Day One, Week One.

First Three days of the PTG

I am officially starting to freak out! Day one, week one is around the corner and I have a major problem. Before I get overwhelmed and crumble under the pressure of a training schedule which has not started yet, I need to take a step back and evaluate the positives.

Eat for Health
Eating Right

I give myself a big tick here βœ” okay okay, maybe a big tick is a tad of an exaggeration. I’ll say I’ve been eating well overall. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve had a few too many wins at McDonald’s Monopoly than I care to admit. Apart from a few hiccups, I have been avoiding high sugar/fatty foods and eating mostly fish, red meat and fruit. Although the eating has been clean, the calories I am consuming are no where near what the program requires.

In Australia and I assume majority of the developed world, the cost of quality meats are very expensive. Especially when I have to eat around 2000 calories a day just to maintain my puny frame. When red meat, cheese and seafood are considered luxuries, what is a poor endurance athlete to do? Consume carbs of course and plenty of them.

I am an advocate for healthy eating and no, I’m not taking about fad diets. I’m talking about healthy eating, you know the boring stuff ?!?! Balanced meals that contain the five food groups; Fruit and Vegetables, Grain, Dairy, Proteins and Fats. I can already hear you pleading: “If only it was that simple”. Let’s agree that it’s not that simple; as a quick google search of the word “diet” nets us 1.5 billion reasons otherwise. Information overload is rampart in our digital world and it is easy to become overwhelmed. I consider it the modern day equivalent of having all the gear but no idea. Don’t worry, I am guilty of this too; Keto, Mediterranean, Protein and even the Carnivore diet – I’ve tried them all. Did anything work you ask? Yes, no, maybe? One things for sure, nothing worked long term.

Up and down like a yo-yo has taught me one thing – there is no substitute for exercise and a balanced diet. As my training will soon involve long distance running, swimming and calisthenics (gyms are currently closed), carbohydrates will become my number one macronutrient of choice.

why the French don’t suck
Carbohydrates. Why do I need them and where should I get them from?

Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap for more than a decade and will continue to be a polarizing topic. There should be no debate that active people who want to boost mental focus and physical performance need to meet those energy needs with the right carbohydrates.

Carbs are our primary fuel source. They provide energy for muscle function and act as the main fuel for the brain. When you don’t take in enough carbs, your body does not run efficiently or effectively. Think of carbs as the fuel for your body’s gas tank. If you don’t eat enough carbs, you’ll slowly run out of fuel, which means low energy, decreased focus, and even nasty mood swings.

When carbs are broken down, glucose (the primary fuel for the brain and the body) is made available. The more processed the carbohydrate, the faster the glucose (sugar) reaches the blood stream. A natural food rich in carbohydrates ie; sweet potato will provide more stable energy and less of a glucose and insulin spike. Uncontrolled blood sugar has been linked to an increased risk of inflammation, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and a negative impact on the brain.

Not all carbs are created equal. Avoid processed carbs such as white breads, pastas and baked goods. These have a high glycemic index, meaning they’re digested quickly and absorbed immediately, sending your blood sugar level sky high. The problem is; you crash quickly and end up feeling sluggish. Instead, choose the least processed carbs available. Low or moderate glycemic foods cause the body to do the work to extract the nutrients in the foods and the gradual release helps regulate blood sugar. Think “Brown and Close to the Ground”, a reference to both the colour of the carbs and where the food was grown.

Choose carbohydrates and grains with at least 3 grams of fibre to stabilize energy and help keep you feeling satisfied throughout the day. Great choices include steel cut oats, quinoa, kamut, lentils, 100% whole wheat bread and oats. Include fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains for their fibre and nutrient density.

Finally, your meals should revolve around nutrient-dense colourful foods. Remember to choose the least-processed form of carbohydrates. If you opt for pasta or couscous select the whole wheat option. If you reach for rice, opt for brown or wild rice.

Final score for eating right – 2 out of 3

run, run, sleep and repeat
2. Exercise

Oh my, where do I start.

How did exercise become such a big part of my life? Why am I willing to suffer everyday? I wasn’t always like this before, what on earths got in to me? Hold up, let’s ignore that rabbit hole for the moment. I think its better we focus on my training for the PTG (Physical Training Guide) which is going to kick off from Monday 26th of October.

What have I been doing to prepare for the PTG? I’ve been running, running and running. Its easy to see what my problem is. It’s similar to a triathlete running seven days a week and completely ignoring the other two disciplines. For the love of God, I am in a world of trouble.

I did a PSP (push up, sit up and pull up) session the other week and was feeling sore for three days. I’m supposed to do a session every second day and twice on Friday. This is not looking good, if I was gambling man I’d say i’m dead in the water.

Speaking of water, I might actually be dead in the water if i’m not careful. I’ve only managed to fit in one swim session a week. I’m not swimming anywhere close to the distance I was this time last year. Fortunately, the PTG does its best to build you up slowly. I must admit that the going gets tough quickly and as they say at the NSWC (Naval Special Warfare Centre) – the only easy day was yesterday. No truer words were ever spoken once the PTG is underway. In case your wondering what NSWC, (note to self – stop with the acronyms) has to do with this blog? I am planning to undertake the official training for the special operation unit known as the SEAL/s (oops, there I go again).

No praise can be given for my exercise effort. The lead up to the program can only be described as poor. No excuses necessary, I can’t think of one reason why I couldn’t complete PSP (oh my goodness, stop) sessions in the local park except for sheer laziness.

I can’t put off the training any longer because once Autumn starts it’s cold in Melbourne, Australia. I hope a real SEAL never reads this blog, I wouldn’t last one minute in the surf at Coronado Bay. That’s if I don’t ring the bell on the grinder first.

Final score for exercise is a generous 1 out of 3

It’s too early
Waking up early for training

This is where my major problem lies. I need to get the first session of the day in before work starts. That means waking up early, I know I can do it. My situation is better now in comparison to this time last year. I work from home, the park I run in is literally a stones throw away and I can easily get the sessions done before work starts. I’m currently battling two problems, going to sleep early and waking up early.

I have never been someone who jumps out bed and is ready to tackle the day. I was the kid that literally needed to be dragged out of bed to go to school. Unfortunately, not a lot has changed over the years. I was fired from my last job for coming in late (long story) and I’m rolling out of bed as the clock strikes 9 to start my current job. Yes, the situation is dire. If something doesn’t change and fast I won’t be completing any of the goals I have set for myself.

You should be able guess my final score for waking up early 🍩 – doughnuts!

How am I going to address this potential roadblock ?

For starters, I am going to review the blog post I wrote on waking up early – Oh the irony! As much as I stand by my own work, this problem is ingrained in my psyche and I need to bring in the big guns to address it. As I’m planning to complete a military inspired workout regime, it is only right that I adopt a military technique to solve this problem.

Tomorrow is the grand final holiday in Melbourne, Australia – yep, we get a day off for a sporting match which isn’t played until the following day πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ, no complaints from me. On my day off tomorrow, I will write a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP – I promise that’s the last one), for my evenings and mornings.

The procedure will include the time the set task will need to be completed. Here is a draft of what I’m envisioning;

Evening:
  • Exercise immediately after work πŸ™„
  • Shower
  • Dinner
  • Blog
  • Sleep
Morning:
  • Feed Jazzy the Cat
  • Have Breakfast
  • Meditate
  • Dynamic Stretch
  • Exercise
  • Static Stretch cool down
  • Start Work

The above is a very basic draft and clearly needs some refinement and additional information. I will think about it more tomorrow and expand on the details. The way I see it right now; drastic times call for drastic measures. I have three mornings left to start waking up early or the parties over before it began.

I feel like this blog post has heavily focused on my shortcomings and I want to end on a positive note for everybody at home.

2.21 miles equals 3.57kms

Apologies for my poor editing skills, I did my best with the limited ability I have. I hope you can see what I’m getting at. The image on the left is my run time from yesterday’s date 22/10/2020. The scan on the right are my times from 12 months ago, almost to the day.

If I was too plug the first run time from 2019 into a pace calculator, it would spit out 8:31 min/mi. Things are definitely moving in the right direction, all I have to do is keeping working hard and ignore the noise around me.

P.S I would really appreciate if you could please leave a comment letting me know the type of content you enjoy best. Alternatively, drop me a line about how you mastered the art of becoming a morning person and leave some hints and tricks in the comment section.

I hope you enjoyed my post and I hope to see you again soon.

PKbootcamp 😊

What you need for an open water swim

Like many times before, I was scrambling to find all my gear to jump in the water for a leisurely afternoon swim. After triple checking the bag for various items, I thought to myself; getting my gear ready for a swim shouldn’t be this frustrating. It was that thought that led me to write this blog post for not only your benefit but mine too!!

I have decided to make a list of the essential items required to enjoy a swim in the bay/ocean.

1. Float Bag
Not all float bags are created equal

Don’t laugh, yes I know they are annoying and flap around all over the place but if your swimming all by your lonesome, I can’t recommend these flotation devices enough. Before I go on, a little tiny legal disclaimer for your reading pleasure; these float bags are not designed for life saving purposes. As the name suggests, the float bag allows you to carry and keep items dry while your in the water. Prior to a rather precarious situation I found myself in the other week, I thought they were only useful for carrying a pair of shorts, water and some light shoes

My perception of the float bag changed almost instantly when I got swept up in a current which made it extremely difficult to swim to the end of a pier. The pier seemed so close but I was swimming as hard as I could and I wasn’t getting any closer. At one point my arms gave way and I decided enough was enough. I grabbed on to the float bag and kicked as hard as I could. Not only was I getting closer to the pier, I was giving my arms a break which allowed me to give it my all one last time and reach safety.

Lastly, the bright colour may also allow watercraft to spot you more easily, hopefully before they drive straight over you !!

2. Goggles
Which one would you choose?

Wait, don’t leave this page. Okay yes, you need goggles for swimming and no, I’m not questioning your intelligence because you already knew that. I want to talk about my personal experience with goggles to help you choose the right kind and the right fit. Before we talk about the fit, you want to get yourself a mirrored pair of goggles. The mirrored goggles will work fine in the pool however they shine in the open water. The lens of the mirrored goggles allow you to see deep into the water. It is reassuring to be able to see in front of you and sure as hell beats looking into the dark, deep and menacing water unaware of what lies beneath.

It is tempting to buy a cheap pair of mirrored goggles from amazon and ignore the fancier options. If you just starting out and not sure whether swimming is for you, then by all means go for the inexpensive option. If your anything like me and leave your training to the last minute, you will be cursing black and blue about the darn strap on your cheap goggles < I’m speaking from experience here. Surprisingly the cheaper option offered a more superior fit over the pricier pair although the amount of messing about with the strap means I have not looked back since picking up my new goggles. As you can see from the photo, the strap design of the speedos allow you to pop them on and away you go. The adidas goggles on the other hand would have me sidelined desperately trying to thread the strap through the opening and adjust the length!!

Marketing material on the plastic box of the speedo goggles claim the following; Anti fog, Adjustable nose piece, Leak Free and Reduced marks around the eyes . I will discuss these briefly below;

  • Anti Fog – The anti fog feature comes in handy from time to time as I have experienced visibility issues both in and out of the water using the cheaper models. The visibility issues are more problematic in the pool where the possibility of running into someone is more likely.
  • Adjustable nose piece – The nose pieces are a little gimmicky. There is a reason the goggles are fitted with a default option. Most of the other options are merely extended versions of the default setting. Are wide noses really a thing?? One of the nose pieces is so ridiculous, I have to wonder who’s idea it was to add it the package.
  • Leak Free – I do not find the goggles to be leak free. It is not the “3D seal” which is the problem but rather the adjustability of the strap. The settings on the strap do not allow for a completely watertight seal. I have tried every single one of the adjustable nose pieces and could not get a perfect fit. The goggles let in a small amount of water and that’s something I’ve been forced to accept.
  • Reduced marks on the eyes – The speedo goggles definitely reduce swelling around the eyes. I consider that this is due to the relaxed fit. I would pull the adjustable straps on my adidas pair so tight, it was no surprise that I looked like I had taken a beating after exiting the pool.
3. Wetsuit
What a shorty spring suit looks like

Wetsuits are great and I highly recommend them. I have been getting away with using a old surfing wetsuit which is not ideal for my intended purpose. The wetsuit was not specifically designed for swimming and limits mobility in my shoulders. Nevertheless, it works great for keeping me warm and buoyant in the water. My only complaint would be the difficulty involved in getting in and out of the spring suit. To combat the difficulty of removing the wetsuit I have opted to wear a shorty spring suit.

The water temperature in Port Phillip Bay during spring can get as low as 12.2Β°C/54Β°F to a maximum of 16.6Β°C/61.9Β°F. The shorty spring suit is a little on the light side when it comes to keeping me warm. Although I am very active in the water and my body is producing a lot of heat, the cold becomes an issue towards the end of the swim. Based on my own personal experience, I believe the full length spring suit is more suitable for the conditions as it allows me to stay in the water for longer. If the conditions are anything but perfect ie waves or currents, the swim will take longer than usual. The open water is not a controlled environment, you can’t swim to the sidewall and nobody is going to throw you a lifebuoy. If you are extremely cold, you are more likely to stress and panic if you find yourself in a difficult position. It is for this reason, I recommend you err on the side of caution and wear a wetsuit that suits the conditions. I can tell you right now that I need to take a page out of my own book on that one.

4. Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline).

Yes, that’s right you need a product from the baby aisle for swimming… The reason? To avoid wetsuit rash which virtually looks like a burn. You will need to apply the lotion around your neck area and on the collar of the wetsuit. There are some more targeted anti-chafe products on the market such as body glide. I have no experience using this product but have heard good things, so I thought I would mention it here. The petroleum jelly works just fine for me and I haven’t had any issues as long as it is applied liberally.

Be mindful that the fit of your wetsuit can also play a part in causing the rash. The better the fit of the wetsuit, the less time you will need spend worrying about wetsuit rash. If all else fails, hydrozole will solve your problem but prevention is always better than a cure.

5. Rashy

The name of the clothing itself provides a clue into why we need this extra layer under our wetsuits. That’s right, wetsuit rashes. I’m all too familiar with these red marks and luckily they have not caused me a serious infection. Of course they are best avoided and wearing a rashy under your wetsuit is the best way to prevent them from forming under the armpit. The surf rash under the armpit is particularly bad and can cause quite the sting when agitated.

6. Fins
The fins I forgot at home *rolls eyes*

You just don’t know what the conditions are like until you get to the water. The weather outside gives us an indication however, you won’t know what your in for until you reach the water’s edge. Today was a perfect example of what I am referring too, please see below.

really bad line…

This is what your trajectory can look like when you leave your fins at home!!! πŸ€¦β€β™‚οΈ. The waves (not pictured) were average yet consistent. I was unable to keep a straight line due to the waves slowly pushing me towards the shore. I was forced on the sand many times. I was unable to fight against the pull of the waves while swimming towards the finish line. The swim was a disaster although I learnt a valuable lesson; you shouldn’t leave your fins at home as you never know when you might need them.

I suspect the fins would have provided me additional propulsion which would have allowed me to stay in the deeper water for longer. I will chalk today up as a lesson learnt albeit a frustrating one. Funnily enough this ties in to the reason why I decided to write this post in the first place πŸ€”

7. Swim Cap (optional)

A swim cap is not exactly going to help you win a fashion show. It does however stop hair from getting in your eyes and can help eliminate the drag caused by your hair in the water. Visibility is the main reason I recommend swim caps to my friends and find bright colours are especially useful in alerting kite surfers and small craft to your presence.

I hope my article explains the pitfalls of open water swimming and helps you mitigate the risks. I don’t want to scare anyone away from entering the water for a swim, the purpose of this article is to help you learn from my mistakes.

This is by no means an extensive list, some other discretionary items I can think of are; food, water and sunscreen.

Lastly, pick a nice calm day, avoid waves, swim with the current, stay close to the shore and enjoy yourself.

Stay safe in the water πŸ™‚ PKbootcamp

Do the numbers really add up?

Numbers were never my strong suit. During my schooling, I have always been drawn to the written word and numbers have never come easy to me. Fast forward ten years and I’m working in the accounts department of an insurance company, go figure!! Luckily, I’m not required to execute complicated mathematical equations however, numbers naturally make up a large component of the job.

I seem to unconsciously gravitate towards the patterns that can be found in data. This has become evident in not only my career but also in my blog. I decided to start this blog as a medium to express myself openly and without judgment. Instead of allowing my views and ideas to run free without restraints, I am hiding behind a wall of data and statistics. It is amazing what picking up a pen or in this case typing on the computer can do for one’s introspection. I challenge you to do some writing of your own. Maybe you too will uncover something about yourself you never knew existed. As for me, I will continue to use numbers as the focal point of this blog but rest assured; I am aware of my short comings and will eventually overcome them.

8 miles in perfect conditions

Before I got started training yesterday, I decided that a pre-workout snack was in order. I drove to the local gas station and picked up a couple of Gatorade’s, I also grabbed a coffee because I’m an addict (for coffee that is) and headed to the starting line. Hyped up on sugar and caffeine, I started a twenty minute warm up which included running up and down a set of stairs at a modest pace. I did wonder if the twenty minute warm up was overkill and asked myself if cutting the warm up short would have made any difference towards the end result. Regardless of my thoughts about the warm up, I broke into a sweat, drank plenty of water and headed to the starting line.

I could not have asked for better conditions for this run. The sun was setting slowly and there was little to no wind in either direction. I managed to sustain a sub 7mile pace for exactly 1min and 30seconds. I want to able to run ten miles at a sub 7min per mile pace. For now, I will just focus on running and making sure I am putting out and consistently training. My body felt great during the run, I’m not sure if it was caffeine and sugar mixing in my blood stream or the near perfect conditions but the run felt good from start to finish. I am cursing a little that I broke the 1hr mark by a mere 6 seconds. I’m looking at you construction workers at the train station. All in all, it was a good session and the fact I wasn’t able to run the distance in under 1hr fuels me for my next attempt.

I would like to reiterate that the heart rate metric data can not be not considered 100% accurate although I personally find it useful in reviewing my performance. When comparing my heart rate to a run of the same distance, my heart rate in this particularly activity is particularly jumpy. It is not a smooth increase or decline in heart rate which you would expect from a long distance run. Again, I believe that this has to do with the accuracy of the watch and I may need to invest in a chest strap for more precise readings. I feel like I may have been able to push my self a little harder towards the end of the run although it’s easy too look back and consider that now, not so easy during the activity

I will continue to add elevation into my posts to demonstrate the inaccuracy of the data. Once my editing skills improve, I will start adding side by side comparison to further illustrate what I’m alluding too. For now, you will have to trust me when I say there is a difference of 100ft in the exact same distance on the exact same track.

My limited research has found that the Garmin Forerunner 245 with Music that I purchased does not have barometric altimeter which is capable of calculating the altitude above sea level. The watch instead uses professional surveys to calculate the elevation, you get what you pay for. On a side note, the music function works great and listening to music without carrying a phone is awesome.

I thought the above bar graph is also a cool little feature as it gives a breakdown in percentage of my beats per minute. I also compared this with a previous run of the same distance and surprisingly the difference is only 1%. At least the heart rate monitor is consistent although I believe the accuracy is the more concerning metric.

This is the first time I have used the lap button. Once the lap button is pressed a voice plays through the wireless earphones updating you on your lap time. I thought this was a cool feature and a welcome addition. Once I heard I had run half the course in 30:18 seconds, I knew I was on track for a Personal Record and started to increase my cadence and push myself that little bit harder. It also helped that I was feeling good and I wasn’t deep in the pain cave where every step felt like a beat down.

I consider that the watch is most reliable in it’s calculation of speed. The correlation between speed and the end result are what I would expect. I am very impressed with my max speed, I do not yet understand how I am able to produce higher numbers in longer runs compared to shorter efforts. I can only put it down to the day off on Friday which allowed my legs to recover slightly.

If you have any questions please leave me a comment and I will get back to you. Also feel free to leave me some feedback on how I can improve the blog.

Thank-you for reading. Take Care & stay safe. PK bootcamp

Preparing For the Physical Training Guide

The Physical Training Guide (PTG) is the official program recommended by the Naval Special Warfare Centre for entry into the BUD/s (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) training pipeline. The training is a combination of interval and long distance running and swimming. A participant of the program is also required to complete two strength training sessions per week and daily callisthenics (body weight exercises).

In preparation for the training I am running daily. I plan to start the program on the 26th of October. The reason I have have chosen the 26th of October is because the date originally signified the easing of COVID-19 restrictions which according to the Victorian Government will allow outdoor gatherings for up to ten people.

The training will require that I wake at 5am and run or swim before firing up the computer and starting my full time job. On my lunch break I will complete the body weight exercises and finally in the evening, I will finish my third work-out for the day. Tired just reading that? I know how you feel. I wasn’t always this fit or motivated but that story is for another day. I am hopeful people in my local area will care to join me for a few of the sessions. I have decided to use this platform as a guide for people interested in joining me while simultaneously keeping a detailed report of each individual training session. I have a nagging feeling that I’m biting off more than I can chew and documenting every session may be a bit of a stretch. After all, I still need to work, eat, chores, sleep, pay bills, socialise, study and lets not forget about EXERCISE!! The good news is I’m starting early and plan to develop a template which streamlines the process.

Back into it: 5km (3.10m) Wednesday 08/10/20

It is the middle of spring in Melbourne, Australia, the weather is ranging from upwards of 28 degrees to as low as 11 degrees during the day. If you have ever had the pleasure of visiting Melbourne, Australia you will experience the variable weather systems and understand the joke of: four seasons in one day. The weather during the 5km run was no exception, it was a cool 13 degrees but strong winds and heavy rain lashed me along the path. The headwind during the return trip was extremely difficult to handle, the wind hardly ever eased up. Considering the environmental factors, the pace was reasonable although far too slow for entry into a special warfare unit.

The Garmin elevation gain metric is inconsistent at best. A side by side comparison of four separate runs on the same track and distance vary between 12 and 42 feet. I will continue to monitor this metric and further evaluate it’s efficacy.

The calories burnt during exercise metric is very interesting and I consider somewhat reliable. I assume the formula to calculate my expenditure is as follows; Calories(kcal) = Basal Metabolic Rate (BSM) X Metabolic Equivalent of Task (METs) / Time. The watch also considers my weight and height as part of the calculation and I believe the number to be fairly accurate. If you do not have access to a smart watch, the talk test or rate of perceived exertion test can be used to gauge how vigorous your exercise is. Remember, if you can hold a conversation during exercise, your not working hard enough πŸ˜† !!

The path is colour coordinated and the key below the map displays what the colour data represents. I have a bad habit (I think) of more or less sprinting out of the gate. I’m not sure if this is helping or hurting me. I have also made a habit of putting out towards the end of the run. No matter how much my legs are hurting, I give it everything and finish strong. That final push gives me confidence for the next day regardless of the end time.

Here is a better illustration of my pace. As mentioned above, my speed is best out of the gate although much slower than previous runs which usually hover around 4:30min/m . I’m genuinely surprised that I wasn’t able to add at least one “Achievement” or “Personal record” to my Strava account. I thought the wind blowing against my back would have helped me to achieve at least one PR in a segment along the track. Oh well, back to the drawing board for me. You can see from roughly 12 minutes onwards, I had turned around and was running into the wind. Fortunately the wind eased slightly around the 19min mark and the allowed me to record somewhat of a reasonable time.

I pointed out earlier the the elevation gain metric is inconsistent and can not be relied upon. In contrast, the elevation in feet is consistent when compared to previous runs on the same track. I do not have the expertise to decipher the accuracy of the above graph and how it translates to the track, so I am forced to take the numbers on face value. It will be interesting to compare these numbers with runs at different locations.

Heart Rate is a controversial metric and many believe the numbers are inaccurate and should only be used a guide. I tend to agree with this and consider the beats per minute to be useful from a fitness perspective and not be used for any medical related purpose. A quick analysis of four runs of the same track and distance display my heart rate between 177bpm and 184bpm. As you would expect, the faster times provide the higher numbers with the peak occurring in the final stages as I push myself to finish the run and achieve the fastest time possible.

The max speed on this run was quite disappointing along with the average speed. I will make an excuse and blame the wind and the rain for my poor results. From next week, I plan to increase my overall running distance to roughly 3.40miles. As I am only increasing my running distance by 10% every fortnight, I do no expect my times to change a whole lot. Hopefully I will get faster although my goal right now is consistency and I expect the speed will come later.

I will try not to bore the readers of my blog to death with the review of my mediocre performances. I will do my best to include information that is educational and helps you make better lifestyle choices and reach the goals you are striving for. Please bear with me while I work out a system that is both informative and educational.

Till next time.
PK Bootcamp

Swim, Push up, Sit up, Pull up and Run – Physical Screening Test (Navy Seal)

A candidate must pass the Physical Screening Test in order to enter into the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUDS) training pipeline.

The requirement of the Physical Screening Test has been added to the 2020 version of the Physical Training Guide. The table at the top of the page, is the respective order of the actual test.  As you can see, this is by no means an easy test to pass and requires a significant amount of training for most individuals.

The first leg is a 500 yard swim (457m).  The swim test is conducted in a fifty 50 yard pool.  The candidate may kick off the walls at each turn.  This would be relatively easy if the candidate could swim freestyle, although the test requires either breast or sidestroke (not combat side stroke).   The competitive or recommended time is 9mins while the minimum is 12m 30secs.  The rest time is 10minutes until the next exercise begins.

The next test is the Push-up test,  the candidate must achieve a minimum of 50 push ups while the recommendation is around 85 push ups.  The push ups must be completed with feet together and a neutral spine.  The push up can be manipulated slightly to increase the number of reps.  The candidate does not need to complete the full range of motion and lowering the body just beyond the mid-way point is adequate.  During the exercise, any rest period must be done in the “UP” position. Following the push up test,  the candidate is allowed a two minute rest time period.

The curl up shares the same requirements as the push up.  The curl up is essentially a sit up with a fellow candidate holding the feet down.  The hands must remain on the shoulders and elbows must touch the thighs.  Once again, any rest must be completed in the “UP” position and not with the back resting on the ground.  The candidate is given a two minute rest period prior to the next exercise.

The pull is a strict exercise which requires the candidate to complete a minimum of 10 pull ups with 20 being the optimum number in 2:00 minutes.  The Chin must exceed the height of the bar and the candidate must lower the body all the way down.  Kicking the feet to generate momentum is not allowed and pull ups with this form will not count towards the total number of reps. 

Lastly,  a 1.5mile run (2.41km) must be completed in a minimum of 10m 30sec with the optimal time being 9 minutes.  For SEAL candidates, the test is completed in boots and long pants.  The SWCC candidates have the luxury of wearing of shorts and runners.  The minimum pace is 7 minutes per mile with a 6 minute pace being the optimum time. 

I will continue to add content about the requirements of becoming a SEAL as the training program is the most openly documented. Other special operation units for example; Delta Force are far more reserved and information is scarce. I plan to research other units and document my findings. For clarity and due to the fact I will be completing the training myself, I will continue to focus on the training involved in joining the Sea Air and Land Special Operations Units.

Thanks for reading

PK Bootcamp

Training to be a Navy Seal

What is the Physical Training Guide?

The Physical Training Guide was developed by the Naval Special Warfare Centre and the Naval Special Warfare Prepatory School. It is the official program listed on the Naval Special Warfare Website for developing the strength and endurance to withstand the rigours of the Basic Underwater Demolition/Seal selection process. The Physical Training Guide also prepares candidates for completion of the Physical Screening Test (the entry test for the Basic Underwater Demolition/Seal pipeline). The minimum standard to pass the PST is as follows; 500 yard swim (breast or side stroke) in 12m 30s or less, 50 push ups in 2 minutes, 50 sit ups in 2 minutes, 10 pull ups – no time limit and a 1.5 mile run in 10m 30s or less.

Majority of the Physical Training Guide is cardiovascular training consisting of running and swimming. According to a 2016 study of 19 BUD/s classes and re-iterated in a blog post by the director of fitness at the Naval Special Warfare Centre, running speed is the biggest predictor of BUD/s success. Aptitude in running allows the candidate to recover faster and reduces the risk of injury although the Physical Training Guide does not favour running over swimming.

Don’t worry, the Physical Training Guide as the name suggests has not forgotten about weight training and calisthenics. The program has more or less daily PT sessions with recommended weight training twice a week. By now you’d be reading this post and wondering why I’ve bothered to explain the Physical Training Guide and if you came to the conclusion that I will be starting the program, you would be right. I will be starting the program on the 26th of October, I know what I’m in for. In 2019, I completed 14 weeks of the program and understand how demanding it is.

I am making this content as a reference guide to anyone who is considering joining BUD/s. I am also writing this blog to simplify the Physical Training Guide. I consider it will be helpful for  candidates who have recently been assigned a mentor to help them ask meaningful questions to assist with the program. I personally think the program is amazing and I am grateful to the Naval Special Warfare Centre for making it available to the public. This conveniently brings me to my next point.

Why the Physical Training Guide?

To put it simply it just works for me, my body type is adaptive to the training especially the endurance aspects of the program. There is no denying the Training is exhaustive and will push me to my limits. I also believe the Physical Training Guide is the most comprehensive free training resource on the internet and once you get a hang of how it works anyone can implement parts of the program to fit their lifestyle. In other words, you don’t have to be training for the military to use the program to improve your fitness.

At this stage, I’m not sure if I will include mock PST’s as part of the training, seeing as I won’t be completing the official test. I will review this again before the 26th of the October and decide whether I should include mock PST’s as part of the program.  In my next post I will discuss the specifics of the Physical Screening Test (PST) in more detail.

Why I’m writing this blog?

I’ve been on quite the hiatus from my little blog and I apologise to all the followers. I’ve been thinking about the blog a lot and to be perfectly honest, I was undecided about it’s direction. I mindlessly took a step back which has lead me to the break in my postings.

During the break I have been thinking about the purpose of my blog and the story I am trying to share with the help of this platform. Initially, I dived into this project without considering the vision of the blog , the frequency of the posts and most importantly how the content would benefit and inspire the reader.

My biggest fear was the blog would read like a school assignment with information summarised and reworded from either online content or text books. I want something more organic and real which allows me to share my vulnerabilities and express myself creatively.

The blog will continue on the theme of health and fitness. I will do my absolute best to ensure the content is interesting and engaging. The blog from now on, will focus on my own tears and triumphs as I complete the Naval Special Warfare Physical Training Guide/Program starting from the 26th of October.

If I was asked to explain the program in only a few words, I would describe it as “all or nothing”. The program is the official recommended training found on the SEAL/SWCC website for those who plan to enter the Basic Underwater Demolition School (BUD/s) and ultimately become a Sea, Air and Land (SEAL) Operator. If you were wondering; No, I don’t plan on enrolling into the Navy after the training.

I want to educate, discuss and share the undeniable willpower, strength and mental fortitude of those candidates who have the belief and the ability to complete the program. I can assure you, that the training is designed to push an individual to the limit. The adversity from the training will allow me to share a tiny piece of what these individuals are required to endure in order to complete the training.

Over the coming weeks, I will explain the Physical Training Guide and Physical Screening Test in more detail. This will give you a better idea of what I am trying to accomplish.

Take Care and Stay Safe

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The How to Guide for Waking up Early

My whole life I have battled with waking up early. I would have trouble waking up for school, work and exercise. Let’s face it, we can’t all be morning people however, with a few small lifestyle changes we can develop habits that positively impact our lives.

Do you have trouble finding time in your day to complete your exercise, work or chores? Are you foregoing time to yourself for exercise, reflection or meditation due to the stresses of daily life? Are you too busy to chase your dream?

I know I was. When I was working 9am to 5pm with an hour and a half commute each way, my energy levels would really suffer in the evening. Eating all the wrong foods didn’t help and I would regularly crash out on the couch. I would barely make it to work the next day, I could see I had a problem and took steps to address it.

Trust me when I say “If I can change my bad habits, so can you” !!

Here’s how I made small changes which resulted in waking up early everyday;

Create a Morning Plan

If you find yourself setting the alarm at 5am and pressing the snooze button over and over again, you need to find your reason for waking up early. What do you want to achieve? Why are you sacrificing precious time in the evening so you can get up early?

Set a Morning Routine

You can skip creating a detailed plan on the most productive way to spend your morning, if you can envision and implement a morning routine. A morning routine can be as simple as making a nutritious breakfast, drinking your coffee while reading the paper, light exercise and meditation. A morning routine will naturally progress into a morning plan once you become accustomed to waking up early and embracing the early hours of the morning.

Now on to the more challenging aspects of waking up early consistently !!

Going to bed early

As much as I hate to say it and wish there was an alternative, the number one rule for waking up early is going to bed early. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults between 18 & 64 years of age set aside between 7 and 9 hours for shut eye every night. You will experience great difficulty in maintaining a early morning routine if you refuse to acknowledge your shortcomings. You may experience short-term results however, the benefits of waking up early are complimented by the long term benefits of overall health, vitality and diet.

Eating and drinking

If you want to wake up early, you need to avoid late night snacks. This requires a sufficient amount of calories throughout the day. If you do find yourself reaching for a late night snack, try to avoid sugary foods and drinks. These type of foods increase blood sugar levels very quickly and reduce sleep quality. Drinking liquid before bed (including water), will also affect our sleep quality as we are required to rise in order to use the toilet.

Keep a Sleep Journal

I recommend keeping a sleep journal, especially at the beginning of your progress. The Sleep Journal will ensure accountability and motivate you to try new things. By documenting what is working and what isn’t, you will gain a deeper insight in how your body reacts to external influence. A good place to start is keeping your phone in another room (hard, I know) and documenting whether you find it easier to fall sleep. Don’t stop there ; reading, guided meditation or relaxing music and document what worked best for you. Be creative and think of your own individual way to unwind before bed.

Be easy on yourself

I was once told to set the bar high, so even if I fall short, I still achieve an above average result.

This ideology should be implemented when attempting to become a early-riser. You need to acknowledge that you won’t always be able to meet the high expectations you set upon yourself. When a set back occurs, you need to take ownership, determine what caused the issue and write it down in your sleep journal. Once the setback has been assessed, you need to move forward and continue with your journey. This is the most important aspect for achieving your goal. Believe me!! If you are not a morning person already, you will experience setbacks which will dampen your spirits.

Be easy on yourself, take it slow, see what works for you, write it down and avoid sugary food & drinks.

Oh and don’t forget to set your alarm

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Challenging Myself with the Navy Seal Physical Screening Test.

My friends are bemused by my dedication to my training schedule. They are especially interested in the fact that I do not participate in any competition whatsoever. The only competition I have is “myself”.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately and can understand my friends confusion. Competition is healthy and helps to identify your strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, an athlete is given the opportunity to challenge themselves in a high pressure environment. The athletes performance and results provide data for self-evaluation and motivate the athlete to improve shortcomings during training.

It can be difficult to maintain both a consistent training schedule and achieve a personal best without a specific goal to challenge ones self. I consider that the power of competition can be harnessed with a personal challenge we design or follow. This sentiment is echoed throughout the fitness industry with many organisations including gyms, training facilities and even supplement companies offering structured fitness challenges for their members to participate in.

I encourage you to attempt a challenging program to boost your overall fitness, health and vitality. All the better, if you can convince a friend to tag along. In addition to following the masses and completing set challenges, occasionally I like to pursue my own challenge and have chosen the Navy Seal Physical Screening Test. The requirements are listed at the top of the page. I will post of video of the results once my training is complete.

Let everyone know about a challenge that you are proud of accomplishing and the difficulties you faced along the way?

Goal-setting and what motivates you?

What do all self-improvement books have in common?

You would be hard-pressed to find a self-help book which doesn’t mention goal-setting.

Most of the time, we jump straight into goal-setting without thinking about why we want to achieve that particular goal in the first place?

Before embarking on your fitness journey, you need to ask yourself why?

The what will come from me but the why is one thing that must come from you.

The what concerns the training, diet and maintenance while the why is the reason you get up early to train, count calories and say no to indulgence.

Once you have determined your why; the results, goals and successes will be far easier to attain.

Your why can be as simple as losing weight or as demanding as getting into the best shape of your life. I can help you with all your fitness goals, however the why must come from you.

Leave your why in the comments below.

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