Monthly Archives: April 2016
I am often asked "What should I do to prepare for BUDS?". Great question, it can be answered very simply. NOTHING. Nothing you do will prepare you for BUDS. BUDS sucks, it's filled with challenges testing your mental and physical commitment to a process designed specifically for you to not succeed at it. Training your mind, in my opinion, is more important than the physical aspects of BUDS. You will need to have both and understand that BUDS is like the game of golf. You cannot beat it, you can only play it. What I mean by that is, there is no great or best run time; you cannot run fast enough ever. Same goes for the swims, the obstacle course etc.…For example, say you go out for a 4 mile timed beach run and you beat everyone and finish in 25:42. Great right? Well, the next time you run that, say you get 25:58. You will be crushed by the instructor staff for going slower than they know you can go.
BUDS is about total commitment to self-improvement, team work and a never ending process of constantly improving both as an individual and as a class. You are also there to prove to the instructor staff, at all three phases of training, that you deserve to serve in a team. Remember their teammate’s lives will depend on your ability to perform under extremely difficult circumstances and they have a responsibility to thin the herd of turds. So here are some tips to help you prepare physically for BUDS:
- Stop doing CrossFit. You will not be doing WOD's and AMRAP’s nor will you do Olympic style lifts or double-under’s with a jump rope. You will however do a lot of body weigh exercises, pushups, pullups, dips, sit-ups, leg levers and flutter kicks. Master these; you are trying to survive 6 months of training, not beat the guys time next to you.
- Swim your ass off. The SEAL team water work is what has traditionally separated us from other SOCOM units. Swim with fins and a mask, and only practice the combat swimmer side stroke. Stew Smith is an excellent instructor and has tons of videos about the CSS.
- Running. You should be running - long slow runs, fast shorter runs and sprints. DO NOT do this with a weighted vest on. Get better at running with pants and boots on.
- There is no need to over train, just train properly. I like to train for what will actually happen. Do not try and put yourself through BUDS before getting there. The goal here is to give yourself the confidence to compete and keep up with the class.
All exercises are done at a basement level then build from there. You do not need to be able to do 30 pull ups and 200 pushups non-stop. My suggestion for pushups is to start by doing 10 sets of 20 reps resting 1 min between sets. Once this is relatively easy, increase to 30 reps, then 40, than 50. You should be able to knock out 8-10 sets of 50 pushups with a 1 min break between sets before going into training. Pullups, start with 6 dead hang pulls ups, clean reps kipping is not allowed, so never train like this. 6 reps, 10 sets with a 2 minute rest between sets. Increase to 8 reps, then 9, then 10. Break it up and test your one time max once per month, your goal should be to do 20-25 in clean pull-ups and 90-120 push-ups. If you can do 6 sets of pull ups 12 reps each you will be just fine. You should be able to run 10 miles at a decent non heart popping pace once every other week. Run 4 miles in under 30 min. consistently once per week and run 2 miles in under 11:30 no matter what 5 times a week.
My personal times when I did the BUDS screening; Pushups 112, sit-ups 90, pullups 18, 500 meter swim 10:20, 1.5 mile run 11:00. These scores are real, and they really sucked but my final PT test at BUDS scores were; Pushups 130(max for the test) sit-ups 120(max for the test) pullups 29, there was no swim, 1.5 mile run 9:15. 2 mile run 13:57, 4 mile run 29 min.
Consistency is key, do not get down on yourself, listen to your body, sleep a lot, do not over train and injure yourself. Drink a lot of water, a gallon a day if you can do it. DO NOT TRAIN 7 DAYS A WEEK. Take days off, no more than 5 days a week. If your body is hurting, rest more.
Be smart about your training and most importantly - DO NOT TAKE TRAINING ADVICE FROM ANYONE WHO HAS NEVER BEEN TO BUDS, GRADUATED BUDS AND WAS A SEAL. Why? Because they have no frame of reference, and do not know what the F@!K they are talking about.
I am constantly bombarded about this subject by young hopefuls wanting to join the military. Some do not believe that I did both and I am lying. There is nothing better in this world than a disabled veteran with 3 combat tours, being called out by people who are either in high school, never served or worse, literally couldn’t even qualify to join the military due to being overweight. But I digress, yes it is possible to serve in multiple branches. The question I ask most often is why? If you want to be a Marine join and be a Marine. If you want to be a SEAL, join the Navy and become a SEAL. If you are already in the Marine Corps, do not get out. Screen for MARSOC, build your operational reputation there. If you leave the Marines and fail out of BUDS there is no going back.
From my experience, the biggest ego shattering experience in life would be to go from being a Marine in any MOS to being in the fleet Navy after failing BUDS (you are fleet bound) to get ordered around by some fleet shoe fat bastard. Good luck with that. The likelihood is very great due to the sheer historical percentage of all who fail the program. Since 1943, roughly 17%-19% have graduated. To put that into perspective, more guys are drafted into the NFL every year than graduate BUDS. Currently, there are more Green Berets on active and reserve duty today than all the living men who have graduated BUDS. The numbers do not lie; the program is difficult at best and crushing at worst. The good news is there is a ton of info about BUDS today. There is no reason to not be physically prepared to take this on. The mental game and the water are a whole other animal. No one likes to be cold. To be in a constant hypothermic state, wet and shivering absolutely sucks! I say it all the time; "Anyone can carry a heavy pack and do land navigation or shoot on a flat square bay range, not everyone is able to handle the water." If you want to go to BUDS be mentally prepared to be wet and cold every day for 6 months. No, the Marine Corps will not prepare you for BUDS. I get asked this question all the time. Or I will hear “hey man, I’m going to do what you did, join the Marines and get ready for BUDS, then join the Navy”. My answer is always the same. I joined the Marines because I had to. I had a criminal record and drug use. I paid for my transgressions in the Marine Corps. I served in Artillery for 4 years doing back breaking work so I would have a clean record of performance to qualify for BUDS and to get a contract. I would never change it because of the experiences and combat in Somalia, but I do not recommend this route. Why? Because the Marine Corps does not exist to train BUDS hopefuls, its sole mission is to make Marines and support the warfighter. Nothing you do in the Marine Corps will prepare you for BUDS, other than cleaning the barracks and standing duty. From the moment you join the Navy you will feel out of place, because the Navy (while it is the military) is NOT like being in the Marine Corps. Here you can see how weak even Army boot camp is compared to the Marines.
This is why if you have been a Marine you can join any other service without going to boot camp again. However, if you want to be a Marine you must, there are no waivers or exceptions YOU MUST go through Marine Corps boot camp. Here is a link to Navy boot camp. It is basically a joke to say the least, and if you want to go to BUDS, you must endure possibly the worst part of the process…Navy boot camp.
...this is a short video with a small taste of BUDS. You will notice it’s not a “screaming at you program.” You either perform or you do not, that’s it. You make the standards or you are out. By their very nature, SEALs are a lot of things-but the rebellious, think-outside-the-box with a general disregard for traditional military discipline, is what makes SEALs…SEALs. It is exactly what the Marine Corps hates about the Navy and the SEALs, the two services and communities are basically polar opposites in every way. SEALs are their own animal, with a very small community. 30,000 people become Marines every year. There has not been more than 18,000 men to graduate BUDS since 1943, that’s roughly 232 a year
Cleaning tactical gear should be a part of your daily habit, whether you’re training or working. The saying “take of your gear and it will take care of you” is very real and very true. Nylon gear, by its very design and construction, is engineered to be extremely abrasion resistant as well as having a limited ability to repel water, dirt and mud. However it’s like anything and has its limits and should be taken care of. Most people are just lazy and after use, throw it on the ground, in the back of the car/SUV and never think about it until they use it the next time. Gear stinks, why because your sweat is trapped in the fabric and stays there to rot like it would in an unwashed arm pit. Inspection of your gear is critical, you should know your personal kit like you know yourself, other than your mind and weapon it holds the key to your survival in combat, carries all of your mission critical gear and should be treated with the respect it deserves.
Saltwater exposure: Empty your entire loadout from your kit. If you are constantly working in salt or fresh water, your gear needs to be rinsed in fresh water (yes, even after fresh water exposure) and left to hang and dry. All of the equipment in your gear needs to be taken out and cleaned individually and wiped down. Anything with batteries should have the batteries removed and wiped down inside and out and left to air dry as well. Saltwater destroys everything, nothing is safe. There is no such thing other than gold, titanium or carbon fiber that is safe. The Navy has tens of thousands of sailors whose sole job is ships preservation, basically 80% of what they do is keep the rust from destroying the ship. There is also nothing from my experience that is 100% waterproof at all times. Eventually “O” rings and seals fail, get pinched or rot and loose waterproof integrity. After your nylon kit is dry hit it with a nylon bristle brush to get the dry salt off of it.
TAG RIHV for Combat Missions. Image Courtesy of Straight 8 Custom Photography
Muddy Gear: Empty your entire loadout from your kit. Again fresh water rinse, you have to try to your best ability to wash off the environment you were just in. Hang dry and use a nylon stiff bristle brush to get off the heavier caked on mud, this can also be done during the rinsing process.
You are doing all of this to help preserve your gear from the abrasion happening from the inside of the pouches and pockets. The thin “shiny” side of your nylon that you see in your pouches is polyurethane. That is what gives nylon its ability to repel water, as well as add to its abrasion resistance. If that gets destroyed and starts to crack and break apart, it’s the start of the pouch being destroyed, from the inside out. You will never get rid of the “gear smell” you can only minimize it and protect your gear to last for years of use. Bottom line, be a professional and take care of your S@!T. There is order to everything: 1) Team gear 2) Personal weapon 3) Personal gear 4) Self…your comfort, hunger, family, wife, girlfriend and mistress are always last. The people you are spending time with instead of taking care of your gear will not be with you when you’re getting shot at.