Former Gymnast Becomes First Woman Ever to Qualify For 'American Ninja Warrior' Finals

RELATED

25 Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

The Best Boot Camp Workout

11 Moves to Get Strong, Toned Arms

If you’ve never seen NBC’s freakishly difficult competition show American Ninja Warrior, here’s a reason to start watching.

On Monday, 24-year-old Kacy Catanzaro became the first woman ever to reach the show’s finals. (Watch her completely destroy the 10-obstacle course in the video above.) In the show’s six seasons, even Olympians and NFL players have tried—and failed—to advance to the finals. Catanzaro’s own coach and boyfriend Brent Steffensen couldn’t complete the qualifying course in May, even though he’s a veteran ANW competitor.

Catanzaro, a former Division 1 gymnast at Towson University, is 5 feet tall and weighs all of 100 pounds. It’s no wonder the hashtag #mightykacy trended worldwide on Twitter.

The New Jersey native is getting familiar with setting records. At the ANW qualifying rounds in May, she became the first woman to scale the 17-foot quarter-pipe called the Warped Wall. Here’s a GIF of her doing just that as she completed her first historic run.

Vulture interviewed Catanzaro about her workout routine and she says she and Steffensen do body weight exercises and circuit training four to six days a week, plus, she says: “we’ll always try and do obstacles at night for a couple hours.” Dang.

Catanzaro will compete in the ANW finals in Las Vegas, which will air in September on NBC.

Tour de France Riders Burn HOW Many Calories?!

RELATED

Bike Your Way to a Better Body

10 Bike Races for a Good Cause

How to Start Biking

The Tour de France kicked off on Saturday and if you haven’t seen parts of the race before, it’s a heck of a test of endurance, speed, and tenacity. The world’s top professional cyclists have spent years preparing to compete in the event, which is the most prestigious stage race in cycling.

The riders will cover 2,277 miles in 21 stages over 23 days (yes, that’s a measly two rest days) and—get this—they’ll burn a combined 19.8 million calories by the end of the Tour. That’s a whopping 100,000 calories per rider. (Check out the video above to learn more crazy stats about the Tour de France, and head over to Time.com to learn more about the race, including where to watch it.)

But you don’t need to own an expensive bike or go on a multi-day pedaling marathon to get the fat-melting, muscle-sculpting benefits of cycling. Mere mortals can still torch 500 calories per hour, all while boosting aerobic strength without impact on your joints. Learn how to fix your biking form and try these 3 exercises for cyclists that will improve your ability and help you get more from your ride.

Move of the Week: V

You don’t have to do crunches to get a flat, toned stomach. Fitness expert Kristin McGee demonstrates a different body weight exercise that’ll get the job done in the video above.

Here’s how to do it: Lie on your back with your legs together, feet pointed, and arms resting on the ground overhead. Engage your abs as you bring your legs and arms up toward each other in front of you and try to touch your toes. Try to keep your back as straight as possible. Hold for a count of one, then return to the starting position.

Try this move: V-Up

 

7 Ways to Do Push

When it comes to push-ups, there are countless variations that can be done. From strengthening your upper body and core to your glutes and legs, push-ups seem to be the go-to body weight exercise for men and women alike. But no matter which variation you’re doing, form is the most important thing to focus on. Since push-ups require strength in every area of your body, it’s harder to compensate by relying on another body part to take over—you have to be solid throughout. To put it plainly, it would be better to complete 10 spectacular push-ups than to aim for 15 and do the last 5 with poor form.

Once you’ve mastered the standard push-up, try switching it up with a few new variations. There are countless options, but here are 5 ideas to amp up this move (and one to modify it). Pick one to try and do 10-15 reps or as many as you can while maintaining good form.

Standard Push-Up

Get yourself in a high plank position with your hands underneath your shoulders, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep the heels lifted and the toes grounded into the floor. Think of squeezing the abs, pulling your navel in toward your spine and pushing your upper body away from your wrists so you don’t sink into your back. Inhale and begin to lower the body by bending the elbows until the collarbone almost touches the floor. Aside from your elbows, your body should remain straight the entire time. Keeping your core engaged, exhale as you press your arms back up to the starting position.

RELATED: How to Do the Perfect Push-Up

Modified Push-Up With Bent Knee

These push-ups are great for beginners to practice proper form before graduating to other variations. They also help target your core a bit more, because you don’t have the strength of your legs to hold you up. Kneel down (with a towel or mat under your knees if desired), place your hands directly under your shoulders, knees extended out to a modified plank position. Lower to the ground and press back up with the same technique as a standard push-up.

RELATED: 20 Ways to Do a Plank

Spiderman Push-Up

This one targets the core and the obliques specifically. Do a standard push-up but as you bend the elbows, bring your right knee into your right elbow, actively squeezing your stomach muscles. Then, press your arms straight as you return your leg back to plank position. Switch legs with each rep.

RELATED: 10 Minutes to a Sculpted Stomach

Decline Push-Up

This version intensifies the effort on the upper body and core through gravity alone. Just like it sounds, you’ll perform a normal push-up, but elevate your feet on a stable platform like a box, bench, or chair. The higher the platform, the more you’ll work your shoulders, chest, core, and the muscles that connect your neck, middle back, and shoulders.

RELATED: 11 Exercises That Build Muscle Without Bulk

Clap Push-Up

This exercise isn’t for the push-up rookie: it’s all about plyometrics, meaning the muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time. Perform a standard push-up. When the arms start to extend straight, exhale and lift the hands off the ground, clap, then return to the floor. The fast jolting force of the clap push-up will help you develop explosive power while working the chest and getting the heart rate elevated, too.

RELATED: 4 Fat-Blasting Plyometric Exercises

Wide-Grip Push-Up

This variation focuses mostly on the muscles of the chest. Starting in a standard push-up position, walk your hands out much wider than shoulder distance apart. This position will force your chest to pick up the brunt of the work from your triceps and shoulders.

RELATED: 10 Minute Workout: Get Toned From Head to Toe

Triceps Push-Up

Just like its name suggests, this variation focuses primarily on the triceps. Get into a standard push-up position. Instead of walking your hands wider apart, bring your hands closer together so that they’re slightly less than shoulder-width apart. When you lower down to the ground, think of squeezing your elbows against your ribs as tight as you can and then press your arms straight, returning to the starting position.

RELATED: Triceps Extension + Rhomboid Pulse

For more body weight exercises, check out A 7-Minute Workout To Build Definition And Strength.

Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, entrepreneur, and best-selling author of the new book, Strong is the New Skinny. With her signature, straight-talking approach to wellness, Jennifer was the featured trainer on The CW’s Shedding for the Wedding, mentoring the contestants to lose hundreds of pounds before their big day, and she appears regularly on NBC’s Today Show, Extra, The Doctors, and Good Morning America. Connect with Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and on Pinterest.

This New Nike Collaboration Turns Athleisure Wear Into Pure Art

Nike may have started out as a mere running brand 51 years ago, but thanks to collaborations with such high-fashion designers as Riccardo Tisci, Johanna Schneider, and Errolson Hugh, it seems the athletic brand has its sights on a more fashion-forward vision. And the NikeLab x sacai spring 2015 collaboration is further proof of this.

At the helm of the collaboration is Chitose Abe, who was charged with re-imagining beloved Nike staples such as sweat pants, hoodies, and socks. And she does just that, as the 8-piece collection sports some serious femme flair, without sacrificing the company’s “just do it” functionality.

“I’ve always been inspired by classics,” Abe said in a statement on Nike.com. “Working with traditional silhouettes and ideas that often come from utility or performance-based sportswear, I’m interested in creating new hybrids that combine different fabrics and shapes to create an unexpected yet wearable result.”

A bold expression of Abe’s edgy style, her silhouettes feature poppy colors and fluid fabrics that celebrate unhampered movement. There’s a skirt with green pleating shooting from the back, a hoodie with a rear peplum, socks with fishnet detailing along the back and more—proving that the future of fitness apparel is looking pretty bright.

And what Nike collection would be complete without a pair of cool kicks? The Japanese designer’s version is a reincarnation of the Air Max 90 in a stylish slip-on, and it’s a thing of beauty.

We’ve picked out a few of our favorite pieces that are sure to up your cool points, whether you’re milling (or, in this case, swooshing) about town or on the treadmill.

NikeLab x sacai Sport Skirt

($250, nike.com)

RELATED: 3 Tricks to Help Your Hair Look Amazing After a Workout

NikeLab x sacai Tech Fleece Crew Sweatshirt

($250, nike.com)

Photo: Nike

RELATED: 5 Maximalist Running Shoes to Try

NikeLab x sacai Windrunner Jacket

($350, nike.com)

Photo: Nike

RELATED: 6 Great Running Jackets for Spring

NikeLab x sacai Tech Fleece dress

($300, nike.com)

Photo: Nike

RELATED: 7 Compression Socks That Help Take the Load Off Your Legs

NikeLab x sacai Air Max 90

($175, nike.com)

RELATED: 7 Cute Running Shoes for Spring

5 Moves for Slim, Toned Thighs

Spring and summer staples are short shorts, bathing suits, and slim thighs. Ditch the sweatpants and get ready to show off those gorgeous gams just in time for spring with this 5-minute, five-move quickie workout. Be sure to keep moving the whole five minutes without rest to ensure you get your heart rate fired up in addition to those burning thighs.

Adding this targeted routine to your regular workout a few times a week will definitely make you want to show off your legs when those summer months hit.

Sumo Squat With Side Arm Raises

The Sumo Squat (also known as the plié squat) is a great one for toning all areas of the thighs. Make sure to really focus on and squeeze those inner thighs and glutes to keep the dominant quad muscles from taking over. Light dumbbells for the arm raises are optional, as this is mostly a leg exercise. But, we say why not make it a full-body move?

How to do it: Stand with your legs wide and your toes pointed slightly outward, so both of your hips are in an external rotated position. Arms should start down by your sides (light dumbbells optional). Bend your knees until they’re directly over your ankles as you raise your arms to the sides, just below shoulder height (shown). Then, straighten your legs and lower your arms simultaneously. That’s one rep. Keep going for 50 seconds and the last 10 seconds hold the hips down and pulse up and down to complete one full minute. Tip: Try to get your hips as low as you can when you bend your knees so that your thighs are parallel to the ground.

RELATED: 18 Moves to Tone Your Butt, Thighs, and Legs

Side Lunge to Curtsy

The side lunge is a great all over thigh toner, and an adding curtsy to really fire those outer abductors of the hip, aka the muscles that lift your booty up. Add a few dumbbell curls for an added challenge, or just stick to the lower half.

How to do it: Holding a five to 10 pound weight in your right hand (optional), lunge your left leg out to the side, bringing your right hand to your left foot. Lower your butt as much as possible and sink into your heels to feel your backside working. Slowly push off your left foot and cross your left leg behind your right as you press the weight overhead. That’s one rep. Repeat by immediately stepping out to your side lunge again. Do as many as you can in 30 seconds and then switch to the other side.

RELATED: 10 Minute Workout: Get Toned From Head to Toe

Bridge With Squeeze

You may be familiar with a basic bridge to work the back of the legs. But adding a ball, Pilates ring, or even a towel can help tone the inner thighs as well.

How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet hip-width apart. Place the towel between your knees. With your arms long by your sides, push your hips up into a bridge position, hold for 2 counts, and then lower your hips down one vertebrae at a time until your tailbone comes back to the ground. Go for a full minute, and the last 10 seconds keep your hips up and do tiny pulses of the towel to really fire up the inner thighs.

RELATED: The Better-Butt Workout

Clam With Toe Touch

The clam is a great exercise to isolate the abductors of the hip, or the muscles surrounding the outer thighs. Here we added a modified side plank to work the waist, too, but if that’s too much, you can always just lie on your side.

How to do it: Lie on your right side, propping your torso up with your right elbow directly below your shoulder and your left hand resting on your hip. (Or lie with your right side on the ground.) You knees and feet should be together. Lift your top knee up toward the ceiling and then rotate it down to touch the other knee again. That’s one rep. Do as many reps as you can for 30 seconds and then switch sides.

RELATED: 4 Moves to Perk Up a Flat Butt

Kneel to Squat

Your thigh workout would not be complete without a little booty work, and the squat is arguably one of the best butt blasters out there. Adding a kneel mimics the motion of a step-up without the added props.

How to do it: Begin in a half kneeling position, with your right knee up and left knee on the ground. Your hands can remain on your hips or lower back the entire time. Shift your weight into your right leg and press up so both legs are bent and form a squat position. Hold for one count and then bring your right leg down to a kneeling position. That’s one rep. Continue alternating and do as many as you can in 60 seconds.

RELATED: How to Do the Perfect Squat

Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, entrepreneur, and best-selling author of the new book, Strong is the New Skinny. With her signature, straight-talking approach to wellness, Jennifer was the featured trainer on The CW’s Shedding for the Wedding, mentoring the contestants to lose hundreds of pounds before their big day, and she appears regularly on NBC’s Today Show, Extra, The Doctors, and Good Morning America. Connect with Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and on Pinterest.

The Pros and Cons of Running on the Treadmill

Is it better to run on a treadmill or outside on the pavement? It’s an age-old question and the truth is there are pros and cons to both. There are definitely some types of workouts you can do better or more efficiently on a treadmill. However, running on a ‘mill can create that aimless, never-ending ‘hamster wheel’ feeling for some. It depends on your goals, injury history, and preference, too.

Here are 6 pros and cons to running on a treadmill versus running outside on the pavement or trail.

Pro: The difficulty level is the same

The question of difficulty level always arises when it comes to running indoors versus out. People assume that running outside is empirically harder than logging miles inside on a treadmill. However, research has proven that setting the treadmill to a 1% incline accurately reflects the same energy costs of running outdoors. So, it’s just as effective as long as you add a little incline.

RELATED: 15 Running Tips You Need to Know

Pro: It’s easier on your joints

The smooth, cushioned belt is more forgiving than hard pavement or cement. Running on a treadmill can help reduce some of the impact on the joints and the body as a whole. This can be especially helpful when rehabbing or coming back from an injury. Make sure you ease your way back to the road following an injury by alternating treadmill and outdoor runs a few times a week, instead of going cold turkey.

RELATED: 7 Running Injuries and How to Avoid Them

Pro: You can simulate race environments

Many of the more advanced treadmills allow you to create your own unique course profile, which you can use to simulate the exact course you’re training for. Even if you’re not training for a race, you can switch up your workout by choosing a certain trail or terrain from around the world, depending on the options, to make you feel as though you’re half a world away. You also have no worries of weather, temperature, or terrain issues while running on a treadmill, which can mean everything if you live in a very cold or wet part of the country.

RELATED: 7 Ways to Make Your Treadmill Runs More Effective

Con: You could lose your agility

Although the treadmill might provide your joints with more cushion, you don’t get the added benefit of running on uneven terrain or pavement. Even if the ground outside might feel flat to you, it never truly is. Therefore, your foot and leg muscles are constantly making small adjustments to adapt to the changing surfaces. These adjustments are great for coordination and balance and will help improve your ability to do everyday things. While treadmill running can help improve your overall fitness, it won’t mimic the real-life situations that are simulated through running outdoors.

RELATED: Here’s How Much Running Is Healthiest for You, According to One Study

Con: You don’t work as many muscles

Because there is a machine powering the belt, the muscle mechanics differ when you run on the treadmill. Outside, you typically rely on your hamstrings to finish the stride cycle and lift your legs behind you, almost kicking your butt. But on a treadmill, the propulsion of the belt does much of that work for you. You use your quads to push off, but your hamstrings aren’t firing as much as they would if you were running outdoors. If you’re only running on the treadmill, be sure that you’re also doing cross training to work the muscles on the back of your legs, including your hamstrings and glutes.

RELATED: 10 Exercise Cheats That Blow Your Calorie Burn

Con: It’s boring

There are no two ways about it: Running inside is boring. Even if you have the best playlist or you’re watching TV, it’s just too easy to look at that clock directly in front of you—and see that only 30 seconds have passed since the last time you checked it. (You can try covering the display with a towel to keep that clock out of sight). When running outside, the time naturally seems to move faster because you are literally covering more ground. Plus, you set a literal finish line for your run and see it getting closer and closer as you approach it. This provides you with a more natural sense of distance and will give you that extra push to finish strong when you feel like giving up.

For cross-training ideas, check out 5 Fitness Trends That Are Having A Moment.

Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, entrepreneur, and best-selling author of the new book, Strong is the New Skinny. With her signature, straight-talking approach to wellness, Jennifer was the featured trainer on The CW’s Shedding for the Wedding, mentoring the contestants to lose hundreds of pounds before their big day, and she appears regularly on NBC’s Today Show, Extra, The Doctors, and Good Morning America. Connect with Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and on Pinterest.

This Video Perfectly Captures the Insecure Thoughts You've Had While Working Out

Self-doubt: we all have it. And a lot of times, it rears its ugly head while we’re trying to sweat through a super tough workout. You know, you find yourself struggling in tree pose or behind the most athletic person in the world during your Wednesday night kickboxing class, and that’s when those negative thoughts pop into your head. The result: You question every. single. move.

Enter Nike. The sneaker and apparel powerhouse recently launched its #betterforit campaign, which encourages women to embrace their individual active journeys, even if they’re just starting out, and push past their fitness comfort zones, because you’ll definitely be better for it in the long run.

RELATED: 6 Ways to Be a More Confident Runner

As part of this call to action, Nike has developed a series of film shorts. One in particular, “Inner Thoughts,” speaks directly to our internal Debbie Downer, highlighting a variety of women revealing what exactly goes through their minds when they’re challenged physically, as well as the path that takes them from doubting their abilities to conquering it all.

In addition to these motivating ads, Nike has also created the “N+TC 90-Day Better For It Challenge”, which combines workouts from its two popular apps, Nike+ Training Club and Nike+ Running, into a training regimen designed to help participants reach their fitness goals faster.

Looks like Nike nailed this one, per usual. Does anyone else feel like heading to the gym right now?

RELATED: 4 Reasons Women Shouldn’t Fear the Weight Room

Do This Yoga Pose to Make Cellulite Disappear

Don’t like the look of those little bumps? Discover the easy sequence that will send them packing.

Even if you work out, you’re probably still dealing with some dimpling on your thighs and butt. Cellulite is actually fat, a kind that lies right beneath the skin. And as the fat pushes against connective tissue, it makes the skin above it pucker and appear bumpy.

The good news is that this fat isn’t as harmful as the type that surrounds our internal organs. Yet we could still stand to see less of it. The best way is to tighten and tone the muscles in our hips, butt, and thighs to diminish the appearance of cellulite.

RELATED:Â Fight Cellulite Fast with Yoga

My go-to for this is Dancing Shiva. Most dancers have amazing muscle tone in their hips, butt, and thighs—I can’t imagine that there’s much cellulite there! To make the pose even more effective, I’ve added an extra leg and butt sculpting move to do before going into it. Complete the routine every day and you’ll start summer on a much firmer foundation.

Photo: Alex Beauchesne

How to do it:

1. Start by standing on both feet. Place your hands on your hips for support as you lift your right leg in the air behind you with the knee bent. Keep your hips facing forward and your tailbone tucked under as you press your heel toward the ceiling, pulsing the leg for 20 reps.

RELATED:Â 6 Fast Cellulite Fighters

2. After the last rep, hold your leg up and reach back with your right hand to grasp your right ankle. Engaging the area where your hamstring meets your buttocks muscle, bring your leg upward while tilting your torso slightly forward, lifting your chest to the ceiling and raising your left arm. Keep your abdominals engaged and hold for 5 to 8 breaths.

3. Release the ankle and repeat the pulses and dancer’s pose on the opposite side, then do the entire sequence on both legs again.

Trainer Tip:Â You’ll feel it in the leg you’re pulsing and the one you’re standing on.

RELATED:Â 15 Myths and Facts About Cellulite

Kristin McGee is a leading yoga and Pilates instructor and healthy lifestyle expert based in New York City. She is an ACE certified personal trainer who regularly trains celebrity clients in New York and Los Angeles. She serves as Health’s contributing fitness editor and is frequently seen on national TV. Her latest in a large collection of fitness DVDs is YogaSlim. Follow her on Twitter @KristinMcGee and like her page on Facebook.

Move of the Week: Curtsy Lunge

Want to sculpt your butt? Try this very proper-sounding exercise that will give your glutes a respectable workout. It’s part of a four-move routine from fitness expert Kristin McGee that can help perk up a flat butt.

Here’s how to do it: Start by standing with your feet together. Step your left foot behind your right leg, and at the same time, drop your right knee into a lunge position as if you’re doing a curtsy. Press through both feet to return to the starting position, then repeat the move on the other side, stepping your right foot behind your left.

That’s one rep. Continue alternating for 10 reps.

Try this move: Curtsy Lunge