Santiel is a competitive bodybuilder and personal trainer. The history and philosophy of the Navy SEALs has always appealed to him, but he never had the chance to sign on for Navy boot camp. Life — not to mention his three children — had other plans for him. But now he’s at a place where joining the Navy is a feasible option.
“Even though I’m at the age I’m at, I’m still capable, and I’m physically fit to be able to do the job,” he said. “I don’t think it should be about age; I think it should be about character and if you’re physically fit.”
Meeting the fitness standards for the Navy’s elite sea, air and land special forces unit means running 1.5 miles in 10 minutes or less; swimming 500 yards within the same amount of time; 80 push-ups in two minutes; 80 sit-ups in two minutes; and 11 pull-ups.
The U.S. Navy offers entrance waivers due to age and other factors for “truly exceptional” candidates who not only meet physical fitness standards, but also score well on written Navy exams, U.S. Navy Capt. Duncan Smith said.
“People who come in at an older age often find training very challenging,” he said. “The advantage is they have been through a lot of life experience that has made them more resilient, and they know what they want and what their goals are.”
If Santiel satisfies Navy standards, that would move him along very quickly, and officials would be interested in having a conversation with him, Smith added.
Less than a week before the event, Santiel said he’s as ready as he can be. And with 12 years in the physical fitness industry, he is also a zealous supporter of the cause of the event, which is held on the UCLA campus as a part of a campaign against childhood obesity.
“Fitness is my passion; I love fitness and just helping people,” he said. “It’s kind of like the Navy SEALs helping to protect the world.”
The event begins Saturday morning at the Student Activities Center Pool and Drake Stadium, 220 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles. For more information, or to register to compete, visit www.sealfitnesschallenge. com.