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Special Ops, Police, & Fire Fighting

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Mission:  We prepare men and women for any tactical profession requiring a fitness test and advanced training. 
Your fitness level may one day be the difference between life and death.  It pays to fit fitness into your schedule.
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Periodization Training = Longevity / Optimal Performance

As we age, overuse injuries tend to occur if a never changing exercise routine is done for too long or if you start something new and do too much, too fast, too soon.  Whether it is high mileage running, heavy weight lifting, high repetition calisthenics, and anything else for that matter, if we do not change the routine frequently, you have a high chance of getting injured or just burned out on an endless plateau.  Also, frequency, intensity, time doing workouts can play an equal part in both properly training you as well as over-training you.  Here is what I have done now for more than 10 years and it has enabled me to be without serious injury from training and keeps me in a condition where I can train with the younger generation in their teens and early 20’s.

I use the sun as my indicator of tougher workouts seasons, especially my running workouts.   If the days are longer like in the spring and summer then my workouts are longer.  This form of periodization enables me to keep the gains from hard seasons of workouts well into the shorter days / shorter workout cycles.  During the Fall / Winter months, I tend to taper a bit slowly from running and find more non-impact aerobics and add weight training to the calisthenics program - some heavy - some moderate. 

For instance, in my “solstice plan,” the workout cycle will bell curve to a maximum during the longest day of the year June 20 and will decrease slowly until the shortest day of the year Dec 20.  Now, when the New Year arrives and each day is getting longer, so do the workouts until they peak in June.  And the cycle continues.  As you can see below in the 15 month periodization cycle, my running/high rep PT cycles peak in Jun-Jul and my swimming drops to about 50% of what I do in the winter swim peak.  Also during the winter there is a peak in lifting that begins late fall / early winter.  Usually the lifting cycle is 12-16 weeks.  So arranged like this my running peak for both distance / speed is in June - July, swimming and rucking peak for both speed and distance is Dec-Jan, and lifting peak is late March.  This cycle has proved invaluable to my health, fitness, ability to stay active without injury for the past ten years.

Why periodize?  Well for athletes it is all about peaking during the season / championship season, but the for tactical athlete there are no off-seasons.  The military has an easier schedule to fit this type of program into as you can PEAK prior deployments on the elements you will need for deploying to a combat zone:  speed, agility, strength, good foundation of endurance.  For the police and fire fighter - finding the "off-season" is harder if not impossible, so the extra stresses of workouts need to be perfectly timed as both stress reliever as well as capability increaser / maintainer. 

Red Line = Running / PT
Blue Line = Swimming
Black Line = Lift



As you see, the easier running part of the workout comes in the middle of winter and the toughest part is in the summer.  Winter workouts do not mean you do NOTHING - they are just easier in time involvement, mileage, and repetition than the summer season.  My book Maximum Fitness is a 52 week workout that demonstrates the cycle into 4 x 13 week periods that include:

1st Quarter - Calisthenics / Cardio Workouts - The goal of this cycle is to build a foundation of moderate to high reps of calisthenics or bodyweight exercises to improve fitness testing scores, but to also burn off some of the bulk you created during the winter weight lifting cycle.  Progressing the running each week is critical to this cycle as well and will help prevent over-use running injuries when starting back up again.   

2nd Quarter - Calisthenics / Cardio Workout (more advanced) - This phase takes the last cycle and builds upon it further with more maximum effort (high rep / high mileage cardio) workouts.  Typically at the end of this cycle you will reach a peak in cardiovascular and bodyweight performance.  At this point, you will be ready for a change.

3rd Quarter - Some Calisthenics / Some Weights / Cardio Workouts - So, you change your routine a bit.  Decrease reps of calisthenics, but add weights incrementally each week to build up your strength.  Cardio options grow by adding more non-impact to your running routine as you taper a bit to prepare for the weight cycle.

4th Quarter - Near 100% weights / less running more non impact cardio - The weight routine in Max Fitness is more of a weight gain cycle - body building like workout.  But as a former football player and power lifter, I have always enjoyed this cycle and found that within 4-8 weeks, I was back to old max weight (1RM) in several exercises to include bench press, power clean, and dead lifts.  Usually weight gain will accompany this cycle and typical results are 10-15 lbs especially if you like to watch football and eat!  The legs will feel good on occasional runs after a few weeks of tapering down to more non-impact cardio.  My newer ebooks on winter lifting phases focus on the power lifts as well as the non impact cardio options.


The NEW Navy SEAL Weight Training Workout and Tactical Fitness Books however is more powerlifting to simulate boat carries, log PT, fireman carries, rucking.

When you push your fitness to extremes the way I have throughout my teens, 20s, 30s, and now 40s, you need to create a break from all the elements of the above routine.  Periodization is required to achieve that - it is simply a model of a program that logically progresses throughout the year.  You can create your own to fit your fitness goals.

When I was in the SEAL teams, we actually did this type of program as winter diving always was tough without extra bulk.  So, we bulked up over the winter in order to handle the colder water temperatures.  So this style of training does perform a very useful purpose tactically as well as physiologically.

Periodization Books and Why Cycling Your Workouts Through the Year is Important.
Periodization Combo (Save $10)

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 

Complete List of Books, eBooks, DVDs

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Published Books / DVDs / APPs

NEW - Tactical Fitness - Featuring the Dirty Dozen    |  More Info   |  Book only
The Navy SEAL Weight Training Workout   |  More info   |  Book only
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

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 

The Busy Executive Workout Routine    |  eBook only

Advanced Maintenance and Recovery Program   |  More Info   |  eBook only

The TRX Workout eBook     |  More Info   eBook only

  - Circuit Training 101 eBook      |  More Info   eBook only

 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