mindset. Besides tips are not useful unless you are fully engaged in a process of preparation toward a challenging goal anyway.

#2 - When your will is being tested, do not listen to yourself - talk to yourself. It is real easy to have that voice inside your head telling you to slow down, go get warm, asking what are you doing to yourself. I call this the Quit Demon and YOU have to be the voice inside your head that remembers your WHY. When it is cold, dark, wet, sandy, and you are tired and hungry, do you have an answer to that voice? You better come ready with one as the battle inside your own head is the toughest one you will face. At some point you moving another step will require "finding the fuel when the tank is empty". This is all done with your internal dialogue as long as YOU are the one talking POSITIVELY!

PC @McTeams3842

#1 - Don't ask me what the minimum standards are - I do not know them:  When joining a group where your physical abilities may be the difference between life or death for yourself, a partner, or a victim you are trying to protect, striving the minimum standards is not sufficient (they are too easy). You should Always Be Learning!  Keep doing your Research on the Process to Join. This will keep you busy as there is a lot to learn about a future profession in the military, police, fire fighters, and special ops. How do you get there? Pre-testing, What happens after basic training / boot camp? Where will you live? Take your time during the physical preparation process to also learn about getting TO and THROUGH the training. There are two steps but unfortunately over half of the applicants did not prepare well enough to get THROUGH the training. 

Check out the NEW Block Periodization Cycle we did Winter of 2020-21:

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 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 PFT Workout (Prep For Rucking, OPAT, ACFT)
Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout
Army Air Assault School Workout
Army Airborne Workout


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)


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