If you’ve been tuning in to SAS Australia over the last week, you would have probably noticed one absolutely jacked staff member towering over the rest – coming in the form of former Special Forces Sergeant Jason Fox.
Fox, who joined the Royal Marine Commandos at sixteen and served for ten years, ended up passing the gruelling selection process for the Special Forces at 25. From there he went on to serve for another decade, reaching the rank of Sergeant.
“It was semi auto pilot from the mindset instilled in my dad who is in the army. He encouraged us to play sport which made us do fitness training, then I joined the forces and it carried on from there. To do that job you need to be physically and mentally fit and it’s stayed with me from there – If I don’t do my training now, then I get tense and angry. It’s my release,” Fox explains in an interview with Train Magazine.
An impressive resume indeed, but it only takes on look at the retired commando to realise that the hard work and training that he put into his time in defence has followed through to his civilian life. Here’s what he had to say about his training in and out of the Special Forces.
On training in the SBS
It’s fair to say that only men at the peak of mental and physical conditioning make it into the SBS – so they really are the best of the best. Training in the most hostile environments and learning to combat the deadliest enemies makes even the average man’s most intense gym session seem like child’s play.
“My course started with 350 guys and finished with 13. Everyone has the opportunity to take on the challenge but the first step is the hills phase which is where you essentially spend four-weeks running up hills in Wales carrying 70 lbs of equipment, plus a weapon. Most people either get injured or check themselves out,” says Fox.
“[We did] verything from tractor tyre flips to breeze block carries. An awful lot of rope climbs, ladder climbs – big lifts – pullups I love, it’s the ultimate. All functional scenario based stuff. We used to do a lot of fight training too. Everyone had their own interests in a particular fight style so we’d often make our own dojo out of mats and we all taught each other bits and pieces. We’d have a little spar at the end as well which made it more fun”
Fox also explained that fight training was an important part of being in the SBS.
“A lot of it is quite nasty, quite practical but dirty to end things quickly. Techniques like pressure points, holds, that sort of thing. Then guys have a like and want to learn other stuff like karate, thai boxing or whatever and they go and learn that on their own or with each other like we did.”
On his mental training
“We were flown out to a jungle in Brunei where we lived for six-weeks and were assessed on everything we did 24 hours a day. For a lot of people it’s just too hellish. It’s very close and claustrophobic and everything is trying to eat you. But it’s bit like marmite you either love it or you hate it, and personally I really like the jungle. The toughest thing about being there is that you don’t know when you’re being watched and tested. Nobody tells you if you are doing a good job or not, so or a lot of people they start to self-assess and think they’ve some how ruined it,” explains Fox.
“In my experience people in the Special Forces are determined, bloody minded but also very adaptable. They are more flexible characters. If something out of the norm happens it doesn’t phase them because they are not set on routine or bothered by breaks in that routine. A dynamic attitude towards life helps when it comes to wanting to get something done, whether its a mission or a even just a training session,” he adds.
After leaving the Special Forces
“I still train very similarly. It’s all about all round fitness. The course to get into the SAS is very much endurance based but when you actually get into the SAS, it’s everything because it’s such a multi functional job because you’re jumping walls, climbing ropes, running, walking, everything which is why Crossfit is a great platform to get fit for the military as it encompasses that. I still continue training in the same way, it reminds me of the old days. I change it up regularly – Crossfit, HIIT sessions, a bit of weight training, running, cycling..I get bored easily as well so I’m always chopping and changing,” he explains.
“I like Crossfit, it’s the perfect fit for an intense schedule. If I’m not doing Crossfit I will do my own HIIT training which is basically Crossfit without the rigid plan. Because I get bored really easily it’s good to just always try to do different stuff like cycling, running, or rowing.”
Jason Fox’s sample workout:
“See I love the burpee because it’s a real bitch. I love short sharp workouts and I have a workout that breaks down every stage of the burpee.”
- 20 press ups
- 20 squat thrusts
- 20 squat jumps and then…
- 20 full burpees.
“You can change the reps based on your level as well as how many rounds you do. Progress as you get fitter.”