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American Ninja Warrior How-To With True Warrior Tim Shieff

American Ninja Warrior is a show where contestants perform insanely demanding physical feats, which seem impossible.  And parkour and free running world champion Tim Shieff is all about seemingly impossible physical feats.  Today we get to hear the behind-the-scenes to his many appearances on American Ninja Warrior and how he’s done it all as a vegan athlete. [tweet this]

Timothy “Livewire” Shief is no stranger to impressive displays of physicality. If you missed my first interview with him, you can check it out later to hear how he became a parkour and free running world champion and vegan activist. But today he’s giving us an insider’s look into qualifying for and excelling at the unique challenge of American Ninja Warrior.

Before we jump in, let’s refresh our memories of Tim’s abilities by taking a quick look at his CV in the video above, and a couple choice stills here:

Tim Shieff flip

Tim Shieff Handstand on railing

Tim Shieff One Armed Handstand

Tim Shieff


[I’d hire him.]

Now let’s here from Tim about being an American Ninja Warrior, vegan-style.

For the full interview, please check out the video above, but here are a few choice nuggets:


On training for Ninja Warrior

Tim competed in numerous runs of the Ninja Warrior show including both the U.S. and U.K. editions.  He continues:

“You really have to train specifically ninja warrior type training.  You can’t just be a good free runner.  You have to be very well-rounded athlete and that excites me because it's a new challenge to me you know, you know I’ve done parkour for over ten years.  I’ve achieved everything I kind of wanted to do with that or could see at the time and this is like kind of a side challenge where I can use those skills and then you know find some new challenge in rock climbing and running and bring it all together.”

On his plant-based stamina

“They called me ‘last man standing’.  And that was a really fun experience it's a whole new thing.  I don't put all my eggs in one basket with my training and I did my first marathon the week after Ninja Warrior and then I ran my first 100 kilometer race a month after but it's just fun to have all these different aspects and without this lifestyle, without the vegan diet. … [A]nd I think the biggest key to its anti-inflammatory [effects] because I train so much at the moment if I was to train this frequently and eat meat and food that’s hard to digest.

“Our body has a hierarchy system where if you're eating food that’s hard to digest, the organs [are] struggling with that it sends all the energy to the digestive system and then it doesn't send it to the joints in your skin and your bones where you might need healing from the training you’ve been doing.  … And it’s so hydrating as well, really something you need to do for recovery so then it's not people just think protein, recovery, training and it doesn't work like that at all.”

On his plant-based eating regime

“I try not to be too scientific about it and this is what I’ve learn[ed] to do, I try to eat intuitively.  You eat a high raw, carbs, lots of leafy greens. You look at animals.  Humans aren’t the best athletes on the planet.  We’re adaptable, the most adaptable athletes image, so part of adaptable is using our minds what do I want to be like you know a gorilla, a gazelle eat diets that are like what they're doing and you look at them and they are eating mostly raw lots of green vegetables and fruit. You want to train often you know gorillas don’t warm up before they climb trees they just climb trees.”

On the ethical side of being vegan

“I wasn’t as athletic as I could be until I became vegan and started to understand the diet this way and when you change your diet the challenge for me, because I still smell meat and it smells good to me, but making a choice for the greater good against your desires strengthens you spiritually and mentally [tweet this] and you know when I did that, made that decision was I got mentally a lot stronger like, I went up a level and then when I did the one hundred kilometer race few weeks ago I felt that was my brain going up because you go through a lot of these little challenges you put on yourself when it carries through.”

On his vegan advocacy in Ninja Warrior

“[W]hen you're not a vegan, I remember how I was before, you don’t really think that’s a factor.  You just think oh… it's genetics or training or something and for me it certainly is a factor. I like to speak to them [other Ninja Warriors] about it, I mean it's called Ninja Warrior. For me, the real warriors of the planet are the ones that are defending the innocent, [tweet this] that see the injustice when other people don’t and we try to help bring the masses to understand that problem that keeps perpetuating. So I speak to them and say “Look we're basically warriors. Why are we killing little chickens?  They don’t deserve it. Why are we supporting the death of baby chicks for your omelet like you don't need to do this?” and some of them listen and they may understand.

“There are certainly a few who are vegetarian now but it’s that culture strong man culture, need meat and especially in America.  I find it's one of the most ingrained places where they think they need that.  Yeah, it's a matter of time I like to think that in five to ten years every athlete will be vegan because they’ll understand that primarily you know it's great that you can run a up a wall and swing on a rope and climb a cargo net and that but you know there’s animals getting killed. It’s a matter of life and death for them.  It’s a matter of you getting wet or staying dry or getting a bit fame on T.V. What’s that about when animals are dying for what you know is we you know when you put in perspective that makes no sense any logical, rational human sees that. …

“Someone suggested that I wear like a vegan power tshirt.  I'm not about that in your face vegan, I think.  I'm trying to find my approach on my YouTube channel.  [I'm] 100% all ethical. I’m, ethical before I’m health because what is physical health if you don’t have mental health. [tweet this]  As Gary [Yourofsky] will  point out, but on my channel when you come and you see I’m all about promoting the ethical stance of veganism, but when I am in other people’s realms rounds I just want to be kind of more humble. That’s my approach.”

I hope you enjoyed hearing from Tim on the behind-the scenes of American Ninja Warrior.  Stay tuned to the series for more with him and the vegan athlete series as a whole.  You can find links to Tim’s YouTube channel, website and other social media below to keep up with this impressive antics.

This video was sponsored in part by Cronometer where you can track your fitness and nutrition to ensure ninja-level performance! Use the link in the description or up there to make your own free profile.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Tim’s experience. Are you a Ninja hopeful yourself?  Let me know in the comments!

If you enjoyed this ninja nugget, and share it around to show what vegans can do.  If you’re new here, do hit that big red subscribe button on the right hand side of the screen there for more awesome vegan content every Monday, Wednesday, and some Fridays.  If you want to help support Bite Size Vegan, check out the Nugget Army icon below. Now go live vegan, find your inner ninja, and I’ll see you soon.

See ya next nugget!







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  1. sally anne hubbard on August 31, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Wow, Tim Shieff is wonderful. His interview should be shown to all those people who say a vegan diet is not healthy.

  2. Eric on October 25, 2015 at 2:45 am

    Vegan ultraskater, maybe I’ll be a ninja warrior someday, great video!

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