Women have historically been consigned to the kitchen. Or at least relegated to serving food…
Public servant by day, fitness superhero by night (and presumably very early morning) – Jenna Douros has recently added a sparkling new accolade to her already impressive repertoire: Ninja Warrior.
The Canberra native is set to appear on the brand new Australian Ninja Warrior series, premiering this Sunday 9 July.
If you’re unfamiliar with the series, it’s a competitive fitness show that centres around contestants attempting to tackle a seemingly impossible obstacle course. It originated in Japan and has gained popularity around the world, with international franchises popping up everywhere from the Netherlands to Thailand to Turkey – and finally, to Australia.
For Jenna, Ninja Warrior’s arrival on our shores was long awaited.
“I’ve actually followed Ninja Warrior for quite some years now. I’ve been a big fan of the show ever since I first saw it, so when I heard that it was coming to Australia I was straight onto it, looking all over the internet to find out as much as I could about the application process.”
What exactly does it take to become a Ninja Warrior, I hear you ask? A rather vigorous audition process, as Jenna explains.
“There was a fitness test to go through as part of the audition. It was a five minute plank, five minute dead hang from a bar – that was the hardest part for me actually, there was five minutes of skipping, and five minutes of pull ups.”
While for most people, the above sounds incredibly challenging (if not torturous), Jenna describes it as “fun”.
“The group that I was with was really high energy, everyone was encouraging each other, even though you were competing against each other, it didn’t feel like that. It was really special.”
Jenna says that being a part of the Ninja Warrior community and meeting fellow contestants (among them fellow Canberran Zoe Featonby) has been a highlight of her experience.
“Honestly, I’ve made so many friends through this process it’s not funny. From the day of audition, it’s been such a supportive environment. Meeting other Ninjas and training together, we’ve just supported one another. Even now we chat online and meet up regularly, it’s awesome to be a part of.”
If you’re familiar with Jenna, you’ll have seen her insane workout videos on social media. She says that although Ninja Warrior is “already her style of training”, adjustments were made in the short lead up to competition day.
“We didn’t have long to train before we were to go on the show, but I definitely amped up my training in terms of specifics. I really wanted to focus on specific obstacles that I thought might be on the show. One of them was the warped wall – obviously that’s the finisher to being able to have the power output to get up the wall was really important.”
“Luckily there was a gym in Sydney that I went to most weekends to train out of. They had a built in warped wall and also a salmon ladder, which is one of the toughest obstacles and something I wanted to get down pat if it came to it. So those two in particular, and also things to improve my grip strength, like rock climbing, bouldering and a bit of balancing.”
With a background in gymnastics, balancing is an element that comes naturally to Jenna, but nonetheless she took a rounded approach to training to reach optimal fitness.
“It’s agility, speed, flexibility, power… it’s all those things. Having an overall approach to fitness is definitely what you need if you want to be a Ninja.”
When her day on the course arrived, Jenna says it was unlike anything she’s experienced.
“Standing on that platform… that was honestly one of the craziest experiences I’ve ever had. The adrenaline before each obstacle was like jumping out a plane for me. Everything around me became dull, I was so honed in on each obstacle and just getting through it. I was so determined on the task at hand.”
To find out how Jenna performed, you’ll need to tune and watch the series.
“I’m really excited to see my performance, I’m so nervous to watch myself! My husband runs the Hellenic Club in Woden, so I’m planning on putting it on the big screen there.”
Australian Ninja Warrior premieres on Nine this Sunday, 9 July at 7pm.