The Salmon Ladder, Wing Nuts, and even the iconic Warp Wall: Naperville’s newest gym will put fitness enthusiasts to the test, as they run, push, pull, and climb their way across the same obstacles seen on the show “American Ninja Warrior.”
“Not only are they going to get to try it, but try with us out here so there’s American Ninja Warriors on American Ninja obstacles,” said Jesse LeBreck, General Manager of the gym.
Modeled after the popular action-packed show and featuring its former contestants as trainers, the Ultimate Ninjas Gym welcomed us inside for a sneak peak ahead of its grand opening.
“For those adults that they see their kids playing on or see on TV and they’re thinking ‘I want to see if I could do that.’ Well, now here’s your chance,” said Brian Redard, Corporate General Manager for UltiFit. a new fitness program under the Ultimate Ninjas company umbrella. “You can come here, safely and soundly by being coached by someone who has experience will teach you from the ground floor up.”
Unlike most of his colleagues who competed on “American Ninja Warrior,” Redard was a competitor on the Net Flix series “Ultimate Beast Masters.” After being on the show, he was asked to be in charge of UltiFit, which will utilize both obstacle course racing (OCR) and general fitness for training adults.
“It’s a lot of grip-intensive exercises; you’re always pulling, hanging on obstacles, typically and then there’s a lot of agility exercises as well,” he said about the obstacle courses. “You’ve got to be light on your feet, fast on your feet and have really good balance and core strength.”
Perhaps the best part, it doesn’t feel like a workout.
“It’s a lot fun and before you know it, you’re done with your workout, you’re sweating and you’re pumped,” said Redard.
If the obstacles seem too intimidating, Ultifit will also have general fitness classes in groups, specifically including numerous interval-training and TRX exercises, throughout the week, with classes starting on the hour each hour from 6:30am to 11:30am.
“[We have] Agility Ladders so that we can get nice quick footwork, get those aerobic responses we’re looking for,” said Tori Clement, who was a competitor on American Ninja Warriors and will work with Redard on managing the UltiFit program. “There are also Battle ropes, again getting that explosive, high intensity feeling [and] Kettle bells, another high-intensity training tool we use a lot, really get the heart racing.”
Clement also been tasked with managing the gym’s birthday parties, which she says is perfect for kids as young as six. Additionally, they’ll have times for open play and kids classes. Some young fans have already gotten an early peek at the place.
“Definitely kids’ eyes have lit up, seeing this stuff is so awesome to them,” said LeBreck. For the general manager, the opening of this gym is a dream come true. “It’s using my degree in education but using it to teach kids ninja so what could be better?”
Many of the gym’s employees moved to Naperville specifically to help launch the new business. While they all come from different cities around the country and have different backgrounds, they all share a common goal: using the gym not only to help families improve their physical fitness, but also as a metaphor for teaching everyone important lessons in life.
“We really teach accepting failure here and how to overcome that and build up the mental fortitude to overcome obstacles here so that when you have real obstacles in life that come to you, that you’re a bit stronger mentally to overcome those as well,” said Clement.
The Ultimate Ninjas Gym opens to the public on Friday, November 17th. This is the second gym of this kind to open. The first – in Chicago – opened last year. Three other locations are set for Libertyville, Geneva, and Crown Point, Indiana.
LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
Get daily hometown news and sports delivered to your inbox!Sign Up Today!