“What’s your excuse?”

Those words struck a chord with me, spoken by co-host Akbar Gbaja-Biamila during the Oklahoma City Qualifiers after the oldest man to complete the City Qualifier course, 54 year old Jon Stewart, broke his own record completing the course again. The viewer part of me knows that it was Akbar promoting the show as part of his job as a co-host, but another part of me, the same part of me that at the age of 22 decided to drop 50 lbs and enlist in the Marines, roused itself and got angry. What was my excuse? Why was it okay that I’m 37 soon to be 38, 304.6 lbs as of this morning, out of shape and out of breath? Why am I accepting myself like this, when I know that I’m capable of so much more?

The short answer, is that there is no excuse. I’ve been below 200 lbs before while I was in the military, I could run 5 miles without stopping and continue on with my day not feeling fatigued. I’ve gone on forced marches with a pack load, completed USMC boot camp including the 72 hour Crucible, and deployed to Iraq twice. I’m more than capable of turning my life around, not just to take back control of my health, but to get myself onto American Ninja Warrior as a competitor.

So that’s what this is about, my journey from dad bod to American Ninja Warrior. I’m in the perfect place to do it, as a resident of Hilliard, OH in the suburbs of Columbus I’m a stone’s throw from Worthington where ANW Michelle Warnky runs the Movement Lab and trains her Warnky’s Warriors. A year from today, I will be down 100 lbs and getting a membership at the Movement Lab. After that, I will spend the following year training to be a competitor on American Ninja Warrior with a goal of competing in a regional qualifier in 2018 during Season 10.

I won’t be alone though, my wife Crystal has my back and supports me in all things, and my son Ben who loves watching American Ninja Warrior with me will be cheering me on. I’ll also have the help of Cole, my rescue black lab that joined our family on the July 4 holiday weekend this year, who goes on 4 mile walks and looks up at me in confusion when we’re stopping. We also have 4 cats (Nya, Jay, Elsa, and Zane) who will show me how to be a proper ninja while expressing utter contempt and disdain.

I’ve chosen my own moniker of Network Ninja as I do backbone routing support for the Ohio Academic Research Network at The Ohio State University, and will provide more on that in later updates.