Navy SEAL training (or Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL (BUD/S) as it is known) is not for the weak in body or spirit. Take a tip from someone who went thru BUD/S – and served as a Navy SEAL and spent 10 and a half months at BUD/S, this training is more demanding than anything you will experience in your lifetime.
Yes; there are a few training camps and coaches out there that assist with how to prepare for BUD/S. Due to situation, some candidates elect to train on their own.
Either way, there are some good (and bad) ways on how to prepare for Navy SEAL training.
In this blog post I am going to discuss some training and nutrition guidelines that will assist in your preparation for the long journey.
You do not need to get huge or bulk up for BUDS. You want lean muscle. Most of the exercises performed in BUDs are bodyweight exercises. Sure you will lift boats, logs, and classmates – but individual PT is bodyweight based. So, if you are carrying around 20 useless pounds of mass– it will effect performance and potentially add to your risk of injury. There has never been a Navy SEAL who thought they should have lifted more weights before going to BUD/S. Sorry – not a one. Nutrition Tip: you want to grow lean mass and lose fat. That means quality protein, aminos, glutamine, etc, to assist recovery. After all, in BUDs – “the only easy day was yesterday.” You absolutely need to recover quickly to perform the next training day.
BUD/S is all about running! Yes the Teams come from – and operate in – a maritime environment, but BUD/S is not really about swimming. I say this for several reasons. First, the swim times for selection and timed events are not that challenging (very few people fail out of BUDs for poor swimming.) Second, you will run a minimum of 25 miles a week including running to and from PT and the chow hall, timed runs, conditioning runs, and trips to and from the surf zone. 3) It is almost impossible to get injured from swimming. This is not the case with running – as stress fractures and knee injuries are some of the most common injuries. Nutrition Tip: This means you need carbs and electrolytes to maintain performance and prevent cramping and other issues. Monitor intake before, during, and after training.
We like the book Breaking BUD/S: How Regular Guys Can Become Navy SEALs as it gives a good idea of what to expect and what will happen there.
You will of course still have to train hard as reading the book is not the same as being there.
BUD/S is incredibly stressful. Ask anyone who has successfully completed the program, BUD/S in 90% mental. The physical and mental stress of ‘Hell Week’ alone is tremendous. Constant stress, exposure to the cold, and constant physical exertion can all suppress or compromise your immune system. Nutritional Tip: Take care of your body thru proper nutrition. Though the military tries to make food more nutritious – and tries to provide more nutritious options – it is still not the quality you may be used to.
Nutritional Tip: Eat well and frequently. Supplement with vitamins and minerals if need be.
Be the “Gray Man”: In order to continue to thrive at BUD/S you need to stay under and off the radar. Do not call attention to yourself. Do not be loud and flambouyant (although most Team Guys are once out of the BUD/S training compound). Always keep your head down and keep the inner smile on your face. When asked to do 100 pushups or “hit the surf” you respond with a HOOYAH! and do your task. Never shake your head or look pissed off after receiving an order. This will only bring down tons of pain to your body and mind. Trust these words.
The guys are issued Vermont Darn Tough socks. I have several pairs myself and love them.
They also put Bodyglide balm on their feet and crotch to prevent chafing.
Injuries do not get better with time. It’s gonna happen – at some point in BUD/S you will have an injury. Everyone does. The trick is not to get a debilitating injury. So how do you do this? There are two ways. The best is prevention. Be physically prepared for BUD/S. Increase strength, stamina, and flexibility. Work on technique and form for running, swimming, and calisthenics. Common injuries in BUD/S can include shin splints, torn muscles (shoulder and knee) and chafing (this can really slow you down).
The second method is treatment. Though nobody likes a ‘sick call commando’ there are times where you need to get help. Skin infections, chronic, unbearable injuries, etc. need treatment. See the doctor if you know you need medical help. Nutritional tip: Chronic inflammation (either from diet, injury, food intolerance, allergies, disease) not only contributes to injuries, it reduces your ability to heal. Eat a clean diet and make sure to get all of the vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients you need for training. Supplementation with quality products is a great way to augment your nutritional program and fill the gaps.
Guys wear compression shorts like the Nike Pro-Core Compression Shorts to keep the sand out.
You will also want to use body glide balm on your crotch, under arms and nipples.
Check out these questions from our readers and athletes at the gym.
Question: “Coach, what is your best tip for BUDS training?”. Believe in yourself and have a really big Why and never quit. Ok, that is three things but you get the picture.
Question: “How would you train for navy seals basic training?”. If it were me training today, I would keep it simple with bodyweight workouts, swimming, long distance running, long distance biking and rucking.
Question: What are ways..how to fail out of Navy SEAL training? Check out this article on “How to get kicked out of Special Forces training.
Question: What do you do about muscle soreness in BUDS? Does the Navy have a personal masseusse for the class? You have to get extra rest and eat well and take care of your body.
Question: How long does Navy SEAL training last? BUDS training is 6 months and SQT is another 6 months.
Question: Is Navy SEAL BUDS Hell Week impossible? First off, nothing is impossible unless you say it is. Yes; many guys quit – but 20% make it by believing in themselves and their abilities. Good question.
Question: Do Navy SEALs lift weights? Once guys get on a Team then you see them lifting weights. The only weights lifted in BUDS are logs and scuba tanks and boats.
Question: Is it okay to lift weights when wanting to be a navy seal before BUDS training? If you are not that strong it is ok to lift barbell weights. We recommend training with sand bags, flipping tires, dragging sleds and doing a lot of bodyweight workouts. Put on a 30 lb ruck and go for a long hike. That is how you train for BUDS and to become a Navy SEAL.
Question: What is a good hell week navy seal workout? Run a marathon, then swim across the bay (with a swim buddy) then paddle a boat 20 miles along the coast and hike 5 miles through the mud back to your start.
Question: What are some Navy SEAL PT workouts I can try? Check out these PT workouts for Navy SEAL trainees.
Question: What is a good BUDS prep workout? I would be doing Murph once a week. Longer runs, swimming, ruck marching, water confidence drills.
Question: I have heard that a navy seal uses four things to help them under stress? WHat are they? Know that the stress will end soon. Know that you are capable of performing under stress. Breathe calmly to alleviate stress and calm the mind. Focus on the task at hand.
Question: I have heard that Navy SEALs use mind tricks to set themselves up to complete hard task like swimming long distance in rough seas or working with plastic explosives. What is this about? I think you are talking about the “Big Four” that Navy SEALs use which are Goals – Visualization – Self Talk – Breathing (arousal control).
Question: What are injuries seen in navy seal hell week? Shin splints, extreme fatigue, crotch rot, sipe, pneumonia, assorted lung problems are all seen during BUDS hell week.
Question: Why are navy seals so buff? You would’ve chiseled too if you worked out like a maniac everyday.
Question: Are navy seals allowed to use phones during buds? Yes.
Question: will training for navy seals make me lose muscle? If you want to build muscle you need more of a bodybuilding type workout and run much less.
Question: What is a breathing technique that Navy SEALs use to build mental toughness? Breathing deep into the belly will calm the mind and allow you to build mental toughness.
Question: What are some navy seal muscle recovery tips? Foam roll after a hard workout. Drink lots of water and eat a good meal with lean protein and veggies.
Question: How can I learn more about signing up for the Navy S.E.A.L’s? Check out the website here:
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