Maintaining fitness in SOF isn’t easy and not for the faint of heart. Your schedule is going to a complete mess and your stability the same.
You aren’t always going to be able to work out at a gym. In fact, you might end up confined to a hotel room. There is consistent chaos to your schedule as a Green Beret. It all varies on your team, projects your on, where you’re headed and who you’re working for but your time isn’t ever really yours. It’s just the way it is. You might even have a team that’s generally out of shape for a variety of reasons. OR, you’ll be on a team of extreme fitness studs, and you can’t keep up.
Whatever you’re expecting in SOF, understand that no matter how hard you work you’ll never be the fittest guy in the room. You’ll fight for your life and end up the average. But, that’s OK – because it’s all about hanging with the pack. There is only ever an issue when you can’t hang. But, being honest – fitness varies from unit to unit. In a Special Forces Group, it can shift from team to team. Each team in a company has a different infiltration method – and often that dictates their training.
Equally, important and more to the point is that you’re schedule is going to be extremely hectic. Even when you find yourself in downtime, it could change in an instant. As accustomed as I became with being fit and having consistent access to a gym and trainers I eventually also became comfortable with the opposite. That’s where diet comes in – because your diet is the bedrock of your fitness. If you have to work as hard as possible to negate your diet – you’re not making nearly as many gains in your health if you just became a more disciplined eater.
One place the chaos is present is in the “Q” or Qualification course. There are consistent periods of time where you know your daily schedule and can plan around. For example, while you’re learning a foreign language. Every day in the language school, you know what you’re doing, and you know your schedule. It’s easy to figure out when to work out and find the time to do so. However, once you’re sucked into training in the field, you can kiss a schedule goodbye. The same goes for some deployments and often the first few weeks of them.
You’ll be in constant state of getting your bearings and adapting to new environments. As important as it is to be fit – it’s just as important never to lose sight of the importance of physical fitness. Because in that chaotic schedule many Green Beret’s will set aside their physical fitness. Because if the sh*t hits the fan that fitness is the core attribute, you’ll need to save your buddy’s life.
Featured image courtesy of the U.S. Navy (photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Shauntae Hinkle-Lymas/Released).