Never underestimate the location of an epiphany. For Brant Axt, recognizing and accepting his anorexia came about when he realized that his personal definition of an athlete as someone who is extremely skinny and sleek, wasn’t matching up with the strong and capable body warriors he most admired. Most particularly the diverse group of competitors on American Ninja Warrior.
At 5 feet 8 inches and 90 pounds in middle school, Brant wore baggy clothes to cover up his extremely thin frame. Attempting to reach what he perceived as an ideal physique, he began to restrict his caloric intake, while at the same time over exercising. He didn’t recognize these as symptoms of anorexia, or even have that word in his vocabulary. Only in retrospect did he recognize the damage he was doing to his body. Brant isn’t alone. Male anorexia has been identified among many driven young athletes, particularly those participating in sports such as gymnastics and competitive swimming.
Brant was lucky. In a modern world where advertising tends to promote negative body images, Brant came across the television program American Ninja Warrior. “They came from all walks of life, and in all sorts of body shapes,” explained Brant. And this simple epiphany allowed him to recognize his anorexia, and that he needed help to regain his mental and physical health. He began changing how he ate and worked out, and began to gain weight, 60 pounds in six months.
Brant began training with the goal of trying out for American Ninja Warrior. Because he attributes the show with changing his life, and allowing him seek help for anorexia, Brant Axt was drawn to becoming a warrior himself. The 21 year old University of Minnesota mechanical engineering major has made it into the qualifying rounds of American Ninja Warrior. As of June 9th, he’s on his way to reaching his goal, and openly shares about his recovery from anorexia during interviews. Strong, positive, joyful. That pretty much sums up Brant Axt.