Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet

Itzler, Jesse


Every day do something that makes you uncomfortable.

Day 3: My Nuts

“SEAL, I have a problem,” I say to him. “I didn’t bring any extra underwear.” “So what?” “I can’t run without underwear.” “Nah, bro, you can’t run without legs. It’s on.”

Day 4: Fitness Test

I don’t think about yesterday. I think about today and getting better.

We do five pull-ups (nickels) and then ten push-ups (dimes) “every minute on the minute.” We start every time the second hand is on the 12. If we finish in forty seconds, we then have twenty seconds of rest. We do this for ten minutes (fifty pull-ups and a hundred push-ups).

Day 5: Escape Vehicle

It doesn’t have to be fun. It has to be effective. —SEAL

“When you think you’re done, you’re only at forty percent of what your body is capable of doing. That’s just the limit that we put on ourselves.”

Day 9: Oxygen Deprivation

Man, we start, and then, motherfucker, we finish.

Day 10: The Honor Code

This is our push-up routine: Do one push-up then stand up and wait fifteen seconds, then go down and do two push-ups and wait fifteen seconds and so on, until we get up to ten push-ups, and then we start taking thirty-second breaks. For push-ups sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen, SEAL allows us to take forty-five seconds between sets.

Day 13: Sick Fuck Friday

“Whatever you got going on, someone else has more pain. You gotta learn how to fight through it. No matter what it is… Think about someone else and take a suck-shit pill.”

Day 14: Fireman’s Carry

If you can’t do the basics, you can’t do shit. —SEAL

Day 17: Suicide Bombers

Dumbbell bench press: 15 reps at 35 pounds, 12 reps at 40 pounds, 10 reps at 45 pounds, 8 reps at 50 pounds, and then 6 reps at 55 pounds.

“Money is fun to make, fun to spend, and fun to give away. That sums it all up.”

Day 21: One Rep at a Time

“Hey, SEAL, what do you think about when you run?” “Finishing.”

Day 26: Primary Target

“Say, SEAL,” I say. “What would you do if there was an intruder in the house?” Slowly SEAL turns and looks at me. He holds me with an even, unemotional stare. Then he turns back to the TV without answering my question. “No, really,” I say. “What would you do?” He shakes his head slowly. “I think you know what I’d do,” he says to the TV. “Tell me.” “I would protect the primary.” “What’s the primary?” “That’s the million-dollar question,” he says. “What is your primary, Jesse? What would hurt you the most to lose? This big-screen TV? Those gold record awards you own? Jewelry? Cash? What do you hold most dear?” “No,” I say. “None of that.” “Well?” he asks. “My wife and my son.” “Exactly, Jesse,” he says. “They’re your primary, and as long as I’m in this house they’re my primary too. You asked me what I would do. I would protect my primary at any cost. And unfortunately for you, you’re my third option.”

Day 27: 1,000 Push-ups

I don’t celebrate victories but I learn from failures. —SEAL