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Kacy Catanzaro, 'Ninja Warrior', highlights benefits of fitness

Kacy Catanzaro competes in an episode of

Kacy Catanzaro competes in an episode of "American Ninja Warrior." Credit: AP / Peter Larsen

SAN ANTONIO - A YouTube video that shows Kacy Catanzaro, a 5-foot, 100-pound gymnast, breezing through an obstacle course where others twice her size often fail has garnered more than 6 million views since she competed in the "American Ninja Warriors" TV show.

But being the first woman to complete one of the show's most grueling courses is not enough for her. Catanzaro tells The Associated Press she wants to inspire women and young people to get off the couch and start getting fit.

The show, a remake of a Japanese program called "Sasuke," airs on Mondays on NBC and is repeated the next day on Esquire Network. NBC has picked up the show for a seventh season. Catanzaro qualified earlier this week in Dallas for the final round in Las Vegas. That's set to air in August.

For her, being strong enough to effortlessly scale the 14-foot-high curved "warp wall" has meant a lifetime of sacrifice. "I grew up doing gymnastics. It requires discipline, eating right, getting sleep, lots of sacrifice. But the pros outweigh the sacrifice," she said.

Catanzaro said she will submit a new application and video to be considered for next season as she did this year. "But I'm pretty sure they'll let me back in," she said.

As for plans beyond next year, she said, she wants to spread the word about the benefits of fitness.

"It's nice to look good and have a great body, but you enjoy your life so much more if you are fit," she said. "That is the message I definitely want to get out."

The former collegiate gymnast said she hopes to become a motivational speaker in schools to encourage young people.

For now, Catanzaro and her boyfriend Brent Steffensen — who is also one of the star contestants in the show — are part of the traveling obstacle course Alpha Warrior, which visits cities across the U.S.

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