If you’ve ever seen the television show “American Ninja Warrior,” you might have an idea what goes on at Life Force Ninja Gym. On any given day, you might catch someone swinging from trapeze bars, walking on a log filled with liquid, or running full-speed up a warp wall.
The 6,000-square-foot gym boasts 35 unique obstacles, each of which tests a particular skill or strength. To keep things exciting, new challenges appear every week or so.
Life Force co-owners Becca Margulies and Jadyn Welch fell in love with ninja as a way to get fit while having fun. Unfortunately, the closest gym with obstacles was in Canada.
Rather than wait for a solution, they decided to create their own; Life Force opened this past September. The Cordata building is big and bright, with high ceilings perfect for the jungle of neon-green equipment.The gym is organized into five lanes of obstacles, going from least challenging to most challenging. Unlike on the TV show, you can focus on one challenge at a time or create your own unique path across the gym.
Margulies and Welch designed the floor plan themselves, working with a Maryland-based company that builds play equipment for activity parks. Margulies and Welch also built a number of their own obstacles, including a pair of giant fidget spinners.
“It’s probably the most interesting and dynamic kind of gym workout you’re going to find anywhere around here. Nobody else has anything like this,” Welch says. Just looking at the obstacles, it’s hard to disagree.
Although ninja might seem like an intimidating sport, Life Force strives for inclusivity, welcoming people of all ages, backgrounds, and fitness levels.
“It doesn’t really matter what level you’re at when you come in, if you have injuries, we can work with that,” Margulies says.
In addition to open gym hours, Life Force hosts birthday parties and offers classes and private training sessions. You can sign up for Intro to Obstacle Course, a 45-minute class that breaks down each challenge, or opt for an eight-week curriculum course.
In these courses, designed for both kids and adults, athletes can level-up to different colored bands, similar to the belt system in karate.
“You don’t have to be a mega superstar ninja to have fun here,” Welch says. “We want it to be approachable, and we want everyone to feel welcome and like they can succeed here.”
That said, serious ninjas also have opportunities for competition. This winter, on January 4–5, the gym will host its first official competition, the National Ninja League Worlds Qualifier.
The top three athletes in each of seven age groups will advance to the World Championship in North Carolina in February. Although space is limited, this competition and future ones like it will be open to the public.
440 W. Horton Rd., Bellingham, 360.738.4724, lifeforceninja.fit
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