Miss Congeniality may have been based on fiction, but if today’s beauty queens prove anything, it’s that theirs is a title that surpasses looks alone. Generalisations may have been unkind to these women in the past, but through their efforts, they’ve not only been staunch advocates for many an important issue but also proved beauty is skin deep. It’s not just how you present on the outside, but how you carry yourself, how you treat others, and how you treat your body, too.
In a new YouTube video from Navy veteran and fitness influencer Austen Alexander, anyone who ever doubted the physical fitness of beauty queens need only watch. Samantha Neyland, a performance coach and Miss Hawaii USA of 2019 is invited by Alexander to take on the U.S. Navy Physical Readiness Test, a test that is known for being one of the most punishing physically. While it’s been slightly revamped for Neyland’s involvement, she’s joined by the Navy’s Ashley Sepulveda to act as a proctor during the challenge. Neyland admits that her goal is simply to finish the whole test and to “finish with a good attitude,” but her effort is truly incredible.
The first event in the PRT is 2 minutes of push-ups - yep, you’re basically opening with everyone’s least favourite part of any workout. To complete a push-up, participants are required to perform a full extension of the arms at the upper end of the rep, with elbows also needing to bend to a 90-degree angle at the lower end. Sadly for Neyland, Sepulveda puts a stop to the test after just 1 minute and 25 reps as she lets her knees make contact with the ground for a split second.
Still, it’s onto the next and Neyland is soon tasked with holding a forearm plank for as long as she possibly can. The plank is a new addition to the test, having replaced the sit-ups portion. She manages to hold a plank for 1 minute and 48 seconds before she loses her form.
The third component includes a 2.4km run around the track, which Neyland completes in a time of 13:48, with an incredible sprint towards the finish line which even sees her beat Alexander. “Since they’ve changed the Navy PRT, especially since I got out in November, I don’t know the standards,” he admits. “My expectation is she did maybe good to medium in the pushups, the plank is maybe satisfactory or good low, and on the run, I think she did good medium or good low.”
After calculating her score, it’s revealed Neyland achieved an overall score of “good low”, which counts as a pass for a female service member in her age range. “Man, it’s harder than you think,” says Neyland after completing the test. “It’s definitely harder than you think. Anything that Austen tells you is easy, don’t worry, it’s fine - run away!”
She may have joked about the effort required for such a test, but Neyland’s result should serve as encouragement to anyone to get out there and give things a go. She didn’t train for it, she simply showed up and gave it a crack and pushed her body to her limits.