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Conquering that damn Ninja Course

July 19, 2017


Let me tell you a story of how I got my butt kicked by a mere “obstacle course.”

Now, I consider myself to be a fairly athletic individual. I grew up playing multiple sports and still exercise daily. I’m one of those people who loves to try the new and exciting fitness fads just to see what they are all about. My heart belongs to old school bodybuilding, but if it challenges me mentally and physically and I can break a sweat doing it … I’m usually game for it.

The team at Southern Minn Scene was kind enough to offer me some space to start up a little Fitness column, talking about all the fun adventures I embark on. This month we’re going to talk about that damn ninja course and how it still haunts my dreams – the next few months, we’re going to talk about every and anything from Crossfit to bodybuilding competitions. So, stay tuned.

Now back to this “obstacle course” …

I coached for a traveling volleyball team in Eden Prairie this past winter and spring, which was in the same facility as the Conquer Ninja Warrior course. After weeks of walking by it on the way to practice, seeing little kids fly around on things like it was the easiest thing in the world, I decided I had to give it a whirl. I couldn’t believe how fast an hour of open gym went by. And I couldn’t believe that those kids made it look THAT easy.

Now, I’ve seen the show multiple times and must admit that I’m quite the fangirl. But still, I thought of it as just another “obstacle course” and we’ve all done a handful of those growing up. Like an adult playground, right? Man, let me tell you – monkey bars were SO much easier back then.

When I called up Conquer Ninja Warrior to see if I could come grab some more pictures, they were kind enough to let me tour the Woodbury facility & give it another try. Mitch and Casey were just two of the awesome coaches that led me through the course and gave me little tips and tricks, which was much different than the open gym I had jumped in on before. As a personal trainer, it’s easy to forget that HAVING a trainer is actually a great opportunity to learn.

Through talking with Mitch & Casey, I learned that each class is written/programmed differently depending on how the trainer is feeling that day or what they want the class to work on. So, you can almost always expect to see something new each time you go. They also let me in on a little secret … they are opening up ANOTHER location in BURNSVILLE!!!  Even closer for all you SoMinn-ians who are looking to give this a whirl. It will be opening in July 2017, and will have a similar layout to the Woodbury photos that you see here. They have become so popular that a fourth location is opening up in Blaine as well.

Now, see that girl flexing in the grey shirt? I didn’t catch her name or age, but she actually ended up beating my obstacle course time AND when it came time for our class challenge: seeing who could hold on to the rings the longest, she beat me again!

I think that was the best part – it is very adaptable depending on age and ability level. Sure, they changed her course up a little bit because she was a little shorter and younger than I am, but she was still able to do it. In our class, there was a 5-year-old running through certain obstacles, me – a 20-something-year-old, and lots of kids around the middle school age and younger. In the class after ours there were a couple mid-late teenagers and lots of middle-aged couples coming in to give it a whirl. It really is great for all ages.

What I liked: Every obstacle was a little different. It was the same kind of thing – climb up here and grab this, run up this ramp and then move over to this. But the handles of the things you were grabbing on to were different (one had little plastic banana handles, some had square blocks, rubber balls.)

  What I learned: MY HANDS ARE SO WEAK! I lift weights on the regular… but this, this was a whole other kind of strength. I’m convinced that the people who are actually on the Ninja Warrior show have more strength in their pinky finger than I do in my entire left leg.

What I did not like: How humbling it was. It was definitely an ego check for me. So, if you do go check out this absolutely amazing facility – just be prepared to suck at something … unless you’re part monkey. (Side note: this is an awesome reminder that there is ALWAYS room to improve!)

My advice: Shoot your buddies a text, sign up for an ADULT NINJA FITNESS CLASS, jump in your car and go NOW! Be open minded, be prepared to laugh & be ready to fall into giant foam pits.

I loved being able to see all the young kiddos zip and zoom around on the courses, but I think being in an Adult Class vs. an All Ages Ninja Class provides a different kind of atmosphere. Plus, the courses that they design are a little different for the All Ages class.

I have nothing against the open gym slots, but as a first-timer I thought it was great to be in a class with a coach around, surrounded by other newbies. Sure, there might be more experienced people there, but you can always watch and learn from them.

P.S. There was a short clip of me almost conquering one of the obstacles posted as a teaser on our Facebook page – be sure to check it out for a good laugh!


Nicole Sweeney is a fitness freak who loves nothing more than coffee, laughter & sharing a good workout with anyone and everyone. If you think of any crazy fitness fads you think she should try hit her up on her Instagram account @sisufit or Twitter @APGnsweeney

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