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Most Common Myths About Basic Training

I get e-mails every single day asking me questions about basic training. I answer every one of those e-mails, but over time, I have discovered that recruits go into basic training with several myths. I am hoping that this article addresses those myths and helps settle some of those pre-basic training nerves.

Myth: I run everyday and workout on a regular basis, I am physically fit for basic training.

Fact: Chances are, your current workout doesn’t include exercises you will do at basic training. At basic training, you will use muscles you didn’t know existed and you will use them constantly. The most popular section of my book, by far, has been the fitness routine. The fitness routine helps prepare your muscles for basic training, so by the time you arrive, your miles ahead of the pack.

Myth: Drill sergeants can physically hurt me

Fact: Drill sergeants can’t physically harm you. That practice was abolished years ago. The movies you see and the books you read that show such violence are inaccurate unless they take place in the past.

Myth: Drill sergeants are trained to hate me, so there is nothing I can do about that

Fact: Drill sergeants do not hate you, and they don’t want you to hate them. They are motivators and trainers. In order for Drill Sergeants to train you, they need to break you down from civilian to soldier. That takes skill and discipline. You can’t expect someone who needs to give you such a transformation to be nice and accommodating.

Myth: I heard that I won’t be able to contact my friends or family at basic training

Fact: Yes you will, although you certainly won’t get to spend as much time talking to them as you like. Normally, you will get a 3 minute phone call once a week to check in with your family. This phone call is mainly for their benefit, so they know you are ok.

Myth: I heard there was no mail at basic training

Fact: Mail call is one of the best times of the day for a recruit. There is mail at basic training. In fact, before you leave, encourage your friends and family to write you often, you will appreciate such a request when you arrive.

Again, these myths are some of the most common misconceptions recruits have before they leave for basic training. Use this article in your favor and prepare for basic training properly, you will thank me later for it.


Mike Volkin is the author of the Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook, available at

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