As one of the stars of TV’s hugely popular Australian Ninja Warrior, Dr Espen Hjalmby tackles seemingly impossible obstacles without fear or hesitation.
And now the inspirational Queensland- based chiropractor, yoga teacher and health guru is readying himself for a new adventure – and it’s a truly joyous one. Espen and his health coach partner Rebecca are expecting their first child in early September.
‘We’re having a boy,’ reveals the over-the-moon dad-to-be.
The warrior met Rebecca on the Gold Coast a year ago – and it seems he fell head over heels from the get-go. ‘She was there on Ninja Island when I was filming series two of the show,’ says the 35-year-old Ninja.
What sort of dad does Espen believe he’ll be?
‘Fun, open-hearted and somewhat strict,’ he smiles. ‘I’m looking forward to teaching him things, and to all the things that having a child can teach me as well.
‘Being a Ninja is very much like being a child,’ Espen adds with a laugh.
While he brims with positivity and a can-do attitude, Norwegian-born Espen knows better than anyone just how tough life can be.
In 2006, Espen broke both legs in a horrific motorbike accident, only to develop a life- threatening infection in hospital.
‘That infection almost killed me twice,’ he reveals. ‘It shaped character and allowed me to appreciate life even more.’
Meanwhile, Espen jumped at the chance to return for season two of the super-charged series.
‘One of the reasons Ninja Warrior asked me to come back two seasons in a row is that I truly believe every person on this planet will experience challenges and that it’s not those challenges that define us, but how we respond to them,’ he says.
Read more in this week's issue of New Idea, on sale now.