Archive for the ‘Special Operations’ Category

Top Ten List: Mental Toughness

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After this article, a friend of mine asked about what I thought the Top Ten List of traits for mental toughness would be.  After some thought and discussions with some successful, mentally tough people, we came up with this.

Mental Toughness – How do we obtain it?  Make it stronger?  Many young people ask these questions of me each day and I wish it was a simple answer.  I wish you could be mentally tough by figuring out a magic solution of phrases or training programs.  But it is not that simple.  Being mentally tough requires you to keep competing when your mind wants you to quit.  Humans have a “safety switch” in our brain that tells us to stop in order to prevent us from hurting ourselves.  We are natural born survivors built to conserve our energy, store food, and just simply live to survive another day.  There are times you can actually shut that part of your brain off.  When you do this, you realize your body is ten times stronger than your brain will let it be. Training programs in the Special Operations world helps you tap into this mindset, but often your life experiences and habits can build a mental toughness and resilience that no one can beat.

Here is a top ten list of common denominators in many people I know who have accomplished great things in their lives and continue to keep moving onto bigger and greater goals:

Daily Persistence /​ Focus – Never Stop!  Do what you have to do every day even when you are tired, feel lazy, etc.  It does not matter if it is physical training, studying for a test, working to a deadline, or just getting out of bed every day with a positive attitude – do it no matter what.  Make MOVING a habit.  You may find all you needed was a good meal and hydration to give you the energy required to stay focused and finish or start a new task.

No one becomes mentally tough overnight.  It takes a lifetime.  Some of the toughest people I have met in my life know they have some level of toughness, but still say they have to work at it every day.  In the Navy SEAL Creed, there is a line that says, “I have to earn it (the trident) every day.”

Stay Motivated:  Why do you put yourself through painful training, long hours working or studying?   You have to answer this question – not me.  It is no one’s job to motivate you, it is all SELF-​​MOTIVATION that keeps you moving.  Have goals that you see each day getting closer and closer one step at a time into fruition.   Prepare mentally for the weeks, months, or even years required to get to where you want to be one day.

Have a quote that resonates with you – There are many great motivating quotes to get and keep you going.  Here are some of my favorites when I need that extra affirmation:

1 – “Mental Toughness is finding the fuel when the tank is empty.”  (My favorite – it sums up what mental toughness is in so many ways)

2 – “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

3 – “If you are going through Hell – keep going.”

4 – “Never Quit.”

5 – “Go for it now – the future is promised to no one.”

These are basically performance cues used by sports psychologists at every level of performance.  There are many, many more to find online.  Find one that works for you.  Find a poster /​ make a poster – see it every day.  Say it when you need it.

Train to Compete – Not Just Survive:  In relation to special ops training programs, athletic events, or even business — this is the biggest difference in those who graduate training or succeed and those who do not.  You should try to be in the type of shape and mindset that will allow you to win or be in the top 10% of the class in many events — at least some.  Too many of us, in general, just get by each day “putting in their time” and barely living.  Knowing that you are stuck in survival mode is a realization that can be the first step to learning how to change your life and compete for the first time in your life.  I developed this saying, shortly before I ran a marathon for the first and last time.  My goal was to finish a 26 mile run.  I saw a skinny kid from Africa warming up and I realized he was about to run the same race as I was but his goal was to drop a minute off his best time.  My goal was to survive the event.  Who has a better chance and finishing the race?  The kid who was in competition mode – not me.  I succeeded with my goal and was able to use the Complete – not just Survive quote many times that day and ever since in my life.

Dissociation Training:  There is a fine line between mental toughness and stupid, but when it is a life or death situation, there is no stupid method if it keeps you alive.  Basically, how much pain, discomfort, and even fear can you play with? That is an immeasurable element of success.  Dissociation refers to being able to take instructors yelling at you, cold water freezing you, sand chaffing you, and exhaustion slowing you AND not let it get into your head.  There is a bit of “find your happy place” in these dissociation skills, but you still have to be focused on the mission at hand and not just be some zombie who cannot follow orders stuck in some Zen state.   Maybe it is just being SO FOCUSED on the mission at hand – nothing else matters.  That is why I put Daily Persistence and Focus as the #1 trait.

You can practice this skill with mundane, monotonous, long workouts like long runs, rucks, swims, high repetition pyramid PTs that can get pretty boring if you do not have an ability to think of something else besides counting reps, miles, and time.

Laugh:  Finding humor in what happens to you daily is one of the best ways to get through the daily grind.  Find humor in what challenges you.  You would be surprised when going through a stressful event how a humorous comment or action will lighten the mood and keep you focused on the task at hand.  In a group setting, finding humor and laughing can bond a team together like nothing else.  By yourself, you have to laugh as it will help change your mood, gather yourself and get over any negative thoughts you may be having at the time.

Know your Weakness – Make it a Strength:  You have to have a level of internal awareness and realize there will be things you are not naturally good at doing.  I have found that when working on my weaknesses that I have to check in and use a certain level of mental toughness to keep going than if working on something I was naturally good at doing.  For instance, prior to SEAL training, I was a powerlifting football player whose idea of long distance running was anything greater than 100 yards.  It took me years, to get my running times down to where I could actually compete or at least stay in the middle of the pack of my class when doing beach runs.  Running was something that I had to check in mentally each time I ran, where-​​as the calisthenics and swimming were not something that challenged me as much.  Even this day, running is something I have to focus on to “stay in the pack”.

Plan your Dive – Dive Your Plan:  In training, we learned how to “Dirt Dive”.  This is a simple walk-​​through of a mission where we take each phase of the mission step by step and discuss how we achieve the desired outcome.  Discussing and creating contingency plans is one of the outcomes that helps us to be immediately flexible in case something goes wrong.  Create different routes for you to achieve your goal.  There may be 3–4 different ways to get from point A to point B.  Consider every possibility and don’t get discouraged if your original plan fails.  Move onto plan B or even plan C.  STAY FOCUSED ON THE END GOAL.

Big Goals with Sub-​​Goals:  We all want to be successful in what we do.  One event in my life that I knew was going to be a kick in the nuts was Hell Week – a 120+ hour evolution at SEAL training that requires everything out of you to complete.  You eat every six hours with little or no sleep breaks the entire week.  I knew if I broke up the week into twenty — 6 hour segments, it mentally seemed more obtainable that one 120+ hour /​ 5 day event.  Parallel this in the business world by keeping track of weekly, monthly, quarterly goals and the next thing you know your annual projections can also be obtained even if you have to change course to get there.  But you won’t know to change course if you do not assess.  Remember — “you get what you inspect, not what you expect.”

Stay Positive:   Positive thinking and planning goes a long way.  If it is not in the schedule or plan it does not exist so make sure you stay positive with your planning and actions.  You will always have negative thoughts and doubts that pop into your head every now and then.  A trick to quit having obtrusive, negative thoughts is called “Name it and Tame it”.   The next time a negative thought or doubt pops into your head or spoken by another on your team, give it a silly name like “dumbass”.  Then tell yourself out loud so you say it and hear it, “I can’t think about “dumbass” anymore.”  This may take a few rounds of practice, but it works to help you stay positive.  Naming a thought takes away its power and shows you that you have control of your fears and anxiety.  That is powerful.

This mental toughness top ten list works for me and many people I consider successful, motivated, and mentally tough that I interviewed for this article.  I hope this list helps you.  By no means are mental toughness tips and attributes limited to my top ten list.  There are countless ways to build your mental toughness and resilience that will help you stay motivated, thinking positive, and handle stress /​ adversity throughout the rest of your life.

Hang in there – and never, never give up.

 

 

 

 

Are You a Captain America?

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I consider my sister-​​in-​​law, Dana, a real sister to me.  She is kind, compassionate, fun, wonderfully opinionated and loves me unconditionally.  I always welcome her advice and recommendations and she has never steered me wrongly.  Last summer she said I must watch The Avengers movie.  What a fun ride!  It was cool to see so many of my favorite characters like Thor, Ironman, and the Hulk joining forces to fight evil.  The only challenge was that I knew nothing about Captain America.  Friday night, I finally watched the first Captain America movie and can’t wait to see the sequel that apparently was a blockbuster at this past weekend’s opener. What caught my attention was the desire this scrawny little guy had to serve his country and sacrifice for the greater good of mankind.  Fortunately, you don’t have to look too far to find those willing to raise their shields to protect our country.  From our incredible service men and women to every day difference-​​makers, we all have a little bit of Captain America in us.

Coast Guard Diver Rating Created

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Coast Guard divers have been performing hundreds of diving missions each year for decades around the world in support of the multiple maritime missions of the Coast Guard.  Now, starting this year (2014), the Coast Guard created the Diver (DV) rating for qualified enlisted members.  Until now, divers in the Coast Guard had different rating professions and diving was a collateral duty.

Who can Apply for Coast Guard Diver?

The Dive Lockers are looking for experienced Coast Guard personnel.  You must be a qualified E-​​5 in the Coast Guard to transfer to the DV rating.   Also, other service member military divers from E-​​4 to CWO-​​4 can qualify for lateral transfers into the Coast Guard starting in 2015.   The “A” school for the DV rating is the  Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City, FL.  The career pipeline for the CG Diver will start as successfully graduating from 2nd class Dive School as an E-​​5.  Upon further competency based promotion criteria, the CG Diver will attend 1st Class Diver school as an E-​​6/​E-​​7.  As an E-​​8 or above, talented personnel can become Master Diver qualified.

What do Coast Guard Divers Do?

Today, they sweep ports and waterways during coastal security missions; conduct salvage and recovery operations; inspect Coast Guard cutter hulls; survey coral reefs and environmental sensitive areas; repair, maintain and place of aids to navigation; conduct polar operations as well as conduct joint operations with United States and international military divers. — See more at:  Coast Guard Compass - Source

Tactical Fitness Ideas — Why Think and Exercise?

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Stew, I recently heard you talk about adding thinking games into your workouts.  What do you mean?  How is that helpful to me being a better SWAT operator?   John

Being able to think while stressed is a trait all tactical operators (military, special ops, police, fire, EMS) all need to be able to do their jobs.  I have been experimenting with workouts over the years and realized that by training the brain to think while physically tired /​ stressed can help you when life or death situations occur.  This can be a simple pyramid workout where you have to do math during your workout or more advanced workouts where you have to get creative and think your way through them.  Of course, you also need the required tactical training to help perform your job, but when things are not stressful in “real life” you can simulate it in training and even your workouts.

For instance:  Here is a simple calisthenic pyramid that requires little or no equipment and can be done on a field with a set of monkey bars or pullup bars.   Calisthenics also can be a “gym free” workout routine and successful mix upper body (push /​ pull) with legs, abs, and fullbody movements – for instance:

Pullup /​ Burpee pyramid: 

Do 1 pullup — Run 20yd – do 1 burpee – run 20yds back to pullup bar
Do 2 pullups – run 20 yds – do 2 burpees – run 20yds back to pullup bar
continue until you fail…however – every FIVE sets you have to change your method of moving to /​ from pullup bar /​ burpee area.  For sets 6–10 add in lunges, fireman carries (with partner), farmer walks with heavy DB or KB or sand bag, bear crawls, low crawls, etc…
Once you reach set 10 – repeat in reverse order changing the method of to/​from every set.  There are many options of travel to and from your pullup area — so get creative and see what you can develop when the glycogen levels are low and the brain wants to stop working optimally.

This workout tires you physically but still requires you to think creatively and cognitively (math /​ numbers).  Why is this important?  Well in the Tactical Ops world where you are tired, hungry and stressed out – having the ability to still think is a skill that can be enhanced by adding these type of events to your day.

Why Burpee?  You can also do this with 8 Count Pushups – The “Burpee” and 8 count pushup are fullbody calisthenics exercises made popular recently.  They are tough and work everything just about:  chest, shoulders, triceps, hips, thigh, calves, core.  This is actually a very old exercise done on football /​ soccer fields for decades now brought to the gym floor.  We used to call them “Green Bays” or “whistle drill” on the football field in the 80’s.

You can get creative and add other exercises especially when travelling to and from the pullup /​ burpee area.  Does your brain work when tired?  Give this one a try or check out the standards PT Pyramid (pullups x 1, pushups x 2, situps x 5).

Mix TRX with PT, Weights, Kettlebells

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Every now and then, I get motivated by a workout week that I created.  This week I created a program that is centered around suspension training, but each day has a combination specialty that challenges you in a variety of ways.  You need variety to your workouts, but make sure the workouts you select are still specifically developed so you will still reach your goals.  Whether the goals are weight loss, military service, special ops preparation, or law enforcement, adding suspension training can enhance your overall workout experience.  Below are some fun and challenging sample workouts recently tested by our group:

Tactical Fitness: The Dirty Dozen Test

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I was recently asked by an Army veteran if there were other fitness tests out there to challenge/​ test people who want to be “Tactically Fit”. This particular veteran likes to stay as fit as he was while serving more than 10 years ago and still manages an above average Army PFT for age groups 20 years younger.   These are great health and fitness goals to ace a basic PFT, but is it really a Tactical Fitness Test?  No — See the multiple dimensions required in creating a foundation to be “tactically fit” in order to have the ability to perform some of the most dangerous jobs in the world — defending /​ protecting our country and communities.

Tactical Fitness is the new fitness genre and I personally define it as:  The ability to perform military, police, and fire fighter job related skills such as running, rucking, swimming, buddy rescue, equipment carry, requiring upper body and lower body strength and muscle endurance.  I have been wanting to make an all inclusive tactical fitness test for a while now.  The test below has no scientific study behind it, these are simply my opinions what tactical athletes should be able to do.  However, all these events are commonly used testing events used by many military, special ops teams, SWAT Teams, police and fire fighters.

These are the twelve events I call the Tactical Fitness Dirty Dozen that I pulled from various military, police, and fire fighting fitness tests to create an all inclusive fitness challenge for those of you who want to be ready for anything.  There is a grading system that is quite generous in basic pass /​ fail standards as well as a max point system of 100 points.

The events justification:

25# Pullup — Weighted pullups are required as most gear a tactical operator wears will weigh anywhere from 15-​​25lbs minus the back pack.  Minimum is 2 reps /​ maxing is 10 reps.  1 point for each rep for a total of 10 points and minimum of 2 reps.

Body Weight bench press — Upper body strength with combination of moving your body weight for multiple repetitions to test pushing power of the tactical athlete.  Minimum points for 5 reps (2 pts) and maximum (10) points for 15 reps.

Dead Lift (1.5x BW) — Can you lift more than your own body weight.  Practicing this event alone will help a tactical athlete learn proper lifting techniques and build a stronger foundation to move heavy weight when required.  1 rep P/​F but 2 points per rep until 5 reps for more points. Minimum points for 2 reps (1 pt) and maximum (10) points for 5 reps.

Fireman carry — Can you rescue your buddy and carry for 100yds?  Pass /​ Fail criteria (5 pts pass)

400m sprint - Can you run fast (no gear)?  60 seconds max points /​ 80 seconds minimum standard.  Sometimes speed is essential.
Minimum points for 80 seconds (1 pt) and maximum (10) points for 60 seconds.

300yd shuttle run - Can you run back and forth quickly (6 x 50m shuttle)?  60 seconds max /​ 80 seconds minimum standard.
Minimum points for 80 seconds (1 pt) and maximum (10) points for 60 seconds.

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Illinois Agility Test — You will have to zig and zag while running at full speed, changing direction often.  Max points of (5) if completed under 15 seconds.  Deduct a point for every second slower than 15 seconds until 19 seconds(1 pt).  Slower than 19 seconds = fail.

Plank pose - Can you hold the plank pose for 1 minute minimum.  Get extra points for every minute after that and max out at 5 minutes.  1 point 1 minute. Add a points for each minute up to 5 minutes.  Max points 5 points.

3 mile timed run — The three mile timed run.  Can you run 3 miles without stopping?  Then you pass.  If you get 18 minutes you max the test and can pick up a few more points if you can keep it under 23 minutes.  10 points for 18 min /​ 1 point less for each 30 seconds until max point time of 23 minutes.

50 lbs ruck in under 1 hour (4 miles) - This is the minimum standard for Army rucking times.  Can you pace yourself at a perfect 15 min mile with 50lb back pack or weight vest.  No need to go too fast on this event.  It is about finishing on a steady pace.  No extra points for getting under 1 hour.  10 points pass or fail.

Swim - Can you swim?  -  If you cannot swim you are ineffective on 75 % of this planet.   Be an asset not a liability to your team, yourself, and your family.  This is a basic survival skill we all should know how to do.  5 Points for just knowing how to swim.

500m swim — Any stroke.  Swim 500m non-​​stop and you pass.  Get 500m in 6 min or less and max out the swim test.  You can get extra points until the 11th minute.  5 points for maxing the swim /​ 1 point less for every minutes until the 10th minute.

25m Life saving buddy tow  - Can you dive to the bottom of a pool (8-​​9ft) grab a unconscious buddy and tow him 25m to the other end of the pool?  Pass or fail — 5 points.

Here is a chart to make it easier to understand:

Exercise Pass /​ Fail Criteria
4 mile ruck (50lbs) 1 hour maximum time
25# Pullups max reps 2 – 10 reps
Bench press (bodyweight) Pass or fail 1 rep:  5 reps — 15 reps for extra points
Dead Lift (1.5x bodyweight) Pass or fail — 1 rep
(2–5 reps for extra pts)
Fireman Carry (P/​F) 100yds of equal bodyweight
400m sprint 60–80 seconds
Shuttle run 300yds 60–80 seconds
Plank pose (P/​F) 1 minute minimum /​ 5 min max
3 mile run (P/​F) 18 minutes to 23 minutes for extra points
IL Agility Test <15 secs to >19 sec
Swim – can you swim?
(P/​F)
Yes /​ no
Swim 500m timed 6 minutes – 11 minutes
Swim – Buddy Tow Pass/​fail – 25m rescue swim

Max points is 100 points if you ace everything.  You can still pass with as little as 40 points.  You must pass all events to pass the test. Give it a try and see where you stand.  Practice and your weaknesses and think your way through this test as you can arrange to best fit your optimal scoring potential.  The interesting thing about this test is you can arrange the events in any order you wish.  Get creative and develop your own strategy for better performance.  The test can be broken up into two sessions or challenge yourself and go for all events in one long testing session.

“The Dirty Dozen”  Tactical Fitness Test eBook is here.

 

What Did You Do Today? January 2014

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Each month (or more often if this series is popular enough), I am going to post some fun workouts that I would recommend you trying if you are in the intermediate /​ advanced level fitness zone.  Here, we mix weights and calisthenics with some unconventional exercise options.  One of the new favorite unconventional exercises is the stair crawl — which is just an advanced version of the bear crawl where you crawl down head first a flight of steps and then change directions and crawl back up FEET first (this is the hard part).

So check out this fullbody workout circuit:

Repeat 3 times
Pushups 1 min
Pullups 1 min
Situps or abs of choice 1 min
Walking lunges 25 yards
Stair crawl UP /​ DOWN a flight of steps — NOTE:  If there are no steps to do this or your gym will not let you — simply bear crawl 25m or farmer walk carrying a 25–50 lb. weight.

Hell Week Training: 3 Things to Remember!

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What’s Hell Week Training?

Five days and nights in maximum overdrive. It’s wet. It’s cold. It’s tough. And for most it’s their first real test of endurance. And, most don’t think they are ready. Or they do, until the boots hit the mud and a part of them just wants to cry to mama. Can you survive? Can you adapt? Can you reach the peak and push back against your minds natural resistance? Will you become a Marine?

The body has a way of adapting to physical stress but only when you give it what it requires to deal with that stress in the most healthy and positive way. You need the right food combinations and nutritional fortification. And that fortification of your body’s vital systems needs to begin long before Hell week. Long before the buzz cut. And long before your first inspection. That fortification, that Hell Week Training Diet needs to start the moment to get the urge to wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor.

What’s a Vitamin Doing in BCAA?

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You’ve seen BCAA supplements on the health food shelf; you’ve read about the benefits of BCAA when training and you want the results these supplements claim to deliver. But how do you know which are the best BCAA supplements? They contain different ingredients so which option is the best for a highly active lifestyle?

Great questions! And you’ll get your answer here because not all supplements are created equal.

BCAA supplements (branch chain amino acids) can be combined in a power formula that includes Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Biotin, Zinc, L-​​Leucine, L-​​Isoleucine, L-​​Valine, L-​​Glutamine. While each of these ingredients are beneficial to the body on its own, when combined in the proper dosage, they become a highly effective component in a fitness regimen, the world of body building, and the military training.

Mental Toughness — Art or Science?

Mental Toughness - Art or Science?

Mental Toughness has been a topic of discussion and debate for generations as we humans try to define our lives.  What makes some people tougher than others?  More successful? More motivated? Calm in stressful situations?  What are the common traits of ordinary people doing extraordinary things?  Can mental toughness be measured?  Scientifically tested?

These are the questions I have been seeking answers to and the type of questions I get each day from young men and women preparing for challenging programs in the military, law enforcement, and fire-​​fighting professions.

There are some scientific studies performed trying to measure how people handle stress and why they graduate Special Operations programs like Army Special Forces and Navy SEALs.  Some of the most interesting and pertinent to this discussion were the ones done by Dr. Andy Morgan of Yale Medical School.  

Adding Weights to Spec Ops Prep…

Adding Weights to Spec Ops Prep

Here is an email from a young man who seeks some advice about adding weights to his training plan.  He is not only pre-​​training for the next track /​ cross country season, but also is preparing for Navy SEAL training after he graduates high school.

Stew, I was curious if I start to add some weights to my off-​​season program would it affect my running negatively?  In other words, would it make me slower?  I am also wanting to add Navy SEAL workouts into my training so I will be adding in swims, swims with fins, and various PT workouts.  I read in a previous Navy SEAL article you mentioned about learning to be a good team player prior to joining the service — well I am doing that but I want to be the best team player I can be and in this case it means running faster.  Any advice?

Team sports in high school go a long way in developing needed skills you will use everyday in the military.  Simply being on a team with a competitive spirit is a great foundation to build upon once you join  and you will especially need these skills in the Spec Ops community.

Band of Brothers

Clay Hunt

For those of you who connect with me regularly, you know my passion for our military and our veterans.  From the bravery, courage, and inspiring leadership of my amazing veteran husband, Mark Gauger LtCol USAF(ret), to the thousands and thousands of everyday people who have risen up to serve our nation so valiantly, I remain in awe of your service and sacrifice.  Recently, working here in Maine with the Travis Mills Project and the expansion of the National Veterans Family Center, I have become acutely aware of the unspoken needs of our Armed Forces.  No where is that need more evident than in the tragic death of Marine veteran, Clay Hunt, in 2011.   This article is a spotlight on a team who has taken up Clay’s torch to inspire leadership and provide mentorship for our veterans. 

BMI: Bogus Measurement or Valid Health Indicator? You Decide

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What’s My BMI? And other useless questions…

The BMI, or body mass index is a measurement that some doctors and other administers use to determine if a person is obese, or right in line with where they should be to be healthy. However, health and a healthy lifestyle really have more to do than the number on a scale.

For example, there was a man in Mexico that weighed in at 1200 pounds. He was desperate to lose weight and nothing seemed to work for him no matter how much or how little he ate. The curious thing was that based upon his blood work…he was normal and had all the “stats” of a healthy individual. However, most people (including this man) would agree that living in a 1200 pound body is the furthest thing from healthy.

An Insider Look at Training of the Navy Seals [Video]

Training of the Navy Seals

Some people think that training of the Navy SEALs is just like any other military training…until they go to special ops training in the military.

Only then can you fully appreciate the physical strength and mental fortitude required to get into a top military unit. You’ve got to have more than just muscles and speed. A lot of guys have that. In this video, you get an insider look at just one part of Navy Seal Training.

Honor our Soldiers: Just One Story

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Heroes.

They come in all shapes and sizes. They are found in the places you expect to find them – on the battle field, in a burning building, wearing a uniform, wearing fatigues and combat boots, carrying a badge and a gun.

You also find them in unexpected places. On the streets of Boston wearing a pair of running shoes, on the streets of New York decked out in a business suit, and inside an average looking home as a mother or father sits with their child with love to instill a legacy of freedom, hope, courage, success, and joy.

Some people are surprised and perplexed when they see the human spirit in action; when they see Americans rushing to help a complete stranger. But we’re not. Because we understand that goodness prevails.

Women in Military: Combat and their Changing Roles

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The role of women in military is evolving. Well, at least the “official” policy seems to be changing for female soldiers in the United States.

I say “official” because the debate surrounding the decisions military administration revolve around women in combat. But the reality is that women have been actively involved in combat in just about every war in history, even if it was in an “unofficial” capacity. Heck, if Martha Washington can fight on the battlefield (she wasn’t just sewing stars on the flag!)…maybe a modern military woman can as well. No sewing needles needed!

Veteran Strong…2.0

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Update: Have you ever had a moment in your life when someone or something changed you forever?  Yesterday, I had that moment.  In a rustic dining hall packed with veterans, lobster, laughter and an whole lot of camaraderie, I met Travis Mills.  His jovial spirit and engaging smile don’t serve to mask the tragedy he’s been through…those traits are who he is and who he has always been.  Travis has a divine spark within him which manifests as a burning desire to support, encourage and lift others up especially during difficult times.  This is his story of help and hope for fellow veterans and their families. 

Benefits of Maca: Peruvian Ginseng or Marriage-​​Saver?

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Some call it “Peruvian Ginseng”.

I have a buddy who swears by the benefits of Maca root. He calls it the peace keeper.

Let me explain. His wife just gave birth and as you can imagine pregnancy can really screw up a woman’s hormones. My buddy got to the point where he just wasn’t sure what he would be walking into when he opened the door at the end of the day. Was he walking into enemy territory…or were there friendlies on the other side of that door? Now, this is a true story so just bear with me and I’ll get to the science a little later.

CrossFit for Special Operations Training?

CrossFit for Special Operations Training?

Over the past decade CrossFit has motivated and turned the fitness community into a daily competition with quick workouts of the day (WODs) in a group or online group atmosphere.  There is not a day that goes by that I do not see a WOD posted up on a Facebook page or shared on Twitter, so people are very excited about their fitness these days.  Which is GREAT!  And you cannot argue with results.  People see results with CrossFit workouts more than not.  However, this question is asked quite often and it is about time I post on it as people tend to get a few things confused when it comes to Special Operations fitness.  This question is specifically asking about Navy SEAL training and using CrossFit to prepare for BUD/​s:

Stew, I know you recommend calisthenics and no lifting when preparing for BUD/​S, but what do you think about CrossFit workouts to prepare for SEAL Training?  I know many SEALs, Army SF, RECON guys do CrossFit and recommend it for their own training.  What is your take on it?

Military Leadership-What’s the Introvert Connection?

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Effective military leadership takes skill even when you have always been told you are a born leader. Growing evidence shows there is more than one kind of leader and that all leaders are not effective in all situations.

In a very general sense, people are categorized by their personality type, commonly labeled as being an introvert or an extrovert. Many people quickly assume that those who are more extroverted – more open and “social” – would be the superior leaders.

But a study at Harvard Business School shows evidence that following the lead of the group extrovert could just get you killed.