Navy SEAL Interview, Part II with Brad McLeod


Navy SEAL Interview, Part II, with Brad McLeod of SEAL Grinder PT

navy seal buds training

Z: Brad, talk to us about what you felt was the most mentally and physically challenging part of of your training?

Brad: For BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition School) it has been said that the training is 80% mental and 20% physical. I firmly believe that. I watched as many stud athletes in much better shape than me - literrally shriveled during the day to day beat downs and quit easily as they did not want it (goal of Navy SEAL) bad enough. Those that wanted it more than anything clung to their dreams like wet rats and put one foot in front of the other and never quit.

The mostly challenging aspect for me mentally was dreading the cold water. I have a low bodyfat and the cold really kicked my butt and wiped me out. I shivered uncontrollably in the January surf and am still not sure how i made it (too dumb and stubborn to quit?).
Going through a Winter BUD/S class we started with 130 trainees and graduated 16. The attrition rate was brutal.
I remember one night during Hell Week (five days of no sleep and continuous hardcore training) they laid us down on a wet metal deck after being in the cold water for several minutes. I was shivering bad and flopping around like a fish. Every few minutes the Doctor and lead Instructor would stand us up and the Instructor would ask how many fingers he was holding up and ask our names. The Doctor would shine a pen light in our eyes.
My lips were blue and I could barely jabber out my name. This went on for an hour on the metal deck. It was awful and truly Hell for me. I wanted to quit every minute but found a way to pull through and not ring the bell. Right after that we went to the chow hall and I had hot soup and warm bread and was very grateful to survive.
navy seal training
Physically I would say running was my biggest challenge on my first attempt through (I failed out the first time due to a dive tables math test and had to start back at day one).  I have had asthma all my life so I never ran much so when I got to BUD/S I struggled with running. I lagged behind and was tortured in the "goon squad". It was a real burner as the Instructors pounded us "slow asses" into the sand with pushups, chase the rabbits, bear crawls and jumping jacks. During my preparation for my second trip to BUD/S I ran more 10k's, long beach runs, stairs and sprints. I improved at running through hard work and fear of the pain of the goon squad.

Z: Many of the e mails that came in after our first questions have peaked everyone's curiosity as to how Navy SEALs train, especially after completing BUD/S. How can a Non Military individual try to emulate the training of Navy SEALs? Is there a specific strength program, lots of bodyweight, or do you guys have a Coach organizing the workouts?

Brad: We did a ton of bodyweight exercises but supplemented with weights when possible.

During a typical week on base I would ride my bike to the ST-4 compound. We would have a SEAL grinder PT bodyweight workout for 45 minutes and then go for a 3 mile run. At lunch I would lift weights or we had a tall rope that I would climb.
I would ride my bike home in the afternoon and add extra miles. Other mornings in the week had more grinder PT, an ocean swim, obstacle course and longer run (10 miles) on Friday. We realy mixed it up with variety and worked hard on being able to move our bodies quickly over short and long distances.
When out to sea,  I did grinder PT bodyweight workouts on the back fan tail of the ship and ran stairs and around the helicopter launch pad. The pullup bar was the ships railing on the deck above.  I made do with what I had in tight spaces. We had a bench press but it was tough to lift heavy weights with a moving ship rolling and rocking in the ocean. I would still give it a go and got in some killer workouts.
We have daily SEAL grinder PT bodyweight workouts posted up daily on our website, SEAL Grinder PT. These are workouts like I did on the ship so you can do them anywhere. So if you want to train like a Navy SEAL this will give you something to try out.
For a Part III interview with Brad McLeod, you can post your questions below in the comments section.
In Strength,
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8 Responses

  1. Brad and Zach, Thanks for the answer to my question, great reading and impressive dedication.

  2. I really enjoy those interviews!
    Like the SEAL grinder PT page very much!
    Kepp it up brother!!

  3. Hey Zach,

    I must say, very impressive interview with Brad, The Navy
    Seal. I wasn’t aware of the intense training a Seal has to
    endure. I can see that this kind of drilling and discipline
    would make a Navy Seal a “Supreme Warrior”.
    Good luck to you Brad and keep up the great work Zack!


  4. Awesome interview! My dad was a Combat Controller for the Air Force (Airborne/Halo/Scuba) and worked with many Navy Seals and Special Forces guys.

    As a child I didn’t appreciate what he had to go through and why he had to disappear in the middle of the night, but now I understand the rigorous training they put you through to be one of the Elite. I’m proud that he made it through and enjoy hearing some of the crazy training stories.

    Much respect to you Brad and thanks Zach for conducting this interview and look into Seal training.

  5. Are there any specific mental training techniques that you use to get thru BUD/s and your SEAL service?

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