BY CAITLIN CARLSON | SHAPE
Though the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants aren’t all about looks (there’s a talent portion to the competition too, okay?), appearance obviously plays into the results pretty heavily. That’s a fact that becomes even more apparent when you look at the rockin’ body of current Miss USA Nia Sanchez (who narrowly missed winning the Miss Universe crown last month).
To get in (literally) kick-butt shape for both pageants, Sanchez did Tae Kwon Do-inspired workouts. “I love the competitive aspect of Tae Kwon Do,” says Sanchez, who started as a kid. “When I first signed up, my dad would have to make me go to class because I was so shy, but once I competed in my first tournament I was hooked—I couldn’t get enough!”
These days, she sticks to workouts more like this one, and aims to hit the gym four to five days per week, mixing in cardio and strength training. And now, she’s sharing how you can get in pageant-ready shape yourself with her Tae Kwon Do-inspired moves.
How It Works: Perform 10 reps of each move (on both sides where necessary), one after the next with little to no rest in between. Rest one minute after completing all the moves. Then, repeat the whole routine twice more for three total sets.
You Will Need: A towel, stability ball
Back Lunge Twist
Works: core, legs, hamstrings
A. Standing with feet 10-12 inches apart, twist a towel and hold it straight out in front of you.
B. Step back with right leg, landing on your toes, front foot flat.
C. Bring right knee down into a lunge. Make sure you are keeping the towel tight by pulling from each end.
D. Keeping your arms extended, turn your torso over your right leg. Return to the starting position, then repeat on the other leg. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps.
Works: core, arms
A. Lie with your upper body on a stability ball with feet shoulder-width apart on the ground. Extend arms straight over your chest and bring hands to meet.
B. With your shoulder blades pressing down on the ball, rotate to one side, bringing your arms with you.
C. Return to the center, then turn to the other side. Return to center. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps.
Push Up with Front Kick
A. Start in a pushup position on all fours with your core engaged.
B. Perform one pushup.
C. Bring right foot on the outside of the right hand.
D. Kick the left leg through and in front of your body, stabilizing yourself with your left hand and bringing right hand up. Return to start. Repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps.
Works: core, legs, and hamstrings
A. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart with arms bent, hands in fists at eye level. Extend your right leg back.
B. Kick your right leg forward and then out to the right in a circular motion.
C. After completing the crescent kick, land in a lunge with your right leg back. Return to the starting position and repeat. Do 10 reps on that side, then repeat on the other side.