The Secret Benefits of Fitness Training

Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Ash runs during the Oregon National Guard Best Warrior Competition. (Photo by Jonathan (Jay) Koester / NCO Journal)

Numerous books have been written about how to prepare for and accomplish military fitness goals, but not much is written about the intrinsic hidden benefits that are developed during the training process.

One of the biggest components to your success that is developed is a healthy perspective that springs from a hard work ethic and the confidence. To build a positive perspective on all things around you requires several things to work in your favor.

Here is a list of a few of the many positive characteristics that can be developed throughout the evolution of training and preparation for a goal:

The Journey – The journey to reach your goal is going to be difficult.  When you sacrifice a significant portion of your time and energy to achieving a goal, you have to drop bad habits and develop new and good habits that will make you better. This is not easy as outside forces can distract you from your path to achievement. However, if you can have successful time management, give yourself ample time to prepare properly, you can build the physical and mental foundation that you need to accomplish any goal.

Overcoming Limitations – The journey to your personal success and achievement will require you to overcome many personal limitations, learn new skills, and hurdle obstacles with a fury of focus and energy. Specifically speaking, you may need to learn how to swim, get more comfortable in the water, become a better runner, get stronger, and get faster. You may need a piece of humble pie and you will receive that typically during the process of getting accepted into challenging special ops selection programs as there is always someone better than you at something – maybe everything. However, don’t lose confidence and hope, just work harder. You now see your weaknesses exposed in comparison to other successful students ahead of you and you have to get back to work.

Building the Never Quit Attitude – Any adversity builds character and helps you obtain the Never Quit attitude you need, especially if you can turn your weaknesses into a strength – or close to a strength. Your weakness has to exceed the standard. The farther you are away from borderline failing and the minimum standard the better. When you train to compete to exceed the standard, you never think about quitting and you are able to move past the survival mode that most people are in during special ops training. Train to Compete – Not Just Survive.

Seeing Results / Team Work – There will be a point in your journey where you are competing with the best and meeting the standards to move onto selection. You now see the results of your labor and your instructors will start to rank you accordingly in your performance within the class. This is a time when you need to remember your journey – remember when you struggled with elements of training. Help your classmates. Be a team player. Being a good teammate and classmate to others in your class will help all of you work together as a team to get through selection. Some top performers can go overboard with their confidence to the point of arrogance and forget about their teammates.  Don’t be that guy as you will not last long once training starts.

Changing Your Perspective – A healthy perspective comes from the confidence in your abilities gained from preparing for your goal. This is somewhat of the “attitude adjustment” many get through a long process of growth. The healthy confidence of your abilities comes with many humbling events along your journey that you had to overcome. Plateaus, obstacles, injuries, administrative issues, and years of training will quickly humble you, which will make the self-confidence not cross the line of arrogance.

My Realization of Perspective - After several years of preparing for my personal special ops journey, I had a realization within the first few days of training. First, my training had paid off and I am meeting and exceeding the standards set out by the instructors of Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL Training.  That was a confidence boost as I was not dying at the end of the day was enjoying the challenge of each day. It was not easy, but it was what I expected. Second, after the day was done (many days end with dinner at 5-6 pm), I realized that I no longer had to work out after a day of work and school.  Prior to BUD/S, my day started with an early morning workout, a full day of college classes, rugby practice, a second workout, and then a night of studying for tests until midnight most days. My day at BUD/S was now done and it was still daylight. I had a few things to do in preparation for the next day of events with gear prep, but mainly it was just stretch and take care of any aches, pains, or wounds and sleep. All I had to do was be a student. My journey to becoming a BUD/S student was challenging which gave me a perspective that “life is good” while a student. Once again, nothing was easy at BUD/S. I am not saying that. But, having a difficult journey to get TO THE TRAINING made all the difference to getting THROUGH THE TRAINING.

Related Articles: Motivation and Discipline TO and THROUGH Training Five Phases – The Evolution of Mental Toughness Defeating the Quit Demon

About Stew Smith CSCS Stew Smith is a Navy SEAL Veteran who supports the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).  He also has over 1000 articles on Fitness Forum and over a 100 Podcasts focusing on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.


As a writer on the tactical fitness topic, Stew creates multi-week training programs to help you prepare for any test, training program, or just lose weight and get fit for duty. has the answer.




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