Train Before You Enter the Military

Train Before You Enter the Military

I often get emails from people young and old about getting prepared for military training, and also from veterans who want to be in the shape they used to be when they served in the military. Here is a list of just a few of the many former military officers and enlisted who train civilians to not only lose weight and get healthy, but prepare for military training too. 

Boot Camp programs are popular. In fact many former military personnel of all ranks and services are now getting into the fitness business - myself included. Check out the list of veteran-owned fitness businesses around the country:

The Sergeants Program - Patrick Avon opened one of the first military group training businesses in the U.S. Patrick is a former Navy enlisted man who has created a military fitness empire in the DC/Virginia area, catering mostly to overweight executives - he also gets several students per year who seek a career in the military. He has over 45 instructors in 35 locations, all certified with a nationally recognized program. He also has his own outdoor boot-camp certification program. Check out his site for his annual Jolly Fat Man's run/party.

SEAL Training Academy - SEAL Adventure Challenge - Former Navy SEAL Don Mann and Navy enlisted reservist Dr. Steve Earle have created a week-long advanced training program (as well as a 24 hour SEAL challenge) that takes place 2-3 times a year in Virginia Beach, VA. Everything from mission planning to log PT and instruction on Combat Swimmer Stroke, diving, and free-fall all get taught in the SEAL Training Academy. This is a tough vacation! I often go and work as a guest instructor for the Academy and SEAL Challenge.

The SEAL PT Course  - Jack Walston - former Navy SEAL in Houston TX and Central Park Manhattan NYC - has been doing SEAL PT for over a decade as well. He has weekly workout plans for locals as well as a SEAL Training/Special Forces mini-camp that will test you to your limits. This program actually mimics many of the events experienced in Hell Week at SEAL Training, including a 24 hour non-stop period of training.

Boot Camp Fitness, Inc. - Created by former Army sergeant, Jay Johnson of Dallas TX, who has become the Official Fitness Trainer of The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (Enough said! THAT is a success story in the fitness business!). He has been featured on many television shows and magazine publications for his creative workouts that garner great results.

The Health Colonel - Bob Weinstein, LtColonel, USAR, (ret.) can be found on the beaches of Fort Lauderdale, FL conducting early morning workouts with his students. Training many out of shape and overweight people per year, he also prepares young men and women for the physical demands of the military. If you are looking for a motivational/health speaker, The Health Colonel is your man. He motivated me by telling me that "the United States has enemy soldiers within its borders - they kill more than 3,000 people a day, their names are cancer, heart disease, and stroke." I immediately responded, "yeah and over 20 million people are being held hostage by diabetes in America."

SWAT Personal Training - Ron Holland (former USAF) out of Tucson AZ, created an outdoor and indoor fitness business in 1991 after a career in the military and police department. He has a one week in-residence boot camp where they create a military indoctrination environment (0500am wakeup!) He has recruits run, PT, eat a well balanced and nutritious chow, and hike 2 -12 miles in the Tucson area desert. Also water skills, aerobics, yoga, stretching, and other anti-aging programs are taught in a teamwork/military style program. It is very informative and positive feedback and teamwork is highly encouraged.    

SEAL Team PT - Former Navy SEAL John McGuire has translated his experience into a one-of-a-kind, non-military fitness program, offering the dual benefit of world-class fitness and team-building to people of all ages and walks of life. Offered in the Richmond, Virginia area since 1998, SEAL Team PT has legions of satisfied, fit, and fulfilled graduates of all ages. To date, SEAL Team PT has graduated over 175 basic fitness classes, conducted more than 50 custom-tailored corporate team-building programs, and led more than 40 SEAL Teen and SEAL Pup classes for youth and children. - My website/fitness business has evolved since 1998 when I resigned from the Navy SEAL Team Community. At first I had a fitness boot camp business with as many as 40-50 hours of group PT and personal training a week. Now, after writing everything down for four years, I created generic programs that have helped thousands prepare for military, special forces, and law enforcement physical fitness tests. I still do some online training and local group training in the Baltimore/Annapolis MD area, but my group workouts during the week and weekend are free to those who want to join me on my swims, runs, PT etc. Once on month, we test with a variety of PFTs. These workouts now give me ideas which to write as I see issues, troubles, and ways around personal obstacles with a variety of students.

After a brief discussion with the veteran trainers we all agreed upon a few things. We focus on teaching on a basic level of fitness, habit building, and just adding basic fitness as stretching, walking/running, light PT, and drinking water to people's lives. Let them see and feel the progress they are making. Take them as they advance and PT them harder, but you have to give them a plan that works.

The plan I have here will help people lose up to 25lbs if they just following the simple directions: 1) Stretch Daily! This is very important if beginning a fitness plan. Read "The Stretching Plan" article for details. 2) Drink more water - up to a gallon a day 3) Do something everyday for 45 days straight - even if that is just walk after dinner. The free "45-Day Workout Plan" (PDF) shows you how. 4) Repeat above - do not worry about food intake yet, but if no results are seen in 3-4 weeks then focus on a food plan as mentioned in plan above. Look up one of the above veterans and try a boot camp workout program this year. If you know of another veteran operated fitness business that is not listed, please send the website address/contact information and I will place it in an updated article archive so I have close to a comprehensive list.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at

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