Interview for the Portland Tribune about American Ninja Warrior

Q and A about American Ninja Warrior and Training.

Last year, I was contacted by one of the writers for the Portland Tribune’s sport section who was looking to write about American Ninja Warrior. Since at the time, I owned Knope-Jenkins Personal Training, the premier American Ninja Warrior training facility in Portland at the time, he wanted to interview me, and talk to some of my clients. While things have changed since then, with the plans for Skyhook Ninja Fitness to be opening in early 2017, this is still a good read.

  1. How old are you? Where did you grow up? Do you come from a family of athletes?

I am 21 years old, I grew up in the Clackamas Happy Valley area. My family is athletic, but never the typical sports, always something outside of the norm. We did TaeKwonDo instead of football, gymnastics and cheer leading instead of basketball.

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  1. How did you find out about American Ninja Warrior, and when did you figure out you wanted to compete?

I found out about American Ninja Warrior the way so many of us do, by seeing it on TV. I have never watched much TV, but I caught a couple episodes of Sasuke, the original Japanese version. I saw it for the first time as a young teenager, before there was an american version, and I was immediately captivated. I saw American Ninja Warrior as the ultimate challenge. I didn’t even think I would be able to compete until much later, when I had been a Personal trainer for three years, and a client challenged me. If they could lose 100 pounds, I would have to do something crazy. So after brainstorming what I should do, we decided on American Ninja Warrior. So now I train people for it, and am working to reach the top of Mount Midoriyama myself.

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  1. How many people have you trained? How many clients currently?

I have almost lost track; over the years I have had the opportunity to help many people change their lives. I think I have trained around two hundred clients, maybe more. I am currently working with around twenty amazing people, each with their own unique struggles and goals.

  1. Tell me about your most successful clients, and the kind of training you put them through. I understand everyone has different areas that need work, but how do you focus in on specifics?

I would say two of my most successful clients who immediately spring to mind are Carrie walker, and Jill Messecar. They both lost over a hundred pounds while working with me, and have kept that weight off for two years now. The kudos for their weight loss goes to them; I can show people how, but it takes putting in the  hard work to get there. If it was easy, everyone would do it. They put in the hard work, and surprised me at every turn with the progress they made. I have tricks and skills I have developed over the years to help people reach their fitness goals that definitely help, but it’s still on the client to put in the work.

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As for the training, I have done almost every sport under the sun, and I love to keep things interesting for my clients. My favorite period of time training people is probably a couple months in. They have lost a good amount of weight by then. In other words, I help my clients build a strong foundation. After setting a strong foundation, we get to the fun part! Whatever the client enjoys doing that will still help them lose weight we will do. I hate hearing people say they don’t like working out. Working out and staying fit should be fun! If someone wants to box, we do boxing training. If someone wants to do bodyweight exercises, we do bodyweight exercises, or we flip tires, use maces, work on shoulder strength with indian clubs, or use traditional weights and strength training. I create each exercise plan to meet the needs of my clients as the main goal. I am a firm believer in the idea that there is no one golden rule or way to get fit. I provide the structure and push people to achieve their goals and get results, all while making sure they have fun along the way.

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  1. Do you have any women students?

I think I usually end up training mostly women. My practice is typically made up of at least three quarters women. Watching someone who started working out with the goal of losing weight, become confident and strong in themselves as athletes and people is a wonderful feeling.

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  1. What American Ninja Warrior obstacles do you have?

Currently I have a number of American Ninja Warrior obstacles, but we are always expanding. I aim to put in at least one new obstacle a month. Sometimes I do more, sometimes less. I currently have the Hanging nun-chucks, Cliffhanger/ultimate cliffhanger, Salmon ladder, Curtain cling, Unsteady tilter, Hanging doors, Cargo net jump cling, cannonball alley, and a number of other obstacles that slip my mind right now. I’m really excited about the bouldering wall we just finished putting in this month, as all American Ninja Warrior competitors know the importance of grip strength.

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That being said, access to the obstacles is not the main thing that American Ninja Warrior competitors should worry about. The surge in popularity of the show means that more and more people want to compete, and the strength of other competitors will only increase. The main competitive advantage I offer to people training for the show is providing a structured training plan built specifically for each athlete based on what they are lacking to win. I have been a trainer for four years now, and I know how to push each and every person who comes in to see me to achieve their goals. Every world class athlete has a coach behind them, American Ninja Warrior competitors should be no different if they want to win.

  1. Why do you want to be on the show? Are you in it to win it?

I want to be on the show for many reasons. Partly because of the promise I made my client who lost one hundred pounds, to show everyone that it is possible to achieve your goals, no matter how crazy they seem. While winning American Ninja Warrior might seem crazy and far fetched to some people, losing weight and getting healthy seems just as crazy to other people. I want to show everyone that if you set your mind to something and work hard, you can achieve your dreams. I am in it to win it, I won’t step out on that stage unless I am 100% ready. That being said, I know that happiness is in the journey not in the destination. I will be happy if I win, but I will be happy no matter what as long as I do my best.

Are you wanting to get started training for American Ninja Warrior? Maybe you are simply looking to lose weight and have fun in the process. Come Check out Skyhook Ninja Fitness!