Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Strength in Diversity among SEALs: Pt II Too Big? Football Players & Weight Lifters

Guest blogger: Stew Smith

Question: I am a former football player and power lifter and not much of an endurance athlete, in fact 1.5 miles is considered long distance to me. Also I am over 230 lbs - how can someone like me become a SEAL?

SEAL Teams is all about being a TEAM Player so you already have the skills developed to be a TEAM player from your sports experiences. That is a plus! Now, I remember one guy at the SEAL Team that was 6’2” and 230 lbs and could do 30 pullups and run 3 miles in 18 minutes! So your size really has nothing to do with it. It is all a function of how hard you work to become a good runner and muscle endurance athlete.

We recruited a stud football player who weighed 280 lbs. He was a great leader, had just passing PT scores but assured us that he could lose the weight and perform on a BUD/S student level. In a matter of 4 months he was down to 200 lbs and could PT, run and swim with the best of his classmates at BUD/S. He even later made it into DEVGRU! So you cannot be discouraged about your size - in fact embrace it and work hard to be a better performer.

Physiologically it is easier to go from power lifting muscle fiber to endurance/strength muscle fiber than in reverse order. I did it and so can you. I did not lift weights for nearly 2 years prior to going to BUD/S and just ran, swam and PT’ed my butt off. It worked and when I started lifting again I was only about 6 weeks away from my previous maxes when I went on a weight gain cycle to prepare for cold water SDV diving in the winter.

In the SEAL Teams, you will be one of the bigger guys so you have to work hard not to slow the group down, but at the same time your strength and even teamwork ability will keep you in good stead with your peers.

Questions? Fire away!


Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness and self defense books such as The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, Maximum Fitness, and SWAT Workout. Certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and as military fitness trainer, Stew has trained hundreds of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT and many other law enforcement professions. See him at

Don't miss Fight Science Special Ops with Stew Smith

February 23rd on Nat Geo Channel


John said...

I have been working out for several years now and have dropped from 335 to 250 and look and feel a lot better. I am 6'1". I am working with a trainer and he has me on a bodybuilders diet but I have plateaued and I want to loose more weight. 50-20-30 diet. 50% lean protein, 20% complex carbs, and 30% good fats. If I change to a low calorie balanced diet will I loose a lot of muscle and not just fat. Thanks, John

Joe G. said...

Charlie Mike Mates -

This is one bad dude writing this column. Tell your friends about that upcoming show on Nat Geo. It is the most entertaining sports science I have ever seen on T.V.


Joe G. said...

Alden Mills -

I cannot thank you enough for inventing the Perfect Pushup. I don't want to bore your readers with numbers, but my running has improved significantly since November (I think I bought the product in Oct.) -- I just bought a set for a doctor buddy of mine -- I am a walking, talking commercial.

Okay, I will bore your readers w/ a few numbers. Put it this way: Since I started using the Perfect Pushup, doing those anaerobic routines described in the package inserts, according to my exercise diary, I count no less that SEVEN times I have run my 6-mile routine in under 47 minutes. This is for a guy who usually runs at a 9-minute pace. 9 X 6 = 54 minutes (routinely).

Kinda like A1 Steak Sauce. Yep. It's that important! (Anaerobic or strength training added to your daily exercise.)

Thanks again, Champ.

Alden Mills said...

Joe G. --

Thanks very much for your plug. I enjoyed myself on the Fight Science show and learned a lot from the doctors in the program. In fact, I wrote more about that show in an article I did last year - too much of the show landed on the cutting room floor.

Check this out:

Also - I have been asked to be on season two of Fight Science. They are doing another show on Special Ops - I should not talk about what will be on the show yet, but I am filming in April 09. Should be pretty cool...

Stew Smith CSCS

Unknown said...

I didn't think the National Geographic show did a good job of explaining the science of it at all. You learn more about it from your article or asking another doctor. You did a phenomenal job and the Israeli was also extremely impressive. It would be interesting to have more information on how he did that without having to ask another doctor.