In the Special Operations Forces (SOF) community you’re given all of the best equipment available. There’s a tool for every problem set. But, you can’t take everything on every operation. Along with a basic load common to 99% of missions you’ll also choose from a wide array of special equipment based on mission requirements and contingencies. An operator’s physical fitness is no different. Every unit has a baseline of standards for selection, and a baseline for continued employment in their respective organization. I know it’s a surprise for some to hear, but 99% of us can’t bench press 500 pounds, get up and then run a sub 12 minute 2 mile. You have to train your body for the mission at hand the same way like you load out for one. In order to meet specific requirements.
So when someone asks me “how do I get in shape” I always ask them their why. Are you a new or potential recruit? Already serving and attending an assessment and selection? In how long? Are you Law Enforcement? If so, in what environment? First responder? Or currently in a SOF unit and preparing for a mission with unusual or specific requirements? Or are you a normal guy or gal that just wants to be hard to kill?
From here it’s necessary to establish the specific requirements of your why. What are the minimum requirements? How long is the course? In what event/gate does the biggest attrition take place? Can I eat while I’m there? What kit do I need to operate in? Etc..etc…etc.
Once you know the specific requirements it’s time to take honest stock of your own abilities based on what it is you are trying to do. Brutal honesty is what makes SOF units successful, both self honesty and being honest with your teammates. Measure the differences in your performance and how well you need to do in order to meet your goals. Prioritize, set your gates, and get to work.
Image courtesy of DoD