Flower Mound was recently represented by two men and two women who tried out for one of the most physically taxing game shows known to humankind and represented the town well in the process.
Jesse James Leyva, Joe Solinski, Flossie Stiles and Tiffany Heilaneh competed in American Ninja Warrior on March 15 & 16, and while they did not win, they held their own in a six-part competition in which many competitors struggle to complete the first event.
“It is harder than it looks,” Leyva said. “I am pretty physical and pretty agile, and I really thought that I could do the whole course. I made it to the fifth out of six obstacles. That was pretty good, but it was a lot harder than I thought.”
American Ninja Warrior will appear on the G4 Network and NBC this summer and is a spin off of a Japanese game show called Sasuke. It consists of a series of obstacles that competitors must complete in a certain time period.
These four local competitors also work in our community. Leyva, owner and trainer at Jesse James Fit personal training gym in Flower Mound, competed alongside Stiles, a fellow personal trainer at Jesse James Fit. Heilaneh is the owner of Strandz Salon Boutique, located inside the Jesse James Fit training studio. Solinski, alongside his wife Tammy, are also personal trainers and run their businesses B Fit 4 Life and Stone & Glazing Consulting in Lewisville.
“It was a blast,” Leyva said. “The fact that we could all compete together made it very special…it was an incredible honor. To be able to do this with my friends in a fun, athletic competition is a memory that will last a lifetime.”
Leyva said that bodybuilding is actually only a small percent of what he does, and said that his Personal Training & Wellness Center is really devoted to something else entirely.
“We take an overall look at your total health — including your lifestyle, nutrition and daily habits, then with the help of our great trainers and massage therapists we motivate and shape together new, healthier clients,” Leyva said.
“We train individuals wanting to lose weight or bulk up, small pairs or groups that like that mutual motivation such as families, high school athletes, stay at home moms and so forth. We help a whole range of clientele in changing their lives.”
Leyva and Solinski were both selected for the show after submitting audition tapes, and Solinski said he still believes he could have completed the course if it had not been for an unfortunate accident.
“I’ve watched the show for a number of years, and the whole time I’ve watched it I’ve always thought to myself, “man, I know I can do that,’” Solinski said. “The opportunity arose, so I did it…it is a really doable course.
Unfortunately, the last pylon of the very first obstacle, I landed wrong, and I wrenched my back. I knew I did it right away. I cleared the first, second and third obstacle, but on the fourth obstacle, which is a trampoline jump to a cargo net, I knew that my back was just shot.”
Solinski, who recently took third place in a Spartacus challenge in which the winner earned a spot on the cable television show of the same name, as well as Leyva, said they will both be back next year to try again.
“I think the big challenge for me was that I had never attempted anything like it,” Solinski said. “I’m definitely going next year. I know I can do it. Ninja courses don’t kill people, it’s landings that kill people!”
Stiles and Heilaneh were both walk-on competitors and though they didn’t finish the obstacles, they “had a great time competing alongside friends and co-workers,” said Stiles. “It’s nice to have fun together through some healthy competition when you are used to working around each other, said Heilaneh. “We are all local business owners and colleagues here in Flower Mound and Lewisville and we enjoy that personal and local camaraderie.”
To meet one of these American Ninja Warrior competitors and support your local small business community, visit their websites or stop on by: www.JesseJamesFit.com, www.StrandzSalonBoutique.com, www.B-Fit4Life.com, www.StoneGlazing.com.
Pictured above, clockwise from left: Tiffany Heilaneh, Flossie Stiles, Laura Pyle, Joseph Solinski, Jesse James Leyva