How to Train Like a Special Forces Operator for Fat Loss and Mental Resilience | British SBS

How to Train Like a Special Forces Operator for Fat Loss and Mental Resilience | British SBS

Intro (00:00:00)

  • The speaker agrees with the idea that people can become overly reliant on nutrition.
  • The speaker shares an example from their time in the Special Forces where two teammates who were very focused on their protein shakes and nutrition struggled when a mission that was supposed to last one week ended up lasting four weeks.

Dean Stott’s Introduction to the Military (00:00:30)

  • Special Forces training focuses on fat loss and mental resilience, requiring time, experience, and progression.
  • The author's personal journey involved joining the military young and gradually advancing to tier one Special Forces, emphasizing the importance of adaptability rather than a predetermined path.
  • Transitioning out of the military, especially for operators, can be challenging due to their strong role identity.
  • Special Forces training is not a linear progression of increasing weight and difficulty, and it differs during operations, selection, and professional athlete training.

Tier 1 vs Tier 2 Special Forces (00:05:52)

  • Tier 2 Special Forces training focuses on teamwork and motivation through instructors shouting and team support.
  • Tier 1 Special Forces training emphasizes self-motivation and individual performance.

Mindset & Belief (00:07:00)

  • Believing in oneself and having the mindset that one can do it is crucial for success.
  • Don't be intimidated by others' failures; everyone is unique and capable.
  • Physical training is important, but staying uninjured is equally crucial.
  • Having a strong motivation and purpose for wanting to be in the course is essential.

Dean’s First Attempt at Special Forces Selection (00:08:50)

  • Dean's first attempt at Special Forces selection ended with a knee injury during a hill training exercise.
  • He realized he had the leg strength but lacked speed between checkpoints.
  • Unable to train in the mountains due to work commitments, Dean used a spin bike for two hours daily to improve his speed.
  • He also improved his 1.5-mile run time, achieving a personal best of 7 minutes and 15 seconds at age 28.
  • Dean emphasizes the importance of believing in oneself and having a strong reason for pursuing the goal.

Athletes vs Special Forces Operators (Dirty PT vs Clean PT) (00:10:18)

  • Special forces operators and athletes share similarities in terms of training and identity crisis during injuries.
  • The main difference lies in the environment they operate in and their motivations.
  • Athletes have a clean PT environment with crowd support, monetary incentives, and a set duration of competition.
  • Special forces operators engage in dirty PT in unpredictable environments, with no cheering crowds, and a focus on mission completion and teamwork.
  • Athletes have access to nutritionists, perfect warm-ups, and optimal recovery conditions, while special forces operators face calorie deficits, sleep deprivation, and challenging weather conditions.
  • Special forces missions can change on the ground, requiring adaptability and a mindset that doesn't rely on a fixed end goal.

Training in a Depleted (non-optimal) State (00:14:03)

  • Training depleted prepares you for life's unexpected challenges.
  • Most people train for life, not for sports, so training like an operator is more practical.
  • Life throws curveballs, such as having to carry a child the last mile and a half during a walk.
  • Training should be structured to account for these unexpected challenges.

Becoming Reliant on Nutrition | Train for Worst-Case Scenarios (00:15:57)

  • Special Forces operators need to be able to function without relying on specific nutrition or supplements.
  • Many soldiers struggled in Afghanistan and Iraq because they were reliant on supplements and not prepared for the harsh conditions.
  • It's important to train for worst-case scenarios and not rely on the luxury of having access to specific foods or supplements.
  • Always expect the worst-case scenario and anything better is a bonus.
  • Special Forces operators are very mission-driven and focused on achieving their objectives.
  • The mission and objective never change, but the plan may need to be adapted based on changing circumstances or incorrect intelligence.

Kosovo Operation (00:19:17)

  • The author and his team were on a mission in Kosovo to capture a war criminal.
  • They spent two weeks patrolling a 5km buffer zone between Kosovo and Serbia, constantly hearing rustling in the leaves.
  • After returning, they discovered that the rustling was caused by horny tortoises during mating season.

Applying Lessons from Special Forces Ops to Everyday Life (00:20:49)

  • The author compares the challenges faced in special forces operations to those encountered in everyday life.
  • Just as unexpected events can disrupt military missions, unexpected circumstances can interfere with daily routines, such as going to the gym.
  • The author emphasizes the importance of self-motivation and perseverance in overcoming obstacles and achieving goals, even when feeling less than 100%.

How to Know You’re Doing Too Much (00:21:51)

  • The speaker discusses the difficulty in determining the line between pushing oneself and overtraining.
  • The speaker suggests looking back on past experiences and accomplishments to gauge one's capabilities.
  • Listening to one's body and paying attention to signs of fatigue and the need for rest are crucial.
  • Everyone's body is unique, so data and information from others may not accurately reflect one's own performance.
  • The speaker emphasizes the importance of intuition and self-awareness in determining one's limits.

Dean Stott’s Record-Breaking 14,000 Mile Bike Ride (00:24:50)

  • Dean Stott cycled 14,000 miles from Argentina to Alaska, breaking the world record by 17 days.
  • He raised $1.4 million for mental health charities.
  • Stott had a military background and used his training and experience to plan and execute the bike ride.
  • He started overweight but lost weight throughout the ride due to the high calorie burn.
  • The first 10 days were the hardest as his body adjusted to the demands of the ride.
  • Stott's nutrition plan was similar to a polar expedition, with a high calorie burn and difficulty replenishing calories.
  • He started overweight to have a buffer during the initial challenging days.
  • After the first 10 days, his body adapted and he found a routine.

Dean’s Nutrition for the Ride from Argentina to Alaska (00:28:11)

  • Dean and his wife consulted with nutritionists, but they didn't find the advice helpful.
  • Dean's wife became a sports nutritionist and developed a nutrition plan for him.
  • The plan was difficult to follow in remote areas, so Dean had to adapt and eat whatever was available.
  • In Argentina, he mostly ate ham and cheese baguettes.
  • In Chile, he ate chicken and rice.
  • In America, he had access to a wider variety of foods, including crispy cremes.
  • Dean's nutrition plan was flexible and based on what was available to him on the route.

Food Poisoning (00:30:22)

  • During his cycling challenge, the speaker found that local foods in Chile and Peru were the best for him.
  • Despite experiencing food poisoning twice in Peru, he was still able to cycle 150 miles a day.
  • He recommends eating simple, wholesome foods like beans and rice, and avoiding processed foods.
  • Speaking to locals can provide valuable insights into the best foods for energy and health.

How Dean Trains (00:34:30)

  • Dean primarily focuses on bodyweight exercises.
  • He shifted to bodyweight training during his military service as it was required for various courses and operations.
  • Bodyweight training allowed him to perform his military roles effectively, such as climbing ropes with equipment and attacking ships.
  • Dean maintains a balance between bodyweight exercises and strength training with weights.
  • He relates his strength in deadlifts to muscle memory from similar activities performed during his military service.
  • Dean's competitive mindset also contributes to his performance.

How Would Dean Have Trained Differently in the Military? (00:37:15)

  • Dean would have focused more on stretching and warming up before and after workouts.
  • He would have adopted the stretching and warm-up routines used by the American Special Forces to reduce injuries.

How Dean Preps for Private Military Operations (00:38:55)

  • A former Special Forces Operator shares his approach to training and nutrition for maintaining physical fitness and mental resilience in challenging environments.
  • He emphasizes adaptability and self-discipline, often working independently in remote locations without access to regular gyms or structured training facilities.
  • Instead of following a strict nutrition plan, he improvises and makes the most of available resources, such as bodyweight exercises and hotel gyms when possible.
  • He incorporates "subconscious training" by integrating physical activity into his daily routine, such as doing sets of push-ups throughout the day.
  • To stay in shape, he recommends creating a routine that involves physical activity throughout the day, incorporating new exercises regularly, and focusing on activating muscles that are not usually used.

Canadian Embassy Rescue in Benghazi, Libya (00:43:36)

  • A former Special Forces operator, the author, left the military after an injury and founded a private security company.
  • He was hired to establish a security project with the British Embassy in Benghazi during the Arab Spring.
  • He later worked on security projects for major events like the London Olympics and the soccer World Cup in Brazil.
  • The Canadian embassy in Tripoli, Libya, sought his assistance during the Tripoli War to discreetly evacuate their staff before closing down the embassy permanently.
  • The author organized a covert operation to move embassy staff through safe houses to the Tunisian border, 100 kilometers away.
  • Special Forces operations involve a significant amount of support and influence work, such as understanding local demographics, politics, and conducting hearts and minds operations.
  • The success of operations often relies on establishing connections with local contacts and communicating respectfully with tribal elders.
  • In certain situations, covert operations without body armor, helmets, and weapons can be more effective.

Evacuating 220 Americans from Israel (00:49:40)

  • Evacuated 220 Americans from Israel within 36 hours of Hamas strikes.
  • Israel was different from Afghanistan and Libya as he had no prior contacts or infrastructure.
  • Relied on a couple of security personnel from Israel and reversed the evacuation plan.
  • Had clients to evacuate and received requests from 63 families for assistance.
  • Leveraged contacts in Jordan to evacuate non-Jewish individuals.
  • Faced challenges in evacuating the Jewish community due to their cautiousness.
  • Wife coordinated chartered flights based on previous evacuation experiences.
  • Used social media to connect with a Bible College in Jerusalem seeking evacuation assistance.
  • Assisted in evacuating 15 students (14 Americans and 1 Indian) from the Bible College within 48 hours.
  • Acknowledges the pros and cons of using social media for such operations.
  • Israel presented unique challenges due to lack of prior experience and required adjustments in operating procedures.
  • Received more exposure and coverage compared to previous evacuations.

Transitioning Out of Special Forces (00:52:27)

  • Special Forces operators face challenges when transitioning from the military to civilian life, including an identity crisis and the loss of a structured environment.
  • The military provides a structured environment that takes care of basic needs, while the civilian world requires operators to navigate corporate environments and manage financial matters.
  • Special Forces operators possess valuable transferable skills, such as leadership, adaptability, and resilience, that are sought after in the corporate world.
  • Understanding the different languages and cultures of the corporate world and the Special Forces world is crucial for success in either environment.
  • The mission-driven nature and strong sense of purpose of Special Forces operators can be assets in the corporate world.
  • Some Special Forces operators may struggle with the transition due to cultural differences, loss of purpose, and the absence of camaraderie experienced in the military.

What’s Next for Dean? (01:00:00)

  • Dean is planning for the future as he ages and wants to keep his body active and flowing like a river.
  • He has an upcoming eight-episode documentary about special forces coming out this summer on a major streaming platform.
  • Dean is planning another world-first challenge, rowing from Vancouver Island to Mexico.
  • He is focused on the unrelenting pursuit of excellence and wants to pass on his knowledge and experience to others.
  • Dean is designing a new military-style fitness regime based on his experiences and the commonalities he found among different special forces programs around the world.
  • He wants to give back to the military community and help improve their training methods.
  • Dean recognizes that he cannot continue his current level of physical activity forever and wants to transition to an educational role.

Finding Good Candidates for the Military (01:02:37)

  • There is a problem with finding good candidates for the Royal Military, especially in terms of physical fitness.
  • The motivation and attraction to join the military has decreased, possibly due to war fatigue.
  • The Royal Marine Commando Center has seen a decline in the resilience and determination of new recruits.
  • Some candidates are now extremely well-prepared, while others are completely uneducated and untrained.
  • The Special Forces have introduced a briefing course to educate potential candidates about the selection process and requirements.
  • There is a need for better education and awareness about military training and fitness, both from the military and from external sources.
  • The military is also researching epigenetic factors that may contribute to making a good operator.

Common Denominators Between SF Operators (01:06:30)

  • There is no clear common denominator among Special Forces (SF) operators.
  • Physical fitness is important, but not the only factor.
  • Operators need to be able to retain information and operate equipment.
  • Many SF operators come from broken homes and have experienced hardship.
  • Some operators come from wealthy backgrounds but have still faced challenges.
  • Resilience and the ability to cope with hardship are key attributes.

Where to Find More of Dean’s Content (01:09:52)

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