A taught tummy and full behind comprise the classic hourglass figure that is the trademark of pop culture's hottest celebrities. How do they achieve it? Probably with the assistance of personal trainers and strict meal plans made just for them.
If you're not a celebrity, you can still get the results you want, you just need to commit to the right diet and exercise plan.
Cardio + Strength Training Plan
To lose fat and build muscle, you need a two-part exercise plan including cardio and resistance training. Cardio burns calories and fat, and strength training builds the booty. It also boosts metabolism to burn even more fat.
You don't want to do too much cardio. According to Jacob Wilson, PhD, CSCS, professor and director of the skeletal muscle and sports nutrition laboratory at the Applied Science and Performance Institute in Tampa, Florida, doing a lot of long-duration, steady-state can stunt your muscle gains.
Doing a ton of cardio adds volume to your training program, which makes it hard to recover from the vigorous strength-training sessions necessary for becoming bootylicious. Recovery is key for building muscle.
Workouts of 20 to 30 minutes are best. That is the duration associated with the smallest loss in muscle mass. However, for these short workouts, you have to up the intensity. Dr. Wilson's research found sprints not only don't break down muscle, but they can also build it!
Interval training is a great time-saving cardio workout that consists of periods of all-out effort alternated with periods of recovery at an easy pace.
Try this 20-minute treadmill interval workout from wildhoney.co:
You can also do interval training running outdoors, on a bike, rowing machine, elliptical, jumping rope - whatever you enjoy doing! Just be sure to give it your all!
Best Butt-Building Exercises
If you want a bigger, tighter, perkier behind, you'll have to put in the work. This means lifting heavier weights at a higher intensity than you may be used to. The best exercises for a big butt include:
- Bulgarian split squats
- Hip thrusts
Just these four moves alone, when performed correctly, can get you big results.
Learn more about them and how to do them by reading this article from the GymStreak blog.
Do three to five sets of six to 12 repetitions of each exercise with a load heavy enough that it feels very challenging by the last rep of each set. Rest for 90 seconds to 3 minutes between sets. Two weekly training sessions are effective for building muscle mass, according to research in Sports Medicine in November 2016.
Start out with a weight that is manageable for you and build on it, adding weight each week. And don't forget to workout the other muscles in your body! The more total-body muscle you have the easier it is to burn fat!
That said, while you should do core work such as planks, crunches and leg lifts as part of your total-body workout, just doing ab exercises will not give you flat abs! You can't spot train! You have to burn the fat at your midsection in order to see results.
Don't Forget Your Diet
It's not all about the workout. Your diet plays a huge role in fat loss and muscle gain. You have to balance your calories by eating enough to support your workouts but not eating so much that you gain fat.
You also have to make sure to balance your macros — protein, carbohydrate and fat. Protein is the building block of muscle and the most important of the three (although they are all important.)
The American College of Sports Medicine says people who strength train regularly need 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. Go for lean protein sources, such as chicken, fish, eggs, beans and nuts.
No matter what you've heard, plant-based protein is just as good for building muscle and losing fat as animal-based diets. Just take a look at vegan bodybuilder Natalie Matthews.
Carbohydrates are also crucial for energy and recovery. The National Academy of Medicine suggests an intake range of 45 to 60 percent of calories.
Increasing your protein intake and balancing your calories means you will likely take in fewer carbs. Aim for the lower end of the suggested range. More important is the carbs you choose. Skip sugar and processed grains, and opt for whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Fats will comprise the rest of your calories. Instead of saturated fat from fried foods and red meat, choose heart- and brain-healthy poly- and monounsaturated fats from avocado, nuts and seeds, fish and olive oil.
Have any questions, comments or tips? Ask/share them below!
Written by health and fitness expert and PIXIBU founder Jody Braverman, PN1, NASM-CPT, NASM-FNS, RYT 200.
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