[This article originally appeared on The Alternative Daily here.]
With bathing suit season just around the corner, you may be hoping to take your derriere to the next level and show off some skin. Forget butt-lifting underwear and girdles! If you can spare a few minutes a day, you can tone your tush for the summer in no time. While not exactly easy, these steps are simple once you get the hang of them.
What about cellulite on my butt?
If your posterior is looking a little dimply these days, not to worry. Cellulite is caused by the accumulation of fat cells just below the skin’s surface, and a little bit is perfectly normal. Cellulite affects women of all shapes and sizes, especially on the lower body. However, if it’s excessive, perhaps you need to check-in with your diet and exercise routine.
Also, make sure to avoid lotions and creams — they typically contain harmful ingredients and rarely work. There’s only one magic formula out there, and it’s good old diet and exercise. In the meantime, here are some all-natural remedies that may reduce the appearance of cellulite:
- Dry skin brushing: This trick improves lymphatic flow to help eliminate toxins. Make sure to use a natural bristled brush to give your butt a little massage, then apply coconut oil to moisturize the skin.
- Coffee scrub: By massaging coffee grounds into your skin during a bath, you’ll bring fresh blood to the area, helping to reduce the severity of cellulite.
- Juniper and olive oil: Like coffee, juniper oil has a stimulating effect on the skin. A massage will increase circulation, flush toxins and moisturize the skin all in one go.
Here’s how to get a better butt over the long-term:
1. Eat like a champion
No matter how much you exercise, your butt will never change if you don’t nourish your body. Your rear will always reflect just how clean you’ve been eating, or whether you’ve been filling your plate with processed junk.
To get on the right track, eat nutritionally dense fruits and vegetables, lean meats, wild-caught seafood, nuts, grains and seeds. Make sure to incorporate healthy sources of fat into your diet — like coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, turmeric and avocado — which all promote calorie-burning ketogenesis. Stay properly hydrated with infused water to encourage your body to flush fat. Drink green tea, which contains the compound theobromine to help to stimulate the release of stored fats in the body.
You may also want to avoid white flour products, refined sugar, dairy, red meat and anything processed. Try some of these clean-eating recipes for inspiration:
- Rosemary-citrus glaze on wild-caught salmon
- Raw tacos
- Grain-free granola
- Homemade veggie burgers
- Vegan cookies
2. Jump rope
In addition to tightening your butt muscles, jumping rope offers a range of health benefits. It’s convenient, it leads to better coordination and balance, it improves heart health and it fights stress by releasing a hearty dose of endorphins in just a few minutes a day. Plus, when you work up to it, it’ll burn through an impressive 1,000 calories an hour and tighten your core muscles. So, go grab your headphones, find a clear space outside and get hopping during your lunch breaks.
3. Take the stairs
To build yourself a better behind, you need to use all three butt muscles as much as possible, including the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. So, if your legs are fully mobile, incorporate this rule into your life: always take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Over time, stair steps will add up! You’ll lift your butt while increasing strength and endurance all at the same time. Each time you climb a flight of stairs, you’ll use the other major muscle groups in your legs, like the hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. By keeping proper posture on the stairs, you’ll strengthen your back and core as well. It’s a win all around.
For the same benefits at a quicker rate, you can use the stair-climber at the gym, working your way up to 20-minute sessions at a time a few times a week. Ask a staff member about how to use proper form; you’ll need to properly engage your abs while protecting your back and knees.
4. Target your gluteal muscles directly
For fast results, work up to strength training five times a week. Make sure to give yourself at least two days of rest to avoid burnout, and take more time off if you’re feeling excessive muscles aches or any pain in the lower muscle groups. Pushing your body won’t get you towards your goals any faster — in fact, you could sustain an injury that you will put you on your bum for weeks or even months. No, thank you!
Spend a few minutes using these tried-and-true methods for a better bum. These exercises can be used individually or in combination:
- Bridges: 12-15 reps, 3 sets (no weight)
- Squats: 20 reps, 3 sets (with or without five-pound weights)
- Step lunges: 12-15 reps on each side, 3 sets (with or without five-pound weights)
- Side lunges: 12-15 reps on each side, 3 sets (with or without five-pound weights)
- Donkey kicks: 12-15 reps on each side, 3 sets (no weight)
If you’re feeling graceful, you can also try these ballet-inspired barre moves from your kitchen counter. You can also try Romanian deadlifts, but make sure to work with a seasoned pro to avoid injury. If strength training isn’t your thing, try yoga or pilates. The fluid sequences are challenging for the body, relaxing for the mind and great for the muscles in your tush.
5. Swap driving for walking (or biking)
If you don’t use it, you lose it, right? This rule can certainly be applied to our backside. Most Americans spend eight or more hours sitting in front of a computer, followed by several hours commuting and sitting at home in front of the TV. This is no way to get the perky posterior you’ve been looking for.
Walking or biking is a great way to give your glutes the attention they deserve while burning calories and getting an endorphin fix. Instead of sitting for your entire lunch hour, grab a healthy bite and take a walk outside for some much-needed vitamin D. The break from the office will also help you clear your head and tackle the rest of the work day with ease. To take it up a notch, find some hills to break a sweat and work those muscles. Your bum will thank you!
— Hilary Lebow