*Disclosure some of the links below are affiliate links
Summer is among us and while some prefer to throw on some slides and go, I’ll forever be a sneakerhead all four seasons. While you’ll usually catch me in all black, summer is the perfect opportunity to play with lighter colors and crisp whites. See below for my favorite finds for summer! Which pair are you copping?
Let me guess–you’re doing squats all day everyday, but you’re confused why you’re not getting a bigger butt? Stop what you’re doing. I repeat. Stop what you’re doing. Squats are great. Will they get you a bigger butt? Maybe–if it’s done with strategy. But if your workouts aren’t planned or consistent you’ll risk seeing any type of booty growth. Do it wrong enough and you might even see it getting smaller. Glute building is a science. Attack the workouts like a science and you’ll get guaranteed results. Keep reading to learn why you might be not be seeing booty growth:
You’re Not Doing the Right Exercises
The first place to evaluate is your exercise selection. In my previous post, I go over the best types of exercises to build a butt fast and efficiently. These consist of pumpers, activators, and stretchers. In order to get even the stubbornest glutes to grow you have to select the appropriate exercises from each category. Picking through different exercises in the pumper, activator, and stretcher categories will target and challenge your glutes to grow.
You’re Not Lifting Frequent Enough
On top of picking the appropriate exercises you have to make sure you’re lifting frequent enough. Yes, “lifting” includes the pumper exercises, that are often only body weight or band resistance. However, this means that they are done in the higher rep range (think up to 30-50 for 2 sets) and anywhere from 4-7 days a week. The frequency range is completely dependent on the person. A good rule of thumb: wait until you’re not sore before doing any activator/stretcher type exercises. Pumpers, despite causing a high metabolic stress, they have a lower activation level and generally go through a smaller range of motion. Translation: it’s safe to do them just about every damn day.
You’re Not Lifting Heavy Enough
When you do select to do the activator and stretcher type exercises it’s important to remember to select your weight appropriately. If your rep range is 8-10 make sure you can only do 8-10 reps with a given weight. You’ll know it’s too easy if once you reach 8-10 it can feel like you can do a few more reps. Likewise if your rep range is 6-8 your weight selection should be higher than your 8-10 range. Always make it a goal to go up 2.5lbs per week. Be safe, but don’t be afraid to push yourself.
You’re Not Eating Enough
If your workouts consistent of the right exercises, the right weight, and the right frequency the next place to evaluate is your nutrition. In order to grow muscle you must eat in a surplus. This does not mean you’ll pack on a ton of fat and have cellulite from your ass to your ankles. This is required to build and tone muscle. Without adjusting your calories your body will stay in a “maintenance” mode. Additionally, if you’re not giving your body enough energy you wont be able to sustain heavier, more frequent lifts with will absolutely halt your booty growth.
You’re Doing Too Much Cardio
Lastly, just like nutrition this all comes comes back to: calories in > calories out. If you can’t get off the treadmill, you’re burning excessive calories. You will already be burning a high level of calories with your regular lifting schedule and on top of that will need to up your calorie intake to push past a booty building plateau. Save the spin class for when you’re goals are to lose weight–not build muscle.
As a certified athletic trainer, I work with injured athletes all day. The most common question after an injury is: Why did I get injured? While sometimes it may just be back luck, other times there are much more telling signs than “just a bad day”. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned pro let’s go over ways to avoid injury while working out. Look out for future posts on how to actually prevent specific injuries!
1. Start low and slow
Whether you’re just starting a fitness routine or are a regular in the gym it’s always best to start any new workout with a light weight and proper form. If you can, try to perform your exercises in front of a mirror. 1. It’s motivating and 2. It can keep you accountable on your form. If you’re back squatting and you start to see your knees buckling in or back arch–drop the weight immediately. I promise, it’s for your own good. Crank out a few sets of air squats or goblet squats. Ensure the movement is starting with your hips. Hinge back. Squat down. Keep your chest up. Knees out. Push back up with your heels. And repeat. Once you get comfortable and demonstrate good form, you can start to play with weight and speed.
2. Listen to your body
In a perfect world I would work out every day. My mind would love it. My body, however, is definitely not made for that. Not only do I need scheduled rest days, but there are times where I skip out on a planned workout because I’m still recovering from the last session. It’s okay to skip a day if your body needs it. You’ll only come back ready to go hard on the next one.
Let’s say, however, you said “eff it” and decided to workout anyway. What’s that–a twinge in your a hamstring? Zing in your back? Crunch in your shoulder? Stop. Put down the weight. Grab your keys. Get in the car. And go home.
I’ll let you in on a secret: testing out a injury never ends with “and then I was fine”. Your body gave you a sign–listen to it!
So many injuries, especially overuse injuries, can be managed or completely avoided if you keep your workload within your current threshold. Be smart. If you’ve reached the point of no return please see the appropriate healthcare professional. In the end, stay in tune with your body so you can perform your best each day.
3. Mix up the routine and add in accessory muscle exercises
To avoid an overuse injury mix in some accessory muscle exercises. Each joint has muscles that are considered primary movers and secondary movers. It’s important to balance the two to avoid injury because an overactive primary mover can result in an underactive secondary mover and vice versa. This will put stress on both groups and ultimately the shoulder joint will pay for it–think tendonitis, arthritis, and other structural injuries.
Let’s use For the shoulder try added in Y’s T’s and I’s at a relatively easy weight (think 2.5lbs-7.5lbs) for about 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps. Why the light weight? Your rotator cuff muscles decrease in activation the higher the weight you use. This has been proven in scientific literature with EMG studies. Stick to only heavy weights for the shoulders and you’re overuse your upper traps and biceps in no time. And you know what that leads to? Injury. No one looks cool doing these however they can save you from rotator cuff tendonitis, biceps tendonitis, labral tears, and overall help increase your shoulder stability.
4. Keep mental stress in check
As mentioned above, it’s imperative to listen to your body before jumping into a tough workout. It’s important too to mention mental stress. Mental stress directly impacts your muscle’s ability to recovery. Mental and physical stress both release cortisol. If you’re placing a high physical load on top of high mental stress your body takes twice as long to recover properly. Of course, working out can help keep stress at bay, but when you’re really going through it focus on light workouts to help clear your mind without spiking your cortisol levels.
There are times where I’m mentally burned out from work, struggling with relationships, or panicking over how long it’s going to take me to pay off my student loans. We all have those personal triggers in our life. When it feels like you’re drowning, opt for a meditation session, yoga flow, or a nice nature hike. Your body, and mind, will thank you.
5. Ask for help
Take the necessary precautions when you’re lifting and ask for a spotter. Don’t have a gym buddy? That’s okay! This is a great way to meet one. If you see yourself doing the same exercise as someone else, or if your gym has a personal trainer staff don’t be shy to ask for help. Personally, I need help every time I try to re-rack a pre-weighted barbell. I can always get it off by myself but there’s no chance I can lift 80lbs above my waist. Not today at least. You won’t see me trying to break my back to do it either. Grab someone close and guarantee you more often than not they will help–just be sure to return to favor!
We all need a little motivation some times. One of my favorite ways to set the tone for the week is to include a motivational quote in my workout plans. I am 100% a planner. I sit down every Sunday and write out my workouts either by hand in a journalor in the notes section on my phone. This way each time I look up what I’m doing each day I read the quote to put a fire under my butt.
1. I already know what giving up feels like. I want to see what happens if I don’t. -Neila Rey
2. Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.
3. You did not wake up today to be mediocre
4. Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally. It comes from what you do consistently.
5. Everyone must chose one of two pains: the pain of discplnie or the pain of regret
6. Fall in love with taking care of your body.
7. Be Patient with yourself as you evolve. Small, healthy choices make a big difference in the long run.
8. When you feel like quitting remember why you started
9. Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable
10. It’s never too early or too late to work towards being the healthiest you.
11. Don’t decrease the goal–increase the effort.
12. The body achieves what the mind believes
13. The difference between who you are and who youwant to be is what you do.
14. Don’t wish for it work for it.
15. Be stronger than you excuses.
16. You have a choice. You can throw in the towel or you can use it to wipe the seat off your face.
17. Every journey begins with a single step.
18. You are far too smart to be the only thing standing in your way.
19. Push yourself because no else is going to do it for you
20. If you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working for it.
21. Set goals that make you want to jump out of bed in the morning.
22. I haven’t come this far to only come this far
23. If you want something you never had you have to do something you’ve never done
24. Once you learn to fall in love with the process you will feel happy no matter the outcome
25. It is a shame for a woman to grow old without ever seeing the strength and beauty of which her body is capable.
Check out my Hella Motivated Pinterest board if you need any extra motivation!
*Disclosure some of the links below are affiliate links
1. Help you, help yourself
Back in college, this might have meant putting a glass of water by your bed after a night of drinking. Today, I put that glass by my bed so I can drink it first thing in the morning when I’m so tired I can’t be bothered. Living a healthy lifestyle requires you to do the little things to help yourself get through your day. If you workout in the morning, this could mean setting out your workout clothes or even sleeping in them to encourage you to get out the door quicker. Alternatively, if you workout later in the day you could prep your gym bag with all of your necessities so you won’t have to stop at home before hitting the gym. Because I promise, you won’t go.
2. Eat intuitively
I cannot stress nutrition enough. No matter your fitness goals, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy caloric intake. It’s taxing on the metabolic system to be on the extremes of caloric deficit or surplus. The easiest, and possibly least-stressful way to maintain weight is to eat when you’re hungry. Does that mean fill up on junk? No. But it’s a great way to cut out mindless eating and to start mindful eating, which will keep you full–not stuffed or starving.
3. Cook all your meals at home
It’s been proven that cooking your own meals can help encourage healthier eating habits. Plus, you know exactly what you’re eating! No food truck street meat that’ll have you running for the bathroom will ever come out of your kitchen. In a perfect world, you’d go out in your garden, cut fresh produce, and whip up a mind-blowing breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That’s just not reality for a lot of people. To help keep you on track use pre-packaged or supplement products. I swear by Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein. There is absolutely no stevia taste that plant-based proteins are so famous for. If I’m really in a pinch I’ll grab one of their protein bars for a quick snack on the road. Whenever I’m craving a smoothie I stay at home and whip up my own because I know it’s healthier!
Here’s my recipe for my go-to chocolate heaven vegan smoothie:
Splash of water or coffee (if you need an extra boost!)
When blended top with chia seeds and voilà! You can thank me later.
4. Drink water
The average adult human is made up of 50-65% water. You need it! Your digestive system will thank you. Your nervous system will thank you. And your skin (the largest organ in your body) will thank you. Do yourself a favor and carry a water-bottle with you at all times and fill it up a few times a day. I’m currently loving Soma glass water bottles, because not only are they cute enough to be on your desk at the office, they make a donation to charity:water with every purchase.
5. Take the stairs
If you work in an office this is an incredibily easy way to help live a healthy lifestyle. If you need to go up or down levels to meet with another department it’s a no-brainer to ditch the elevator and go down a flight or two. If you’re stuck in your office too long and need a quick 5 minute break go up and down a few flights and clear your mind.
6. Consider working out a medicine
Living a healthy lifestyle is all about your mentality. If you’re having trouble staying committed to a consistent workout regime think of it as your medicine. If you want to feel better you need to take your medicine. If you want to feel better consistently you ned to workout consistently.
7. Prioritize sleep
If you’re like me you can never get enough sleep. It’s easy to get sucked into all of the fitness tracking apps and over-analyze how long or how well your sleeping. Instead of focusing on those numbers, get back to the basics and practice good sleep hygiene. Turn off the TV. Put down the phone. Wind down from the chaos off the day. Give yourself a solid 8 hours so you’re ready to go to attack the next day. The benefits of getting a full night’s sleep include a more consistent metabolism, removing toxins, clearer thinking, and not to mention replenishing recharging from the physical and mental stress of the day.
8. Practice self-care
Self-care is not optional it is essential. No matter how crazy your week gets always take time out for yourself. Just focus on checking out of all your priorities and stressors for 15 minutes each day to focus on yourself. Do what makes you happy. Throw on a face mask, light a candle, and turn the lights off. Go through a light yoga flow. Maybe spend some time journaling or meditating. Browse some motivational quotes on Pinterest. Whatever it is, sit back, relax, and give yourself some well deserved “time-off”.
9. Get active
To live a healthy lifestyle is to live an active lifestyle. Instead of driving to the coffee shop hop on a bike and take the scenic route. Spend time wandering the farmers market. Go on a hike instead of staying home watching reruns of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Your options are endless. Just get up and move!
10. Surround yourself with like-minded people
Link up with a gym buddy or ask a friend to go for a walk. It’s easier to cancel on yourself than a friend. Or, instead of going-out to eat on date night spend time together cooking a meal with your significant other. If it’s hard to find like-minded people in your day to day life don’t be afraid to reach out and meet someone new! At She Hella Healthy always feel welcome to comment below anytime you need some motivation!
Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me to introduce to you the God of the Glutes: Brett Contreras. Yes–he’s that good. Contreras (or the Glute Guy as he calls himself) is known world-wide not only by his ability to transform pancake booties but also by his ground-breaking research in the sports-science realm. It’s safe to say his approach to booty building is heavily supported in scientific literature and has shown his faithful followers some incredible results. I highly recommend visiting Contrera’s website for more info on all things sports science as well as, Stijn van Willigen, who outlined the info in this article as well.
For the glutes, there are a wide range of exercises to choose from. Contreras himself preaches “The Same But Different” philosophy: focus on the fundamental exercises types, be smart about exercise selection, and your booty will grow.
Now, let’s get in to the 3 types of exercises you need to do to build-a-booty:
Stretchers (E.G. the squat)
Moderate muscle activation
Large range of motion
Large Eccentric Contraction
Need about 3-4 days of recovery
Stretchers are HARD. Think squats and deadlifts: your glutes go from a relatively shortened position (standing) to end range of motion, where the glutes are under high muscle tension . These types of exercises do a good job at recruiting the glutes but load a lot of stress on the muscle, and as a result, require more time between exercise frequency.
Activators (E.G. the hip trust)
Excellent muscle activation
Moderate range of motion
Moderate Eccentric Contraction
Need about 1-2 days of recovery
Activators are the bread and butter of any good booty building program. They cause less muscle break down the the Stretchers, but still are excellent for the growing glutes beacuse of the high level of muscle activation
Pumpers (E.G. lateral band walk)
Low to average glute activation
Small range of motion
Small focus on eccentric contraction
Need about 1-2 days of recovery
Pumpers are great as they generally require less recovery time. Their activation is also low, but are able to be done more frequently to help you get those glute gains.
Now that we’ve gone over the 3 different exercise types and how much recovery time they need, let’s go over actual example exercises. The following chart, originally posted by Stijn van Willigen, gives examples of each type of exercises:
Lastly, let’s go over programming. Your workout program should align with your goals, so it’s impossible to get a “one size fits all” program. Some people will respond better to more pumpers and some by more activators. It’s all about strategic trial and error. For me, I can train glutes up to 4x/week and see continual progress. Others may need to train 2x or 6x/week. In the end, you need to do what your body responds to the best. By using the above info as a guideline you can incorporate a better strategy to building a better booty fast.
Here’s an example of my favorite way to train glutes:
Pick a “Frontal Abduction” and “Transverse Abduction” exercise and do 2 sets 10-20 reps
Pick a quad dominant “Head Driver” exercise and do 3 sets of 6-10 reps
Pick a hip dominant “Head Driver” exercise and do 3 sets of 6-10 reps
Pick a “Hip Driver” and do 3 sets of 10-20 reps
Banded Side-lying Clams 2×15
Romanian Deadlift 3×8
Barebell Hip Thrust 3×15
Want to read more? Find the full article on Bret Contreras’ website here.