More from Northern Virginia

In 2015, Casey Passafaro was training for American Ninja Warrior, an extreme obstacle competition and television show, out of her living room.

“I couldn’t find anywhere to train and I wanted to get on the show,” said Passafaro, who opened her gym, NoVa Ninja, on January 1 of 2016. 

She’s since competed on the show twice, and trained her 14-year-old student to his spot on American Ninja Warrior Junior.

“I think at this point now one of the things I can offer people is a little bit of insight into what [the producers] are looking for,” said Passafaro.

Max Feinberg joined the gym a year and a half ago after watching Passafaro compete in Daytona, Ca. “When I was younger I played a lot of soccer, I tried basketball for a bit,” said Feinberg, “but I just didn’t really like the competitiveness.”

From the television screen, American Ninja Warrior looks like fierce competition. Passafaro and Feinberg say rather than competitors, their fellow Ninjas are their friends.

“It’s really a bunch of friends coming together, pushing each other, having a lot of friendly competition, and just everyone getting better together,” said Feinberg.

Feinberg competed back in July. The episode airs on December 8, and until then, he has to keep his lips sealed on his performance.

“It has been so hard to keep it a secret,” said Feinberg, “but one more week.”