Welcome to my 34 weeks to ninja comp (UNAA OR) post where I detail how I’m going to get fast and strong

Hi everyone!

Back in January I had been writing about training for American Ninja Warrior and some legal things came up regarding my site Aussie Ninja Warrior so I had to chill on that front for a minute. Given I haven’t had access to the normal parkour and obstacle course gyms in the last 18 months, I thought I’d set a far more reasonable goal of competing in a local competition instead.

My partner and I have been watching Season 13 of American Ninja Warrior and it’s such an incredibly inspiring show… but every episode makes me realise I am so far away from being strong enough to be competitive… which is fine, it’s a ridiculously impossibly course on purpose, but if I get on the show in the future, I want feel good about my effort.

Instead… I’m committing here and now to entering the Ultimate Ninja Athletic Association Area Qualifier on the 20th of February. The commitment isn’t an hard one to make… even if I wasn’t competing I’d want to go to cheer on my friends, and they accept anyone at any level of strength or experience. The good thing about the UNAA format of competition is that it’s not one and done like the TV shows.

On American Ninja Warrior, Australian Ninja Warrior, etc etc as soon as you fail an obstacle, you’re out. Even in the local competitions like the National Ninja League the rules are similar. In my first 3 ninja competitions ever, I went out on the 1st or 2nd obstacle… which is dramatic and exciting… but I had travelled interstate to compete… and to spend less than 10 seconds on a course after spending a day or two to get there is really disappointing.

34 weeks to ninja comp (UNAA OR)

With the competition that I’ll be entering, you’re scored on successful completion of an obstacle… and you get 3 tries per obstacle. If two competitors have the same points then whoever completed the course the fastest ranks higher.

I would guess that my competition will have 12-15 obstacles… and I could probably do 2-3 of them today… so I’ve got a lot of work to do… but I do have 34 weeks to get ready… and I’ll need to push myself in every one of those weeks.

My first goal will be to just compete. My second goal will be to try and qualify for the Ultimate Ninja Athletic Association Regional Qualifiers. This means I have to finish in the Top 3 in my class (Over 40 Men)… this is going to be hard… I already know 6 dudes in that category that are way stronger than I am… but they might not be as fast so I could sneak it in… and these things are never set in stone… anyone can have a good or bad run on the day, but the more you train you increase your odds of a good run.

Alright… so we’ve got some goals, and we’ve got a timeline.

  • 34 weeks to ninja comp (UNAA OR)

Now let’s establish what I need to do and where I’m starting from.

Measurements

34 weeks to ninja comp (UNAA OR)

This is actually 2 weeks old but it’s the most recent one I have…

34 weeks to ninja comp (UNAA OR)

Unfortunately this is the heaviest I’ve ever been… including when I was seriously trying to bulk up with all the muscles 10 years ago.

Obviously I’m not the only one to put on some pandemic pounds… but it doesn’t put me in a great starting position…. so I really do have a lot of work to do. For obstacle course competitions, you want to be as strong as possible and as light as possible. When you’re moving yourself around from a hanging position, every extra kilo has a huge effect on how long you’re going to last.

I’ll be looking to decrease my weight, BMI, Body Fat, Subcutaneous Fat, Visceral Fat and Metabolic Age. I’d like to increase my Bone Mass if possible, ideally I’d get it around the 4kg point. Protein needs a big kick up too…

Diet

34 weeks to ninja comp (UNAA OR)

I’ve really been struggling with my sleep hygiene recently, as it gets hotter (it’s 45 degrees Celsius here today – the hottest it’s ever been in June in this region) my sleep is hugely affect. I run pretty hot naturally… and because I’m allergic to the fire-retardant gases that US mattress companies are required to use, we’ve got a 100% latex mattress. It’s not even really a mattress, it’s just a block of latex rubber – that I had to get a doctors certificate for.

The reason I’m going into all of this… is that this mattress doesn’t breathe… so all the heat I generate comes straight back at me. Have you ever accidentally fallen asleep with an electric blanket on… and woken up so hot you feel sick? Yeah, that’s how I feel a lot… and so I barely get 6 hours most nights… and feel groggy, tired and weird most days.

What I have found though… is that if I don’t eat dinner, I don’t generate as much heat.

I usually work out at lunchtime… and then eat immediately afterwards… so I expect I will lose some unnecessary weight over the next few weeks. The new concern is that with eating just 2 meals, I might be undernourished…

I’m trying to follow this guide.

I’ve still got a lot of work to do. I’m good with the grains, flaxseed, greens, nuts, fruits and berries. I’m struggling to also fit in the spices, beans, cruciferous veggies and normal veggies into my two meals… but I think it’s doable. I just need to figure it out.

Personally I’m really happy eating the same thing every day… so if I can figure out the perfect 2 meals I’ll be set.

Upper body

34 weeks to ninja comp (UNAA OR)

Last week I did the following workout on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

  • pull ups (3 x 6)
  • chin ups (3 x 6)
  • hammer grip pull ups (3 x 6)
  • push ups (4 x 6)
  • tricep dips (4 x 6)

Lower body

34 weeks to ninja comp (UNAA OR)

I actually didn’t do any lower body exercises last week. I’ve done something weird to my knee. It’s fine most of the time but really hurts if I use it weirdly or try to do anything like a squat. I’ll keep an eye on it and I’ve been rolling out my quads like crazy so hopefully it resolves itself soon.

Endurance

34 weeks to ninja comp (UNAA OR)

Despite being so hot, I did get in 2 runs… although I’m going to have to change my routine up a bit and run before work instead of at lunchtime.

I ran 3.03 kilometers for a time of 21:02 on Monday and 4.21 kilometers for a time of 28:28 on Wednesday.

I really need to increase my speed and my endurance. Most people crash out of an obstacle course competition not because they’re not strong enough, but because they’re not fit enough…. don’t get me wrong, they’re likely very fit, but these obstacles are deliberately taxing… and so often the person with the most in the tank gets to the end.

I’ve had good success at increasing my endurance in the past with hill sprints. So I really need to work these into my week.

Injuries

34 weeks to ninja comp (UNAA OR)

Despite not really working out much lately, I am absolutely riddled with injuries.

I did some damage to my lower back a few months ago when I was digging up our veggie garden. It’s not terrible and now it actually mostly flares up when I’ve been sitting a while. I’ve been seeing a Physical Therapist about it for a while and have a list of daily exercises to do.

I mentioned my knee already but I’m hoping that’s just a short term thing.

On my left hand I think I’ve pulled a tendon on my ring finger… which hurts whenever I try to do pull ups. I’ve found that it doesn’t seem as troubled when I use rings instead of a bar… so I’ll be on those for the next little while I think.

If I’m going to succeed and make it to this competition, my focal points really need to be diet, sleep and rehab… otherwise injury will always keep me sidelined.

Thanks for reading my little 34 weeks to ninja comp (UNAA OR) post!
Let me know if you have any questions or comments…

AussieNinja

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