American Ninja Warrior is a popular game show which attracts people from all sorts of fitness backgrounds to compete. It is the ultimate test of speed, power, and endurance. Enthusiastic individuals from all over the nation come to prove their worth through a series of difficult obstacles – exhibiting movements that the ordinary person would find almost impossible. The ultimate prize of $1,000,000 awaits at the end of the final obstacle course held in Las Vegas. To this day, there has not been a single person who has completed all the courses. A kind-hearted individual from Houston, Texas got the opportunity to compete in this season. American Ninja Warrior Nathan Burkhalter had a couple of words to share about his experience on the show.
Burkhalter has had a love for fitness since his high school days. He was a very active person and spent most of his years playing tennis and track, with ping-pong being a specialty. A big dream of his was to play football, but size held him back. Burkhalter was too skinny, and it only ignited him on a quest to increase his muscle mass. He broke through that barrier and grew – the guy is seriously jacked. An injury set him back from going through with football, but he did not tap out. His spiritual awareness and Christian faith have defined his character, as well as mental strength. His positive attitude radiates from his tone of voice. Two years ago, Burkhalter was encouraged by loved ones to pursue through with American Ninja Warrior.
“What was your purpose in competing?”
He responds by saying that there are three major components to his purpose. He wanted to first prove to himself his own capability of accomplishing something that required a high athletic competency. His years of physical training are being put to the ultimate test.
Secondly, Burkhalter has a heart for inspiring people and seeks to use American Ninja Warrior as a vehicle to prove to others that “walls can be overcome.” Competing on the show is not easy. It “forces you to be at a higher level of physical and mental preparedness,” says Burkhalter. The runs take place at 9pm and go on past dawn until 6am. No one knows when their turn will be – the pressure is on and it can be extremely nerve-wracking on the individual.
The third component to his purpose is having a medium in which he can share what inspires him. As a God-fearing individual, Burkhalter is proud of his Christian faith and has no shame in sharing the Gospel. He is an active member of Hope City, a church led by Pastor Jeremy Foster located in Houston, Texas. Burkhalter is currently active in a program that raises money in order to build water wells in South America and is a part of the End It Movement, whose goal is raising awareness in human trafficking.
“Do you have any tips for others who wish to compete in American Ninja Warrior”
“You gotta have personality,” is the first piece of advice he gave. It is the ones who show a unique personality that get a lot of camera time even if they fail. Athleticism was the next piece of advice. The person wanting to compete must be at a high level of physical fitness before attempting American Ninja Warrior. His rule of thumb is, “If you look at the obstacles on TV and tell yourself that you can’t do that, then you are probably right.” The final piece of advice was to “bring up an inspiring or interesting part of your life.” As much as viewers love action, the drama is what hooks them.
Unfortunately, Burkhalter will not be advancing to the American Ninja Warrior finals, but is more than determined in making a comeback next year. He plans for his entire family to compete. His brother, however will be competing in the special military edition of the show premiering July 6.
Interview by Frank Grados
Edited by Chanel van der Woodsen
Interview with Nathan Burkhalter
KPRC Houston – “American Ninja Warrior” to pay tribute to military
Photo Use With Permission of Nathan Burkhalter