Liba Yoffee took some time to talk to The Jewish Press about her experience as a contestant on the NBC hit show, “American Ninja Warrior,” where contestants go through obstacle courses of increasing difficulty.
Jewish Press: Hi Liba! Can you start by telling our readers a little about yourself?
Liba Yoffee: I am 35 years old. I grew up in Far Rockaway, NY and went to Bais Yaakov. My husband Menchem and I have four children and we have lived in Phoenix for three years.
Sports and Fitness is so important to you that you made it your profession, please tell us about your business?
I run a virtual health and wellness company called Spirit Fit Life. Our goal is to help women worldwide become leaders of their lives. We provide custom plans for fitness, nutrition, and self-development. I have a team of seven employees servicing 80 – 90 members. It’s my life’s mission to help women maximize their inner self- worth.
What motivated you to enter the ANW contest?
I always wanted to compete at an elite level. I used to do power lifting but when I looked into competing, I found out that I would not be allowed to compete in a skirt. About a year ago, someone suggested that I try Ninja and I loved it! I wanted to show girls that a skirt couldn’t hold me back and represent orthodox Jews in a positive light. Competing in ANW allowed me to show that you can have both physical strength and Inner strength.
What was your training routine like?
I started training six months before the competition. Usually people compete in smaller, local competitions first, but I couldn’t because they were always on Shabbos. I went to our local Ninja gym two to three times per week in addition to training on my own.
What were some challenges that you faced as a frum contestant?
The actual competition was on Pesach and I had to be there right after the first days of Yom Tov so the whole family had to go to Seattle for Pesach. We stayed in someone’s house and made Pesach there. I was originally assigned to compete on Yom Tov with the people from my gym. ANW was very accommodating, and they put me in a different group, but it was also more challenging not competing with the people you know.
Which challenge on the course were you most worried about completing?
I have never competed before in my life, not even in school, so I was most worried about the pressure of the cameras. But during practice I was most worried about the balance obstacle. I’m 4’11 and weigh a hundred pounds, so my reach is shorter. It’s possible, but definitely harder for me that a woman that is 5’8!
So, how did you do? Are you a Ninja champ?
Only 30% of contestant have their runs on the course aired on television. Mine is not going to aired – I got disoriented and didn’t do as well as I had hoped. But ANW was incredibly supportive of my message. They told me they want me to come back and compete next year so I can tell my story when I do better and get further in the course.
What is your next challenge?
Going back to ANW next February to do really well!