As noted by Brandon Webb in his excellent BUD/S preparation guide (available as an ebook to SOFREP Team Room members), both former and active-duty SEALs are asked on a regular basis how to prepare for SEAL training. It is a question to which we all develop a ready answer, as we get the question on so many occasions. For that reason, I thought I would offer my own two cents on the subject here, for the readers of SOFREP.

Backing up a step, SEAL training is called BUD/S: Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training.  It is a course put on by the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, California. Any man (and it’s only men, for now) who wants to be a SEAL has to go through BUD/S—no exceptions. It is the basic qualification course, and the first step for every would-be-frogman to join the brotherhood of the Teams. We all know our BUD/S class number just as readily as we know our social security numbers or birthdays. It is etched into our brains forever, and we are eternally linked to the men with whom we graduated the course. The number of graduates usually varies from about 10 to 25 out of a starting class of 100 or so—at least that’s how it was when I went through training so many years ago.

Again, as Brandon correctly noted, the very first answer SEALs usually give to the question of how to make it through BUD/S is along the lines of “Don’t quit.” It sounds cliche, or like a pat answer, but it is as simple as that. When I struggled with any evolution at BUD/S—and there were plenty—I simply told myself that the instructors would either have to fail me or kill me, but that I would never quit. If that thought ever enters your mind—that it is not for you, or too hard, or not worth it—then you will never make it.

So, getting past the mental fortitude required, and assuming you are reading this because you have a desire to succeed in BUD/S, how do you prepare physically? Unfortunately, I cannot give you a magic bullet, or tell you to do three specific things and you will make it. It is not that easy. You have to be willing to put in the time required to physically prepare. For me, it required about three years of steady preparation, followed by nine-or-so months of more intensive preparation, before I was ready to go to BUD/S. I knew I was going to apply, I knew my weaknesses, and I worked on them all throughout college with the idea that when I graduated, I needed to be ready.