By Grace Timothy for The Edit
While dieting and exercise can deliver results elsewhere on the body, many of us find that after years of squats, lunges and non-fat lattes, a perfect posterior still eludes us. The bottom shape you’ll be blessed with and how much cellulite will dimple its surface throughout your life is largely dictated by genetics and hormones. But obviously improvements can be made, so what are we doing wrong?
“When it comes to your bottom, a low-fat diet can actually exacerbate cellulite and excess weight,” says barrecore founder Niki Rein, the woman responsible for Jourdan Dunn’s model behind. “Proteins mutate when the fat is removed, creating more inflammation in that area.” And what’s lacking in our workouts? “Not enough variety and knowledge,” says Justin Gelband, co-founder of ModelFit. “It’s actually very easy to tackle your butt, you just need to know how to motivate it to activate it.” Here’s how to bring up the rear…
Rethink your diet
“Fat accumulation on the bottom reflects raised levels of the hormone estrogen,” says Niki Rein. “By supporting estrogen metabolism with cruciferous veg like broccoli and cabbage, and antioxidants in flax seeds and berries, you can reduce the fat and focus on building muscle.”
The gluteus maximus muscles also need fuel, says Danielle DuBoise, co-founder of Sakara Life, the health food delivery program favoured by Victoria’s Secret model Lily Aldridge. “Protein is king when it comes to building muscle,” says DuBoise. “Choose plant-based, lean proteins that are highly bioavailable [the degree to which a substance is absorbed in the bloodstream] – like sweet potato, brown rice, beans, zucchini and squash – so your body can utilize that protein efficiently.”
The pro tip: Try Sakara Life’s butt-building lunch: a blanched collard wrap filled with organic vegetables and quinoa. “Quinoa has the highest nutritional density of all grains and will help your body build mass, while fueling every one of those squats you’re sweating out at the gym,” explains DuBoise. “By choosing fresh, organic vegetables, your body can absorb all the muscle-building nutrients it needs.”
Perfect your plié
Opt for a different kind of bar tonight – a Booty Barre. LA-based fitness guru Tracey Mallett’s fusion of Pilates, energetic dance routines and yoga moves will tone, lift and define.
Start in a ballet ‘plié’ position – turn your feet out at the hips and point your toes to the corners of the room, knees bent over the first and second toes, hands in prayer position. Step towards the barre (or a chair) and place your forearm onto it. Extend your right leg to the side with the knee facing forwards, lifting from the glutes. Do 10 reps, then repeat with your left leg to tone and firm your bottom and thighs.
The pro tip: Wear intelligent gym-wear – Octavia Leggings by Bodyism use bioactive crystals to reduce muscle fatigue and absorb body heat, promoting collagen synthesis for smoother skin.
Kick-start your circulation
No matter what the label may say, no moisturizer is able to ‘burn’ fat or ‘melt’ cellulite, but a product that gets your circulation buzzing and refines your skin’s texture will make all the difference. Facialist and skincare expert Abigail James advises using Mio Skincare’s Natural Dry Body Brush after you’ve showered and dried: “The skin is clean and warm from the shower, so the brush will get things moving more quickly for a deeper detox, ready to drink in your moisturizer.”
Alternatively, says James, add Epsom salts to your bath – it’s a supermodel trick to help eliminate inflammation. Follow with Mio Skincare Shrink To Fit Cellulite Smoother, which contains caffeine and rosemary to improve blood and lymph flow and leave skin feeling smooth. Knead it in with your knuckles or use Sarah Chapman Skinesis Bodylift, which makes easy work of a circulation-boosting massage.
The pro tip: Next, it’s all smoke and mirrors. Apply Prtty Peaushun Skin Tight Body Lotion to blur imperfections and tighten and condition skin with anti-inflammatory green tea extract.
Borrow from Brazil
Leandro Carvalho, creator of The Brazilian Butt Lift workout, combines high-intensity cardio drills with strength training to sculpt the behinds of bodies beautiful – including Alessandra Ambrosio and Kate Hudson – at Manhattan’s cult Equinox gym.
The pro tip: Carvalho recommends this quick thigh and glute workout: begin on all fours, then lift your right leg. Gently raise it towards the left, keeping your knee straight and foot flexed. Do 20 reps, then return to the starting position, keeping your abdominals tight and body balanced throughout. Repeat the move with your left leg.
Reboot with juice
Stress and a poor diet can slow down the digestive system, leaving you feeling bloated and sluggish. To get digestion back on track and eliminate puffiness, add Bodyism Clean and Lean Ultimate Clean Fibre Shake to a shot of almond milk to flush out toxins that exacerbate weight gain and cellulite. It contains fiber and gut-loving probiotics, which work together to control weight, balance blood sugar levels and restore good bacteria in the stomach.
The pro tip: Sakara Life’s Booty Boost juice is packed with muscle-building nutrients and vitamins A, B, C and D. To make it, blend together the following ingredients: 2 cups of spinach, 1 celery stick, 2 large carrots, 1 beet, 1 cucumber, ½ pomegranate, 1 tsp ginger, 1 bunch of parsley and the juice of 1 lemon.
Learn Victoria’s Secret
In the run up to the hotly anticipated annual Victoria’s Secret show, Justin Gelband is the name on every model’s lips, including Candice Swanepoel and Karlie Kloss. The New York-based trainer’s classes are intense, focusing on isometric strength exercises (static workouts against an immovable object), which build up muscle strength and in turn help to lift your rear.
The pro tip: Try one of Gelband’s simplest moves at home: put your left leg on a step, knee slightly bent and right leg extended diagonally to the side and slightly behind you, on the toes. Hold dumbbells with your arms extended forward at shoulder level, palms facing each other, knuckles touching. Maintaining this arm position throughout, lift your right leg a few feet, then lower, tapping the ground with your toes between reps. Do 10 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
Five quick bottom fixes by Leandro Carvalho
1. When walking up stairs, take two steps at a time.
2. When standing still, place your weight on one leg and slowly lift then lower the other behind you for 10 reps.
3. Add ankle weights and resistance bands to intensify your workout.
4. Reverse squats in-between regular squat reps tackle all three major butt muscles.
5. Cut out soda for good. Sugar is one of the main reasons fat settles on your bottom, but yo-yo diets can cause cellulite and sagging.
Jeans for every woman: Denim Buyer for NET-A-PORTER, Octavia Bradford, picks her top pairs
The skinny low rise: “Great for a boyish figure with slim hips, R13’s Skinny style give the illusion of a curvier bottom.”
The skinny high rise: “J Brand’s Maria hold in the stomach, sculpt the waist and give the impression of longer legs.”
The flare: “Flares suit most body types, but experiment with the extremity of the curve to find the shape that suits you, like MiH’s Marrakesh design.”
Boyfriend jeans: “Being oversized, Current/Elliott’s Boyfriend hide a multitude of sins for every bottom shape.”
Slim boyfriend: “Frame Denim’s Le Garcon are a neater version of the regular boyfriend – still loose, but more tailored for petite frames.”