Survival Fitness | Prepare Your Body For The X

Survival Fitness | Prepare Your Body For The X

Prepare your body for the X? What the hell is this guy talking about?

You’ll commonly hear the phrase ‘get off the X’ within the military community, especially special operations. The X represents ground zero when engaged in combat or a fight for your life. In the military, we were trained to do whatever it took to get off the X quickly to reduce the chance of casualties and injury. 

However, while you’re on the X, your body needs to deal with the stress and chaos of the moment. You may need to navigate obstacles with 60+ pounds of gear, carry a wounded brother, or traverse an unknown distance to get to safety.

Outside of the military, you can think of the X being a street fight, home invasion, or active shooter situation. No matter the situation, your body needs to have the strength and stamina to deal with it, create space, and break contact (aka run). With strength comes confidence and that may be just enough to get you through.

Turn away if you’re not prepared for that fight in the right way. But if the fight is happening anyway and there’s no way to avoid it, go down biting, screaming, punching, kicking and anything else you can do to cause harm. Always pick your battlespace, prepare your defenses and have a way out if need be.“ – Frank McRae (Former Army Special Operations)

Understanding Survival Fitness

Survival fitness is an evolved form of functional fitness, distinct from traditional bodybuilding or powerlifting routines. It is specifically designed to cultivate both the physical and mental resilience required to handle unpredictable situations effectively.

At TacSkills, survival fitness is incorporated into the Retraining Program, focusing on enhancing situational readiness through a blend of range training and tailored physical conditioning.

Led by Ray Vawter, the program prioritizes exercises that are highly relevant to the demands of tactical roles, rather than conventional gym workouts. This approach ensures that each training session directly contributes to building the strength, agility, and endurance necessary for real-world operational scenarios.

This method of functional training is crucial for tactical athletes who must perform at peak levels in diverse and challenging environments, aligning perfectly with the strategic goals of the TacSkills Retraining Program.

Survival Fitness | Prepare Your Body For The X

The Foundation: Physical Preparedness

Survival fitness at TacSkills is fundamentally about achieving a superior level of physical preparedness. This encompasses not only traditional attributes such as strength, endurance, flexibility, and mobility but also incorporates explosiveness or power. These elements are integral to ensuring that you’re fully equipped to handle the challenges you may face.

Explosiveness, in particular, is essential for rapid, intense actions that are often required during tactical operations. This quality, combined with robust strength, provides the muscular power necessary for quick, decisive movements. Endurance builds the stamina needed to sustain performance under prolonged stress, while flexibility and mobility contribute to the body’s overall ability to move with agility and recover from a wide range of physical activities.

In the TacSkills Retraining Program, these physical capabilities are developed through a series of scientifically designed exercises that target each area with precision. This holistic approach to physical training ensures that all facets of fitness are enhanced, making survival fitness a comprehensive regimen that prepares participants not just to meet, but to exceed their expectations.

Carrying a load across varied terrain is a true test of one’s fitness” – Bill Rapier 

Nutrition and Recovery

Nutrition and recovery become more important the older we get. Aside from that, the whole purpose of this is to be prepared for the unexpected. You cannot do that if you’re injured.

We’re not going to get into the weeds of diet, but what you put into your mouth greatly affects your physical well-being and your ability to get strong and remain strong. Aside from diet, hydration is critical. Ensuring that you’re drinking enough water each day is critical to maintaining a high level of human performance. 

There are also several camps when it comes to recovery. Ask 10 different physical trainers and you’ll probably get 10 different answers. The key here is to listen to your body. It will tell you when it needs rest.  

Practical Applications and Training Recommendations

Practical training recommendations drawn from these insights include incorporating a mix of cardiovascular, strength, flexibility, and mental toughness exercises into a regular fitness routine. Ruck marches, strength training circuits, endurance runs, and scenario-based drills can all contribute to a well-rounded survival fitness regimen.

Survival Fitness | Prepare Your Body For The X
workout at the gym with dumbbells.

TacSkills Retraining Program

The Retraining Program at TacSkills, masterminded by Ray Vawter—an expert in tactical fitness currently serving in the U.S. Army—is a highly specialized fitness regimen developed for tactical athletes, such as military personnel and police officers. This program is uniquely designed for those who have strayed from their peak physical condition, aiming to reinstate their former fitness levels using advanced, science-backed retraining methods, specifically tailored to their strenuous roles.

Ray Vawter, who has a solid history of designing effective training regimes during his time at Hard to Kill Fitness, and has extensive hands-on experience on the gym floor with a diverse clientele, leads this program. Renowned for his contributions to tactical fitness, highlighted in articles on SOFREP and, Ray also holds prestigious credentials as a Master Trainer and Tactical Conditioning Specialist from the International Sports Sciences Association.

The core of the Operational Retraining program lies in its scientific approach to fitness, utilizing retraining science to establish the optimal rate of progressive overload. This method ensures participants reach their fitness targets quickly and safely, minimizing the risk of injury. Additionally, the program exclusively emphasizes exercise selection that aligns tightly with the specific demands of tactical fitness, rather than adopting generic powerlifting or hypertrophy programs. This focus guarantees that all training adaptations are perfectly matched to the goals of tactical athletes.

Survival Fitness | Prepare Your Body For The X

Designed to accommodate those not currently in top physical shape, the program progresses at a considered pace, respecting the body’s current thresholds for effective workout volume and recovery. By prioritizing exercise safety and specificity, the program not only facilitates rapid improvements but is also designed to fit seamlessly into the busy schedules of participants, efficiently aiding them in achieving their fitness and operational readiness objectives.

Ready to reclaim your peak performance? Click here to begin your transformation with TacSkills’ Retraining Program

Conclusion: The Importance of Survival Fitness

The importance of survival fitness cannot be overstated. It’s about preparing oneself to face and overcome challenges, whether they be in the wilderness, during a crisis, or in daily life’s unexpected situations.

By adopting a holistic approach to fitness that includes physical conditioning, mental toughness, proper nutrition, and recovery, individuals can equip themselves with the tools necessary to not only survive but thrive in any situation.

Survival fitness is a lifelong commitment to preparedness and resilience. Through diligent training, mindful preparation, and the willingness to push beyond comfort zones, anyone can achieve the level of fitness necessary to confidently face the uncertainties of life. It’s not just about being ready for the extremes but also about cultivating a body and mind that can adapt and excel no matter the circumstance.