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Chris Warnky on his Ninja book series, competing on ANW, and being the parent of a popular Ninja

We caught up with Michelle Warnky’s dad.

American Ninja Warrior - Season 9 Photo by: Duane Prokop/NBC/NBU Photo Bank

Chris Warnky has only appeared once on American Ninja Warrior (so far!), but his experience in season 9 left quite an impression. He’s since written five books and has another coming out in December. I caught up with Chris, who spends his days as a life coach, to find out more about his books, what it’s like to be the parent of Michelle Warnky, and whether or not we will see him on the course again anytime soon.

American Ninja Warrior Nation: What inspired you to write books about the Ninja experience?

Chris Warnky: I have so enjoyed my Ninja experience as a 60-year-old and I have gained so much from it that I wanted to encourage and challenge others, especially those that watch the show but are not active, to get active and move and play. If I can do it, you can do it.

I have wanted to write a book for a long time and I decided that my 2017 goal would be to learn how to write and publish a book within the year. The writer’s group that I joined talked about two types of books, one that promotes your business, and passion books. I decided to start with the passion book first... after hearing how many kids love my first book, even though I had targeted it for those 40 years old and older, I decided to produce a kids version, truly for them.

I had to write about my walk-on line and course run experiences to capture all of the amazing events and emotions that came from them. I wanted to be able to remember back to all of the experiences and fun. I also thought it would be a great read for the millions that watch the show that have never been through these experiences and would be very curious about what it is like. I share all of that in these two books.

ANWN: Is there a theme throughout each of your books (besides ANW)?

CW: I have now published five ninja books in my “Heart of a Ninja” series. The major theme is for people to move and play and not live stagnant lives. I have also written about my experiences as a member of the ANW walk-on line in 2017 then as a competitor that year in Cleveland.

The Heart of a Ninja series books include:

  • The Heart of a Ninja: Stretch Your Boundaries
  • What Just Happened?: The Line
  • What Just Happened?: The Run
  • The Heart of a Ninja for Kids: It’s Play Time!
  • Twelve Traits of a Ninja: Live Like a Ninja (just published in October)
  • Four Traits of a Ninja (coming in December)

My goal is to publish at least 15 books before I turn 70. I think I will easily hit that mark. I have at least 10 other books already outlined and some of them I have already started to write. In 2020, I will turn my writing focus to more living life-related books.

ANWN: What’s it like to be the parent of one of the most successful ninjas?

CW: It is so fun to be a parent of kids that compete in any sport. We have done that for both of our kids all through middle school, high school, and college. We thought we were done cheering on our kids after they graduated.

It is so special to get to continue to cheer on Michelle as she has moved through her twenties and now into her mid-thirties. We are so happy for her and how successful she has been in ANW. Her rock climbing and running background has really paid off and she continues to work so hard to build strength and skill every day. She is an inspiration to me and so many others.

We are really thankful for who she has become as a Ninja and we are much more proud of who she has become as a person, honoring God and focused on others, trying to be a positive influence every day.

ANWN: Do you and Michelle train together?

CW: We have trained together some, but our schedules have limited how much that get’s to happen. I train much more with a number of other Ninjas in our gym who are there when I am there. This group has become so great for me. I share about them throughout my books. I call them my Lunch Time Training Partners (LTTPs) and another group is my Ninja Training Partners (NTPs).

ANWN: Are you submitting a video for season 12?

CW: I will not be submitting a video for season 12. I plan to submit again for season 13.

I had a bad injury in 2018 (hitting a trampoline wrong), ripping open my forehead (you should see the bloody photos), giving me a bad concussion that I have been recovering from over the past 18 months or so. I still Ninja train but at a slower pace. I want to get back to my 2017 level of skill and it is going to take a little more time at age 62. I still love my Ninja world and can’t wait to be back in my past form and strength.

I have also had three hamstring pulls over the past few months, all on Warped Wall runs. I am slowly making my way back, but I need more time. I am trying to stay patient. I have outlined a potential future book about living through my concussion. :) It has been something else.

Hopefully, we will see a healthy and strong Chris Warnky in season 13! In the meantime, good luck with your recovery and training!