On American Ninja Warrior (ANW) season 7, Brent Steffensen made it to stage 2 of the dreaded Mount Midoriyama in Las Vegas, NV but it was ultimately Isaac Caldiero who would take home the $1 million grand prize by completing stage 4 the fastest. Missing out on total victory has fueled Steffensen’s passion for conquering obstacles and his training occurs in his own gym. Steffensen and his girlfriend, Kacy Catanzaro, are managing partners at Alpha Warrior, a vast San Antonio training facility complete with replicas of ANW obstacles. When Steffensen isn’t practicing the Warped Wall or Salmon Ladder at Alpha Warrior, he’s training using various bodyweight disciplines.

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“I’d been doing body-weight circuit training for many years before I started ANW,” says Steffensen. “I started out as a gymnast, then added snowboarding, diving, trampoline, and freerunning/parkour.”

Steffensen shifted his focus to rock climbing for Season 7 to build grip strength for ANW.

“Obstacles tend to require a ton of grip strength, but aside from being physically prepared, you also have to be able to adapt on the fly,” says Steffensen. “They’re always throwing in new ‘never been done before’ obstacles, which level the playing field for all.”

Although ANW success requires diverse training, a ninja diet can’t stray too far away from performance foods. Ninjas need to stay lean and light to be able to hold their own body weight for extended periods of time. Steffensen adheres to a largely plant-based diet.

“I find that a natural, whole-food diet works for me,” he says. “I love blending fresh smoothies because they are packed full of nutrients and easy to digest. I enjoy smoothies post-workout.”

Steffensen’s favorite smoothie starts with pomegranate juice as a base, then he adds a banana, coconut shavings, carob, chia seeds, and a few slices of fresh raw beets. The seven-season ANW veteran says he’ll be back for Season 8 and shared his plans for longevity.

“I plan on competing for as long as it’s around,” he says. “One day they’ll be calling me Grandpa Ninja.”