I was once weak and small but here is what I did about it

brad-mcleod-age-14Growing up I was always smaller than most other kids.

In high school I weighed in at a whopping 148 pounds soaking wet.

When I set my goal to become a Navy SEAL that is when things started to change.

You see – I had a dream. To become a SEAL operator and serve my country with pride.

But to get there I had to do some serious training to pack on muscle and be able to move my body quickly.

By chance I happened to get turned on to weight lifting by a friend of mine.

We would go down to his barn and lift weights on a bench press that he had.

I was sore as hell the next day but I felt that inner burn to go back for more.

And then I went back down to the barn and my buddy added on five pounds.

Five pounds – are you kidding me? I could barely do the 100 lb bench press in our first session.

“This is how you will grow – your scrawny rat” – my buddy explained.

We kept adding five pounds each week until we could both press 135 lbs at least once. That is when we new we would be ready to go to the big boy gym.



From there we both signed up at the local bodybuilding gym and found ourselves as the weakest scrawniest teenage boys amongst a gym of muscle bound grown ass men.

This local gym was patterned after Golds Gym in Venice, California. Mirrors on the wall and every machine and device you could think of. On one side of the gym you may see a guy flexing and posing and getting ready for a bodybuilding competition. On the other side of the gym you had powerlifters wrapping their knees and preparing for heavy bar bending lift of 1 to 5 reps.  It was like a scene out of a Hollywood movie.

I was intimidated as F@#& walking into that gym. I was the smallest guy in the gym with no experience other than working out in my buddies barn. It was do or die.

But I had to get over my pity party and went to work.

We just wanted to train and get stronger so we did not care that other bigger guys looked down on us and sometimes made fun of us. In fact it made us want to try harder.

You see – we were on a mission.

A quest to improve and build ourselves up and claw ourselves up from being the little guys that the big boys picked on.

It took a while – I aint gonna lie. It was not a pretty process.

Kinda like an ugly caterpillar squirming in the cocoon. Struggling to break free from its confines and grew into something brand new and beautiful.

But I was setting the foundation for something greater in life.

Everything We Had: An Oral History of the Vietnam War As Told by 33 American Men Who Fought It had a story about becoming a Frogman. I was mesmerized… spellbound.

I knew the training would be tough – and not knowing any better – I lifted more weights.

And the more weights I lifted – meant I was going back to lift more weights. That was my method to also build discipline and accountability. My buddy and I were now a team and training hard for a big gnarly goal.

To gain muscle I ate extra portions of lean meats like chicken and steak. I added an extra scoop of protein to my milk shake to drink post workout. I tried to get good quality sleep and after a good recovery I was ready to hit the gym again.

I was not very fast at running but I could squat 2X plus my bodyweight (deadlift 1.5x) with perfect form. I had learned good form from the bodybuilding gym as those guys were all about perfection.

I signed up for the Navy and continued to train hard until my ship date. I went to boot camp in San Diego and waited for my shot to try out for the Navy SEALs.  Towards the end of boot camp the Navy held tryouts for BUDS training. I knew this was my only shot so I performed at the highest level that I could.

Somehow I passed the test and got a spot at BUDS training in Coronado.

goon squad budsI was shipped to BUDS and once again found myself intimated. A good portion of the candidates were beefed up super athletes. They Instructors were top shelf and also physical specimens. I had to once again realize that these guys put their pants on the same way that I did. If they can do it then I can also.

But at BUDS (my first time) I was often in the Goon Squad and got tortured repeatedly. I fell behind on the running as I did not spend as much time training that aspect of my game in the bodybuilding gym.

But when it came time for a 4 mile test run – I put on my game face and got the work done. I knew that if I did not pass the 4 mile run then I would be disqualified from the course.

I made every single obstacle course, swim and run time. Barely.

I was not trained properly but I learned in the school of experience.

Going through BUDS and seeing what I saw led me to a really big revelation.

That I did not need to lift weights at all to train for or perform at BUDS.

WOW! That freaking shook my world.

As I thought that muscle and mass and brawn was how to do it.

I was wrong.

But I found the right way to train. It was simple.

Do every single BUDS PT workout that I knew of.

Then go out and run, swim, hike or bike for an hour or two.

Come back the next day and do it again and again and again.

There is nothing sexy about it. It is good old fashioned hard work and sweat and some grit thrown in.

I had to drop the weights and get outside and run and bodyweight exercises.

I went on to finish BUDS training and become a Navy SEAL. My journey through the weight room and into the outdoors gave me several life lessons that I continue to use today.

sgpt-stay-motivated-213x300Question: How can I get myself motivated to workout like you did to get ready for BUDS?

Answer: I would motivate myself daily by listening to positive mental attitude speeches and audios.

Once I got done with one I would take notes and learn one good thing and then take massive action.

Check out all of our SGPT audios HERE:

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