I grew up shy, small and for the most part out of shape. I was never anything of an athlete I remember the sports days running with all my heart, speed and stamina and still coming in the middle of the pack. So I just gave up, piled on the pounds, played World of Warcraft and missed out on most of my teens.
As the age of 20 got nearer and I’d finished school and decided not to go onto University I’d been lifting for about 6 months and I’d made good, solid progress.
A little more than half a year later though I’d got a job, girlfriend and got pulled into the typical English lifestyle of work, get paid, drink to get laid. Lifting went out of the window and as time went on I started smoking more and more.
Thankfully I gave that shit up last year and in total I smoked for around a year and a half. I’ve now been lifting again for almost a year. It would of been a year and a half but I learned some lessons about my own physiology and benching with a barbell. Rotator cuffs didn’t like that much and it put me out for 6 months in terms of any overhead lifting.
After losing my job over a year ago I’ve struggled to find work and also I’ve struggled to find true meaning in my life. Like I said I grew up mostly a recluse and I regret that a lot. I know life is meant to be lived and sitting around with little money and nothing to do hardly counts as correcting those mistakes.
I decided to undertake selection for SAS® or Reserves. The SAS for any of you who don’t know are the Special Air Service. Considered by many to be the most elite force in the British army. Some would say the world.
What is great about the reserves is that you don’t need any previous military experience and while that could be detrimental in this case it’s highly unlikely. The SAS don’t shout, order or hand hold you in any way. If you fail, it’s down to you and that resonates with me a lot.
Being in the reserves also means you are part-time and I can focus on other areas of my life. I can tell you that the training is exactly the same as it is for a normal SAS recruit attempting selection.
Selection itself is a gruelling set of weekends where you are expected to trek larger and larger distances with ever increasing loads of weight in your pack. You’ll be expected to do all of this at night, with nothing but a map and compass to guide you. All of this first stage of selection is held in the Welsh Brecon Beacons and across terrain that is ankle breaking stuff and of course at night this becomes even more difficult.
Eventually stage 1 of selection ends with a 40mile trek with a total of 65lbs on your back, not including your weapon, food supplies etc. This has to be completed within 24 hours.
Out of an intake of 125 candidates, the selection process will weed out all but 10.
I’m not kidding you when I say people have died during selection of sudden heart attacks and many people simply give up. Or are RTU’d (Returned to unit) as they fail to make the ever increasing distances in the time given.
They also have a variety of PT (Physical Training) exercises which mostly consist of farmers walks, chin ups and so on.
Stage 2 and 3 of selection are just as hard but by this point, much less mentally demanding and physically demanding. Not to say it wont be extremely hard!
I have given myself a year to get in shape for this. So I should begin the selection this time next year. If I’m not ready I can postpone till Sep '14. You only get one shot so I need to be confident.
For me this means getting in the best shape of my life and getting into an incredible strong place mentally. The majority of my cardiovascular training is going to have to be until I want to give up because I need to train myself to keep going that extra bit more.
There are a variety of reasons that I want to do this. I want to do and see things other people never will, to be considered among the best in terms of mental strength and of course it’s going to be a massive challenge physically. Facing fears and mental limitations is of course a good reason for any man to do something.
I really thrive off of that stuff.
Any advice would be much appreciated, wish me luck!