I’ve started a new workout program. Actually, Commander Mark Divine says 8 Weeks to SEALFIT is a training program, “passionately applying carefully conceived principles to develop yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually.” It is based on Divine’s Navy SEAL experience, adapted for civilians who want to get in shape, as well as potential SEAL candidates. An overview of the book shows that it can also take longer than 8 weeks to get through preparation, “On-Ramp,” Basic, and Advanced Operator Training phases. Even with several rounds of P90X and Insanity behind me, I am starting from the beginning with this one.
I am scheduling my workouts from Saturday through Friday (not Monday through Friday as listed in the book), with my two rest days on Tuesday and Friday. I didn’t like having two rest days together, and it seems like a good idea to do two of these longer workouts over the weekend, with less time pressure.
Here’s a quick look at what I call Preparation Week. Chapters 1-6 are the instructions for each day leading up to On-Ramp Training.
Chapter 1: Embrace the Suck (Screening Test)
This is it! I have been preparing for several weeks, by reading the book, ordering equipment, and creating workout sheets to record my results each day. Today (Saturday) I did push ups, sit ups, pull ups, deadlift-high pulls, and even a 1.5-mile run (which I have not done for years). Each exercise had a 10 minute rest afterwards, as a “reset” to obtain the best results. I used a lighter weight for the deadlift-high pull than the recommended 70 lbs (yikes!). I was pleasantly surprised by my running performance, meaning that I thought I would have to walk-run, but in fact I ran the whole way.
Chapter 2: Forging a Warrior Mind-Set
Today I learned about the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) which is to be done before each workout, along with a more detailed plan in Appendix 1. It includes mental preparation, a special breathing technique, and Range of Motion drills, which are the warm up and active stretch for each day. After all that, the first “real” workout: 5 sets of 20 squats, 20 burpees with a push up, then a 60-second run. Finish with a 1-mile jog or walk. It looked so simple on paper, but it was effective. I have done similar “Spartan 500” workouts from FitnessBlender.com. (Today’s workout was only 205 reps, but that’s OK.) I was happy to have the time available on a Sunday, and I will enjoy my recovery on Tuesday even more.
Chapter 3: Staying in the Fight
This is the first training program which has taught me about handling my emotions. Emotional intelligence, resiliency, how my beliefs affect my emotions… I will have to review the topics in this chapter! The workout included sit ups, kettlebell swings, push ups, and short running intervals. I love breaking out my kettlebells! This program will have me running more than I have in a while.
Chapter 4: Training Isn’t “Working Out”
In each chapter, Mark Divine shares memories from his Navy SEAL career and more recent experiences with SEALFIT trainees. These are great examples about the importance of goal setting, teamwork, and more. Here he lays out the principles behind the SEALFIT approach, and covers one of the basics: Breathing! He recommends a “box breathing” technique, for a few minutes before the training session and even during times of physical stress. The workout included plyometric exercises (tuck jumps and box jumps). Since I don’t have a plyo box, I did step ups on a chair.
Chapter 5: The Five Mountains
This chapter describes how SEALFIT began, and a typical day’s schedule at the “camp” held at the training center. Yikes! I think I like the home version better, for now. The chapter title refers to five “human potentials” which are required for peak performance. (Read the book for the details!) There are also Ten Domains of Mastery which help us along the way, things like strength, stamina, flexibility, etc. The Five Mountain Mission was today’s workout, also known as Grinder Physical Training (PT). It’s tougher than Chapter 2, and the Spartan-style workouts I’ve done before, because there are 10 exercises in each set, with 10-20 repetitions each.
Chapter 6: SEAL Fuel
Mark Divine lists CrossFit as one of the inspirations for SEALFIT, and that might explain the modified Paleo diet recommended here. It’s “modified” because the no-no’s of Paleo (dairy, grains, legumes) are eliminated “80 percent of the time.” In practical terms, I will do my best, especially since I eat what the family eats. Our daughter has been on her own gluten-free, dairy-free diet, so I will follow her lead when possible. The book also talks about the quality of the food we eat, and the company we keep during meals, encouraging team building again. The final workout for the week was actually a little shorter, but that’s OK. I need to prepare for On-Ramp Training next week!