Lehi’s Ninja Playground offers acceptance, friends and fun
At most gyms, you can access various weights, cardio equipment and classes. At a ninja warrior gym, you not only get a great workout, but you can also build strength, gain confidence, make friends and have fun.
The Ninja Playground in Lehi is an obstacle gym modeled after the hit TV show American Ninja Warrior. You can exercise and train at the gym to prepare for competitions or get fit. The Ninja Playground emphasizes mobility, quickness and functional strength. The obstacle course offers a great workout for every person at any skill level.
The owner, Wally Roskelley, takes great pride in having variousobstacles built to accommodate the novice to the professional level. The Ninja Playground offers a challenging course and fun activities for all ages and all abilities, as well as coaches whohave competed in American Ninja Warrior.
Roskelley is a rock climber who watched the sports entertainment reality show American Ninja Warrior and was enthused, so he applied for the show.
“I saw the show and thought, I want to try this. I applied for the show and got on. This was crazy because there were like 90,000 applicants and, at the time, had only 600 spots. I could not believe I got on,” said Roskelley.
Roskelley built an obstacle course in his backyard and his basement to train. After that, he had neighbors and friends who came to his backyard to run the course for fun.
“My entire backyard was obstacles for training. I had neighbors and a lot of friends come to do the course because it is fun,” said Roskelley.
“A friend who was a competitor on the show decided to partner with me and build the Ninja Playground four and half years ago. On opening day, we had 4,000 people show up, which was unbelievable. We now have waiting lists for every class, and it is extremely popular,” he added.
The Ninja Playground offers an open gym for anyone interested in a workout and running the course. There are also classes with coaching. The gym has had about 35 people train and participate in the television show.
Jenedy Paige’s story
Jenedy Paige, wife, mother of four kids, and a world-renownedoil painter, is an American Ninja Warrior athlete who trains and coaches at Ninja Playground. Paige competed in American Ninja Warrior seasons 11, 13, 14, and 15 and recently returned from this year’s competition. She never thought she could accomplish the feat of being a Ninja Warrior competitor, butthrough trials and discovering she was capable of hard things,she gained the strength and the grit to compete. Paige believes God led her to this challenge. Being a Ninja Warrior athlete has allowed her to share her story of loss and overcoming challenges. Paige lost her three-year-old son in a drowning accident and has learned that “strength comes from having a personal relationship with God during challenging times.”
Training and applying for American Ninja Warrior allowed her to overcome fear and grow. She believes “if you have a feeling you don’t agree with, it must be coming from something else,and you should lean into it.”
“This sport is accelerating at a crazy pace. The courses get harder and harder, but the talent is stronger and younger. I love to inspire young athletes, especially girls and help them know that they can be strong. It is cool to coach the next generation of ninja athletes,” said Paige.
“You have to be willing to fall hard and tear the skin on your hands over and over and over. You need the grit to train; launching your body into the air takes courage. It is a faith-building experience when you know you can do it. In this sport,you have to let go of limitations and believe that what is impossible can be possible,” she added.
Paige believes that the sport offers athletes humility. “Competing brings a humbling factor. It is you versus the course instead of ninja versus ninja. It is hard to be prideful because no athlete thinks they are so great that they can’t have a bad day orfall. The competition is the course. When someone wins or completes the course, everyone cheers for them because they beat the common enemy,” said Paige.
“Here is the greatest thing about this sport, it is very popular because from day one, you belong, you have an identity that you are something cool, a Ninja Warrior, not just a video gamer or a soccer player or whatever you had before. You also see progress. Humans crave progress, whether that is in relationships, fitness or money. Every single time someone comes to class, they progress. They get a little bit further on the obstacle or do something they could not do before. The progress is measurable,and it feels amazing,” said Roskelley.
“The ninja community is the greatest community on the planet. The first time I competed, all the competitors hugged me, givingme pointers on the course. Everyone becomes your friend, and they are family. It doesn’t matter if you are good, where you come from, or what you like. It is acceptance and friendship,” said Roskelley.
Paige said, “There is amazing comradery in this sport, and it’sbeautiful because we are all here together trying to do our best.”
“This endeavor has been great and is a dream job of all time. We opened a second location in Sandy, which is seven times bigger than the Lehi location,” said Roskelley.
If you’d like more than weights and cardio equipment, visit Lehi’s Ninja Playground at 305 S 850 E to gain confidence, join a fitness family and have fun.