A flat tummy and a tight butt are the keys to a sexy-looking body. Companies spend billions in advertising trying to get you to buy products, programs, and books that improve the appearance of your abs and glutes. Why aren’t women getting the results they want? Because the information they have is mostly wrong or inconclusive. Building a smoking hot body requires a lot more than doing a few exercises.
Fat loss is the key to a sexy-looking body. Doing thousands of reps of glute and ab exercises is useless if the muscles are covered by layers of fat. Start losing fat if you want a flat tummy and tight glutes. This does not mean you should stop training these areas in the gym; you must focus equal attention on aerobic exercise and a healthy, reduced calorie diet.
Aerobic exercise is better than resistance training for losing visceral fat. Visceral fat is located deep within the abdominal cavity and surrounds the internal organs. It is dangerous because it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease- the leading cause of death in women over 35. Women tend to store fat in the thighs, hips and buttocks but increase visceral fat as they age. Abdominal fat is linked to insulin resistance that develops because of physical inactivity, poor diet, and genetics.
Women possess larger fat cells that are capable of holding a greater amount of fat than men. Women have a greater amount of lipogenic (fat storing) enzymes and fewer lipolytic (fat releasing) enzymes.
Estrogen also affects fat deposition in women. Estrogenic fat cells contain a wider variety of fatty acids than most adipose tissues. Estrogen levels can be affected by diet and lifestyle. It has been proposed that a diet heavy in artificial ingredients, refined sugar and flour can result in high estrogen levels. Poor diet leads to obesity, cardiovascular disease, digestive problems, and insulin resistance.
An inflow of estrogen in the body from certain food sources can cause fat cells to grow and become difficult to shrink. It is important to consume foods that are anti-estrogenic in your daily caloric consumption. Anti-estrogenic foods include cruciferous vegetables, passion flower, citrus fruits, omega-3 oils, wild catch salmon, organic dairy products, raw nuts and seeds, avocados, olive oils, wheat germ oil, green vegetables, whole oats and barley, legumes, spices (turmeric, oregano, thyme, rosemary and sage) and herbs (dandelion root, ginger, alma and milk thistle).
Below is just an example of how to incorporate anti-estrogenic foods. Quantities should be adjusted to fit one’s goals.
Breakfast: 1 grapefruit and 4-6 egg whites
8 oz cup of coffee or tea
1 dose of fish oil (usually 450-500 milligrams per day of combined EPA/DHA)
Mid-Morning Snack: 6-8 ounces of Greek yogurt with ½ cup blueberries or strawberries
Mid-Afternoon Snack: Whey protein shake with 8 ounces of water or skim milk
1 small apple
Incorporate exercises that target fat loss in the glutes and abs. While spot reducing doesn’t work, a general fat loss program helps fat loss in these problem areas because they contain so much fat. Combine cardio exercises, such as running or sprinting, with plyometric exercises involving explosive movements such as jumping, bounding and hopping.
Examples of aerobic programs that combine these movements:
• Jogging for 5 minutes then running a 40-yard sprint and performing a set of pop squats
• Treadmill walking or running with jump lunges off of the treadmill
• Stationary cycling for 5 minutes, jumping jacks, 5 burpees
• Boot camp style class that combines several of these explosive movements into a single exercise session
The duration of any aerobic workout should be consistent with a person’s fitness level and tolerance. Try to do 30-60 minutes of continuous aerobic exercise, at least 5 days a week.
EXERCISES FOR ABS AND BUTT
In addition to plyometrics, here are my top 5 favorite exercises to tighten and tone the glutes:
Sliding Lunges: You can do this exercise using a paper plate or a gliding disc. Keep the front knee behind the toe and keep the back leg slightly bent. Slowly slide your left foot back to start, pushing into the plate and repeat for 10-20 repetitions before switching sides. Keep the weight in the front leg so you always have control of the foot resting on the plate.
One-Legged Squats: Place the left shin on a ball. Bend the right knee into a squat until it is bent to about 90 degrees. Straighten the leg back to the starting position. Repeat for 10-20 repetitions before switching sides.
Step-Ups: Place one foot on a step or platform and push through the heel to lift the body up. You must use a step that’s high enough to really focus on the glutes. Repeat for 10-20 repetitions before switching sides.
Cross Over Step-Ups: Stand with your left side facing a step, bench or platform. Lift the right leg and cross it over the left, placing the foot flat on the step or platform. Step back down with the left foot and repeat for 10-20 repetitions before switching sides.
One-Legged Deadlift with Balance: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and bend forward from the hips, keeping the back straight and the abs tight. Bring the weight towards the floor until you reach a flat back position. Lift the right leg up as you lower the weight, taking the leg up to hip level. Squeeze the glutes of the left leg to pull back up and repeat for 10-20 repetitions before switching sides. Keep the movemen controlled and concentrate on keeping your balance at the same time you keep the core braced.
My top 5 favorite exercises to tighten the abdominals:
Stability Ball Roll-Outs: Kneel directly behind a large exercise ball with your palms on top of the ball and your arms straight out. Slowly roll the ball forward and away from you, stretching your body out as you perform the movement. Roll out as far out in front of you as you can while still maintaining balance and without losing control of the ball. Perform 15-20 repetitions.
Double Leg Stretch: Lie on your back with your core tight and pulled in towards your spine. Bring your knees in towards your chest and grasp your shins in your hands as you round your back to lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor. Inhale deeply as you simultaneously extend your legs out straight about a foot off the floor and stretch your arms behind you so that your elbows are alongside your ears.
Flutter Kicks: Lay on the floor with your legs straight. Place your hands under the outside of your glutes to support your lower back. Raise your legs off the ground until they are approximately 8-12 inches off the floor. Begin by raising one leg up towards the ceiling while lowering the other leg slightly, then alternate the legs. Continue alternating for 15-20 repetitions on each leg.
Exercise Ball Roll–Ins: Place your hands on the ground and the top of your feet on the top of an exercise ball. Keep your core tight and do not let your lower back sway. While staying in the plank position, roll the ball in towards your chest, bending at the knees. Hold this position for a second before rolling the ball back out to the original position. Perform 15-20 repetitions.
Exercise Ball Stiff Legged V Bends: This exercise is exactly the same as the ball roll-ins, however instead of bending your knees to bring the ball in towards your chest, you raise your hips up towards the ceiling, keeping your legs straight. Perform 15-20 repetitions.
It’s Your Turn
You can develop a sexy looking body and firm-looking abs and butt by following a healthy diet, doing aerobics, and practicing exercises that build the glutes and ab muscles.