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There’s a good reason we didn’t see Rachael Goldstein in season 11

She’s hoping to be back for season 12!

Mitchell Leff/NBC

Have you ever had a fitness goal, achieved it, lost it, and then tried to get it back again? Rachael Goldstein knows the feeling. A year ago, Rachael had no trouble knocking out 30-something pull-ups. However, one month ago, she could complete just five. Of course, Rachael has an excellent (and adorable) reason — her baby daughter, Finley.

Rachael Goldstein

After giving birth to Finley on October 11, Rachael gave her body the obligatory six weeks to heal and then began to hit the gym. After all, she has applied for season 12 of American Ninja Warrior and time is ticking! In Rachael’s own words on Instagram, “Talk about humble pie.” At the climbing gym, skills that were previously easy were now difficult, and the sore muscles lasted for days.

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Instagram has become my little diary for all things ninja since I started in 2015. I post things I think are fun and accomplishments that I'm proud of. This marks the beginning again. Talk about humble pie. Tuesday was my first time working out in ages. I haven't been allowed to do anything for the past 6 weeks, and even before then, I was honestly not making it to the gym. For months before Finley was born, I was exhausted after running around all day at work, and really didn't work out on top of that. Part of my not working out was that I was banned from all things fun (aka ninja/climbing/jumping/anything where I might fall) beginning last January. Excuses Excuses. But now I'm cleared for everything! Getting back in shape is going to be really hard. I'm not just super weak, my body is just so different right now. Things are stretched, ligaments are loose, and I'm hesitant to fall (also sleep deprived ). Even V2's were hard on Tuesday which is really discouraging....and, it's been 2 days since then and I'm still sore! Now that there's a baby in the picture, I am going to have to be more creative to figure out how to train, and learn how to help my body heal and get stronger again. So, here we goooo... . . . #newbeginning #nevergiveup #workhard #workforit #iwill #wewill #americanninjawarrior #anw12 #newmom #climbing #tryhard #gripstrength #momstrength #postpartumworkout #momswhoworkout #upperbody #motivation #dontstop #fitnessmotivation #bodyweightfitness

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The following week, when Rachael tried pull-ups, the results were similar. In typical Ninja fashion though, Rachael persevered. Just two weeks later, she had doubled her pull-up number from five to ten.

Just yesterday, Rachael was in the Ninja gym again, this time on the Devil Steps. Slowly, but surely, Rachael is rebuilding her strength. How far can she come before filming starts for season 12? If she wants to perform like she did in seasons 8 & 10, she’s got a lot to live up to! In her rookie season (season 8), Rachael was one of four women to qualify for City Finals by snagging a spot in the top 30 competitors. These four women (Allyssa Beird, Jesse LaBreck, Michelle Warnky, Rachael Goldstein) were known as the Fantastic Four. In season 10, Rachael qualified for City Finals, as well as the National Finals.

Of course, Rachel knows that Ninja is all about the journey – the victories, the fails, and overcoming the obstacles. Adding a baby to the mix means that time becomes a bigger obstacle. Rachael put it into perspective on Instagram. “Just taking it all in stride the best we can. We may need to take more breaks now, or leave earlier than we want sometimes (ok, all the time), but getting out and doing something is better than nothing at all!” Rachael also commented, “Now that there’s a baby in the picture, I am going to have to be more creative to figure out how to train…” We’d say this is a pretty excellent start to working out in creative ways!

You can follow Rachael’s Ninja journey here and her daughter, Finley Rose, here.