To Prep or Not to Prep... That is the Question.


Verified Military
May 3, 2016
San Clemente, CA
Good morning gentlemen,

I've been preparing for boot and BRC since I received approval from my SNCOIC to contract Recon a few months ago.

Last night I was looking through a thread where SOF members were telling their stories of how they became badasses in their respective branch, and after reading several testimonies I noticed that there was very little preparation or G2'ing prior to attending selection; you were told to be in shape, adapt, overcome, and show up with a "Semper Fi, do or die" attitude- that's it... That got me thinking: would I better off just PT'ing my ass off every day, keeping my nose clean and showing up to BRC after SOI ready to embrace the suck?

I know I have the right mindset: graduate-or-die. Anything less than Recon isn't acceptable.


Verified SOF
Aug 14, 2006
Being physically and mentally fit, as well as having the fortitude to go on when your mind and body tell you to quit, will carry you further than any relevant course information will take you. Many of physically fit men have asked me what it takes to pass "XYZ" selection prior to their attendance and I've told them they would be fine, just do not quit. Injuries aside, every one that did not successfully navigate the selection quit in the first week.


Verified Military
Dec 6, 2016
I am not a 21, but I did my first deployment as a weapons attachment to a Recon unit, ultimately being attached to a team. I fell in love with their way of life, their mission set, and the general quality of both life and people I was surrounded in. I am not sucking my own dick by saying this, but I made a very good impression on them by being humble, competent, and the right amount of irreverent. I made my intentions of going to BRC known, and those same guys set out to get me up to speed.

Despite my Platoon Commander - a Captain - going to bat for me with the 21' monitor, I simply could not attend because I did not have time on contract. I preambled this because I want you to know exactly where what I say next comes from both unique experience in training for BRC with the people who went through it, but not as someone who ever stepped foot in MART/BRC, but also is considering trying again in a reserve capacity:

Swim and Run. If you are not swimming and you are not running, then you should be humping. If you are not doing those things, then you should be building core, back, and leg strength. The number one thing I did with those guys was swim, and it was the number one thing they talked about needing to do well. I was on a heavy lifting routing, because I Wuz Grunt and I immediately cut that out based on literally every single person's recommendation - even the guys who could bench two grown men with room to spare.

I was at an advantage because I was already knee-deep in indoctrination and implementation of infantry tactics, but getting a good mentor that you can PHYSICALLY work with would be helpful, that way they can demonstrate how to do basic things like patrol formations and the basic doctrine. You will learn all of this in ITB but being ahead of the curve, any curve, and all curves should always be a goal. Side note - I served with a guy who is currently an instructor at East Coast ITB so I'd love to know if you end up having this guy as your instructor. I think Texas goes west coast, in which case one of my old Machine Gun senior's from a different company is a DI! I am not malicious and I would not mention this to either of them, but I am always perplexed and fascinated by the small-world-Corps that you will soon discover is a reality.

Once again, I have never/ not yet been to a real selection but BRC is a real kick in the nuts. Coming from many of my friends in that community, one of which had spent some time in MARSOC before they went Recon, and many who have gone through MC Sniper School, Ranger School, and Pre-Dive which is apparently the worst: BRC is a real old-school course in its design. So think about the 'old-school' stories of pain and process, long before Mothers of America cast their unknowingly damaging attention to the Corps.

I am not in a position to link you to my friends for a chat, as I do not want to violate any rules but if the moderators and this community is ok with it, I can hook up a phone call with one of my best buds from Recon. He would be a much better source of info than I, but I will say that under those guys' guidance I went from barely being able to swim, to being able to swim endless laps. Breast stroke and Side stroke. I was able to do a 50m cross over (look it up), and do the bob from the bottom of the pool with my hands tied behind my back and blackout goggles on. We would carry a 45 pound weight to the bottom of the deep end and play underwater hockey, with full on drowning style attacks. I would run 10 miles with those guys, with the last half mile being a dead sprint. We took turns buddy carrying 200-400 meters at a time, and did so in full kit. We practiced everything. The thing I was most grateful for, despite me never actually getting to go, was that I had a mentality that I would rather physically drop, then drop on request. It is a hard thing to materialize outside of conditions in the military, but there has to be an inner strength where you can keep moving your feet despite every cell in your body screaming at you to stop. Once again, I have not been to BRC or any other meaningful selection, but the grunt life was no joke, and I cannot count on my hands the number of times I felt like I was going to die from exhaustion and extreme sleep deprivation. When you want to quit the most, that is when you know what you are made of.

Lastly, in regards to what I just talked about - everyone is different in their methodology of how to overcome. Some people go internal and thus do not feel a single thing. Some people find weird pleasure in it. Some are just in the moment and are psyching themselves up and out in the way they need. I personally would insult myself the entire time, or tell myself I would quit "at that next marker". I have done many-a-hike with a 50 cal receiver - or worse the tripod on my back and my Musket (M16A2) banging on my knees where for hours on end I tell myself "i'll just quit at that next road...after the next person falls out...after I round the bend...after the next gun drill when the 11's are taking a break (not a knock on 0311's/line 31's, 41's and 51's), my company just emphasized that we have to be ready to support by fire and thus on our "10" minute rest periods between each 5k so while most everyone would drop pack, guzzle water, eat an apple and so on, the heavy gun crews would run gun drills, the 81's would set up their mortars and the Snipers would...who knows? :troll:

But I always knew I was just lying to myself to pass the time. Never quit. No matter how what it is - if you are the kind of person who has the capacity to serve this country in a way that most cannot, it does not matter because pain is temporary (until you go to the VA:p). So think about what got you through after those particularly grueling hikes / gas mask and ruck runs/ logistics runs, 8 milers with kettle bells and ammo cans etc I did what I did on purpose - It was my own way of always taking another step. You will find yours, but knowing that ahead of time would be a great help.