Like all great writers, I watch a lot of TV, so when I say American Ninja Warrior is a good show you can take my word for it.  Imagining what it’s like pouncing around on the zany obstacles, cheering on the contestants you arbitrarily decide to root for, and laughing when someone who has only just been introduced to the show during a heartwarming and inspirational vignette falls off the first hurdle is sound fun.  You never get to see anyone fall down on Wheel of Fortune, except for the banned 1989 episode in which Pat Sajak tumbled head-first off of the catwalk.

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Jaysen Saly of Roseville shares my enthusiasm for American Ninja Warrior, albeit in a far more personal way.  He was on season nine and made it to the top 40.  “I would have made top 30 if I didn’t fall off the crank it up obstacle,” lamented Jaysen.  

Jaysen’s build up to his television appearance was the culmination of his longtime devotion to personal fitness.  “I used to work in the corporate world as a sales manager. I was overweight and unhappy with my body, but one day something finally clicked and I began my total body transformation,” Jaysen recounted.  He started working out and competing in marathons, Tough Mudders, and Spartan Races until he’d dropped 40 pounds and developed the body of a Greek god. Jaysen became a certified trainer and left the corporate slog to help others unplug and get off the couch.  

Jaysen used to pilgrimage to Buffalo twice a week to train at the obstacle gym there in preparation for American Ninja Warrior.  Even someone as focused as Jaysen couldn’t endure such a grind, however, so he now sits in the catbird seat at his very own Five Star Ninja Warrior at 2500 Cleveland Ave N, Suite H, in Roseville.

Five Star Ninja Warrior is an intriguing gym, packed with all the obstacles made famous by the show that inspired it.  Whether you’re an old hand with the free weights and want a new challenge or are thinking of getting toned in a less traditional way, Five Star Ninja Warrior has the ropes, beams, bars, and life-saving padded mats you need for an exhilarating workout.  

“Our daily lives seldom challenge our bodies, and even conventional workouts rarely develop functional strength like obstacle training does,” explained Jaysen.  “We don’t believe in dumbbells here. Five Star Ninja Warrior instead provides a full body workout. Keeping momentum on obstacles targets the conventional glamour muscles as well as those in the hips and back, and it develops grip strength too.  Doing these exercises even for a couple of minutes is also ideal cardio, perfect for endurance.”

Five Star Ninja Warrior is a wholesome destination for children’s birthday parties as well.  Once little ninjas have celebrated in the party room, they can set about bouncing around special kid-sized obstacles including banana holds, unstable bridges, and the spider jump like a pack of crazed lemurs.  (The so-called “scientists” acting like cold fusion is the next big thing are wasting our time. Any parent could tell you that a seven-year-old hopped up on cake and soda is the most potent thing in the universe, and this venue is a great way to release some of that energy.)  Corporate outings, fraternity getaways, sports team meetups, and any other social occasions do well with the keylock hang, salmon ladder, and 14.5 foot signature warp wall in them too.

Jaysen has big plans for his ninja gym.  He’s considering expansions in Minneapolis and St. Paul and their suburbs in coming years, and soon wants to open his doors to kids who’d otherwise never have access to such singular exercise equipment.  It’s an exciting venture which I encourage you to try out the next time you’re ready for a thrill and sweat.


By David Scheller