Here we have competitor Leo, age 28, Romeoville, IL.
Athletic background? Up until the end of high school, before I got really big into music, I played a lot of sports. My first sport was soccer which I played for 7 years as a kid. I played basketball for a few years afterwards. In middle school, I joined the tennis team and played until my first year of high school. After that, I had fun just exploring any sport I had the opportunity to play: football, volleyball, baseball, ping pong, bowling, and swimming. Then, music came into my life, and I didn’t do any type of fitness again until after college.
How long obstacle course training? This is my first year obstacle training and I absolutely love it! I think it’s only been about 6 months since I went to my first ninja class.
Why obstacle training? In hindsight, obstacle training seemed like a natural progression for my fitness goals. After about 4 years of power lifting and strength training, I found myself looking for something more interesting and challenging to do for fitness. Lifting, to me, just became the challenge of lifting more and more weight -which started to get a little boring after so long- and I was beginning to lose my range of motion. Fortunately, thanks to yoga, I have now more than fixed that. I stumbled upon American Ninja Warrior a couple years ago, and focused my workouts towards pullups, grip strength, and endurance. Sometime in the summer, I decided it was time to test out my training at an actual ninja gym and haven’t turned back since!
Why compete? Motivation? Competition is a way for me to test my ability to compete with myself. When I get that feedback and evidence of personal progress during training, I am intrinsically rewarded and motivated to continue because what once seemed “impossible” is now something that comes easy. It’s a good feeling. Competitions are not only fun, but also a great way to learn from other people, as well as teach them, better strategies to improve course performance. We all get better by sharing tips and helping one another.
Favorite obstacle? Least favorite obstacle? My favorite would have to be any type of swing or lache: whether from a bar, a cannonball, vertical pipe, or cliffhanger. It’s just really fun. My least favorite would have to be balance, but only because I haven’t really trained for it yet. Up until about 2 weeks ago I couldn’t walk nor balance on a barrel, but I’m getting it!
Personal interests (movies, hobbies, music, books, charities, etc.)? Oh man, where do I start – I’m interested in a lot of things! I’m interested in human behavior, neurology, and epigenetics. I’m interested in biomimicry, advanced automation, and other sustainable technologies. I love pretty much all things science. Music is one thing that has always been a huge part of my life. I’m always playing and listening to music; I love to play drums, guitar, keyboard, and sing, and listen to all types of music (except country). I also like to play and develop video games. Software engineering is what I do for a living, but I enjoy designing and developing video games in my free time with friends. Aside from that, my main interest and focus is my social and environmental activism. On the one hand, I’m a social critic, and analyze historical and current socioeconomic and political systems. On the other hand, I engage in solution-oriented thinking and projects, taking a more sustainable and scientific approach towards resource management, doing more with less, to meet human needs and wants directly via open-source, technical solutions.
Something interesting about you? I’m a pretty quick learner. I try to separate things into patterns, which are much easier to identify and memorize for me, so it doesn’t take me very long to learn to play a song or perform some physical activity.
Motto or how you live your life? The only thing that’s constant in the universe – is change. No matter where you are in life, no matter what background you come from, accept and know that it’s okay. It’s not permanent, nor does it have to be. Knowing all things change means knowing anything is possible. When your mind is busy dwelling on past failures or fantasizing on a future that’s yet to come, you’re not “here” in the “now” focusing on the task to create that change – which can only ever manifest in the *now*. So be here, in the now, clear your mind, and take action.
Piece of advice for obstacle course training? Sometimes it helps to size up the course first. Plan which hand is going to grab where, and how you could make your run more efficient. However, sometimes it helps just to do it, and figure out what doesn’t work. Then iterate and improve. Be grateful and acknowledge small progressions. If you fall, make sure there’s a pad, and you’ll be fine. Work on your pullups, grip strength, and endurance.
Social media info, pics, videos, other links, anything you care to share?
FB: Leo Eddie Riveron
Music, fitness, art FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/leo.licos.art