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Navy SEAL Info
Army & SF Info 
FBI Training Info



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It is 10% Physical / 90% Mental?


Have you ever heard of this statement?  Often it refers to challenging military / law enforcement training programs. The first time I heard the saying was at SEAL training and I never quite understood what it meant at the time because it felt like 100% physical at the time. I promise you this. It does not refer to 90% mental being academic studies at SEAL Training.  There is academic studying you must do, but typically it refers to how well you mentally push yourself through pain.  But, today, a former college football player said his coach taught him that "if you show up out of shape - the mental is twice as hard." 

 This concise statement is what I have been trying to say for years when explaining rigorous training programs.  Personal experience has shown that the better condition you are physically, the more likely you are better able to handle stress, understand a tactical concept, perform a task to precision, and be better able to master other job related duties.   

Too often recruits show up reaching the minimum standards of fitness for boot camp, basic, indoctrination, etc and all too often fail at something like land navigation, shooting, and other job related skills.  Or the out of shape recruit is likely to become injured on normal daily activity PT / runs because he/she is not conditioned for even the most  basic of activities.  From here the de-conditioned recruit will miss valuable training and will likely be rolled to a different class, quit, or be dismissed from the training program altogether.  That is what happens when you show up not prepared.

 Striving for minimum standards (plus) - When preparing for a training program that you know is going to be physical (military basic, special ops training, police academy etc) take the minimum standards for acceptance into those programs and increase the standards for yourself.  Typically a minimum standard recruits has a very low percentage of completing, graduating, or excelling in any part of the program. 

 Rule of Thumb for Preparedness: 

 For calisthenics type testing - pullups, pushups, situps - you will see a minimum standard for acceptance into the program.  Recommendations range from 50-100% increase in the minimum standards - sometimes more!  For instance, the minimum standards for SEAL training pullups is 6, it is recommended to be able to do 20 before attending BUD/S.  Typically pushups / situps minimum standards for many of the branches of service and police range from 20-40 repetitions to pass.  I would recommend striving for 50-100% increase in those numbers from the minimum standards.

For cardiovascular testing - running, swimming, etc:  This one is more difficult to gauge generally, but if you can get 1-2 minutes under the minimum standards on a run or swim, then you are setting yourself up for better performance / conditioning throughout your training.  For example, if the minimum standard for a 1.5 mile run is 12:30, then it is recommended to be able to run a 10-11:30 to create a cushion for yourself.

It is true.  If you show up in shape the mental part of training is much easier.  Now there is a mental side to training that is being able to mentally will yourself not to quit.  There will be a time when you "feel" you cannot run another step, or when you "feel" like you cannot do another pushup.  In advanced training programs, this is where mental toughness comes into play and enables you to push through the pain and discomfort of long days / nights.  I am a firm believer that through tough physical fitness training you will sharpen the mind and allow it to build tolerance to pain when most people will quit from exhaustion / fatigue.

Whether you are seeking to serve in the military, law enforcement or the special operations community, you should ask yourself, “Am I using the minimum standards as my capstone goal for training?”  If the answer is yes, then you should re-think your training plan and give yourself some more time to reach far and above past the minimum standards.  If you do this, training will be fun, educational, and you will look back at it with confidence.  This will affect everything else you do in the future and create a higher standard for you personally, professionally, physically, and yes - even mentally!


Surviving BUD/S

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the
National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy
lifestyle - check out the
Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at

 To contact Stew with your comments and questions, just e-mail him


Also Check out Stew on Fight Science - National Geographic Channel

Books, eBooks, DVDs

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Published Books / DVDs / APPs

Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness      |    More Info     |  Book / DVD
Maximum Fitness - CrossTraining     |    More Info     |  Book only
The Special Operations Workout     |   More Info     |     Book only
The SWAT Workout - From Recruit to SWAT      |  More Info    |  Book Only
The Combat Swimmer Stroke Video     |  More Info   |  Download MP4
The Pre-Habit Workout     |  More Info  |  DVD only
New Fitness APPs Navy SEAL, FBI, Pushup. Pullups   |  More Info    |  APPS

Coming Soon - Navy SEAL Fitness with Weight Training

The Complete List of Stew Smith's eBooks / Books:


Fitness for All Levels of Fitness

The 90 Day Beginner Guide to Fitness    |  More Info  |  eBook, Book

Reclaim Your Life - The Erin O'Neill Program     |  More Info   eBook only

Veteran's Fitness - Baby Boomer and a Flat Stomach     |  More Info   eBook only

The Diabetic Prevention Workout   |  More Info   |   eBook only 

Advanced Maintenance and Recovery Program   |  More Info   |  eBook only

The TRX Workout eBook     |  More Info   eBook only

NEW - Circuit Training 101 eBook      |  More Info   eBook only

NEW Obstacle Course Race eBook      |  More Info   eBook only

The Special Forces Physical Fitness Workouts


Combat Conditioning Workout       |  More Info  |  eBook, Book

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1:  Beginner       |  More Info  |    eBook, Book

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3:  Intermediate     |  More Info   eBook, Book


Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT      |  More Info   eBook, Book

Navy SWCC Workout       |  More Info    |    eBook, Book


Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout  | More Info SF /  Ranger  eBook, Book


USMC RECON Workout       |  More Info  |  eBook, Book


Air Force PJ / CCT Workout      |  More Info  |  eBook, Book


The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer Workout      |  More Info   eBook, Book


The Army Air Assault School Workout     More Info   eBook only


The Army Airborne Workout     More Info   eBook only


NEW - Upper Body Round Robin (UBRR)    More Info   eBook only


The OCS, ROTC, Service Academy, & Bootcamp Workouts

The USMC IST and PFT Workout      More Info   eBook only


USMC OCS / TBS Workout       |  More Info   eBook, Book


The Service Academy Workout     More Info   eBook, Book


Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Bootcamp Workout   More Info   eBook, Book


The Army OCS and PFT Workout    More Info   eBook, Book


NEW Army PRT and Combat Readiness Test Workout    More Info   eBook only


The PFT Bible - Military / Police Standard PFT    |  More Info   eBook, Book


The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Test Workouts


The FBI Academy / PFT Prep Workout (Vol 1 and 2)      |  More Info   eBook, Book


The DEA Prep Workout      More Info   eBook only


The FLETC Prep Workout - Ace the PEB      More Info   eBook, Book


The PFT Bible - Military / Police Standard PFT      |  More Info   eBook, Book


The Fire Fighter Workout       |  More Info   eBook, Book





Surviving BUD/S

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