What started as a dream for a morbidly obese twelve year old who weighed 230 pounds turned into determination while homeless in high school. Michael Snell, Biology and Chemistry teacher at Pickering High School refused to let his situation become negative.
He knew from the moment he first watched American Ninja Warrior on television at the age of twelve that he wanted to be on it. But he was a really big kid.
Slowly he made changes to get healthy. First to go was the fried foods and sodas. He has not had any of them in eleven years.
Then he started exercising, once again just to get healthy. That was until two years ago when he started getting serious about being on the show. But he hit a bump in the road.
Snell said the process to get on the show was kind of rigorous.
He started seriously training over two years ago. He thought the deadline for applying was in June. It was actually in January.
But again, he refused to let that deter him from his goal.
He continued to train and for the last seven months, he has been training very hard.
For the audition process contestants are required to submit a video of themselves explaining who you are and what your background is and if you are physically able to compete in the competition.
Snell was so anxious to not miss his opportunity a second time that his audition video was submitted within two days of the casting call opening.
For the last seven months, he has not eaten pizza, candy and a lot of other carb-rich foods that he loves.
Snell even modified his house and backyard to be his gym.
During the often unbearable Louisiana heat he can train inside in a dedicated workout room filled with various pieces of weighted equipment, a bowflex machine that he traded an iPhone 5 for and a few pet spiders.
He even has the doorframe modified to hold bolts with hanging globes and a pull-up bar. On the outside of the same door frame, he installed rock climbing holds.
In an effort to anticipate every possible scenario and to be better prepared for them Snell added fifty pounds of weight to himself while performing various exercises, chin-ups in particular.
In his backyard Snell built a 14’ warped wall, buried tires to create a balance obstacle and a full body gym where he can work on grip and hand strength, moving using the pegs and he even has a salmon ladder.
For six days a week Snell gets up at 2AM to train for an hour then trains again for another hour after his son goes to bed each night.
Snell will be competing on season eleven of American Ninja Warrior.
He leaves for Oklahoma City on April 11 to do head shots and promos for the show. He is scheduled to compete in the qualifier on April 12. If he makes it through that he will compete in the finals on April 13.
If he wins the finals in Oklahoma City he progresses on to Las Vegas for the main competition where he will be competing for $1M.