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 Self Motivation – Top Ten List to Stay Motivated and Build Mental Toughness

Most high school and college athletes are pretty motivated but some need guidance on how to get to a new level of fitness and athleticism.  From off-season growth and speed workouts to in-season maintenance plans, there are different programs to choose from and it all depends on your goals and current fitness level.  The difference in excelling during the off-season is your own self-motivation and the question is, “Are you a wanna-be or a gonna-be?”

The good news is that you are young enough to get in shape relatively quickly.  Four to six months of daily fitness at your age will help your ability to survive whatever training you are seeking.  Now the question is, “How do you stay motivated day after day?”  Here is my personal top ten list to stay motivated to get the workout done for the day in order to be bigger, faster, and stronger:

1 – Get your workout over with.  Before any commitments, work out either in the early morning before school or immediately after school.  Write it down in your calendar because if your workout is not in your schedule - it does not exist.

2 – Jam Out - Have recorded music to wake you up prior to your workout or one of my favorite was a tape recorded message from myself and it said, “Hey – get your lazy butt up and into the gym – NOW!”

3 – Name it and Tame it:  Write down your goal and put it up in your bedroom, inside your locker, on a school folder or make a poster of it.  Look at this EVERYDAY. 

4 – Performance Cue – Create buzz words before, during and after your workouts that pump you up to perform at your best.  This sports psychology tool is used by profession athletes every day.  Some ideas are:  “Game on”, “Let’s Roll”, “compete”, “gonna-be”, “work hard”.  Remember one of the best athletic performances you have ever had – give it a name and get yourself back into that moment.

5 – Even when you do not feel like exercising – DO IT.  Another thing you will develop when you start to train hard is the confidence in yourself.  You will sharpen your mental toughness by pushing your fitness levels each week.  No need to push through serious illness, but when you start to push through the “don’t feel like it” line, you build mental toughness that day. 

6 – Have a workout partner - YOU have to be motivated and when you are motivated to workout you lead by example to your partner.  One day he/she will do it for you when you need it the most.

7 – Know what work is:  When you are truly motivated to excel in a sport, you will do whatever in your power to prepare yourself.  Otherwise you are just playing games.

8 – Understanding Fitness – Once you understand that fitness, flexibility, speed, agility, strength and power are all components of performing at your best, it is easier to stay motivated to work out and build the foundation needed to prevent injuries and stay in the game.

9 – Change it up – Don’t do the same old workout week after week.  One, you will get bored with it and two your body will stop responding to it as before.  Change up the workout by adding weights, calisthenics, new exercises, new cardio options over 2-3 weeks.

10 - Never let go of a dream.  Not all people can play sports and often it is the effort you put in off the field that will enhance your game enough to make the team.  Ask any coach if they would rather have a group of hard working players with heart or a group of talented players with little heart.  Hard work wins every time. 

Now get to work!  It is not my job to motivate you to make the team or get prepared for this season!  It is YOURS.  It will be YOU who gets through the training and it is you who will have to prepare properly to succeed.

 Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.  He specializes in military and law enforcement fitness, particularly Special Operations units.  See the Fitness eBook Store for written programs to help you prepare to serve.  Please feel free to email him at with any comments or questions.  Good luck with your nutrition / performance fitness program and I hope you see improvement soon.  Workouts can be easily obtained at the Fitness Ebook Store.  

Links to Stew Smith eBooks
Army Navy Air Force USMC Coast Guard
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The Heroes of Tomorrow program was developed by former Navy SEAL Stew Smith, fitness author.  We can help prepare you for ANY profession that requires a Physical Fitness Test and YOU pay nothing for the training!  Warning - it is rather advanced but we can scale it back a bit and teach running and swimming techniques and help you build up to your goal level of fitness.

where we train the Heroes of Tomorrow for Free

Pullups / Dips W/swim PT               Run on B/A Trail outside of SPCC

 Winter Workout - Good Gear / TRX Atomic Pushups - see video

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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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
- 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

The OCS, ROTC, Service Academy, & Bootcamp Workouts

New - Army PRT and CRT
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 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
Check out the Inventions for Fitness

Seal Multi Men's Multi-Vitamin Multi-Mineral

TRX Train Like the Pros


Some Titles Above available in Print Softcover Format