Podcast guest Mike Cannon is competing on season 2 of NBC's Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge as a member of Team Showtime alongside Yurel Echezarreta, Katie Huber, Heather Tepe & Samantha Zack. We asked him how performing as a Broadway ensemblist helped him prepare for this challenge:
"I had initially received a call from the show to be on a team of dancers to compete. They had seen my audition video for Ninja Warrior. I asked who the other dancers were, and they said they had a few in their files. Then I said, "Well, I think I can put one hell of a team together from my friends on Broadway." They said, "You have four days." So, I Facebook- blasted and got a bunch of responses from dancers who love competing and love working out. After a few weeks, they called and said we were on the show and would leave in three weeks!!!!"
"We were all in shape, but we knew we would need to work as a team for the show. So the next day we got together to work out. First, we ran the West Side Highway together with weighted back packs. One day, we took a CrossFit-style class. Then, we went to Central Park and did some trail running and bodyweight exercises on whatever we could find. We were actually doing pull-ups on trees using gym towels. It actually might be illegal to climb the trees there, but we were fast so we didn't get caught. Luckily, I also found an amazing gym called Obstacle Athletics in Deer Park. They specialize in these kinds of races. The owner gave us workouts and taught us specific techniques. He was impressed by our stamina, our agility and, of course, our flexibility. It was good to use equipment that simulated what we might see on the show. Also, we really came together as a team there. Carrying a 200lb tire together while running will bring you close!"
"I definitely think the core strength and athleticism that we have as dancers helped us tremendously on the show. However, that competition pushed us further then we thought we could go. I've never been more exhausted or worked harder in my life. The only reason I kept going was because I had four other amazing teammates that needed me. I was so proud of what we accomplished. We set out to prove to ourselves and the world that dancers are amazing athletes, and I definitely think we did just that."
Season two of Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge premieres on NBC on Monday, June 12.