Archive for the ‘Special Operations’ Category
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
Over the past few months, this email question has been blowing up my inbox. It is concerning adding women to Special Operations units like Army Special Force, SEALs, Rangers, and the rest. Here is an email from a future BUD/S student:
I am training for BUDS when I graduate college in 2 years. I am on Capitol Hill for the summer and I hear they are talking about lowering the fitness standards for some programs including SEALs to make it more inviting to women. What is your opinion on this and do you think it will actually happen?
Personally, I do not speak for Navy Special Warfare, I am a civilian fitness writer who specializes in fitness standard programming. Making programs for people to succeed well above the minimum standards is what I do — no matter what the program, fitness test, or men or women. But this question is really a waste of time coming from a young, male, trainee who wants to go to BUD/S. You all need to focus on your own training as it is a 80–90 % attrition rate among men. These men who quit are well-screened, tough, above average strength and cardiovascular endurance. You ALL will have your hands full training for the next couple of years to be competitive and in the top 10–20% of the class who finish.
See video on Nasty Nick that this Obstacle Course Event is modeled after — Fundraiser for Green Beret Foundation
If you are an aspiring Special Ops candidate, there are many things you can do to prepare. Whether you want to go Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines Special Ops, you need to be able to move through obstacle courses and learn to move with weight in a back pack. The US Army Special Forces Obstacle Course called the “Nasty Nick” is a challenging event during the Selection Phase of training for future Green Berets. Now, Special Ops candidates as well as civilians looking for a fun racing event can do an obstacle course based on the Nasty Nick, but sadistically placed on a mountain ski slope. The former Special Forces operators at GORUCK are creating such and event to raise month for the Green Beret Foundation. See More Info: GORUCK Nasty.
Military Bootcamp – it’s all about pushing your body physically to the limit and a bunch of mental challenges that keep you going and responding under extreme conditions and fatigue. Push-ups, pull-ups, and miles of running in combat boots humping your pack uphill.
When you workout, the results from the physical side of military life is easy to see. You do dumbbell curls and your bicep grows; you bench press and your pecs grow; you run enough and it starts to get easier. After a while you feel physically fit for deployment.
But how do you prepare for the mental side of deployment?
This isn’t just about being dropped on foreign soil miles from family and homemade apple pie. This is about the unexpected smells, sights and sounds of war.
Are you ready for the smell of death, burning flesh, or watching the guys you trained with be caught in the line of fire?
Training in the summer months takes some special consideration especially if you live in a hot and humid environment like the South, East Coast and Midwest. However, training in arid and hot environments like the Southwest and Western U.S. require the same considerations. Dryer climates can actually be more dangerous as you do not sweat to stay cool (it just evaporates almost instantly) — but you will notice salt stains on clothing just the same.
Here is a question from a trainer down in Charleston, who needed some ideas other than the typical “stay well hydrated, avoid the heat of the day, etc…”
Every so often I get an email from a future Special Ops student who is preparing for the challenges of some of the toughest training programs in the world (SEALs, Special Forces, AFPJ/CCT, RECON / MarSOC and foreign groups for SAS, SBS, and the Foreign Legion):
Here is the question: Stew, I have been training pretty hard mixing in weights, calisthenics, running, swimming, and a few non-impact cardio options for additional heart / lungs work. I find myself not keeping up with others in the group or even meeting max repetition / faster times standards in the PST. I am feeling pretty discouraged with the workouts but I stay motivated to train with my buddies. Any advice?
Here is an article from a friend of mine after having this discussion at a conference a few weeks ago on nutrition for military, police, fire fighters — our tactical athletes. The need for more carbs for highly active people but it goes deeper than that:
Nutrition and the Tactical Athlete
As a firefighter understands fire, the warrior must understand war. Maintaining combat effectiveness via proper training and nutrition is a big part of this.
Nutrition is the one factor affecting each person multiple times per day and therefore has the greatest impact on a person’s overall health and fitness level. Scientists agree that 70+% of diseases known to man are caused by lifestyle factors and many can be treated via lifestyle changes. Nutrition being the number one approach.
For the tactical / endurance athlete this fact does not change. Being fit does not mean being healthy and the level of proper nutrition should address both of these factors.
The level of combat readiness literally translates into life and death. This fact makes the tactical athlete an extreme endurance athlete. Long hours of high stress from limited sleep, MRE’s and massive physical demands provide very unique nutritional demands.
Combat is high stress. The modern day tactical athlete often operates night and day for months without rest. This massive amount of stress not only results in mental breakdown leading to PTSD but also physical breakdown leading to physical injury and less combat effectiveness. This high stress results in elevated cortisol levels. Elevated cortisol causes 3 main problems in the warrior. One, lowered immune functions thus making the warrior more susceptible to illness, two, protein breakdown from muscle to keep blood sugar steady which leads weakness and to number three, increased body fat.
The three issues can be offset with proper nutrition in the field. For years ultra-endurance athletes have developed techniques and products for maintaining endurance days on end during a race. Polysaccharide gels, powders and liquids aimed at keeping blood sugar levels steady along with hydration and electrolyte balance are the key. A tactical athlete must maintain steady blood sugar, water and electrolyte balance. MRE’s do not do this and often have the reverse effect of maintaining combat readiness.
How does a tactical athlete maintain steady blood sugar? First, start by figuring your personal caloric needs. Google is full of BMR calculators. Second, plan to eat 65–70% of your diet from a polysaccharide source. (whole grains, sweet potatoes, brown rice, beans). Third, calculate your caloric intake of starchy carbs. 1 gram of carbs is 4 calories. Finally, use an online resource to calculate the carbohydrate intake from your food.
Example: BMR = 2000cals per day. Add 600 calories per day for moderate activity levels = 2600 calories per day consumed. 2600 x .65% of carbohydrate = 1690 calories from starchy sources. Each gram is 4 calories, 1690 / 4 = 423 grams of carbohydrate consumed per day. Finally to calculate how much carbohydrate is in the food you eat I suggest the online resource myfitnesspal.com.
There is much more to understand regarding nutrition. But, much like a firefighter studies and understands fire those whom wish to become or are tactical athletes must study and understand nutrition. We will further expand on this topic in the next edition.
Dr. Stephen Erle is the training director for the civilian BUD/s program, SEAL Training Adventures, as well as the Strength and Conditioning Coach and team physician for a Virginia University. In addition Dr. Erle instructs tactical athletics, sports medicine, sports nutrition and tactical combat casualty care medicine (TCCC). He can be reached for comment at Steve@SEALTrainingAdventures.com.
Hey Stew, I am working on a project and was curious what your opinion on today’s warrior and Special Ops fitness and which training disciplines best achieve this?
Great question! Over the past decade Special Ops Fitness has morphed into a new fitness genre along with military, police, and fire fighter fitness called Tactical Fitness. In fact, the National Strength and Conditioning Association has created the Tactical Strength and Conditioning Certification Program and hold some of the best conferences I have ever been to. Speakers include those physiologists and athletic trainers who train active duty Special Ops Team such as Delta Force and SEAL Team Six. But the real progress in training is in the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, FBI, Border Patrol, and other federal law enforcement programs. Now many of our nation’s branches of service are hiring sports team trainers to run their indoctrination (boot camp), special operations maintenance and injury / rehabilitation programs for instance.
Is Cortisol bad? Is it only related to stress and gaining weight? In this article we’re going to discuss why athletes and trained soldiers have and need higher cortisol. We’ll also talk about the role of recovery supplements.
So what are recovery supplements and why are they needed for physical and emotional stress? For most people, when you mention the word “cortisol” they think about stress and gaining weight. This is because main stream media often links the two. This leads everyone to believe that cortisol and stress are bad and should be avoided. But is that really true? And…is avoiding stress even possible for someone that actually gets out of bed in the morning?
Stress is not all bad. It’s unmanaged stress that causes all sorts of problems.
A soldier considering Military Training for Elite Operations like Buds Seal usually focuses first on physical strength and endurance. And while that’s important if it’s all you focus on then you are likely to fail. To succeed and thrive you need something else. You need “extra”.
Just like there are a lot of talented singers with a good set of pipes; not all have what it takes to become even mildly successful, rich, or famous. They fall to the wayside at the local karaoke bar.
There really is more to being a SEAL than meets the eye. A muscular body and a crew cut are not going to be what gets you into the most elite force in the United States. You need heart (as in dedication, perseverance and steady will), and you need a strong heart (as in a strong cardiovascular system to support the physical and mental demands of being in Special Ops).
Buds seal training has gained a lot of exposure lately thanks to Hollywood. The general public fills up movie theatres to be entertained by big screen heroes and villains. Batman and the Joker, Spiderman and the Lizard, Hans Solo and Darth Vader. Sure they are made up, but the big screen can make even the highest office in the US believe that heroes and villains are meant for Hollywood.
But ask any soldier working special ops like the Navy Seals and you’ll know that the U.S. has real-life heroes with real-life villains to conquer. And Hollywood is usually nowhere to be seen when it happens.
After the capture of what may be one of modern-day history’s biggest villains, Osama Bin Laden, and the success of the Box Office hit Act of Valor, men all over the country are interested in joining ranks with this elite class of hero. But what does it really take to become part of the most elite military force? You may be motivated by the movies – but do you have the conviction to do the job? What does it take to get through Navy Seal Training?