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Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge Comes to Chicago

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2008 – More than 700 people have signed up to test their physical fitness capabilities to that of elite Navy SEALs during a Fitness Challenge in Chicago today.

The event is the fifth stop of the national tour of the Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge. The inaugural challenge kicked off more than a year ago in Boston. Since then, the challenge has taken place in San Antonio, Texas; Los Angeles, Calif.; and Dearborn, Mich.

“The SEAL Fitness Challenge is just an opportunity for people in the community that are interested in fitness or interested in the SEALs or interested in both to come out and sort of get a feel for the type of activity people do to prepare to become SEALs,” Mike Caviston, director of fitness at the Naval Special Warfare Center, said during a “Dot-Mil-Docs” radio show on BlogTalkRadio.com, Thursday.

The challenge is held to promote fitness and to heighten awareness of the epidemic of obesity; the Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge offers an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compare personal fitness levels with those of the elite Navy SEALs.

“The format for the challenge in Chicago is the exact same format that guys hoping to train to be SEALs would come and do,” added Caviston.

The SEAL Fitness Challenge will be held at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Physical Education Building, and is open to anyone age or gender, 13 or older. The challenge consists of five fitness events: a 500-yard swim, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and a 1.5 mile run.

Caviston added that he would offer the same advice to a prospective SEAL that he would offer to someone who desires to have a more healthy, productive life.

“We all have to move around and whether or not we have to do it to the same degree that SEALs, or other elite warriors or elite athletes do that is a questionable matter,” said Caviston. “The sort of physical training we do, and the foods we eat, all are going to affect our ability to do that, and the advice that I give to people who hope to become a SEAL is no different than I would give to someone who wants to live a normal, productive life.”

Caviston said that he has seen people from all walks of life attend the Navy SEAL Fitness Challenges.

“The event is open for all people and we have seen all sorts of people come in, whether it’s been people with prior military service, or former elite athletes, or current elite athletes that want to come in and compare themselves to the Navy SEAL standards,” said Caviston.

Caviston added that he is amazed at the level of interest and the determination that some past participants have shown during these challenges. “I went to [the challenge] in Dearborn a couple of months ago where I was … helping a grandmother,” said Caviston. “She did it because her grandkids had encouraged her to do it, [which] was very rewarding for both her and [me], because she was really trying her best.”

Individuals are welcome as are groups such as family members, neighbors, running clubs, classmates, members of a football team, fitness clubs or someone looking for inspiration to begin a program of better physical fitness.

“We encourage and have seen people from all walks of life,” said Caviston. “We have seen 13 year old girls come in and have blown people away with some of the events that they can do. I have seen grandmothers do it; I have seen elderly people do the challenge, who are in their 70s.”

Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge participants will be scored and ranked against each other, with all participants receiving a dog tag and a complimentary commemorative white T-shirt with the Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge logo. Earning a tan T-shirt means the competitor met SEAL standards, and a blue (Navy blue, of course) T-shirt means the participant has met Navy SEAL competitive standards, indicating a superb athlete.

For more information and to register, visit: www.SealFitnessChallenge.com.

(Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg works in the New Media Directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)

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