Absolute Pain Guaranteed at SEALFit


Mention the SEALFit (SEAL is US Navy’s acronym for Sea, Air and Land Teams) program to just about anybody in the world of hardcore fitness and check out their reaction; there’s a visible show of respect, perhaps tinged with a “those guys are crazy”.

fitness2xtreme-images-sealfit-just-breatheIt’s almost like they square their shoulders in a bit more and suck in their breath at the thought of what the SealFit client goes through.

The SEALFit program is head and shoulders above and apart from any other athletic program out there.

It was originally designed by a retired SEAL specifically to help future SEALs prepare for their Hell Week, but it’s morphed into something much more.


Sure, there’s still the intense emphasis on meeting and exceeding the rigors of the Navy program, and giving the body far more than the mind thinks it can take, but its focus is on something far beyond that.

-flfitness2xtreme-images-sealfit-kokoro-camp-briefingThe SEALFit founders are firm believers in the CrossFit program; they patterned their fitness agenda around it.

But SEALFit is a sort of graduate program after CrossFit that offers a honing of that elite physical status combined with an insistence on a standard of mental toughness and a warrior spirit.

Their live-in Academy and Kokoro Camp programs will only accept clients who are already at the pinnacle of their physical prowess, then proceed to break them down – first physically and then mentally, with the goal of permanently awakening an indomitable spirit that is hidden within.

Those clients who make it through learn that they are twenty times stronger than they believed themselves to be. Twenty percent quit the program in the first few hours.

SEALFit is NOT for everyone and there is no shame in accepting that statement. There is an alternative program called SEAL PT. This program is offered on both West- and East Coast and it is also run by an ex-SEAL. You might want to try it as a stepping stone to SEALFit.

Here is a good testimonial from a past recruit:

Thanks to SEALFit, I have gone from having hardly any confidence in myself, to knowing that there is not one challenge I can be faced with that, pass or fail, I wont give everything I have to complete.

Everyday I bring myself to higher levels of mental strength that I did not know I had, doing things I thought only professionals were capable of.

My mind tells me to quit, and my mind tells me I’m not good enough, yet my heart and soul persevere through and prove it wrong.

Had I always possessed this trait? Yes. However, I had no idea that I did and that I was capable of retrieving it until I started this program.


fitness2xtreme-images-sealfit-founder-mark-divine-flTo understand what SEALFit is and does, you really need to start with its creator, retired Navy Commander Mark Divine.

A multi-sport competitive athlete in college, Divine’s initial career path took him to Coopers & Lybrand, where he toiled as a CPA.

Though he earned his MBA from NYU Stern School of Business and was well on his way to the height of the business world, he left Wall Street behind to pursue Navy SEAL training, where he was the top graduate of his SEAL BUD/S class.

He went on to serve for years, including being called back into active duty and charged with conducting a SEAL Team One special project in Baghdad in 2004 before retiring as a Commander in 2011.

Divine was tapped by the Navy to establish a mentoring program for recruits heading to SEAL training, and from that experience he went on to establish SEALFit.

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The program combines his twenty five years of martial arts training, fifteen years of practicing warrior yoga, his tenure teaching Leadership at the college level (and pursuing a doctoral degree in the same), and his SEAL experience.

Simply put, SEALFit is an extension of CrossFit that adds a mental element he calls Unbeatable Mind.

Force Multiplier

The SEALFit program has many different incarnations.

At its base is the Training Center in Encinitas, California, where they offer a workout program that is designed to provide a more complete preparation package for SEAL and Marine selections than anything else that’s available.

fitness2xtreme-images-seal-fit-encinatas-running-stairsThe program is hardcore, designed for military and industrial athletes; if you’re not already in shape they offer a pre-training program.

SEALFit is a hybrid that takes the best of the functional fitness training of CrossFit and goes it one farther, adding calisthenics and endurance in multiple workouts done each day.

All these components are designed to emphasize strength, endurance and something they call durability.

Their goal is not just to build a better body; it’s to prepare warriors.

Although sometimes the WODS may not make sense to the non-military users they make perfect sense to the soldiers on the battlefield.

You see before we went to training me in 1993 and Mark in 1990 we spent tons of time doing Cals, running and swimming. But when we got to BUD/s they had logs, boats, tanks and backpacks that we had to carry everywhere. That stuff is heavy and only gets heavier as you get weaker.

Once you get to the teams now you have Body Armor and weapons and ammo. So we are posting a program that we feel gets a person ready to go into the mountains of Afghanistan carrying 100lbs over BW for hours at a time and a program that gets a kids body and back much more prepared for the abuse he will endure during training and platoon workups. –Dan Cerrillo at Crossfit.com

The SEALFit workout program is available to the everyday athlete or person looking to improve their overall fitness. In fact the WOD is posted daily on the SEALFit website, and they offer a digital download program called “8 Weeks to SEALFit” so that athletes all over the world can access the program.

They also offer an online coaching program for those without access to a CrossFit gym, or who need help with scaling the workout to their abilities.

Work Out of the Day (WOD)

fitness2xtreme-images-seal-fit-workout-of-day-wodCheck into the WOD and you’ll be scratching your head wondering if they really mean it or if what’s written is a typo – maybe somebody accidentally pasted in two workouts at once? Fat chance.

That means even if you’re doing their program on your own, to do it right you have to be driving through the pain and impossible nature of the assigned task, pushing yourself the way that you would be driven at SEAL Hell Week – otherwise you’re just not getting it.

An average day? Warm up by going through range of motion drills, then move on to 50 sandbag cleans, hoisting your heavy bag up while keeping your legs a squat position, then when they’re done run 800 meters balls-to-the-wall, despite the dead weight feeling of your quads.

Warmed up yet?

Move on to the functional workout –  three rounds, racing against the clock, of a combination of five front squats (165#), 18 pull-ups, five dead-lifts (225#), 18 toes-to-bar, five push jerks (165#), and 18 hand release push-ups.

fitness2xtreme-images-seal-fit-beach-runnnig-pogo-sticks fitness2xtreme-images-seal-fit-rock-carry fitness2xtreme-images-seal-fit-rock-beach-flutter fitness2xtreme-images-seal-fit-beach-buddy-runs

Remember, you’re doing this all, then doing it again, and then doing it one more time.

Arms and legs turned to jelly? You’re nowhere near done yet … you still have a series of 1-1-1-1 lifts and bench presses …. and now that you are completely blind with exhaustion, go for a two mile run – in body armor.

One SEALFit client described it this way:

…Essentially it’s a training program for people who love pain.

The thoughts behind it are you are a badass mother****er and/or training for some sort of spec ops or other military/’industrial athlete’ type job.

If you have any other questions feel free to shoot.

But be careful because once you start sealfitting it’s hard to let go. –Collin Thompson at Crossfit.com

The idea of doing the entire WOD in a single workout, which they recommend you do at least once a week, or even split into a morning and evening workout, still pales in comparison to the thought of doing it with a SEALFit coach towering over you and berating you about how much better you could be.

The person who chooses to pursue SEALFit as a training method has to bring a steely-eyed passion to the workouts – this is not for the faint of heart. Which brings us to the Academies, and the Kokoro Camp.

Kokoro Camp

fitness2xtreme-images-seal-fit-kokoro-camp-beach Go onto the SEALFit website and you will see far more emphasis is placed on mental strength, endurance, team work and warrior spirit then on your physical strength because the fitness aspect is taken as a given.

You’re not even welcome into their overnight programs, the one or three week Academy or the 50-hour Kokoro Camp that is their true claim to fame, unless you’re able to run three miles in less than 28 minutes, do a minimum of 45 push-ups in two minutes, do at least 45 sit-ups in two minutes, a minimum of six dead-hang pull-ups, and finish CrossFit’s Slick Murph and Fran in fifteen minutes or less each.

That’s the starting point, the prerequisite.

Both the one week and three week programs are designed to instill strength and stamina mentally and physically through a series of several mind-numbing training sessions per day for fourteen hours a day.

fitness2xtreme-images-seal-fit-beach-drillYoga, kettle balls, lifting, Ocean Confidence and more are combined with nutritional programming, and all are cast against a backdrop of Unbeatable Mind training that infuses Devine’s every lesson and is what has helped his warrior’s survive.

The one week Academy costs $2,695 to attend, and provides a full and intense physical and mental preparation for the SEAL Hell Week.

Although it is an extraordinary program unto itself, it is actually a modification and abbreviation of the three week program, which goes even further into the physical and mental aspects, but also includes combat defense sessions, programs devoted specifically to the impact of concentration, meditation and breath control on both the physical and mental aspects of intense challenges, and a variety of special leadership seminars.

One of the basic tenets of the SEALFit program is that learning is enhanced when combined with extreme physical effort, and leadership and teamwork are forged through fire, which is why the three week academy ends with the crucible of the 50-hour Kokoro Camp.

The Kokoro Camp can best be described as fifty hours of sleep deprivation and physical exhaustion and exertion that goes far beyond the scope of human ability. Here a brief introduction video:

As you can see, participants find themselves pushed to their body’s breaking point both at the site of the academy and on a nearby beach, where they are put through drills that fall just short of torture.

They’ll find themselves working as a group, lying side-by-side face up in the surf with arms linked as the waves crash over their heads, gasping against the spray and trying to hold their heads above the rising tide while doing flutter kicks, their instructors standing over them, knee deep in the water and screaming at them that they’re pathetic.

They’ll hoist enormous 350-pound logs onto their shoulders and run with them held over their heads, shifting its weight as one from shoulder to shoulder, grimacing against the effort while orders are barked at them and water is sprayed in their faces.

One Kokoro survivor described the first few hours this way:

“On your backs, bottom of your squat, on your back, flutter kicks”

All of this was happening while trying to maintain your weapon in your right hand and if you weren’t strong enough or you took your mind off of the task a Coach would grab your weapon and throw it as far away as possible, then make you bear crawl over and crab walk back.

After a few minutes the water torture started.

Hoses, buckets, water bottles anything that you could fill water in was being used to shake us up and get us really uncomfortable.

Imagine next time you’re doing a WOD, run to the bathroom stick your head in the toilet, flush it then run back to your bar and finish the round do this until you can no longer see a foot in front of you and that’s how we felt for the next 2 hours. –Luke Kayyem

Mental Fortitude Required

fitness2xtreme-images-seal-fit-beach-crawl-runRolling and doing endless somersaults in the sand, doing push-ups until their arms collapse, pushing themselves back up and resuming, crawling up and down the beach, dragging each other across the sand by the feet.

The goal is for them to reach the point where they are spent beyond all thought or tears or fear so they can claw their way back by concentrating on the individual moment they’re in – no past, no future, just overcoming the now with the help of your team.

That’s the way to get through the workouts, whether the online training of the live-in camp, and that’s the way that Mark Devine prepares the warriors who go on to protect our country.

The experience takes them to the depths of their souls and lets them claw their way back up, creating a level of quiet confidence and leadership that few possess.

Sounds good? What are you waiting for!? Head on over to SealFit and sign up!

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Boot Camp Info

Name: SEAL Fit
Website: http://www.sealfit.com
Location(s): Encinatas, CA
Owner(s): Mark Divine



  1. Craig Milligan says:

    I realise this may be an old article etc but wanted to point out a possible error. I say possible because it may be a true claim, then again i suspect it is inaccurate.

    You say entrance requirements for kokoro are an under 15min Fran and slick Murph time!

    Slick Murph is 1mile 100pullups 200pushups 300squats and 1mile without the 20lb body armour of regular Murph.

    Now to do that in under 15min is impossible. Even if you run at 4min mile pace you’d still only have 7min to do the pull ups pushups and squats!!!!

    A benchmark for Murph in the 8 weeks to sealfit programme is stated as being 50min or under – taken from the coaching notes on day 15 of the 5 week bodyweight programs within the 8 weeks to sealfit book.


  1. […] you think you can handle additional mental and physical challenges, you might also want to consider SEALFit. SEALFit is also run by an ex-SEAL, Mark Divine. It is more geared towards military personnel but […]

  2. […] Mental fortitude – Reassure yourself that you CAN and you WILL make it to the top. Positive affirmation has been known to work. Just ask Mark Divine, an uber athlete who served as a high ranking Navy SEAL before finding his company, SEALFit! […]

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