If you’re reading this, you are likely pursuing a challenging path. Building the Elite was founded to help people like you develop the skills you’ll need to overcome those obstacles as efficiently as possible. 

Both of us (Craig Weller and Jonathan Pope) have overcome many needless obstacles that could have been avoided with a more robust approach to training. As we struggled with these setbacks, we tried to understand why they were happening, and how to avoid or overcome them more effectively in the future.

After ten years of research and helping thousands of clients with the tools we’ve developed along the way, we founded BTE to share that knowledge with people like you. We specialize in preparing Special Operations Forces candidates for selection through a comprehensive, intelligent training approach.

The process and principles outlined in our book, our app, and throughout our site aren’t limited to the small world of military special operations. These principles will help you get more out of every aspect of your life.

BTE Coaches

Craig Weller

Craig Weller, Building the Elite co-founderCraig Weller is a former USN SWCC (Special Warfare Combatant Crewman). He is also certified under the Department of State’s Worldwide Personal Protective Service-2, and spent nearly two years on the High-Threat Protection team for the U.S. Ambassador to Baghdad in Iraq. 

In Special Operations and in subsequent private deployments, Craig held a variety of instructional and diplomatic security roles in locations including Kenya, the Philippines, Central America, South Sudan, and Iraq. 

Jonathan Pope

Jonathan Pope, Building the Elite co-founder

Jonathan is a strength and conditioning coach based out of Denver, Colorado with over ten years of coaching experience and a BS in Exercise Science. Along with Craig, he co-founded Ethos Colorado Training Center in 2010, where he is the lead coach and oversees operations. 

When not working he can be found chasing ski mountaineering objectives all over the world or competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

DJ Gianakas

DJ Gianakas, Building the Elite coach. Picture coming soon

DJ has been a law enforcement officer since 2009 and spent 8 years as a SWAT operator before retiring in 2019.

He is a former professional baseball player and spent time competing in Olympic Weightlifting, placing 10th nationally in 2016. DJ spent over a decade coaching strength and conditioning before crossing paths with BTE in 2020.

Miguel Zeran

Miguel Zeran

Miguel Zeran, "Z", is a retired USMC Reconnaissance Marine. In addition to numerous deployments, he spent three years as an instructor at the Reconnaissance Training Company and another three years in South America training Chilean Naval Special Warfare Buzos Tacticos and Comandos.

Z is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA) who also holds a BS in Health & Wellness, an MS in Kinesiology, and is in his second year of doctoral pursuits in Human and Sport Performance.


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