Craig Weller on Building Healthy, Resilient and “Goal-Fixedness” Focused Athletes

Being raised with a growth mindset immensely helped the Exercise Specialist and founder of Barefoot Fitness, Craig Weller.

A former US Navy SWCC, Craig volunteered for a Navy special operations unit, despite not knowing how to swim and knowing that most of the people who actually do know how to swim tend to fail the selection.

But through resilience, grit, and mental toughness, Craig eventually became a Special Warfare Combatant Crewman and Worldwide Personal Protective Service Security Specialist.

Today, Craig is a prolific writer, the co-author of Building the Elite: The Complete Guide to Building Resilient Special Operators, and serves as Precision Nutrition’s Curriculum Writer.

Craig joins me today to discuss how bench-pressing 60 lbs as a skinny kid led him to getting started in the world of physical preparation.

He illustrates the power of coaching and explains how a swim coach significantly impacted his development by making small but powerful tweaks and adjustments in training.

He defines what “goal fixedness” means and illustrates the role of mental feedback loops in skill development.

And last but not least, he shares his advice to young people who want to join the US Navy and discusses what it takes to succeed in the special operations world.


Mental toughness means goal fixedness, where you pick an objective, and you say you’re not going to stop until you hit it. – Craig Weller


This week on the Physical Preparation Podcast:

  • What led Craig to the world of physical preparation and why he joined the US Navy
  • What the US Navy’s selection program looks like
  • Craig’s experience training other special operators and how he learned to make people stronger
  • Starting Barefoot Fitness and branching out to Precision Nutrition
  • Physical and mental tools and skills to successfully navigate a special operations program
  • The power of having a growth mindset
  • Differentiating high and low-quality physical preparation programs for special operations
  • The depiction of special operations programs in media and how it’s different from real life
  • What “exploit and explore” means and why the constant display of strength makes poor physical preparation
  • How the best powerlifters in the world only test their strength once or twice a year
  • Finding the balance between getting enough volume without destroying an athlete
  • Craig’s ‘development over display’ philosophy and the importance of establishing quality
  • Preventing the breakdown of quality performance under stress
  • The value of seeking coaches in preparation for the Special Forces selection
  • Craig’s definition of mental toughness for an athlete
  • Why telling athletes to “try harder” isn’t enough and what coaches should do instead
  • Taking the lessons from the special operations world and applying it to athletic development
  • Craig’s advice for young people who want to get into the special operations world
  • The most significant lessons Craig learned from opening Barefoot Fitness


Connect with Craig:


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