Alvina Ng always loved the Ninja Warrior franchise but never imagined she would take on the famed obstacle course known as Mt Midoriyama.
The Auburn Hospital emergency doctor is now the face of the fifth Australian season, featuring on billboards around the country – all because one of the producers noticed her intense upper body workouts on Instagram.
“I grew up watching Ninja Warrior. In the past few years when I was feeling too sluggish to exercise, I would watch a few ninja runs just to feel a bit motivated,” Alvina said on the latest episode of our podcast Western Sydney Health Check.
“So when they asked me I just thought, why not? It was such a blessing to be selected, but I did not expect to be the cover girl so I’m really grateful for that as well.”
Australian Ninja Warrior sees athletes take on a gruelling obstacle course suspended over water, and Alvina explained there’s no chance to practice. Competitors only see the course once and cannot watch anyone else take it on before their attempt.
Alvina’s preparation involved her usual practice of calisthenics – strength training using only your own body weight.
“We’re a very healthy bunch at Auburn Hospital. Sometimes during lunch break we will get a few doctors, nurses and receptionists together for a group workout,” she said.
“I do shift work in emergency and I actually feel more energised after I have done a workout in the morning. It’s a mood booster and an energy booster, and I feel like I’m at my best state when I go into work.”
Alvina also uses her fitness to motivate her patients.
“I’m a strong believer in preventative health. Being active myself helps me to be a role model to my patients,” she said.
“So whenever I advise patients to start exercising or eating healthier to reduce the risk of high blood pressure or cardiovascular diseases, I get to be that role model as well. That motivates me a lot.”
So far just one patient has sheepishly asked if she’s the lady from the Australian Ninja Warrior billboards, but her colleagues are all eagerly anticipating seeing her in action.
Catch Alvina on Channel 9 at 7.30pm on Monday June 28, and hear what it was like behind the scenes on our latest podcast episode.
The episode also features an interview with Paralympic athlete and WSLHD disability workplace coordinator Kate Murdoch.