HOUSTON - Burpees, pushups and fitness in general -- you may think that’s all you need to conquer the obstacles of "American Ninja Warrior."
For one of the contestants on Monday, it’s much more than a physical challenge.
“By looking at me, you wouldn’t know that I had brain surgery and I had to relearn walking and that I have a plate and screws in my head,” Charlotte Eccles said.
Yet it’s all true.
While Charlotte is a competitor on "American Ninja Warrior" on Monday, three years ago, a brain tumor had her fighting to do the simplest of tasks.
“I couldn’t get out of my bed to get to a chair. I wasn’t able to walk by myself,” Eccles said. “My tumor was intertwined in three of my cranial nerves, the ones that control hearing, balance and my face.”
Her surgery was successful, but it forced her to undergo years of therapy, something that took an unconventional turn at Iron Sports, a gym near Willowbrook Mall.
“I knew from the minute I walked in that this was going to be the place that I take back what my tumor had stolen from me,” Eccles said.
Known for training ninja warriors, the gym provided a different way to work on hand-eye coordination and balance.
It's also where she met Brandi Monteverde.
“As many mothers do, we put ourselves on the back burner. We’re busy with kids and we don’t make time for ourselves,” Monteverde said.
Inspired by her mother, who died of pancreatic cancer, Monteverde became an instructor at Iron Sports.
Alongside Eccles, she will face NBC’s course for the first time on Monday.
“For me, it’s not about being on the show. For me, it’s about creating a healthy lifestyle to model to my children,” Monteverde said.
“I just want to inspire people and help people find joy in their own journeys,” Eccles said.
Will Monteverde and Eccles conquer the warped wall?
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