How do you train for Marine boot camp? First, you’ll need to get your physical fitness in order. All Marine Corps recruits must pass an Initial Strength Test at their recruiter’s office and once they ship to boot camp before they are eligible to begin training. But Marines are expected to complete a Physical Fitness Test bi-annually (that’s twice a year) and scores from the PFT are used to calculate promotion points. That means that your physical fitness is very important. Secondly, mental fitness and motivation are the keys to surviving boot camp. No matter your level of fitness, Marine Corps recruit training is designed to push you to the limit. You will be more stressed, more exhausted, and sore than you ever have been. A positive mental attitude is your secret weapon in Marine boot camp.
You’ll need to be able to run 3-miles in order to graduate boot camp. This goes for everybody: males must run it within 28 minutes, and females within 31 minutes. But these are minimum requirements. If you can only complete the three miles within 28 minutes, you’re going to suffer while in recruit training. When I shipped out to boot camp, I could run my 3 miles in just under 26 minutes, and it was rough. By the time I was a sergeant, I was running my PFT in 19:40. That’s not quite maxing out my score at 290 out of 300, so there was still room for improvement.
Strength is also a key to train for Marine boot camp. You’ll be expected to do pull-ups (or for females, a flexed-arm hang) every single day to work on your upper body strength, and you’ll be hiking with heavy flak jackets, packs filled with canvas tents, rain gear, and entrenching tools, not to mention your weapon and Kevlar helmet. A good strength training foundation is key to your performance here.
This cannot be overstated: a positive mental attitude is the key to surviving boot camp. Your drill instructors want to see that you can perform under pressure and stay motivated no matter what the circumstances. The way you react to your physical fitness training program is going to guide your mental fitness. If you dread taking your morning run or hitting the gym, check that out! You can shift your attitude by choosing to react differently to adverse situations.
Our culture is obsessed with the quick fix, the 10-minute workout, and increased levels of comfort. In order to become a Marine, you must work hard all-day long, keep increasing your physical fitness as a way of life, and choose to make uncomfortable, comfortable. There’s a saying you will hear if you earn the title: “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in war.”