Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Pittsburgh Teacher by Day, American Ninja Warrior by Night

Elementary school teacher Mike Shuck gets a chance to test his toughness on NBC's reality competition series.

photos by Ashley Boynes-Shuck


“Hi, my name’s Mike Shuck. I’m a 33-year-old elementary school teacher from Pittsburgh, PA.”

Those are the simple opening words of an audition tape for a much bigger opportunity. Shuck, a Green Tree resident, has been selected to be on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior, a competition that tests one’s physical and mental strength by completing a series of obstacles that increase in difficulty. 

A full-time 5th grade teacher at Aiken Elementary in the Keystone Oaks School District — and a part-time personal trainer and instructor at Pittsburgh Kettlebell and Performance — Shuck always has turned to physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle as a way to relieve stress and to continue to better himself. 

Other than testing his own limits and reaching his own goals, Shuck says he wanted to audition for American Ninja Warrior as a way to inspire his students to lead a healthy lifestyle into adulthood. He believes that if his students see an adult being physically active, they’ll view their goals as more achievable. Some of Shuck's students also can be seen in his audition tape, and others participate in his kettlebell class.

"I want my students to see that hard work and dedication can help them to reach their goals," he says. "Anyone, even an average person or someone who at times feels like an underdog, can achieve their dreams if they find something that they are passionate about and stick to it."

Shuck keeps a varying workout routine, incorporating kettlebell training, high-intensity interval training, weightlifting, running and other unconventional training methods. He also prepared and built his own American Ninja Warrior obstacle courses and equipment to further his practice. 

Raised in South Fayette, Shuck — who has a degree in elementary education from Duquesne University a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Gannon University — says he values grit, hard work, humility and determination as the embodiment of Pittsburgh. He is honored to represent his city, he says.

"It would be nice to bring a sense of hometown pride," he says. "I want people to know that I love my city and I want to represent my city well. I want people to be able to come together and rally behind me."

Shuck traveled to Philadelphia late last month to participate in the competition. His episode of American Ninja Warrior is scheduled to air on June 27. 

Below is the audition video that earned him a spot on the show. 


Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Cure in Upper Lawrenceville Is Closing

Justin Severino and Hilary Prescott Severino's restaurant garnered significant national and local praise during its seven-year run.

Steelers' GM Kevin Colbert Clears the Air on Big Ben

As a franchise QB with Hall-of-Fame credentials and as the only player in the locker room that’s actually won a Super Bowl in a Steelers’ uniform, Roethlisberger is perfectly positioned, Colbert insists, to run the show.

Impossible Burger 2.0 Comes to Pittsburgh

The plant-based meat alternative from Impossible Foods is a significant improvement on its initial offering.

Our Full 2019 Oscar Predictions

Somewhere beneath all the headlines and controversies, there are actual awards to hand out.

The 400-Word Review: Fighting With my Family

The rags-to-riches tale is an easy winner, when it's not a straight-up ad for WWE.

Pittsburgh's New Airport Design: What It Means for Travelers

A key goal of the new terminal at Pittsburgh International is to get passengers to their planes faster.

Defy Winter: 7 Great Ways to Get Moving in March

With spring (hopefully) right around the corner, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy gears up for a month of nature-centered activities.

Now Open Downtown: Magic Done Right

Liberty Magic, the new venue in the Cultural District, is all about perfect presentation.

The 400-Word Review: Paddleton

The Ray Romano/Mark Duplass dramedy is heartbreaking, but absolutely worth watching.

Perspectives: ‘He Wants to Talk to Ms. Betty’

An encounter at a healing garden in Larimer leads the writer to reflect on his own connection to others.

Astroid Brings Dialed-In Coffee to the South Side

Manager Emerson Graham's detailed approach to crafting a beverage makes for a tasty experience.

Watch: The First Episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

The landmark childrens television series was first broadcast 51 years ago this week.

Sweet Designs: Our Cookie Table Contest Winner and Runners-Up

These Pittsburgh couples certainly know how to bring the cookie table tradition to life.

Skip the Gift at this Wedding at the Carnegie Museum of Art

In a romantic twist on its Third Thursday events, the Carnegie Museum of Art is throwing a wedding this week, and everyone in Pittsburgh is invited.

See What Piece of Pittsburgh is Going to the Moon

Of all of the items proposed, this one earned the most votes.