Known as the "Ninja Weatherman," 24-year-old Joe Moravsky earned a degree in meteorology before signing up to compete on American Ninja Warrior in 2013. He advanced further than any other rookie. Returning for a second season, Moravsky successfully completed stage one of the four-part finals in Las Vegas, in the process jumping from a trampoline to a crevasse between two walls as part of and obstacle called the "Spider Climb," and ascending a 14-foot “warped-wall.” Over the next three weeks, NBC will air his attempt to navigate three more increasingly difficult obstacle courses. Moravski spoke with us about the weather and his training program.
Men’s Fitness: You easily passed stage one of the Las Vegas finals. What skills do you need to complete an obstacle course like this?
Joe Moravsky: I kind of specialize in a bunch of different things and that’s what makes me such a great athlete on the show. It’s not only like rock climbing is important to what you see on the show. I'm not just about parkour. I focus on every single sport and I think every single sport plays a role in how well you do on this course. For example, growing up I always played baseball, basketball, soccer, and I did some cross country in high school. When I got to be an adult I started doing gymnastics and I started rock climbing last year. People ask me, ‘How does baseball help you?’ And I think it totally helps with hand-eye coordination; that’s something that’s huge in this competition.
MF: Why do you need such a diverse skill set?
JM: Every obstacle has its own specialty. Every obstacle is different in its own way and to train for that specific obstacle, there are many different ways to do that. You definitely want to be a well-rounded athlete. You can't just lift and expect to do well.
MF: What have you been doing since last season to improve?
JM: I had to work on forearm and finger strength, and endurance because I know I can make it to stage three. Getting to stage three is the hard part because you can have one little slip up. That’s the stage that no one has beaten. It’s the holy grail of ANW. Stage three is the untouchable, the unbeatable course.
I do rope climbing as well. Unfortunately the rope I have is only 18 feet tall, but for my training when it comes to rope climbing I'll use no legs and I’ll climb the rope three times up and down. Three times up and down at 18 feet with no legs is over a hundred feet of climbing on rope.
MF: So can you describe a typical workout?
JM: When it comes to at-home, I have a pullup bar I use almost daily. I do sets of pullups that are very important to keep your body strength and endurance up.
MF: They call you the "Ninja Weatherman." What got you interested in weather?
JM: I really do think there’s a correlation between the weather and this Ninja Warrior stuff and some people might not realize it. With weather, what got me interested when I was kid, and you will hear this from most meteorologists, is the severe weather. It’s exciting, it’s an adrenaline rush. If you’re outside and you hear this huge clap of thunder, if you've ever been within a few hundred feet of a lightening strike, and you hear thunder, you will never hear something louder than that on this planet. It’s so amazing. I enjoy doing that stuff and it kind of goes hand in hand with Ninja Warrior because it’s like an adrenaline junkie sport. You have all these crazy obstacles, you are 16 feet over the water, the cameras are in your face, the lights are on, and the crowd’s going crazy. It’s kind of the same thing where you get this huge adrenaline rush and it doesn’t compare to anything else.
MF: Because you are the "Ninja Weatherman," what is the ideal weather to complete the Ninja Warrior course?
JM: I will tell you this from experience now. Cold temperatures? No, no thank you. Although that does kind of help limit the sweat because the colder it ism usually the drier it is. I would say it would be warm temperatures with low humidity.