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David Campbell’s simple advice for Ninja Warrior success: ‘Breathe.’

It may have helped him earn $10,000.

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

When we asked 12-time American Ninja Warrior veteran David Campbell what advice he had for his Ninja group members, he kept it short and sweet: “Breathe.”

David has long been known as the “Ninja Godfather” for his years of experience and his list of accomplishments. For season 12, he returned alongside two group members, Brittney Durant and Matt Scott.

All the rookies can benefit from his simple but sage advice. When David ran the course on the third night of Qualifiers, he not only hit the buzzer, he hit the Mega Wall buzzer. That was after a long moment on the Lunatic Ledges where we were almost sure his season was over. The OG started his season off with a very well deserved $10,000. It wasn’t exactly a lucky fluke. It was part of David’s motivation for the season.

“(I’m here) to have another chance to do what I love. One of my main goals this season is to hit the Mega Wall. I’ve been training that pretty hard. Beyond that, it’s to make it to the final Power Tower round.”

But even someone as experienced as David had to get creative to stay as strong as he is during the pandemic. He shared with us that the shut downs and the weather affected how he prepared.

“I feel very fortunate to be one of the few Ninjas selected to be part of this. It’s nice to get a break from the shut down and have a reason to not get fat,” David chuckled.

“I had my backyard course, which helped a lot because for the first half of the shut down, it was raining a lot. My course isn’t that great to train on for a day or two after it rains. And with the gyms shut down, it didn’t help. I’ve been trail running. I did build a rock climbing wall to keep my grip in shape. Although I have all types of upper body, Stage Three-type obstacles, it’s not quite the same as rock climbing as far as really getting a deep burn in your forearms.

Knowing all through shut down that Ninja was postponed and could be announced at any time kept me on my toes.”

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

So what does challenge a Ninja like David Campbell? Turns out that, like his advice, it’s also a simple answer.

“Getting adequate sleep is always something I have to make a serious point to make happen. I’m generally a night owl. I actually sometimes prefer the night runs, although I don’t think it’s really that great for your body. Sleep and staying focused to be able to perform at your absolute best at every round is a challenge at these types of events where we’re competing multiple times. Getting adequate sleep and making sure I’m 100% physically and mentally focused for each round.

Apparently, David found a way to stay well-rested leading into the Qualifying round. We hope he got a good night of sleep before the Semi-Finals as well! We’ll see the results of that experience in just a few weeks.