He was the last man standing in ITV’s Ninja Warior 2017, but by day, Jonny Urszuly is a personal trainer in Maghull, Merseyside. This week, he shares with us a snippet from one of his ninja workouts!
Please note that this video is for insight into Jonny’s training and FitPro cannot be held responsible for anyone wishing to try these exercises.
The Autumn magazine lands this week! We interviewed Jonny to find out more about his background and what made him decide to enter the Ninja Warrior programme.
FitPro: Jonny, tell us about your journey from child to PT to Ninja Warrior.
Jonny Urszuly: I started my journey when I was five years old as a gymnast and carried on to become three times’ Hungarian champion. I started working as a PT when I was 23 and was always looking for new challenges and ways to push myself to new limits. When I heard about the Ninja Warrior course coming to the UK, I thought I’d give it a go. Ever since, I’ve been back every year with the goal of completing it and becoming the Ninja Warrior. To apply, you have to answer loads of questions and send in a two-minute video of how you train, etc. They want to see your personality as well. Unfortunately, there’s no prize to be won in the UK – it’s the only country they don’t have a prize at all – but I do it because I love it and I’m chasing my dream .
FP: What has been your training regime?
JU: I do calisthenics. The training is never the same; I’m always finding new obstacles to overcome and master. From my past, I learned to be my own motivator and to stay focused enough to give 100% every session. I believe that, with hard training, you’ll get the outcome you’ve worked for. I train on my own and am inspired by anyone who trains hard towards a goal or who has achieved their goals. You don’t find out which obstacles you’ll face until the day you do Ninja Warrior so, in order to be confident and comfortable on the day, I train really hard and try to learn new movements all the time. I even build my own obstacles.
FP: How does Ninja Warrior compare to other challenges?
JU: Something like Tough Mudder is completely different from Ninja Warrior. I would say Ninja Warrior is the hardest obstacle course because we only have one chance and, if we fall, that’s it – the show’s over and also the dream. The pressure and the audience give us a nervous feeling – all eyes are on us!
FP: How has your experience on Ninja Warrior informed your work as a PT?
JU: After being on Ninja Warrior, most of my clients wanted to do similar stuff to the show, as they had seen me do it. I built a few obstacles in the gym I work from, such as the cliff hanger and unstable bridge, and I always give clients fun challenges, such as a rope climb or swinging on a rope to get to the next obstacle without falling off. It’s great fun and they can appreciate the hard work I’ve put in for my training because 90% of people can’t do it.
FP: Has winning Ninja Warrior had any impact on your business?
JU: I have been in more demand as a PT due to being on the show. I have done some Ninja Warrior training in schools for children to try and get them active; it’s great to see them happy and enjoying it, as I feel like I’m giving something back. The exposure of being on television has increased my social media following, so I have attracted new potential clients. I was part of a Ninja Warrior special in Germany, which I did in June, and I’m going to Hungary to do their Ninja Warrior as well.
FP: How do you balance your PT career with your personal achievements?
JU: I normally train with my clients to give them an extra push. I’m always in the gym for work so, if I have free time, I’ll train or try crazy stuff to challenge myself. I always want to improve. The problem is, I have so many clients and it’s normally back to back from morning till night, so I don’t have that much free time for myself. I’m happy to help other people first and, if I have time, I’m training; if not, then at least I know I’m helping other people to achieve their goals. It would be nice to have two or three hours just for myself to put some really hard work in but, at the moment, that’s not happening.
FP: Tell us a bit about your nutrition plan while training for Ninja Warrior.
JU: I know how my body responds to food, as I’ve trained similarly from a young age. I don’t limit myself too much, so it’s a pretty balanced diet. I do enjoy food and nights out, so I’m not too strict with myself. Plus, the training is hard, so you can get away with a few extra calories. I eat well the day before the competition and, the day of the Ninja Warrior, I have a good breakfast with loads of protein in it because breakfast is the most important meal of the day for me; afterwards, I have time to rest until my Ninja run.
FP: What advice do you have for other fit pros who want to take their career in this direction?
JU: Go for it! If it’s something you want to do, just try it. If you fail, keep going. I have done seasons one, three and four. In season one, I came second but I wanted to do better so I went back in season three and got Last Man Standing. In season four, I wanted to win the show and be the first Ninja Warrior – I made it to the final. I always push myself to do better. So, if it’s your dream, don’t give up. Everybody’s training is different and, if you’re a bodybuilder, it’s hard to switch over to bodyweight training and all this crazy monkey-style swinging and climbing business. People who never do this kind of training from a young age are going to take a long time to learn and get strong for it. I’m so glad I did gymnastics when I was a kid, as this is why I have the full package for this kind of competition. But never say never; it’s always good to give it a go and you never know.
FP: What’s next for you?
JU: At the moment, I’ve got the opportunity to travel and do different Ninja Warrior courses. I’m up for anything new and, if a challenge comes along, I’ll give it a try and do my best with it. My Ninja Warrior goal is to reach and climb the last obstacle – Mount Midoriyama. And to be the eighth person in the world who’s completed Ninja Warrior. But the other big dream for me is to be a stuntman in films – that’s my biggest dream.