As a Winston-Salem native, world acclaimed professional photographer and athlete, Neil Craver grew up enjoying the physical challenges his North Carolina home provided with rock climbing, bouldering and biking. Now Neil pushes his athletic skills to a new level as he competes on a national stage as a ninja warrior and inspires millions to follow their dreams.

Everyone has their gold lamé. And either you’re gonna put it on, or you’re just going to keep it sitting on the shelf over there. . .I definitely want to put mine on now. {Neil Craver, Ninja Warrior}

Neil Craver gets bored easily with routine. He likes to keep things interesting, and challenging, to say the least.

“I’m a grown up big kid. I’m still out in the woods having fun, and playing in the creeks and running up the mountains and jumping on the trees and climbing up the rocks,” Craver said. “Not much has changed.”

He left out running through fire, and climbing up a salmon ladder (where you hold a bar and use it to jump from one level to the next), which is also set ablaze. These are some of the activities he performed in his audition video to become a Ninja Warrior, on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior. He made it, and you can watch him power his way through obstacles Monday nights at 8/7c.

Being an American Ninja Warrior is a passion for Craver. At his home in Winston-Salem, he spends time working out on his very own ninja gym that he built himself in his backyard. “Train ordinary, be ordinary,” Craver said. But by day, he’s a professional photographer, doing mostly commercial shoots in the area.

Craver’s gone on somewhat of a journey to finding his niche in extreme, gymnastic-like sports.

“As a child a lot of times I felt like I didn’t fit in, I didn’t have anybody to talk to. So it kind of made me go internal and made me a little bit shy,” he said. “And I think as an older adult I kind of found my place or found my avenue where all my friends have these similar aspects of what they want to do. They’re very driven by their athleticism or their diet or their training.”

Now, he feels that he has the perfect platform to allow his true personality to shine through.

“Ninja Warrior gave me this platform to perform and be who I am and really showcase my talents, and more than that just showcase my character and just showcase my exhilaration that I have towards life itself,” Craver said. “Just every activity that I do, I’m just having a blast. Everything I do.”

Craver stands out among his fellow ninja warriors. Chances are you’ll be able to pick him out of the crowd by his signature gold lamé: a fabric used throughout his Ninja Warrior wardrobe. It’s more than an outfit, it’s a part of his personality and a symbol of his champion outlook.

“Everyone has their gold lamé. And either you’re going to put it on or your just going to keep it sitting on the shelf over there, and you know it might sit over there till you know you’re too old, or you’re dead,” Craver said. “I definitely want to put mine on now.”

Check out a behind the scenes extra of Neil Craver on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior website, and tune in Mondays at 8/7c on NBC.