Trainer of the Military Elite

In a recent interview with Business Insider (BI), former Air Force Combat Controller and  US special operations forces (SOF) trainer Mark Lauren explains his fitness philosophy. He says, Training for survival like you’re in the military could transform your body and keep you fit for life.” I’ll buy that statement. I was never in better shape than when I was training every day as my life depended on it.

At 50, Mark assumes the “front leaning rest” (or pushup, for you civilians) position. After that, I think it’s time to get serious about working out again—screenshot from YouTube and Mark Lauren.

According to an interview Mark did with “A Shot of Adrenaline,” he spent eight years on active duty as a Combat Controller, the last three of which were spent as an instructor helping to run SOF selection programs for the Air Force. His main emphasis was on designing and implementing new physical training programs. He still holds the record for the longest underwater swim on the Pararescueman/Combat Controller Indoctrination Course. Lauren swam 133 meters underwater while holding his breath for 2 minutes and 23 seconds until he passed out.

Following his time on active duty, he worked as a strength and fitness trainer for the SOF community until 2012. He now teaches the general public what he gained from all of his experience.

Mark’s idea of hanging out at bars. Screenshot from

Lauren explained to BI that the extremely long, arduous training, usually involving heavy loads, often undertaken by SOF candidates didn’t necessarily offer optimal results. He states that they are an “inefficient use of energy” and often lead to injury and burnout. Of course, there is a psychological component to carrying heavy loads over long distances. It sucks and makes you want to quit. That’s what it’s designed to do. Only those who refuse to quit and stick it out graduate from these courses; even then, it’s no guarantee. But that’s a different story for a different day.