Having a toned butt isn’t just for the ladies. Both men and women benefit from having a stronger, shapelier backside. Not to mention an instant boost in appearance and confidence.
Believe it or not, toning and lifting butt muscles isn’t as hard as it may seem. “You already use these muscles every day,” says Lakey Evans, a personal trainer at the Reebok Sports Club in New York City. “So it doesn’t take much to firm them up.”
What to do to Tone Your Butt
The first step towards a beach-worthy butt is toning. Exercise is definitely a factor here, but it takes more than daily jog to create that ideal shape. So, don’t underestimate the influence of proper eating!
1. Consume More Protein
Protein is an amazing fat burner and appetite buster. Not only does it trim extra booty fat, protein curbs cravings for foods that sabotage any toning efforts. We’ve got proof, too…
In a recent study, people who consumed more protein actually ate 441 fewer calories each day. They also lost 8 pounds of pure body fat.
Want similar results? It’s simple. For every pound you weigh, eat 1 gram of protein. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, eat 150 grams of protein every day. Poultry, fish, beef, soybeans, and nuts contain the most protein.
2. Eat Whole Grain
Whole grains are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and more. Next to protein, whole grains are the best foods for toning your derriere. For one, whole grains are very filling. They provide more nutrients and fewer fattening calories.
Moreover, researchers discovered that people who eat whole grains burn more fat around the midsection. One reason is because whole grains slow digestion and lower blood sugar. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend eating 3-5 whole grain servings daily.
3. Limit Carbs and Fat
Unused carbs quickly turn into fat, which insists on retreating to the rear. But there is a right way and a right time to eat carbs. First, not all carbs are created equal. The fibrous carbs found in vegetables, legumes, and whole grains actually cut down on fat. It’s the sugary, refined carbs you have to watch out for.
Next, the best times to eat carbs are in the morning and around a workout. In the morning, carbs are quickly used by your nutrient-deprived body. Before or after a workout, the body utilizes carbs to boost energy or replenish depleted stores.
Dietary fat is another potential culprit if not handled correctly. Only eat healthy, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and restrict daily intake to 50 grams or less.
4. Concentrate on Cardio
Cardio exercise is a must-have for a sculpted butt. Besides toning glutes, cardio melts the fat which hides toned muscles. These are the 4 best cardio exercises to get your rear in gear:
- Running (especially up hills)
- Stair Climbing
- Elliptical Machine Exercises
- Cycling (lean forward for maximum effect)
Moderate-to-high intensity cardio is best for trimming fat and for people with tight schedules. Research shows a high-intensity, 30-minute workout burns more fat than a low-intensity, 60-minute workout.
Exercises to Lift Your Butt
Your butt has three muscles, but it’s mainly the gluteus maximus’ job to defy gravity. It may be the body’s largest muscle, but even the gluteus maximus needs strengthening. So, here are the best strengthening exercises for keeping your butt from going south.
1. Dumbbell Squats
- Stand with feet shoulder width apart and hold an 8-10 pound dumbbell in either hand
- Squat down as if you were about to sit
- Keep your back straight; not arched
- Go down in 2 counts
- Stand up in 2 counts
Tip: Always go down for a deep stretch on every rep
2. Explosive Lunges
- Start with feet together
- Lunge forward with your right leg
- Your front knee should be bent 90 degrees and aligned over your ankle
- Jump up, switch legs in midair, and land with your left foot forward in a lunge position
- Continue these explosive lunges for 60 seconds
Tip: Always push with your heels during lunges and squats
3. Hip-Lift Bridges
- Lie on your back with knees bent
- Squeeze your butt and raise your hips until your body is in a straight line from shoulders to knees
- Holds for 2 seconds
- Lower yourself to the starting position
- For added difficulty: Only use one leg and put the other leg in the air
Tip: Get some deep tissue work done to relax the hip flexors. If these are tight, they prevent you from contracting and strengthening glutes. Hip flexor stretches help, too.
4. Dead Lifts
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold dumbbells or a barbell in both hands
- Bend forward from the hips until the weights are just below your hips
- Keep knees straight and back flat
- Lean forward in 2 counts
- Return to the starting position
Tip: Don’t be afraid to push your limits with weights. Just keep safety and good form in mind.
No guy or gal ever complains about a nicely-toned butt – either theirs or someone else’s. But I hear plenty of complaints about the opposite. The good news is, you can tone and lift your butt with less effort than you think, according to personal trainer Evans.
Just remember it takes all 3–healthy diet, cardio, and strengthening exercises–to sculpt your best butt.
-  Weigle, David S, Patricia A Breen, et al. “A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 82.1 (2005): 41-48.
-  Katcher, HI, RS Legro, et al. “The effects of a whole grain-enriched hypocaloric diet on cardiovascular disease risk factors in men and women with metabolic syndrome.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 87.1 (2008): 79-90.
-  Coker, Robert H, Rick H Williams, et al. “Influence of Exercise Intensity on Abdominal Fat and Adiponectin in Elderly Adults.” Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders. 7.4 (2009): 363-8.