Building Mental Toughness

Hey folks, we are back today with TACFIT Commando Designer and Founder, Scott Sonno. Having a combat background he shares a completely different perspective when it comes fitness. His level of training is used by various elite agencies all over the world as he discusses with us today.

We learned in part 2 his advanced fitness views that specifically build mental toughness and reconditions the thinking process of functional training that is challenging but new, different and fun.


Craig Ballantyne: What Special Ops units are training with your methods right now? Who are you working with and what countries will you be traveling to around the world? Do you do seminars with 20 people or larger? Do you teach other trainers this type of stuff?

Scott Sonnon: I have to be careful about what I say because some of it is sensitive. If I disclose too much then it makes them feel uncomfortable.

Currently, I’ve just received my formal invitation to be a trainer for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, who is the largest federal law enforcement academy in the world.

Ninety-four different agencies are co-located there, anywhere from the Marshall Service to Customs and Border Protection, to ICE. There are more acronyms out of the facility than in fitness that’s for sure. I just took my team down to the federal law enforcement training centers to do a formal presentation of TACFIT. It was so welcomed they asked me to become a formal instructor.

So, the United States end law enforcement is a large component for us. Next month I’ll be traveling down to Savannah to go with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regimen, SOAR. They’re a unique group; all combat paramedics, combat medics, so they’re constantly going into hot situations to try and rescue people and yet have to fight their way in and out frequently. So, they’re looking for something that can accommodate their high speed lifestyle.

With the U.S. I have to be a little more delicate than I do internationally because I don’t have disclosure agreements. For instance, last year I got back from Israel where they’re living in a constant state of warfare.

It’s a completely different lifestyle, and it’s hard for a lot of Americans to understand or appreciate. I was there at their Lotar base, which is the counter terrorism base, the group size was I think 40 or 50, but they have representative trainers from different units, it wasn’t just Lotar it wasn’t just that unit.

There were trainers from the army and combat instructor base which is co-located with Wingate Institute. There were trainers there from the Israeli Navy Seals, and quite a few other representatives. It’s a small country and basically everyone has to cover each other’s butt.

Israel is a completely different environment, so when I showed them what we had to work on they were like, “Yup, that makes sense. Let’s do it.” There was no question to that, whereas America, we tend to have to explain things in more detail. It can be very awkward and time consuming, but in Israel, they jumped right on it.

I go back to Italy about three times a year to work with their Secret Service and counter terrorism units. When I go in November, I’ll be working with the Malpensa Airport Counter Terrorism Unit, Malpensa’s a large airport in Milan, and they’re Counter Terrorism Unit.

They are so good that you won’t see them. They could be in small holes with sniper rifles, or you wouldn’t be able to differentiate them from say a security guard. Things happen in Europe that doesn’t happen in the United States, so they’re in a constant state of alarm. The guys whom I train are also the people who protect the Prime Minister’s family, so when it comes to fitness it’s not a luxury.

In the U.S. we tend to be a bit slower when it comes to fitness. Exercise requires motivation and we have to be convinced that this is something that we need to do. I actually had somebody say to me, “Why do I need to be fit?” I STAMMERED over my words, It was almost offensive. You must be fit it’s not just your longevity but your quality of life.

For me, I struggled to be able to compete on an even playing field with a genetic normal person So, when I heard that question it surprised me. It’s taken us quite a few years of the functional training revolution to open up the door to people being interested in tactical fitness.

Not only would they not be interested in anything that would help them in a crisis, but there are a lot of people who are still at the point where they feel they don’t really need to be fit, they feel it’s not really for them.  It’s not an option, this is something one must do, it’s your duty if you have the calories to do it, and you must do it.

So, it’s a completely different perspective.  Mentality I’m elated to see and I admire the federal law enforcement and special operations being embraced more and more by the average fitness consumer.

I’m an old salty guy, you know, I’ve fought all my life so when I see somebody who’s willing to just go in there and give the hardest they’ve ever done in 20 minutes it just makes me smile. It’s a switch that I’ve seen in the past five or ten years in.

Tomorrow we will learn the difference between the two types of people when it comes to fitness as we continue with part 4 of our interview excerpt with Scott Sonnon.Turbulence Training for Fat Loss

As we continue on with part 2 of our interview excerpt with Scott Sonnon, we find out what Ops units are training with these methods right now.