How to Prepare for the Military

Advice from a former Army Ranger

I remember this ‘foggy distress‘ as I was trying to figure out how to prepare for the military. It was this dread over the unknown. I remember being desperate for tricks and tips on how to prepare for basic training. I eagerly soaked up every piece of advice from veteran’s that I could find. This article is the stuff I wish they had told me.

After much reflection on my journey to become an Army Ranger, I made a list of the 3 best tips for those wanting to know how to prepare for the military. Also, be sure to check out my video at the end of this article.

3 Best Tips to Prepare for the Military

  (1) Get in Shape.

  • Not any old workout will do — you need a very specific work out plan. You need to obsess over physical endurance. Forget bench-press maxes and power-clean records. You need to be able to run all day or carry a heavy pack up and down mountains.
  • Tough feet are critical if you are doing something in the infantry, special operations, or special forces. Your feet are your wheels and you need the toughest around. Get a pair of old, crappy jungle boots and wear them until your feet have become callouses.
  • PT Tests are really important and the best way to get good at them is to take the PT test over and over again. The PT test is your new favorite work out, and you should do it until maxing it is a breeze. Try to find someone who knows how they are currently administered and have them take you through it and give you advice on good passing techniques.

  (2) Get your MIND Right.

  • The first part of good mindset is pure GRIT. Determine that you will not quit. Be firmly resolved in your goals. You can embrace the suck of basic training, RASP, Ranger School — you can endure the pain. If you aspire to go far, grit is essential.
  • The other part to good mindset is surprising to many, and I’ll call it LEVITY. Typically people quit mentally before their body gives out, because they are frustrated, stressed out, despairing, missing home, angry, confused, etc. Imagine digging a hole just to fill it in again — over and over again. You need to be able to recognize that it is all a game. Play the game. Keep mentally flexible. Be able to laugh at your pain (don’t let others see you do this). It is not the strongest trees that survive the hurricane; it is the flexible ones.

  (3) Find the right ATTITUDE.

  • Resist negativity and complaining. Its fun in the moment, but you discourage yourself and make people unknowingly despise you. It is helpful to be liked. If no one likes you, life will get really, really tough, and even if you make it through to your unit, you may get fired or stuck doing crap work because no one likes you.
  • Be the GREY MAN. For the most part, put your head down, do the work, and shut up. The people that experience the most pain and and difficulty are the dirtbags and the studs. Be neither. Basic training, airborne school, BUDs, Special Forces Selection — all of it is a game. Don’t be a hero here (you can do that in war), just play the game to win.