The mental aspect is one of great significance for Campbell, who has his own method of preparation before every course run. “I do deep, Japanese meditative breathing to gain focus,” he explains. “More than the physical side, I think it’s one of the reasons I’ve had consistent success on the show. There’s guys with better cardio and comparable grip strength, but the mental aspect is huge for your technique.”
Furlanic (who likes to let out a big yawn before each course) also appreciates the level of mental acuity needed to succeed on ANW. “I like to visualize going through each obstacle; get it down in my head, so I know exactly what I need to do,” says Furlanic. “I don’t like to watch other competitors; you tend to see them mess up and it freaks you out. Failure isn’t an option,” he laughs.
Both Campbell and Furlanic will try to avoid failure as they strive for ANW’s top prize. As the show grows in popularity, more and more Americans view the obstacles as something they can do, albeit with some proper training and serious dedication. Furlanic got nostalgic when describing just why ANW is ingrained in the hearts of many.
“Everyone is a monkey inside,” says Furlanic, referring to the bars of the same name. “We all grew up on playgrounds, climbing trees. ANW gives people a realistic goal that, with training and dedication, they can really go after.”