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The Five Psychological Phases of Fitness

I have often used the five phases to describe to people how they are going to feel in the near future about starting a fitness program whether as a beginner or as an advanced athlete preparing for Navy SEALs or Special Forces training.  I have found that both the out of shape beginner and the advanced Special Operations candidate develop into their goals through the process described below:

The first phase of fitness requires a person to make a decision to get healthy or become a Special Operations candidate.  This phase takes 2-3 seconds, but it actually takes about 2-3 weeks to make habits that will fuel your desire to obtain your goals.  Hang in there at least that long and BUILD GOOD HABITS.  This phase is filled with motivation and a general excitement about fitness and exercise. 

In the second phase, doubt enters and can either crush your progress or make you stronger.  It is absolutely natural to have doubts about what you are undertaking. My advice is to start doubting yourself as quickly as possible and get over it.  Realize self doubt is part of the process.  Even SEAL trainees doubt themselves, but those who become SEALs conquer their doubt.  Those who lose 60-80 pounds in a year, conquer their doubt as well.

Phase Three is one of the most exciting phases when you realize you have conquered your doubt.  You may have to redo this phase continually throughout your quest for fitness or Special Forces status, but once you do,you can do anything you set your mind to.  This is where the mind and body connect. Use the workouts to be a catalyst in all areas of your life:  work, relationships, school, etc...I am a firm believer that exercising your body will give you the stamina and energy to exercise your mind spirit and achieve those life long dreams you have.

Phase Four is the total identity change and self-confidence realization period for most people.  You now associate yourself with fit and healthy people.  Now you are fit in mind and body.  Your example will inspire others. Be a role model to another heavy person or aspiring Special Operations soldier.  People will be amazed by your new work ethic at work and play.  Eating healthy is now a habit for you too.  In fact eating fast food or unhealthy snacks makes you feel slightly ill.

Phase Five is the next step, but the journey never ends.  Set and conquer goals for yourself. Whatever you like - run, swim, bike, weight lift...Challenge yourself to run a 10k, lift 400 lbs, do a triathlon.  Fitness is a journey not a destination.

 If you need help with a fitness program for beginners or any US Military Special Operations training manual check out the eBook Fitness Store

Stew Smith is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness and self defense books such as The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, and Maximum Fitness.  As a military fitness trainer, Stew has trained hundreds of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, Air Force PJ, Ranger Training, and other physical law enforcement professions.  His eBooks at can help you achieve your dream job or fitness goals.    

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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, e-mail him at

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Complete List:  BOOKS / eBOOKS / DVDs

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Published Books / DVDs

Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness (Book / DVD)
Maximum Fitness

The Special Operations Workout

The SWAT Workout - From Recruit to SWAT Team Member
The Combat Swimmer Stroke DVD

The Pre-Habit Workout DVD
Clinic DVD for Navy SEAL PST
The FBI Special Agent Test Clinic DVD

The Complete List of Stew Smith's eBooks:

Fitness for All Levels of Fitness

The 90 Day Beginner Guide to Fitness
The Advanced Maintenance and Recovery Program

Reclaim Your Life - The Erin O'Neill Program

Veteran's Fitness - Baby Boomer and a Flat Stomach

The Busy Executive Workout Routine
The Advanced Weights / PT Workout (Fall / Winter Weight Gain Cycle)
The Perfect Pushup Workout

The TRX Workout
NEW - Circuit Training 101 ebook
NEW Obstacle Course Race Ebook


The Special Forces Physical Fitness Workouts
 Combat Conditioning Workout

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1  Beginner Weeks 1-9
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3 - Intermediate Weeks 1-12
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT -  Four weeks before Hell Week

Navy SWCC Workout

The Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout 

The Army Air Assault School Workout

The Army Airborne Workout

Air Force PJ / CCT Workout

The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer Workout
NEW - The UBRR Spec Ops Fitness Test


The OCS, ROTC, Service Academy, & Bootcamp Workouts

Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard OCS Workout
The USMC IST and PFT Workout
USMC OCS / TBS Workout
The Service Academy Workout (West Point, Navy, Air Force Academy)
The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Bootcamp Workout

The Army OCS and PFT Workout
The NEW Army PRT and Combat Readiness Test Workout
The PFT Bible - Military / Police Standard PFT


The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Test Workouts

The FBI Academy / PFT Prep Workout

The DEA Prep Workout

The FLETC Prep Workout - Ace the PEB

The State / Local Police Academy Workout

The Fire Fighter Workout

Why a 52 Week Workout Cycle?

  Seal Multi Men's Multi-Vitamin Multi-Mineral

Become a TRX Trainer   

 TRX Train Like the Pros


Some Titles Above available in Print Softcover Format