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Pre-Training Before the Academy

Stew Smith, CSCS

Here are a few commonly asked questions regarding a young man joining the military and then advancing onto challenging follow on training. But my answers apply to anyone seeking to join the military or a law enforcement academy as well. Here are his questions:

I am going to ship next month to the Navy then go to SEAL training after Boot. Here are my questions:

1. I have been using your programs for over a year. Will my body be ready if I continue the plan or should I be easing off before I leave?

I would consider slowing down a few days to a week prior to attending your training as the long days, extra PT, catching a cold from other recruits will challenge you in the long term even though you will actually get “out of shape” to a degree from where you are now. There is no real way to prepare for this other than having a solid foundation of consistent physical activity for at least a year. Truthfully, if you are prepared for SEAL training prior to going into Bootcamp, you can consider Bootcamp as a “taper”. Life will be easier for you if you go prepared of course.

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2. If I ease off how much time should I take? One week? Two?

“Ease off” should not be do nothing. You can ease up a bit on your workout intensity and duration, but still you should keep moving and not relax after you reach your fitness goals. Too many times recruits strive for the minimum standards and after reaching the bare minimums, they relax and do nothing for a few weeks or a month only to fail the fitness standards upon arrival. If you like added stress in an already stressful environment, try failing the fitness test when you first get to training.

3. If I should take it easy with lighter workouts, what should I use for maintenance PT for the last week prior to my indoc training?

Focus on the initial PFT that you must take at some time of your training. If you are nursing any injuries (tendonitis, shin splints, etc) you should try to do some easy warm-ups, stretching, and substitute impact aerobics like running for swimming, rowing, biking and other non-impact aerobics. Also keep up with the workouts of your pre-training PT program but decrease the repetitions by 25-50 percent. Most of the workouts I create have a testing week where you taper prior to testing. That is a good model to go by if wish to follow that or you can read the PFT Taper Article found at the training pages.

Keep the emails coming at I answer all of them though it make take 5-7 days for me to get back to you due to volume for the week.

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