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Top Things to NOT Say to a Recruiter...Instead Do This!

Stew smith

Recruiter Office Visits - Be Prepared and Know What You Want to Do (before you join)

If you do your research, there should not be a great deal of information that you need to ask the recruiter for any military job. Sure, some of the processes, paperwork needed, and test prep will be helpful new information to you, but going into a recruiter's office not knowing what you want to do and being physically and academically unprepared for it is pure immaturity on your part. Yes - you may be too immature to join just yet. That is why one of my top pieces of advice for people going into the recruiter's office is to DO YOUR RESEARCH. 


Do Your Research - Go to ALL the official websites of the Department of Defense / DHS and read about the job opportunities, physical fitness requirements, and ASVAB scores you need for certain Army or Marine Corps MOS, Air Force AFSC, or Navy and Coast Guard Ratings.  Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), Air Force Specialty Codes (AFSC), and Ratings are also known as professions in the military and will be what you sign up to do (if you qualify). There are over 800 job to choose from - finding one that interests you is not that hard IF you take some time to look. 

Air Force Careers

Navy Careers

Marine Corps Careers

Army Careers

Coast Guard Careers

Conflicting Information vs. No Information

Yes, if you do your research you may see conflicting information on the internet on max / minimum PT scores, medical waivers, ASVAB point waivers, moral waivers, age waivers, MOS / job availability, processes in training, and much more. The conflicting information are good questions to ask.  But to be honest, the problem is not typically the vast information you may find on the internet, it is actually the recruit / candidate actually doing so very little research that they allow themselves to be put into a system at the "needs of the military" service you select. This is a crap shoot with your future and may be the difference between you enjoying the next 4+ years or absolutely hating them. Be a better recruit.  Show some initiative and figure some things out on your own - then verify information. 

Try it....It Works

Verify Information

The number one reason why YOU need to be a better recruit and do your research is because you may be told a variety of things that get you into the military when you are either not physically ready, not doing a job you are interested in, or being told something that is wrong or untrue about your journey. The less prepared you are the more likely you will not qualify for the job you want and be more likely to join with HOPE to get to your first choice one day.  That may or may not happen depending on your research knowledge.

Here are some things you will be able to avoid IF you do your research:

By avoiding research you are not caring about your own future and not showing up treating this as a job interview.

Have an Interest in Your Own Future
- Never walk into a recruiter's office and say, "Well, what do I qualify for? What jobs can I do?" A good recruiter may ask you what your interests are while looking at ASVAB and high school grades, but some will say, "you will make a great nuke, or medic, or air crewman." These suggestions are usually tied to what is the job needed most by that military branch at the time. 

Do NOT Go Into a Recruiter's Office and hear a suggestion of "you should be a SEAL, Special Forces, or Marine RECON (etc)". These are jobs you should have been thinking about / preparing for many months / years and not done on a whim.  If You Are Seeking Special Ops Programs - You may have no business talking to a recruiter until you are truly prepared physically to crush PT tests with a solid foundation fitness under you. This may take many months or years to finish growing and training hard enough to actually be competitive in a highly competitive program like all of the special ops jobs in the various branches of our military. For instance, a 17 year old kid who wants to go to BUDS who could run but weighed about 125lbs and could not swim was going to talk to a recruiter after one workout with our group. He is wasting his own time and jeopardizing a timeline he may need to train longer that the delayed entry program (DEP) allows. People get shipped into the Navy after failing the PST month after month all the time. 

Lateral Transfers - I get it. Sometimes a person's home situation requires joining the military quickly and if you see a job you want, you can lateral transfer if you are a good candidate later as an active duty enlisted or officer too. In certain cases, joining one job to do another job makes very little sense so do not fall for that one unless you need to join as soon as possible. Make sure you do your research however and select a job you are at least interested in doing while you prepare for other jobs (Special Ops, Diver, Medic, Intel, etc). Sometimes, meeting the standards for these as a civilian candidate is difficult and a way to get there is through the lateral transfer process. However, when year groups are full or your current job is undermanned, leaving your current job for another job may not be possible. 

Don't Ask:  Can I get PRK in the military?  Yes you can is the answer and it is NOT a lie, but the process will still require 2 or more years time before you are eligible to transfer with improved vision. PRK Surgery In the Military- Sure the military will do eye surgery for you and you will not have to pay for it out of pocket.  However, the wait for this surgery takes time and you have to pick your second choice that allows for your current vision issues to join. Even if you get surgery in a year or 18 months after basic / boot camp (rare - it is usually longer), you still have to go through the lateral transfer process which takes a few years to be eligible as you get close to the end of your first tour. The good news is you will get time to train before and after work usually on bases with great training facilities.  Plus after eye surgery, you are not eligible to join a new job with more strict vision requiements until after 6 months after surgery. Those two years you needed to prepare for the special ops job you wanted in the first place can be spent in the military if your lateral transfer process works for you. Most people get the surgery done BEFORE they join, wait the six months getting extra prepared, then go crush PT tests, ASVABs, and other entrance processes when ready.

Don't say, "I heard I can take the test at boot camp and change jobs if I pass." You may have heard this from someone in the military in the 1980s, but this is not the processAvoid the Sign Up Now - Transfer to the Job You Want at Boot Camp BS - Many people will get told that even if they do not meet the physical standards for a certain job, you can get into better shape at boot camp and take the fitness test again and change jobs. This process is ancient history.  You used to be able to do this and get order to SEAL / Diver / EOD training if you crushed the PT test. Now with the Warrior Challenge, you will be tested and qualify BEFORE you go to Boot Navy camp during DEP with the mentors and scout teams.  The same holds true for Air Force Special Warfare as you will work with mentors during the DEP process. Army and Marines are different as you will go through a training pipeline that starts to prepare you as a war fighter doing Infantry training, pre-selection, and assessment and selection programs during your first year or so in the military.  


The above issues are not made up. Countless people over the years have experienced these situations with people at basic training / boot camp right now still thinking they can take the PT Test soon and qualify for special ops programs. Make sure you know that special ops programs can be in your enlisted contract and any job for that matter. Though there are some jobs that more experienced active duty members can only do after a certain time in their job as part of career advancement. You should understand what jobs are part of the enlisted contract and what jobs are not. There are over 800 jobs in the military you can do, find one that you think you will be interested in doing. Changing jobs is part of the system so if your first job is not your dream job, keep trying with the lateral transfer process. Understand this will require patience and being a good performer in your current job.   

Fitness for Beginners - Get Started for Free!

Most people who enter the recruiters' offices are seeking regular military jobs and on the beginner spectrum of fitness. Please consider the following before joining the military:

- Run - Learn how to run and get in shape to run 2-3 miles without stopping.  See beginner / intermediate running plan.  But, you may need to start off with just walking depending on your fitness level. If you played sports that had a little bit of running in it (football) or no running in it like swimming, you need to practice running regularly to get over the growing pains accompanied with impact cardio like running and rucking. To do well on timed runs, you need to practice that distance at a goal pace. Learn about GOAL PACE Running. 

- Calisthenics - You will be doing calisthenics not only throughout the day in basic training, but as a fitness test as well.  Get used to exercises like pushups, crunches, plank poses, pullups, squats, and lunges to work the entire body.  If you need some ideas, see the programs below that address all the physical fitness challenges you will see in preparation, testing, and basic training and beyond. The Boot camp, PFT, Bible, and Cals and Cardio are all encompassing workouts that will prepare you for the challenges of Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard basic training and fitness tests as well. The Army and Marine Corps will require more challenging workouts and fitness testing.  See links of the books below to see more details of the Combat Fitness Test you must be able to accomplish when you join. 



DO NOT RELY ON THE MILITARY TO GET YOU INTO SHAPE AT BASIC TRAINING.  You will get into better shape for sure during your training if you arrive in lower fitness form, but you need to arrive with a foundation of physical fitness that is specific to your future job in the military / fitness tests / training. If you show up out of shape, you could end up failing standards or injuring yourself causing longer delays or removal from training altogether. 

For You Special Candidates (Get in Shape LONG Before You Join) 

High Intermediate Military / Advanced Spec Ops
Building Programming:

Which Program is Right For Me?
It Depends...Special Ops Candidates

The Pipeline of Training Options: 

It depends:  The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness is a classic and focuses on high rep calisthenics and running and swimming base.  You will build up your running over 12-18 weeks to 20 miles but very fast paced focus on both the 1.5 mile run for the PST and the 4 mile timed run for weekly run test at BUDS. If you are an athlete with a strong power / strength background in lifting and not running or swimming, Navy SEAL Fitness is ideal for you. IF you need some place to start Navy SEAL Fitness is ideal for you as well because a calisthenics base / running / swimming progression is a good place to build a foundation.  Though you will likely need to spend some time in the Navy SEAL Weight Training Book OR if Navy SEAL FItness is too challenging, go with Navy SEAL SWCC, EOD, Diver, PST Phase 1 Workout.  Phase 1 is a good starting point if Navy SEAL Fitness program is too tough. 

Navy SEAL Weight Training - This is part two (winter lifting phase) of my SEAL Prep program. If you have done the Navy SEAL Fitness (12 weeks to BUDS) program a few times and need a break, this is the next program that integrates lifting with the Navy SEAL Prep training. 

Other EBOOKS (Special Ops– Most of my programs tend to focus on getting TO and THROUGH a specific tactical training program.  So you may see a mix of all the seasons in some of these books, but if you are training long term, you can take advantage of Seasonal Periodization and save yourself some of the over-use, long term pains that tend to follow many of the tactical preparations - especially on the spec ops level of training. 

Start training today with workouts that focus on the specifics of getting to and through tactical profession training from firefighter, police, swat, military to special ops. We have programs to help you get TO and THROUGH training. We also have training programs to help you with training as you age in these professions (Tactical Fitness 40+ series).


Lifting Cycle Programs For Those Who Need a Strength Focus

You may have seen my Winter Lift Cycle that I discuss in the Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization article as well as have our actual lift programs we have done over the years in the following books.


It is not all just calisthenics and cardio at Stew Smith Fitness

Tactical Fitness, Tactical Strength, Navy SEAL Weight Training Workout, Weight Vest Workout,  Stew Smith's Fall Winter Cycle, Warrior Workout #2Maximum Fitness

These programs as well as my online coaching programs have Winter Lift Cycles in them as part of our Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization System. But, do not get these lift cycles confused with ACTUAL strength / power lifting programs, these are strength / power programs that also have a focus on cardio fitness maintenance BECAUSE you need to be good at all the elements of fitness and develop into an all-round Tactical Athlete

Who Is The Coach, Trainer, Author Stew Smith?

 I'm the former Navy SEAL that military recruits and special ops 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

Check out the Complete List of Training Programs (Spec Ops, Military, Police, Fire)


 OR Do You Want my REAL TIME Seasonal Periodization Training - Delivered Weekly?

Get Weekly Unpublished Workouts Tested and Evaluated by local Stew Smith Training programs. 

Stew Smith Fitness Membership – You have access to years of workouts for both beginner / intermediate and advanced / special ops levels of fitness. Each week you will receive new and unpublished workouts being tested by Navy SEAL veteran / Stew Smith CSCS and his local group of future tactical professionals in both basic training and advanced spec ops training programming. The latest videos, articles, and other programming will be part of the weekly data feed to members as well. We go through the Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization program one week at a time.

Join the Online PT CLUB:
One On One Coaching with Stew Smith

If You Need a More Personalized Approach to Fit Your Needs, Goals, Time per Day, Days per week, Facilities, Abilities, etc...Try Online Coaching

Questions?  Just email me at

At - List of Products and Services

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