Who are our members?
When we first set out to create Warrior Tech we knew the most important piece to the puzzle was community. We fell in love with racing and Ninja Warrior because of the people we met throughout our journey. Here at Warrior Tech, we planted the seed of “family” by creating a schedule that allows families to train side by side. And that seed is growing. It’s been heart warming to watch parents and their kids tackle obstacles. Whether it be in fitness Classes, Ninja Classes, Open Rig or on the racing circuit, Warrior Tech families are working together.
We’d love to highlight our members here. Who are they? How do they train? What goals do they have? Take a read and learn who they are…then grab your family and head on in. And let’s build the Warrior Tech community!
I loved Warrior Tech since the day it opened! They were great then and somehow keep adding more cool, interesting obstacles all the time.
I became interested in Warrior Tech OCR when I heard they had a salmon ladder, since I had always wanted to try the salmon ladder after seeing it on American Ninja Warrior. At the age of thirteen, I began taking adult strength classes and then eventually taking Ninja classes. Now this has become my favorite sport. I love how this sport is a mix between parkour and rock climbing which improve my strength and agility.
All the coaches have always been so supportive and motivating. They not only teach me essential ninja skills, but extend my limits further. They have given me reading, health, and training suggestions. Most importantly, they taught me how to persevere.
I love training with my Warrior Tech friends all sharing our strengths and weaknesses, and working together to eliminate the weaknesses. In the future I hope to try my first Spartan race with the support of Warrior Tech OCR.
Marissa – Top Tester
Congrats on your recent trip to ATL to test for #ANW11! How was the experience?
Marissa: The whole trip was amazing. If you had asked me two years ago if I thought I would ever have the opportunity to be on the actual American Ninja Warrior course I probably would have laughed at you. When I was younger I loved watching the show and thinking of how cool it would be to compete on the show but I never actually thought I would be capable of completing the obstacles. So the fact that I not only got to be on the course, but was able to complete some of the obstacles and walk away one of the top testers was an incredible feeling. It makes me think back to two years ago, when I first walked into Warrior Tech. I could barely hang on the bar for more than 30 seconds, I could maybe do 3 pull ups, and I definitely could not hang with one arm. The improvement I have seen, not just in myself but all the members, is a huge testament to all the coaches and staff and the positive environment they have created at Warrior Tech.
Top Tester, wow! Motivation to apply next year?
Marissa: All I can say is ANW12 can’t come soon enough. I am so pumped to apply again next year. I have already started thinking about plans for my submission video and can’t wait to get started. All I need now is to think of a Ninja Name and start planning a T-shirt design. 🙂
How did you prepare for ATL? -How often do you train?
Marissa: I currently train ninja every Wednesday night at WT, but I work out 6 days a week. Between CrossFit, Taekwondo, Martial Arts Tricking and Ninja I keep myself pretty busy. After being in Atlanta I am planning on adding an extra day or two of ninja somewhere in my schedule to prepare for season 12!
Looks like Warrior Tech is your home gym, how do you like the Facility?
Marissa: Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better gym to call home. The facility is top notch, but more importantly they have the best staff. You can tell that they all care about every member and work hard to ensure that there are new and challenging obstacles each week.
What are your next Ninja goals?
Marissa: My current focus is to increase my pulling strength and endurance. I have set a goal for myself and I am hoping that sharing it here will help me with some accountability. My goal is to be able to perform 26 strict Pull Ups by my 26th birthday, which will fall on Memorial Day this year.
Carrie, Kim & Tim
What’s your name and position?
Carrie: Carrie. Check Book aka Director of Finance
Tim: Tim Saguinsin. General Manager/Obstacle Builder/Cleaner/Problem Solver/Visionary/
Kim: Kim. The Wearer of Many Hats. Is that a thing? I refill the paper towels and hand sanitizer, clean the frig, tell kids to face forward down the warped wall and vacuum up chalk. Oh and I also handle the marketing. ;0)
Do you remember what opening day felt like?
Carrie: Overwhelming, exciting, terrifying.
Tim: Opening day was the culmination of 18 hour days pulling up carpet, chiseling tiles, laying floor, painting walls, putting up obstacles, talking with contractors, working with the landlord, building a desk, talking with engineers, and dealing with the city and Fire Marshall. I couldn’t sleep the night before. Anxiety and excitement of opening our doors kept my mind racing. Seeing the first kids walk through the door, peek into the gym area, and see their jaws hit the floor was priceless. Now it was all up to Justin, our Kids Program Director, to turn an amazing space into a camp for kids. And it was amazing—glorious in fact. Smiles on the faces of kids continued through the whole day and into the whole week.
Kim: Will never forget that! What a rush! What enjoyment! What pure magic! Then…PANIC. The wild ride was about to begin!
How much has owning WT changed your life?
Carrie: I can’t really put into words the impact that owning Warrior Tech has had on my life. I have met so many incredible people that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. This community is so uplifting and I am a better person today because of it.
Tim: Owning a business puts your destiny in your own hands. As owners, we get to make the tough decisions, but also get to steer where we want to go. I love having a space to train. I love seeing my family train together. I love watching this community that has built itself grow and come closer together. My life turned upside down opening a business. But this upside down life feels absolutely normal to me.
Kim: How has it not?? I’m a better person, professional, Coach, athlete, wife, mother, friend…all because of this crazy idea to bring OCR to the masses.
What is the most rewarding challenge you overcame in the last 2 years?
Carrie: Learning as we grow. As a first time business owner, I was really starting from very little knowledge of how to run a successful business. There were so many challenges along the way but each “obstacle” was tackled one at a time. The overall success of any business can be attributed to so many factors. Warrior Tech has been successful because the trust that we (the owners) have in our coaches and staff. We have also been successful because of our members and the community around us.
Tim: Well 4 days after opening Warrior Tech, I fully ruptured my Achilles on my right foot. I couldn’t drive for several month and just opening a business didn’t allow me to sit back, relax and recover. I kept pushing forward; did my physical therapy, and started running again. In year two of our business, I did a Spartan Trifecta with our members, started training for Ninja and submitted a video for American Ninja Warrior. As we go into year three, I received ‘the call’ to be on season 11 of American Ninja Warrior. I think that is a pretty epic comeback.
Kim: Literally opening our doors. That super fun tagline, “It’s just another obstacle” wore on us pretty quickly. Seriously, who came up with that?? We hit more obstacles than imaginable. I broke down balled up in my closet getting dressed many a mornings. But, we are a group that finds solutions. So we do, each and every time. It might not be the first, second or even fifth attempt. But, we WILL.
What challenge still lies ahead that you want so bad to tackle?
Carrie: Wow. This is a hard one. Personally I would still like to improve physically. Maybe I will start to take some ninja classes. On the business side, making sure our employees are happy and doing what they love is my main goal as an owner. I want them to always love coming to work.
Tim: The challenge ahead is hopefully expanding to a new location in the coming year. So many requests to open up all over Wake County. We will soon be in a position to expand. I want everyone to experience overcoming obstacles they feel are impossible conquer. That is a powerful feeling that drives me in all I do in life.
Kim: The 14′ warped wall, the salmon ladder, the cannonballs…all the obstacles, all the time. Challenging myself leads others to challenge themselves. If I am not struggling, I am not working hard enough. I never ever want to be complacent. I want to continue to seek new goals and new challenges; in the gym, in life and in this business.
What is your 5-year WT goal?
Carrie: Owning another two facilities so that we can impact more lives and have an even bigger community presence. I want everyone to be a part of the Ninja/OCR community and understand that we are all like family. We support, we encourage and we lift people up every day.
Tim: My goal is to continue to keep our doors open and accessible. We have a few more years to hit 5 years, but I want to have our current location in Morrisville filled with Ninjas and OCR racers young and old. I would like to have a second location filled as well. And a possible third location finishing construction.
Kim: Keep our doors open…and by doors, this time I mean all of the doors to all of the Warrior TechS.
What do you hope WT does for the community?
Carrie: I hope that we continue to inspire. I hope we continue to build up people’s abilities and confidence in themselves. I hope that we continue to grow and are able to give back as much as our community has given to us.
Tim: I already see Warrior Tech creating its own community—a community of people that feel an obstacle is challenge that won’t stop them, whether it be on a course, race or something in life. I want to see kids discover that moving and being active is an integral part of life. And I want adults to have fun playing on our obstacles. We will continue to grow our community by providing the best place to train.
Kim: I hope it brings to others what it brings to me: belonging. I belong to something bigger than myself here. I’m not just Kim, but I’m an extraordinary version of myself.
The Riley Boys
Hello, my name is Nolan Riley. I am 12 years old. I have been doing some form of ninja for almost four years. It all started out in my backyard when my brother, friends and I turned our swing set into a ninja course. We also used the deck steps as devil steps and the rafters underneath our one-story deck to swing from. We would basically turn anything we could into some sort of ninja obstacle. My friends and I would also get together at someone’s house to watch American Ninja Warrior when it came on TV. We LOVED watching all the ninjas take on the different courses.
Two years ago, I was invited to a birthday party at Warrior Tech. They had just opened. It was amazing to see so many of the obstacles from the ANW show. I was hooked! My friends and I started coming to open rig a few times a month. Then we learned about their monthly kids competitions. I started doing the in house comps, and just couldn’t get enough.
Last year, I was asked to join the Kids Competition Team at Warrior Tech. I train there three times a week, and it is hard work! I have traveled to other gyms in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia to compete. I always look forward to the in house comps at Warrior Tech, because they are different EVERY TIME. The obstacles are always challenging. Being on the Kids Competition Team led me to compete in the National Ninja League World Finals in Connecticut in February 2019. It was so awesome to be there with almost 1600 other ninjas, including the ninjas I had seen on the ANW show for so many years!
I love Warrior Tech so much. The coaches are all very encouraging, and have helped me get a lot better at the sport I love. I am hoping to work at Warrior Tech when I get old enough, because I would be surrounded by all the obstacles I love, plus I would be able to help other people get better at ninja, too!
Hi, my name is Hayden Riley. I am 9 years old. I have been doing ninja for about 4 years. I started out doing ninja in my backyard on my swing set. Me, my brother and our friends basically turned the swing set into our own ninja course. We would get together with our friends to watch American Ninja Warrior on TV, and then head outside to the swing set to practice the obstacles we had seen on TV.
When Warrior Tech first opened, I was invited to a birthday party with my older brother. When I walked in the door, I loved it! The way the obstacles were set up was amazing. It was like we had walked onto the ANW show! I kept asking my mom if we could go back, so we would go to open rig whenever we had a chance. Then my brother and I started doing the in house competitions at Warrior Tech. I got first place in my first competition! It was so exciting. I kept doing the monthly competitions, and could feel myself getting stronger.
Last year, I was asked if I wanted to join the Kids Competition Team at Warrior Tech, and I was so excited! My brother is on the team, too. We started doing competitions outside of Warrior Tech, traveling to other gyms in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. But I love the gym and the competitions at Warrior Tech because they have so many different obstacles. I train with the Kids Team three times a week, and it is really hard work. But I love it! And because of my training with the Kids Team, I was able to qualify to go to the National Ninja League World Finals in Connecticut in February 2019! It felt amazing to compete on a national level, and it was so cool to watch the ninjas I’ve seen on TV compete in front of my own eyes. I even got to meet my favorite ANW ninja, Najee Richardson!!
The coaches at Warrior Tech are great! They are great teachers – they teach me good technique. They are all very encouraging and supportive. I look forward to going to Warrior Tech EVERY SINGLE TIME.
The Bathrobe Ninja
American Ninja Warrior Junior
Sunday, Nov 25, 7pm
I first got interested in ninja warrior by watching American Ninja Warrior on TV. I wanted to try the obstacles out really bad but there was no ninja gyms around. I was frustrated as I didn’t know how to get started in “my sport.”
Then, my brother, Caleb, heard about a new gym opening up in Morrisville from Caleb’s friend, Matt Kalanz. A few months after it opened, Caleb took me to WarriorTech OCR which was about 1 1/2 years ago.
I could barely do any of the obstacles. So, I started doing pull ups, push ups and a little more exercising and then competed in my first competition. After that first competition, I was hooked.
Caleb surprised me for my 12th birthday in August of last year and built a backyard course for me to train on. I started training every day and built up my strength. Caleb also trains for ninja warrior and has been a great coach and mentor to me.
Warrior Tech really helped me get stronger with their monthly competitions. Justin Fitzgerald, who is head of the kids program, made the courses different and harder each time and helped me learn how to do the obstacles more efficiently. That let me know what I needed to work on and prepared me for all types of other competitions. Eventually, I started to place at these competitions.
In January 2018, I competed at Jamie Rahn’s gym in NJ and placed second which qualified me for the National Ninja League World Finals held in Detroit, MI. Then, I went to World Finals in February 2018 and made it to stage 3, placing 10th.
WarriorTech held a UNAA qualifier in March 2018 and I placed first and qualified to go to the UNAA Regional competition at UBW in May 2018. I qualified at Regionals to go the UNAA Worlds Finals in Albuquerque, NM. I placed 9th at UNAA Worlds Finals in July 2018.
I applied to be on season one of American Ninja Warrior Junior in May 2018. It was a dream come true when I got the call in June that I was selected to participate in the show for the 11-12 year old age category. I flew out to LA in July for filming of the show. It was such a fun and amazing experience and I feel very blessed to have been chosen to participate. I am grateful to Justin, WarriorTech and Caleb as they helped to prepare me for competing on ANW Jr.
I can’t share yet how I have done on the show but tune in to Universal Kids on Sunday, November 25th at 7 pm and cheer me on and learn why I am called “The Bathrobe Ninja.”
One of the things that has been particularly encouraging to me is the ninja community. From young to old, everyone encourages each other to do their personal best and to go for their dreams. With hard work, determination and the great ninja community at WarriorTech, your ninja dreams can come true too!
The Positive Ninja
American Ninja Warrior Junior
Saturday, Oct 13, 7pm
Hi my name is Hunter Rowland I am 10 years old and I am from Raleigh, North Carolina. I am a member of Warrior Tech OCR. When I was 7 I started to do Ninja Warrior after watching the TV show, then my dad and his friends built me a tree house in our backyard that turned into a big ninja course. Before all my Ninja training when I was 4 I did Gymnastics and competitive Trampoline and Tumbling. But running and flipping wasn’t enough so that’s what got me into Ninja Warrior cause of all the cool obstacles and climbing. I just thought it was so much fun! I knew this is what I wanted to do!
When I first started training at Warrior Tech in early 2017 I got my first taste of Ninja Warrior obstacles and I quickly became attached. I like Ninja Warrior because it’s a good workout because it makes me stronger and it makes me want to work my best at it. Whenever I complete an obstacle I feel like I have accomplished something. But most importantly when I got to be a contestant on ANWJR it made me the happiest person on earth, I felt like one of the real Ninjas, then when I laid foot on the course it felt like I had been doing this my whole life, like I was meant for it. So you ask how I got on the show……
One day when I was training at Warrior Tech one of my coaches, Matt came over to me and my dad and said you should check out this website and me and my dad new nothing about the website so we checked it out and it was a form to be on ANWJR and I started freaking out and said like we have to do this so we had to tell them about me and we had to send them pictures and videos of me. Then a few weeks later my dad got a phone call and they said your daughter will be a contestant on the show and I came out crying with happiness then I started calling all of my family members and telling them the news.
When I got to LA in July it was long days of hot weather and a bunch of cameras and filming. Oh and it was a lot of fun. I met some amazing, talented and supportive friends on my journey. When I first saw the course it looked really fun and challenging. This journey has made me more Positive in Ninja Warrior because now I feel like I can do anything. I am so thankful for this amazing experience and all the support from my friends and family.
Challenges = changes.
Push through fear.
Find FUN in fitness.
For me, challenges equal changes. Experience continues to teach me that getting out of my comfort zone and doing things I’m afraid of doing (because of fear of “failure”, not doing it “perfectly”, or caring too much about what other people think), provides me with the best growth opportunities and some of the best experiences of my life!
Being willing to walk through fears – one step at a time, one small change a day – builds strength within myself that I didn’t know existed!
I’m slowly learning that you can not “fail” in life; that it’s truly progress not perfection; and who cares what others think – so what!! .. Just make sure to treat everyone with respect and kindness. You don’t have to live the way others do, nor do you have to get your life “approved” by them. Do YOU! Be the BEST version of YOURSELF!
As I creep (or ninja!) into my mid-thirties, I feel myself transforming into a secure woman who knows more of who she is today than ever before. I’m growing comfortable in my own skin, rather than trying to live up to what I think others expect of me. I recognize that everyone has their unique talents and abilities to contribute to the world… and that they are ALL needed!!
Joining Warrior Tech and the ninja/OCR community last year has been one of the biggest blessings in my life! The first time I was introduced to ninja was at the Warrior Tech Open House in April 2017. I was simply amazed at how the ninjas and OCR athletes could swing, climb, and balance on these obstacles… and make it look so easy! I was in awe, excited, and not sure what to do next. And honestly, I was also afraid to try anything because of what I would look like, or what I COULDN’T do! Although I’ve played sports and been active since an early age, I was intimidated by the obstacles and new environment. I had no idea how to tackle anything I saw in the facility. I ended up just stepping up to a block and attempting to hold on to the “cliff hangar”. My fingers didn’t know what was happening. I dropped down after just a couple of seconds. Landing easily on my feet, but I was embarrassed that I couldn’t hold it longer or move through the course. (Silly expectations!) That was it for me that night. I just watched after that — I’m more of a visual learner is what I told myself. Haha! (I was also not going to look so “weak” in front of anyone else.) I’ve learned many things since that first night of ninja — one of which— is that everyone starts somewhere! I discovered that the ninjas and OCR athletes that I watched that evening have been training and having fun on these obstacles for YEARS! What I considered “weak” was just my starting point.. let’s say, room for improvement.
I really enjoyed the community of people I met that night and was still intrigued by the obstacles, so I decided to become a member at Warrior Tech — taking classes and attending “ninja night”. I started liking it so much (understatement) that I was convinced/encouraged to train for my first Spartan race!! I had never run more than a few miles EVER in my life, and now I was about to start training for an 8-10 mile mountain race WITH obstacles?!! I decided to PUSH THROUGH FEAR and commit to training. Every Sunday I would go on trail runs with Warrior Tech members… we started out slow with little distance and built up to 6 miles around Umstead State Park! Along with trail runs, I also did a few classes a week at Warrior Tech. I felt strong and prepared for the Asheville Super!!! It was a blast! I truly feel like I have found FUN in fitness with an INCREDIBLE group of people!! I have participated in a few of the ninja competitions held at Warrior Tech and continue to see improvements – both mentally and physically. The chance I gave myself to try something new and scary turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. I have gained confidence, strength, courage…. and a community of people that I now call my Warrior Tech family.
… AND not only did I find an amazing group of friends who have become family, but I feel so lucky to have also found an incredible man who will soon be my partner for life!!! We plan to enjoy this awesome facility for many years to come!! 🙂 AROO!
Hi! So I have no idea how to write a blog, but I was asked to do so and will give it my best shot. The topic was inspired by Coach Jessica when she asked me to explain why I work out at Warrior Tech, when I have no desire to run an obstacle course race. What keeps me coming back? I’m not the only one, and in fact, most of the people I have met in the classes I take, don’t run races. Sure, we may like to play on an obstacle from time to time, like kids on a jungle gym, but we aren’t training for the next Spartan Ultra Beast, or even the Spartan Sprint. As this is an OCR (obstacle course readiness) facility, there are OCR focused classes, but I avoid these… lots of running, grip strength, and rope climbing. Great for those folks training for Spartan Races, Tough Mudders, Rugged Maniacs, and so on, but not great for my fitness goals. I go to Warrior Tech’s regular Adult Fitness classes which are every day except Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. I would describe these as a functional fitness circuit style classes which are a mix of cardio and strength that work the whole body, although some classes lean more heavily in cardio or specific muscle groups.
The type of exercise one chooses, depends on one’s lifestyle and goals, right? So to better understand my perspective, let’s take a look at my life and maybe you can relate. I am in my mid to late 30’s, former athlete (like half my life time ago..), mom of an 8 year old and 2 dogs, wife of a fitness enthusiast (aka man-child?), and I work full time in health care. Maybe I got all my body-limit pushing out of my system as a gymnast for over a decade, but I just don’t have that motivation to run an obstacle course race. My husband has pretty much run them all. I have been asked many times to join a group or a friend who wanted to run a Spartan Race, Bone Frog, etc, but I truly don’t have any desire. I don’t want to be in muddy water. I don’t want to have to spend time recovering from an injury. I don’t want to suffer from a heat stroke or frost bite. I don’t want to spend those few precious days off work traveling to a race, draining my body of all its energy, and pay money to do so. I’d rather spend my time off walking around Marshall’s and spend that money on new clothes and/or shoes! Don’t get me wrong, I respect those OCR trainees and athletes. I’m proud of my husband when he does well at a race. I will cheer on my friends that participate and listen intently to the tale of their conquest. I am impressed with that dedication and commitment to achieving a goal, but my goals are just different.
Okay, so running an obstacle course race isn’t my thing, however, I do LOVE to exercise. It’s not my life, but it’s an essential part of it. My exercise goals are to be healthy, energized, de-stress, and have fun. I want to be toned, flexible, and balanced (mentally and physically). Exercise chases away negative emotions like anxiousness and anger, giving me a more positive, rational perspective. I also prefer not to be the worst looking lady at the pool! So why work out at a facility covered in obstacle courses if that’s not on my goal list?
Here’s why I like Warrior Tech’s (functional) fitness classes: (in no particular order)
1. It’s usually a whole body workout- condensed, intense, dynamic, 1 hour class providing serious calorie burn. I also participate in spinning, yoga, body pump, and barre classes. I enjoy lifting and create my own version of HIIT workouts, too. But there is a feeling like 1 hour at Warrior Tech gets it all done in half the time. Then I can get to the rest of my day. It’s time management. Who can’t appreciate that? It’s like going to Target instead of Harris Teeter, Kohl’s, and Toys R Us (R.I.P.).
2. Creative exercises: simple layers creating more complex movements I wouldn’t have thought to do on my own. So much for muscle memory… (aka-effective!)
3. It’s cardio & resistance training in 1 class.
4. I like variety (refer to #1) and each class is different.
5. Modifications provided for those that need something taken down a level as well as those that need more of a challenge.
6. I don’t have to do any major obstacles! Maybe the cargo net, or climb over a 4 foot wall, but for the most part you are safely training on or near the ground using body weight, dumbbells, kettle bells, battle ropes, plyometrics, etc.
7. Group training always pushes me more than I would push myself.
8. SO MUCH FUN!
Really…it is. The coaches are entertaining and enthusiastic. It passes the hour quickly. Coach Matt is witty and so creative with workouts. I used to do personal training with him before Warrior Tech existed and he really puts together the perfect sequences that maximize the workout. Coach Jessica makes you feel like you are an all-star. She’s so humble about her skill and knowledge, despite the fact that she has serious bragging rights! Coach Kim is your personal cheer leader! She believes in you when you don’t believe in yourself. She will coach you and often, she works out right beside you. It’s not just the coaches, though. The members are non-judgmental (at least to my face!), welcoming, and fun to commiserate with.
In conclusion, this non-obstacle course racer likes to work out at Warrior Tech OCR. You don’t need to be able to run a mile or hang from your fingertips to participate. There is no test and no judgment. There is a stopwatch, but it’s not a race. It’s your workout and you’re among friends.
K6: The Family that Ninjas together…
So…4 kids…2 doctor parents and too many activities to count. Working out and being fit was more of a pipe dream. The kids got plenty of activity between dance, gymnastics, soccer, baseball, hockey and monkeybarring (is that a word? Well, it is now) at the park, but as for Sonal and I…it was sort of, “get it done when and if you can (like sleeping and eating in residency).” I would sneak in a workout, when I could, which often consisted of the same boring run/lift at the Y day after day. And for Sonal, it was DVD workouts to “Buns of Steel” at 9PM post the kiddos’ bedtime…NOT sustainable! We did however find some family time during the week to catch up on the kids’ favorite show…American Ninja Warrior. Like a few of our ninja friends, we started to look if anything like that existed near us…and what do you know…WarriorTech OCR was right in our backyard, Morrisville NC, USA. I remember stopping by one weekday to check out the digs…and after spending a half hour by mistake next door at the Gymnastics place (thinking to myself, well this was not what I was looking for 😊), I was directed one door over and actually found our “Ninja Gym” and well, Carrie, Tim and Kim haven’t been able to get rid of us yet.
We started with the 10 pass going on Friday nights but with 4 kids and the 2 of us…those quickly added up. It took about 3 weeks before we joined as a family of 6! We started once a week, then 2, then 3 and last time I looked at the schedule, I was blown away to see that Sonal and I were there 6 days a week consistently…Who knew? It started as a fun, “hey, look… a warped wall!” to now, “Can we lunge around the building again please Cody?”
I distinctly remember one of the first classes taught by Matt or Kim where the instructions were to do push-ups or pull-ups for 60 seconds, and I looked at Sonal scoffing saying, “WTF? Who can do that…so stupid!” to now, where it’s more like, “only a minute?!? really Matt/Kim, we need to get through this workout 5 times!” Warrior Tech has changed our lives…really, how many things on this green & blue, majestic Earth really change who you are and what you do. WT, and its people (cause you know its all about the people) changed our family (henceforth known as K6) for the best! We workout as a family! We get to play on the rings, climb ropes and watch our children (more honestly get yelled at by our children…hey Momma/Daddy, look at me!) almost every day. We are more fit (total body fat down to 7.8%), eat healthier because of the gym, met some of the best people out there and love, truly love, coming every day.
I was telling my son the other day, find something you love to do…not what M/D tell you to practice when you get home from school, but something you run to… I found myself using the ninja gym as an example of what I love to do… I look forward to seeing Tim at the desk and Charles building away, and Matt make some awful joke, and Kim…with that huge smile on her face about to unleash the punishment of the day and Jess’s insane workouts and “wooooos.” Then, I get to hear Coach Justin pushing our kids (we love it!) and Coach LaShane or Nick or “Mr. Coach” or Chris working with the kids. I trust each and every one of them to watch over our kids and even after every small ‘ninjury’ (and there have been a few…) but that’s ok… it makes em’ tougher…and we keep coming back! Oh, and then, our friends…maybe the driving force behind Tech…Seeing Terry and his incredible family and Rithika with her daughter Ashvi or Manish and Ishy for a 5PM Friday class. Or coming to my personal favorite, the Saturday OCR classes with Tom, Michelle, Tara and Joy along with Hilario and Candace. And sometimes, you just need a guys class with Chris and Pete to sweat out the week’s problems. The kids have also made lasting relationships from the gym where Ryaan will have playdates with Oscar and Shaan gets to hang with Phillip while we spend some time with David and Klara.
I will say, however, not much beats those awesome and hilarious workouts with Carrie and the guys across the street (G!). Oh, and finally, I would feel terrible to not mention those early morning classes with Kate and Sergio…some of my fondest ninja memories as we’re barely awake but still get inspired by Jess’s weekend stories. Most of all, I get to workout with my wife, almost every day…see my kids for an hour where life stands still, you forget about how bad the day might have been and just get to push yourself, sweat and laugh for a bit…sometimes followed by a Chubby’s taco (which also makes the workout fly by!)
For us, this started out as yet another gym to work out as a family and get healthy…but it has turned out to be so much more…the people…again are everything. We were able to complete our first Spartan race this year in Fayetteville 2018. What an insane and cool experience! The kids all ran…and to see our kids run with Corey and Jake was priceless. Meera happened to do the course with a broken arm #BEASTjr. I got to run the course with my wife and our new besties…which made all the work over this past year seem somehow worthwhile… and to look at those pictures, hanging from the rings, scaling that wall or kissing my wife in the mud…makes me tear up just a bit. I always tell my students or kids or anyone who cares to listen, find something you love…and stick with it. Well, I know we found something we love…which also makes us healthier, fitter and just better. We love the people, we love the fitness and most of all we love Warrior Tech! Thank you so much…for changing our lives!
I’m Going to Look Ridiculous
That of course was my first thought as I walked into Warrior Tech. Looking around, I was easily the oldest person there (those track out kids are young!) and I couldn’t remember the last time I had worked out, let alone taken a class…with other people! But there I was, stretching and trying to pretend like I knew what I was doing.
That was almost 8 months ago. I still spend quite a bit of time pretending I know what I am doing, but I have realized that nobody, and I mean that sincerely, nobody cares what I look like. It’s not an exaggeration to say I have come a long way, and just as true, I have a long way to go. I have learned the differences in medicine balls, swiss balls, and bosu balls, kettle bells and dumb bells and I know where to find the TRX. But I still can’t remember the differences between the seemingly endless dead lift variations (can someone please demonstrate that?)
My warrior “trek” started when I sent my second daughter off to college. Over and over I told her: “try things, don’t be afraid, what’s the worse that happens if you try and fail?” I realized, I needed to heed my own advice because I was sick of hearing myself say “Oh my gosh, I have got to start exercising. I have got to start eating better. I have got to stop drinking so much.” (the eating and drinking could still use a little work.) It was time to stop talking and start trying. So I googled Ninja gyms near Raleigh. (Because…of course, ANW. The show.) And I signed up. And I showed up. And I almost threw up. But then I showed up again. And again. And I realized I like it at Warrior Tech. I like the challenges. I like how it has makes me feel stronger. I like that I can laugh at myself when I am not quite “getting” it and people laugh along…not at me, but with me. Everyone training takes it seriously, but not so much that it isn’t fun.
I’m not the most observant person (Warrior Tech DOES have showers!) and I don’t always think things through before I commit to something. If I had really thought about the skills and athleticism needed to conquer the rig, to jump a wall, to climb the rope, I would absolutely have talked myself out of trying. But luckily for me, I started before I really thought about all those things. Many baby steps get you closer and closer to your goal, until one day, you get up the warped wall. Or you make it up the rope. It’s a process. And the satisfaction of finally accomplishing a goal is fabulous. There are plenty of things I still can’t do (yet) but I love trying. My advice is don’t think, just jump in.
Next thing you know, you might bring a friend, you might stay awhile, you might become family!
A New Normal
On September 29, 2014, my family’s life changed forever. My beloved husband of 20 years died suddenly. I spent the first year coping with all the changes that come from a tragedy – my children and I put one foot in front of the other and somehow got through the year.
The second year was spent figuring out how our new life would look. It also was spent in front of the refrigerator and pantry. Some people cope with grief by controlling everything they eat and making sure they sweat out the tears. I was not one of those people! I ate all the things and did none of the exercise. I was so focused on making sure the children had a semblance of normal that I forgot to take care of my health.
This third year has been focused on making room in our lives for health and togetherness. It was important to me that my children and I do something together. My 11 year old daughter, 13 year old son, and I are training at the same time in the same place. It’s something we can do as a family. After just a few months of training, we even did a Big Muddy Race together! As someone that has never been particularly athletically inclined, this was an incredible accomplishment!
Finding Warrior Tech is a big part of this journey. I love that the staff (and fellow members) meet everyone where they are – if you are a beginner, you are welcome; if you are already a TV star competitor at American Ninja Warrior, you are welcome.
It’s OK to be a beginner; it’s OK to take longer than everyone else to reach your goals. It’s OK to be the slowest one in the class, or to be the one that has to have all the modifications. If you keep showing up, and you do your best, you have succeeded! I see the truth of this every time I step foot into Warrior Tech. Perhaps most importantly, my kids see this truth every day. They see high-fives for getting through the training; they see staff and members encouraging each other to try something hard. We are inspired by the super-human athletes we train next to, and we are inspired by the normal humans we train next to.
I may never do a trifecta, or maybe I will. Right now, I’m focused on getting through some injuries to get stronger and healthier. My daughter is focused on getting up the 14’ warp wall. My son is focused on getting stronger. I love that we can show up to do all these things together.
How I Completed My First Spartan Trifecta in 8 Weeks
I have always been very active person with regular gym workouts and running completing several 5k’s in the past year and was ready to step up to half marathon. However, I found myself wanting a fresh new challenge with more focus on my core and upper body strength and discussed options with my trainer who suggested I try out the Spartan obstacle races.
I read up on the Spartan website all about obstacle training and attended a session where I was introduced to techniques such as bear crawls, crab crawls, duck squats and pull ups. This gave me the encouragement and motivation to give it a go and I signed up for my first race along with a couple of my friends to run the Spartan Super in Fayetteville in September 2017.
Now I had about 4-6 weeks to train hard, and my first challenge was to get my head around the right training program. I researched on the Spartan website where they had a lot of information and excellent Youtube videos on techniques as well as a couch to Spartan training guide. I tried to work on the guide myself at the local gym and with friends when we could get together but it was proving very difficult for me to stay committed and follow the guide. I really needed to find the right place where I could get more exposure to obstacle courses, and that was my next challenge. I searched some local places and stumbled across the Warrior Tech Obstacle Course Readiness Facility which also provided qualified Spartan SGX trainers all within short distance from me PERFECT!!!!
I went the next day to check out the facility and as soon as I walked in I was greeted with a friendly team and welcoming atmosphere. They knew exactly what I was looking for and how they could help me achieve my optimal level of fitness for my first race. To my pleasant surprise they even had a whiteboard that highlighted all the upcoming Spartan races including my race as well as a display of Spartan medals so I knew this was the place for me to get some serious training done.
I started my training classes straight away attending most evenings and what I really enjoyed was each session was never the same, focusing on different parts of your body each day and learning new techniques. They offered ninja training classes once a week which I found daunting each time but the main aim was to learn and apply yourself to the obstacles in class. Within period of 3-4 weeks I could tell the difference in my legs as my squat jumps got stronger, as well as my shoulders and arms as my push up’s increased to 10+ instead of crashing at 1. The classes gave me more energy and I could tell my body and eating habits were slowly changing which was a great feeling.
However, my work commitments became very busy during this time and I was unable to focus and train as it got closer to the race, my motivation and confidence level took a nosedive and I started to doubt my ability to take part in the race. I went to Warrior Tech and spoke to the trainer who provided the most valuable advice at the time “you CAN do this Ishy, all you need to do is change your my mind set and get over the finish line”!
With the tremendous support from the trainers and my team mates I was able to re-focus and put all my efforts into training as much as I could in the short time I had. Warrior Tech offered a two hour Spartan SGX workshop 2 weeks before the race, where they ran a small course outside on the grounds with some of the obstacles that you would expect to see on the day of the race. The Olympus wall, spear throw, hercules hoist, the Z wall, the atlas ball was a few which I tried out and got myself mentally prepared.
Fayetteville, NC Spartan Super September 23 2017 – 8 Miles 27 Obstacles – completed 19, attempted 4, duration 4.40hrs
Race day had arrived and I was so excited and the atmosphere at the venue was overwhelming as we got ready in our official Spartan gear.
As we all lined up at the starting line, we had to go over the first wall and that is where the fun began with me being “thrown over the wall” and I never looked back!! It was all about me and my team working through each obstacle and meeting some great people on the way who shared their stories of past races and the motivation to do it again. Watching these obstacles on youtube was not the same as being there for real and thinking “what the hell am I doing here! We made our way through mud, water, the barbed wire crawls, conquering the dunk wall, the slip wall, the inverted wall, overcoming my fear of heights climbing the A frame cargo net and stairway. I struggled with the bucket carry and there was at least 2 others helping me carry the atlas ball. I didn’t even try to attempt the open rig, rope climb and twister and went for the burpees, but it was all so much fun.
I recall turning to my team at 5 or 6 miles into the race and saying “when do we sign for the next race!!” which I thought I would never say. The course was very flat but was still tough combined with the obstacles, and as we got to the last mile we could see the festival area and the Warrior Tech team were there with their booth encouraging the teams. They cheered us on to the finish line through the fire jump and the amazing feeling to complete my first race and get my first shiny medal!
I was so motivated to run again and complete the other two races, the beast was scheduled for start of November so my friend found a Sprint race which we signed up to run 2 weeks before the big finale and we had such determination to do it.
Me and my friends made our way to Atlanta for the Sprint with only under 3 hours sleep the previous night, this was really what you call true commitment and so much excitement to do this again.
The course was shorter and more scenic at the lake, however the course was little hilly and more trial running which took me off guard and made me realize not to take each race course for granted. I had promised my team that I would attempt to run most of this as it was 5 miles, but that didn’t happen unfortunately but the team never left my side as we all worked together to get through the obstacles and enjoy the beautiful views.
I was over the moon once I completed my second race and this was even greater feeling of accomplishment now I had two shiny medals within space of 4 weeks.
South Carolina, Spartanburg, Spartan Beast November 4 2017 12.5 Miles 31 Obstacles – completed 21, attempted 5, duration 6.19hrs.
I could not believe I was taking part in the beast at last and I had not ran 10 +miles at all so this was going to be tough but I was ready. The course was very hilly again and I really had to watch my steps through the trail for the weeds and branches all over. The race started very slow for the first 3 miles with the dunk wall and slip wall and barbed wire crawl coming up earlier in the race. Once we got past those few miles the rest started to come around much quicker with some new obstacles that I hadn’t done before such the log carry and the tyro traverse which I attempted but could not complete. My legs started cramping at 8 miles and I started to slow down, my team gave me the motivation to get through the last few miles. No words could describe what I went through when I saw the 11 mile marker and I was nearly in tears with the sense of achievement reaching the goal of my first trifecta was too overwhelming.
Reaching the finish line at the beast with my awesome team #triplethreat #OlgaRyzhikova, #AllenThompson and getting my third shiny medal was the most incredible feeling I have ever had. I would never have accomplished this without their dedication and commitment, the pain and the fear and come out the other side of this journey with them. It has been truly the most amazing experience and made me a much stronger and better person.
And finally remember that no-one can take away that feeling of great accomplishment from you:
• The sense of personal achievement as you wash and scrub away the mud and dirt from your running shoes and clothes after each race
• The shiny medals that you now wear with pride
• The inspiration you now give to others who want to challenge themselves
From Sofa to Super
I guess you could say my story starts out in the same way that many others do. I was at a point in my life where I was excited to make a change for the better. I needed to set my sights on a new goal and I wanted to test my limits.
It all began one evening while watching American Ninja Warrior with my children. As each individual competitor would cross the line to go to the next obstacle, my daughter would say, “Daddy, can you do that one?” or “Daddy, I bet you could be a ninja warrior.” As we speculated upon my abilities, my intrigue grew. After I put my kids to bed and returned to the living room, there was a show on called the Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge. I decided right then and there, this is what I wanted to do. I immediately Googled the next Spartan competition and found out that there was going to be a Super race in Fayetteville in just six weeks.
I knew what I needed to do, so I registered and began planning how I could achieve such a lofty goal. With the support of my family, including my incredibly understanding and encouraging wife, I began a new exercise regimen trying to plan for practical strength and endurance. My wife, being a little more astute, realized that I needed “real world” obstacle course training in order to achieve my goal. She discovered the amazing facility of Warrior Tech OCR and proceeded to give me a membership as a surprise.
When I arrived at Warrior Tech I was greeted by some of the kindest, most knowledgeable and supportive individuals that I am proud to call friends. Through their diligent training and constant positiveness, I could now visualize my goal and knew that nothing could stop me from achieving it. I began simply by attending some group fitness courses, then proceeded to integrate their ninja training and obstacle course training nights. In those six weeks I was able to completely transform not only my physical abilities but my mental fortitude to the degree in which I knew I could not fail. I am a firm believer in the fact that we can have whatever we want in life if we make a conscious decision to help those around us to also achieve their goals. It is with this network of support that I was able to complete my first race well ahead of projected time. With this accomplishment, I was left not with a feeling of satisfaction, yet a hunger for more. I had to see what else I could achieve with this new powerful mindset.
So, I set my sights on achieving my trifecta. In order to do so, I had to complete both the Sprint and Beast within the same calendar year. Fortunately for me, there was only one opportunity left, within a reasonable distance, for me to achieve this. I spent the next six weeks diligently training my body and mind to complete both races in the same weekend. It is with a very full heart and with a mindset of gratitude, that granted me the strength and determination to finish my races and earn my first Trifecta. As I move through this new phase of my life, I am truly filled with confidence, respect and appreciation for all of those who helped me to get where I am today.
The Hardest Obstacle in Obstacle Course Racing
I was arguably the least experienced guy in that corral at the start and while I was standing there couldn’t help but think that I didn’t belong with these elite athletes who had trained for years for this opportunity.
However after the gun went off and the mud settled, I discovered something exciting. At the completion of every single obstacle I was given something. CONFIDENCE! Confidence I should have already had from all my fitness classes and “ninja training” at Warrior Tech OCR.
As I learned this month, SELF-DOUBT is the hardest obstacle you will encounter in your training and on race day. Don’t give into it, you are better than that. Set a goal and accept nothing less. The human body and spirit are amazing things, so don’t ever underestimate what you can do.
My wife and children have always supported my crazy athletic ventures and I love that they have come along side me and are also competing in OCRs and finding success. Now I’m so proud to call Warrior Tech and the people I’ve met there my “extended family”. We reach down and help each other up when we fall and we all share in the joy of our collective accomplishments.
I told my son recently while we were training, “If you give your mind an out, your body will take it.”
If you allow yourself to think that NOT making the grab or letting go is acceptable, then your body will follow.
Don’t give yourself any options except success.
So what is YOUR goal?
Write it on your bathroom mirror, put it on a sticky in your office, do whatever it takes to remind yourself that you WILL achieve it! Because the best part about goals is that once you achieve one, you get to create a NEW adventure for yourself.