Recommended Motivation: Extra Credit

Candidates, there are so many motivators out there who bother me every day with questions like, “What more can I do to prepare for OCS?” that I am debuting a new series of posts. This summer’s posts will give you plenty of ways to use up all your time before OCS to get ready or motivated for your future Marine Corps life.

From an applicant: “I have a question. I am waiting to see if my application will be accepted for the Fall OCS class and until then I feel like time is slipping away. Is there anything that I should do or could do with the time remaining besides my normal workout routine? I guess my nerves are getting to me and I feel like I need to be doing more. Don’t get me wrong, I have trained excessively but again it’s the unknown factor that worries me. The ‘if I only did this’ before hand then I would have been better prepared.”


First off, review this post. If you are physically fit, and highly motivated, with a little leadership talent, you will pass this test. Secondly, if I give someone unworthy of USMC officership enough “tips” to pass the leadership tests at OCS unfairly, then I do a great disservice to the Corps.

So, basically work out alot, stay motivated, and do your best, letting the chips fall as they may.

Okay, okay, I can hear you screaming. Once upon a time, I too was a worried candidate. I’ll share a few pieces of advice to help give you something to do before OCS.

  • For fall and winter OCS, a great challenge for many will be the cold weather and water obstacles. In the winter, if they have to break the ice for you to navigate the Quigley, they will. Having never plunged into icy water before in my life, that was a pretty big shock at OCS. First tip: take a dip in a very cold tub or shower and stay in it for 5 minutes. Besides getting a little cold, you will gain some mental toughness and discipline which will translate well at OCS.

    The Quigley. That’s SNOW on the ground. If you don’t think this sucks, you haven’t been dunked in 40 degree water.
  • Secondly, put 50 lbs in a backpack and march for miles once a week in boots, to break in the boots, break in your feet, and get over the mental fear of carrying weight. Start with 2 miles, then add 2 more miles each week until you can do 10, then scale it back until OCS.
  • Thirdly, sleep alot overall before OCS to get rid of your sleep debt. But! If you have months to go, take one week and see how you function getting under 3 hours of sleep a night. You’ll still be able to do your workouts, but it will take some discipline to stay awake 21 hours a day after a day or two. Get used to it. That’s like the first 3 weeks at OCS.
  • Fourthly, memorize cadences and run while YELLING. You will not have a nice slow jogging pace with easy breathing at OCS. It will all be running on hilly trails while yelling. You will need to have several minutes of cadences ready to go in the first week at OCS.
  • Lastly, desserts and sweets, cigarettes, alcohol, even surfing the web can be pretty addictive, and completely out of the questions at OCS. Slowly wean yourself off your addictions. Whenever I actually got something yummy like carrot cake at the chow hall (they did serve it periodically!), it was the greatest treat ever. I know some candidates who had very bad candy cravings. Who knew. Don’t make OCS harder on yourself.
Lastly, chill out. You’re prepared if you can keep up with my OCS workout regularly.

Leave a Reply