Picture this: 14-mile overnight mountain hikes; 8 hours overnight “surf torture”; 450-pound monster logs; crawling through thorns; hostage interrogations; lock picking; and thousands of push-ups, pull-ups, air squats, and burpees.

Welcome to Special Forces “crucible experiences” for civilians. I’ve just completed two in the last three weeks: the 50-hour SEALFIT Kokoro Camp in California with no sleep, and the 36-hour Mill Gym Cadre Camp in Perth, Australia, with 10 minutes of sleep and one Snickers bar.


Kokoro (Japanese for “merging the heart and mind in action”) is modeled after the U.S. Navy SEAL Hell Week, and the Cadre Camp is an abridged version of international Tier 1 Special Forces selection course. Both camps are designed to smash you open and rebuild you into a better leader and teammate. After 12 to 15 hours, your body is done; it becomes more about spiritual growth, via extreme physical measures.

It’s true to say, “If the mind is willing, the body will follow,” but you have to train hard for these camps and be 100-percent committed. You also have to focus on your recovery just as much as your training—that’s what kept me on track and injury-free.

In the months leading up to back-to-back camp experiences, I researched many different recovery methods, consulted experts, and made myself a human guinea pig. Here are the 10 things I believe worked for me and allowed me to not only survive Special Forces–type training but to actually thrive. Many are inexpensive, except the cost of a little time and effort.

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