How Did I Survive Hell Week –Twice?

This is a question we get every week.

Good Question.

Honestly…I wanted to quit a few times.

But I did not have the balls to ring that bell.

I was not an athlete. I grew up with asthma and did not play sports. Everything was stacked against me.

At 19 years old I was a loser going nowhere…slowly “quitting” at life itself.

But.. there is a BIG difference between wanting to quit and actually standing up and walking to ring the bell at BUD/S.

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” Muhammad Ali

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Check out this video of Don Shipley talking about how he made it through Hell Week.

Don has had an amazing career as a SEAL and his tips are very valuable to anyone looking to go to BUDS or just not quit!

TIP #1

Be a Team Player
This goes with out saying but some guys just don’t get it until it is too late.

Help your swim buddy first and he will take care of you. You both are stronger together than you are both apart.

Question: What is the best book that you have read about SEAL teams and one you would recommend?

Answer: I would definitely recommend that you read Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10.

I have personally read it several times and bought a copy for my sons library.

Over the years I have given away several copies to key people that I thought could benefit.

Without this one you will not go very far at all. I tried to deny this one but it caught up to me.

One Step at a Time -Don’t think about getting to Friday afternoon when it is only Monday morning. Think about getting to your next meal. Or better yet; think about finishing the evolution you are in right now.

This should be number 1 and it remains to help me throughout my entire life.

Honestly.. the only way I made it as I had a “WHY“.  My why burned inside my gut like a raging forest fire.. out of control… unstoppable.

How did I find my “why”? By sitting down and asking myself what drives me. I thought about it till late in the night. When I awoke in the morning I had my why.

When my whole body shook uncontrollably and borderline hyperthermia my WHY kept me in the game.

It burned bright and hot like as if you were to look at the sun.  You would have to turn away as you can feel the pain in your eye sockets. It is inescapable.

Don Shipley explained that Hell Week is just a stepping stone to get you ready for the next level.

What is your Stepping Stone? What are you pursuing now to get you ready for the next level?

TIP #4
Most guys ignore this tip even though it is in every Navy SEAL book ever written.

Believe in yourself and deep down believe that you can make it. Use the mental edge to help you get the job done. Take deep breathes when you get really cold and want to quit. Repeat your affirmations when you get down and want to stop.

Question: How did you keep your crotch from getting rubbed raw with sand and your feet from blistering on all night boat carries?

Answer: Back in the day we put Vaseline in our socks to help cut down on friction. But that is really thick and can attract sand. A better option these days is a light coat of Bodyglide Original Anti-Chafe Balm.

I would put this under my arm pits, nipples, around my crotch and on my feet.

This can make a huge difference in you getting rubbed raw and shut down or continuing on to finish.

TIP #5
I used this tip in my last endurance off road bike race just as I learned it BUDS the hard way.

Take Care of Yourself When it is time to change socks and put more vaseline in your crotch then take the time to get it done. Don’t think that you can muscle your way through. If you get your feet tore up then you will be reduced to a hobble. If your crotch gets too shredded you will shuffle like an old man and not make the cut. Take time to wash your crotch and get care when you need it.

Question: Are vitamins and creatine allowed in the training camp?

Answer: Yes; you can have a bottle of multi-vitamins. Creatine or any other supplements is banned.

I took a 1 a day vitamin when I was in training. I bought the vitamins at the local PX grocery store. I also took a green food supplement similar to Athletic Greens.

Many years later I still use the green supplements every day.

TIP #6
A very important one to learn although most will think it is not worthy.

Let Go Once you understand that they (the instructors) are not going to kill you then you can relax more and just roll with the punches. This is a game of endurance and who can stand tall the longest. If you get knocked down you get back up again.

Question: What kind of knife did you get issued and what did you use in the field?

Answer: We were issued a standard KA-BAR US Marine Corps Knife or Navy MK3 Mod O dive knife.

I still have both of them at home on the shelf.

My daily everyday carry knife is usually a 5.11 Tactical Scout folding knife as it folds and can fit in my pocket no problem.

It is very lightweight and I barely know it is there but appreciate it when I do.

TIP #7
Back to Basics.
I failed out of BUDS the first time (failed a math test in second phase) as I was not quite ready for prime time.

I needed more time to get ready. I had trained all the wrong ways lifting weights in a bodybuilding gym.

I was a C minus student in math in high school even though I scored high on the ASVAB Test.

I had to go back to the basics of old school bodyweight workouts. I had to study math problems at night. Then do it all again the next day.

Question: Which kind of dive watch were you issued in BUDS and what did you use in the Teams?

Answer: Good question.

I wore a Casio G-shock all purpose watch all of my years in the team.

They issued me a dive watch but it was thick and clunky and not as good for training and working out.

At the end of my service they had me turn the watch back in.

I still have the Gshock that I used back in the day and it is still working.

SGPT Homework:
Write down your current goal. Find the one thing you know that you need and are avoiding… Your stepping stone. Get over your FEAR.

Step out of the darkness and into the light. Go out now and sign up or engage in that one thing. By doing this one thing you will move closer to accomplishing your Goal.

About the Author:
bradBrad McLeod knows first hand about mental toughness after being kicked out of a top tier Spec Ops training unit.

He failed out of BUD/S the first time after failing a math test (made it through Hell Week and Dive Pool Comp).

He came back a year later and graduated and served as an operator on the Navy SEAL Teams.

Contact Brad

Check out SEALgrinderPT Coaching to help you step up and take hold of your dreams and realize your goals.

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