By Fitness Editor Paula Jager, CSCS
Feb. 2011: 15 pounds overweight
Paula: “Honey, do these pants make my butt look big?” I asked my husband Rick.
Rick: “Sweetheart, how could your butt possibly look big, it’s all muscle!”
June 2011: Excess weight gone
Rick: “Sweetheart you look so good in those shorts and you look so fit. You were really putting it on a few months ago and it all goes to your butt—just like your mother.”
Wait a minute! Was that a compliment or an insult?
Let’s face it. When it comes to his lady’s appearance, a guy will frequently shade the truth to save his skin.
I asked several male clients recently if their wife/girlfriend held up a picture of a heavy woman and a fit woman and asked which looked better.
100% percent said they would say they would pick the picture of the woman that most closely resembled their wife/girlfriend.
Even if it wasn’t true I asked?
“Absolutely”, said one client that wishes to remain anonymous, “I will lie through my teeth. I don’t want to sleep on the couch.”
Appearance does not make a person. I am in no way, shape or form saying it is the most important aspect of an individual but this post is about fitness and exercise and the best ways to tone and tighten the backside with an overall improved appearance is usually a part of most people’s goals.
People come in many shapes and sizes but the one thing the ladies in the above picture have in common is the fact that their butts are fit!
They move them on a daily basis rather than just sitting on them; they run, they jump and they lift weights. I have a bubble butt; I had a bubble butt back in 1966. I remember when I got my first pair of hip huggers. The sales lady, Paula Walla (that was really her name) at Joseph Horne Co. told my parents “she certainly has the shape for them”.
I was only 6 years old—a tiny little thing but it was prominent even then! Some of us have flat butts, wide butts or no butts. We all have a basic genetic shape; it’s what you are born with, you can greatly improve upon it but you cannot change it.
Take my bubble butt for example: by gorging on the wrong foods or having a mouth like a vacuum cleaner my bubble grows. Without exercise my bubble sags. But with the right exercises and the proper nutrition my bubble sits high and lean. And the right exercise and proper nutrition makes me feel good inside as well. You cannot separate the body and mind.
Here are some guidelines for bringing out the best for your backside no matter the shape. . .
Walking/Pilates/Yoga: if you are doing nothing else this is an excellent way to begin to tone the body as well as the posterior. Squeeze your butt muscles while you are walking and learn to feel them. Move on to more strenuous activities when this is no longer challenging enough or your results plateau.
Running: excellent to melt fat off but too much will give the appearance of skinny fat especially if no strength training accompanies it. Best for those with more to lose.
Sprinting: ever see a sprinter’s backside? Need I say more? Wind sprints work for everyone.
Weight training: Squats, lunges, step ups, deadlifts. Nothing and I mean nothing will develop, shape and tone the butt muscles better than deep squats and lunges with added resistance. Good for everyone.
Plyometrics: box jumps, squat jumps, split jumps and stair climbing will also improve your posterior in a hurry.
Mix and match the above exercises into different combos depending on your specific goals, genetics, fitness level and experience and also to keep things fun and interesting.
Exercise need not be boring!
Accompany your chosen fitness routine with clean nutrition and you will have your derrière looking its best come summer—plenty of curves without a lot of fat!
*In case you’re wondering, I’m the one with the yellow shirt.
Paula Jager CSCS and Level 1 CrossFit and CF Nutrition Certified is the owner of CrossFit Jaguar in Tampa, FL