How Teens Should Prepare for Potentially Joining the Navy

Naval Sea Cadet Corps participate in beach training.
Multiple Central Florida area U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps divisions participate in beach physical training on the same beach that is recognized as the birthplace of the U.S. Navy SEALs. (Petty Officer 1st Class Abe McNatt/U.S. Navy photo)

Here is an email I receive often from young teenagers who know they want to serve their country, but are curious how to start preparing themselves for the military training -- especially Navy SEAL and other Navy programs, such as aviation and learning seamanship.

Mr. Smith, I am 15 years old and have wanted to be in the Navy since I was 10. I am thinking about becoming a Navy SEAL or helicopter pilot, and I am starting to train but need a plan. Are there any training camps I can do at my age? What do I need to know?

At your age, I would focus on learning how to be a team player first -- play sports and have fun. Work out on your own to get better at sports and your future military career. So yes, you can start working out now. Start off with bodyweight exercises, such as push-ups, sit-ups, dips, squats, lunges, pull-ups, running and swimming. See my Navy SEAL articles for more ideas on how to train.

However, to get to know what the Navy is like and get a taste of SEAL training even at your age, you should look into the Navy Sea Cadets Corps and Navy League Cadet Corps. Not only will you be treated like a SEAL student, but you actually will be trained by active and former Navy SEALs during summer training programs. Learning the other areas of the Navy is a must as well, and the Sea Cadets will help you with the discipline, teamwork, and other seagoing and aviation skills you will learn when in the Navy.

From their website (, the sea cadet mission is "... through organization and cooperation with the Department of the Navy, to encourage and aid American youth to develop, train them in seagoing skills, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance and kindred virtues."

Since 1958, the Naval Sea Cadet Corps has been committed to providing American youth (ages 11-17) with a drug- and alcohol-free environment to foster their leadership abilities, broaden their horizons through hands-on training and guide them to becoming mature young adults. Check out the "Find a Local Unit'' link on their site for more information on how to become a member. If you are looking for some ideas about getting into better shape, check out these free links:

If you need to lose weight, check out the free 45-day plan that safely introduces fitness into your schedule. Thanks for emailing me. I have hundreds of articles that may answer your questions better with plenty of free information and ideas to train, eat and prepare for military professions. Your purchases help us train future military, police and firefighters for free in many U.S. cities. See our nonprofit site,

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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