By Jackelyn Ho
Ummmm… what?! Yes, you totally read that right. I somehow made it through the tough application process (read: a few month’s work of collecting footage for a submission video and a ton of intense questions) and received a call a few weeks ago.
I was hanging out at home when my boyfriend came into the living room and proceeded to turn on all of the lights, hover around my general space, and act a bit weird. I made note of it but didn’t think much of it. A few minutes later, I got a phone call and when I answered it, I looked up to see that Alex was filming me. Was it a flash mob? Did I just win a million dollars? Was Oprah going to barge through our front door?
The answer to all of that was no, but it was something much, much better. I had just been accepted to compete on American Ninja Warrior. My emotions went from shock to excitement to “OMG I need to go to the gym RIGHT NOW.” I had three weeks to prepare because filming would take place on April 5th. The producer explained a whole bunch of logistical things to me and I just remember my mind floating off to a different space. Was I even ready for this?
To recap my journey, we would have to backtrack to about one year ago when I was working at Spright. I pitched the idea of interviewing Meagan Martin, the female elite on the show. We girl talked about her training and eating habits and the interview left me feeling really inspired to try something new. At the push of my editor, we decided that I would take on a new series of what it was like to train for American Ninja Warrior. I teamed up with a former contestant and current trainer Sean O’Brien, who spent a month working with me on technique. After our month was up, I continued to train on my own but lost motivation somewhere near the end of last year.
I still trained hard every single day this year, but I stopped focusing on ninja-specific movements and made excuses as to why I couldn’t go to APEX Movement Norcal, the elite ninja training gym here in the Bay Area. I was down in the dumps about ninja training because some of the moves were so hard that I felt like I couldn’t keep up. I was also scared of falling and hurting myself. So I quit. Which is what you are NOT supposed to do. You are supposed to take baby steps and work on variations until one day, you do make it up that warped wall.
So here I am, less than 2 weeks out from competition day. How are things going?
Amazing. When I got that phone call, something switched on in my brain. I suddenly had a definite goal that I needed to work towards. I immediately cleaned up my eating and started doing 2-a-days at the gym, alternating upper body strength, lower body power movements, and cardio. I can only make it out to APEX 2 times a week, but I make them really good sessions.
Just a note about my eating: I’ve never been one to go on diets, count my calories, or even step on a scale. That’s just not the way my body functions. But for the next few weeks I have been getting a bit more strict because how I fuel up will determine how well I gain and recover from workouts. It’s all a science so I have to be smart about it.
How do I feel? I am nervous. I am excited. I am anxious. I know that this is the opportunity of a lifetime and I will seize it with all that I have.
I’ll keep you updated on how things go before my run. Then, I won’t be able to talk about this until the season airs this summer. To everyone else who is competing this season: good luck!