Body parts fade in and out of fashion. Sometimes it feels like everyone is searching for the secrets for a curvy butt, Madonna-like arms or 6-pack abs. This week, I’ll share my secrets for looking great from behind in no time.
I can still remember the time in the late ‘90s when women’s magazines announced that having a big butt was a good thing. I was in my teens and had never even thought about how my body looked, because to me as an athlete my body was my vehicle. I had muscles upon muscles and my posterior chain was rock solid, but thanks to Jennifer Lopez I suddenly felt that I didn’t just look like a boyish athlete. I had a quality that was associated with being feminine, sexy, and to my mind, awesome. Through a summer media craze based on one woman’s derriere, I suddenly received a huge confidence boost.
It’s amazing how the media continues to play a huge role in the way we think about our bodies. As a runner, a strong physique came with the job description, not to mention my genetic predisposition from my parents. I sure hope it’s a fashion statement that will last, because my children are already showing signs of having sprinter-shaped bodies.
I’m not saying that a big butt makes anyone more or less attractive overall, but I do think that it’s important to have a strong set of muscles behind you. Add in the confidence boosting benefits of a firm butt, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make sure a saggy bottom is never part of your life.
As a trainer, I’m often asked: “How do I get a good butt?” My answer is generally the same every time. I have to be honest and say that genetics play a huge role. However, body-builders are the living proof that quality exercise and nutrition can enhance any muscle group. A strong ‘gluteus maximus’ and ‘gluteus minimus’—the training terms for your rear end—can be achieved through a combination of strength training and a good sprint program.
Not surprisingly, I recommend running. It will help burn off excess flab while also building up your muscles.
Sprinting is essentially the weight lifting of running. It’s especially true when you throw hill running into the mix, because your posterior chain muscles—your calves, hamstrings and glutes—generate a lot of the power that’s required when sprinting.
Try adding one or two 30-minute sprinting sessions into your workout week. Sprinting for 20 seconds then resting for 60 seconds is my personal favorite. Remember to build up to it, though. You must walk before you can run, so only up your speed as and when your body feels ready.
Squats, squats, squats—you can never do too many squats.
Squats will work your butt muscles. And putting the effort into a repetitive squat routine will get your booty in shape in no time. I recommend variety, so try a combination of squats. Options include a basic squat with no weights, then try adding weights, a jump or speed variations. You could even work your way up to split squats and one-legged squats.
There are many variations to this amazing exercise. So, no matter if you’re new to exercising or a seasoned professional, find the types of squat that are most comfortable for your body and add them into your fitness routine three days a week.
By adding these exercises into your weekly routine, you’ll be working your glutes and building a firm butt. But don’t forget that burning calories and being active are a great reward, too.
When it comes to your body, health and wellness, we have to put jokes, vanity and the media aside. Remember that the visible benefits that come from working out are just an added bonus. It is the internal change and the improvement of your overall wellness that are of ultimate importance.
True beauty always comes from the inside.
Samantha Clayton is responsible for all activities relating to exercise and fitness education for Independent Herbalife Members and employees. Through in-person training sessions, educational tools and materials, and her blog (www.discovergoodfitness.com), she ensures that the important role of exercise as part of a healthy, active life is understood by all. She also helps create, organize and promote employee fitness programs and activities as an integral part of the company’s corporate wellness program.
A native of Liverpool, England, Samantha initially worked as a consultant for Herbalife for two years and led the Herbalife24-Fit program, the company’s first comprehensive fitness training program and DVD series.
Before joining the corporate ranks, Samantha was a professional athlete. She represented Great Britain in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. Prior to the Olympics, she won two medals in the Olympic AAA trials – a silver medal for the 200m and a bronze for the 100m – as well as a silver medal in the 4x100m relay during the European Junior Championships in 1997. Her personal records include 11.40 seconds in the 100m and 23.02 seconds in the 200m.
Samantha is a personal trainer and group exercise coach through the American Fitness and Aerobics Association (AFAA) and International Sport Science Association (ISSA).