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Tactical Fitness: Training Hard with a Busy Study Schedule

Tactical Fitness: Jogging on a Treadmill

Here is a common question taken from a college student with a difficult course load. He's found that long SEAL prep workouts are making his studies more challenging. There are ways to stay in great shape and retain what you study, but it takes smart workout scheduling and good food for proper physical and mental recovery.


Mr. Smith,

I have a question involving maintaining my performance with minimal workouts. I am currently submitting a SEAL officer package within the next month. I also am in the final three semesters of my electrical engineering degree with a lot on my plate.

I have found that training every day for a few hours makes my memory retention in class horrible and my mood lackluster. My current average time for PST is 9min swim, 100 push, 100 sit, 25 pull, under 9 run. I have been following the NSW physical training guide for 4 years and in the past 2 years incorporated your max calisthenics, pyramid calisthenics, and sets calisthenics days religiously. They are great. The running and swimming for an hour or so with the workload seems to be hurting my academic performance.

Can you suggest an absolute minimum of days I can run, swim, and PT to maintain my PST scores and still have energy for schoolwork? I would like an opinion from someone who has been there.

Thank you for your time Mr. Smith.

I remember those days.  First of all – eat more!  Eat like you are trying to gain weight for more fuel for your brain and your muscles. Your brain works off of glycogen so carb up and stay smart and fit!

We used to do the following:

AM Upper Body Workout: Here are some great ways to wake up and be fully aware in class. But, you need to eat well prior to class to fuel the body and mind. Do a quick 30-minute run or swim PT before school. Often we did 40-45 min if we had the energy for a few more rounds of PT mixed with cardio in a variety of ways: (5 Part Series of PT Workouts)

Repeat 5-6 times

  • Run or swim 4 minutes
  • Pullups max
  • Pushups max
  • Situps max 1 min

AM Leg Days: On leg days, you can do run or ruck or swim with fins mixing in squats and lunges in between timed and distance sets.

You can arrange it this way too: Run or ruck (of non impact cardio like bike, elliptical, row if needed) for 30-40 minutes. Every 5 minutes, stop and do squats: 20 lunges, 10 per leg.

PM Workout: Then in the evening when you have a second wind, which I found really helped with studying, before or after dinner get in a quick second workout. Try an upper body or leg lift or PT (pyramid, super set, max rep set) with an easy cardio following it. Or add in speed interval training (tabata or 1 min fast / 1 min easy intervals) following a run or swim. Focus on your weaknesses during the evening session.

Hope this helps fitting in your Spec Ops Fitness preparation training into a very busy study and school schedule.
Stew

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Contributor

Stew Smith works as a presenter and editorial board member with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He has also written hundreds of articles on Military.com's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

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