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Here’s a morsel of what it’s like to compete or work at the National Finals

It’s a unique experience unlike any other!

American Ninja Warrior - season 11 Photo by: David Becker/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

We woke up at 2 in the afternoon and we’re currently washing everything that went to set with us last night. That can only mean one thing, it’s the American Ninja Warrior National Finals!

The season 13 premiere of American Ninja Warrior is less than two weeks away, on Monday, May 31. It will still be a while before the action of the National Finals hits our TVs. But take comfort in knowing that right now, the show has returned to its hallowed ground.

The final four stages are set in Las Vegas and the competition is underway. The National Finals are glorious. There’s no place quite like that set, with those competitors, and the feeling of knowing something huge is going to happen, but not knowing when or exactly what. Everyone is a little more MORE. More nerves, more excitement, more anticipation, more introspection, more focus.

Competing or working at the National Finals is such a unique experience. This is our fifth year in Vegas and there are certain feelings that only happen here. The long overnight hours in the desert beyond the Vegas Strip, the environment, and the atmosphere come together to create sensations you just don’t run into other times in your life.

We wish we could bring you a diary of the National Finals, but it would be pretty hard to remove all the spoiler references. So we thought we’d tell you about a few of the things the Ninjas and crew contend with only here in Vegas.

Six things that go hand in hand with the National Finals

  • The daily laundry
    HOW did that much desert dust come home with me?
  • Brushing your teeth at odd times, multiple times a day.
    Because is it morning? Is it night? Don’t know! Might as well brush ‘em again!
  • Masks and goggles
    What pandemic? We’ve been rocking this look for years. (Again, it’s a desert dust thing.)
  • The 3 am slump
    The exhaustion you feel when your body sends out one final attempt to get you to lay down and sleep. After that, you’re golden until at least 6 am.
  • The dawn juice up
    The sudden surge of energy you get when you glance to the east and there’s the tiniest bit of pink on the horizon. “I was tired! Now I’m not tired! The day is breaking! Run, Ninjas! RUN!”
  • Sleep-ish
    The act of being vaguely unconscious for a few hours and yet still organizing notes and plotting to-dos in your mind because Ninja never stops!

The National Finals are taping right now in Las Vegas. Season 13 of American Ninja Warrior premieres on Monday, May 31 at 8 pm EST on NBC.