I've always dreamed of having a perky butt. I used to think it was all about genetics (i.e. you had to be distantly related to J Lo somehow), but a friend of mine who was training for her first bikini bodybuilding competition assured me that building a booty was all about hard work and dedication. No matter which gene pool you come from, she believed it was possible to double the size of your butt.
Determined to make it happen for myself, I did some research. I read books, combed through Instagram pages of trainers and fitness gurus, and poked around online for the best booty tips. I learned that the only way to grow your butt was to lift weights — heavy weights — as well as to increase your caloric intake and daily amount of protein.
And that's exactly what I did. I devoted three mornings a week to lifting weights, each session lasting about an hour. I broke down every workout into four components: a glute exercise, a quad-centered exercise, a hamstring exercise, and an accessory glute movement.
Here's what a typical workout looked like:
- Squats (back, front, kneeling, or split)
- Deadlifts (sumo or single leg)
- Hip thrusts
- Cable abductors or weighted hyperextensions
I performed four sets of each exercise, and for the compound movements (the first three), I did 10 to 12 reps. For the final accessory exercise, I usually did 15 reps, since I wasn't using as heavy of a weight.
I was surprised at how difficult these workouts were. Within 10 minutes I was sweating my ass off, and it was all because I was using heavy weights and really challenging my body. Because I didn't want to risk injury, I started working on these exercises with a personal trainer. She showed me the correct form and helped me figure out which weight to start at.
Within a few weeks, I was hip thrusting 155 pounds and squatting nearly 200 pounds. I was sore a lot, which was honestly the most shocking part, but it was so worth it. I've always liked strength training, but I never thought I would fall in love with weightlifting this much. I was hooked! There were even some weeks when I would train my lower body four different days.
I won't lie, though. This transformation took dedication. Most mornings I arrived at my gym at 5:45 a.m., and I still had to fit in my normal amount of cardio throughout the week, so many times I was at the gym twice a day. But I was feeling stronger and more badass than ever, and week by week I could feel my jeans and leggings fitting much better around my derrière.
When it came to my diet, I had to up my protein intake first and foremost. I tried to aim for one gram of protein per pound, which equaled 130 grams. Honestly, I had trouble reaching that, and most days I barely cleared 100 grams of protein. But that was still enough for my muscles to grow.
At the same time, I had to make sure I was getting enough carbs. Although I didn't count my carbs, I did start to eat more complex carbs on the regular, like brown rice, buckwheat, sprouted bread, and sweet potatoes. I could feel that I had much more energy when I ate those foods before my workout.
All in all, I'm thrilled at the progress I've made. Although my original goal was to get a bigger butt, and I achieved that goal, the most positive takeaway for me was how much stronger I felt. Being able to navigate the weight room and reach new benchmarks in my weightlifting routine gave me a sense of accomplishment I had never experienced before.
My work is not done, though. I'm still working on my booty three times a week at the gym, and I'm still adding on weight whenever I feel like I'm plateauing. I have a sneaky feeling my booty will grow even more in another six weeks — at least, that's what I'm working toward!