Lose the Gut, Keep the Butt
We asked a top trainer how to get the tight tummy and rounded rear that curve models are famous for.
Curves. You’ve got them, and it’s time to flaunt them. But maybe you’d love to do a little tightening and tuning up before that July Fourth BBQ shorts or beachwear reveal? If so, making just a few little fitness and nutrition tweaks in the coming weeks can maximize those assets. We asked trainer Deanna Robinson of Fab Body Factory in Upper Marlboro, Md., for easy slimming and sculpting moves that get results. Her popular sweat sessions are filled with shapely sisters of all sizes for a reason! We also gathered inspiration from body positivity influencers, clean-eating experts and a plus-size model with dangerous curves. Put it all together, and you’ve got a workable plan for getting fit without sacrificing a sexy, feminine shape.
You want to rock your curves like Liris Crosse? Weight training is a great way to help your body defy gravity. Weights and other forms of resistance training will increase lean muscle mass, which helps you burn more calories, even when you’re sitting still. The key to transforming that booty into a bubble is to make sure you’re building muscle while you’re burning fat. And if you’re worried that lifting heavy will make you bulk up like a male bodybuilder, don’t stress — without taking growth supplements, that’s not going to happen.
Don’t Overdo the Cardio
Experts have found that long bouts of cardio may not be the most effective workout for burning fat. In fact, shorter bursts of HIIT cardio (high intensity interval training) will provide more bootylicious benefits than hours of soul-crushing repetition on a treadmill. “Too much cardio and you’re not only burning fat, but also muscle,” says Robinson, who offers a suite of classes called “Butts and Guts.” “It’s the muscle that’s gonna give you the feminine curves you want to keep,” she says. Overdo it on the elliptical and you could end up diminishing your shapely silhouette, or even worse, you might sag.
Add This One Move to Build a Beautiful Backside
While squats have a reputation for sculpting glutes, Robinson is a fan of a variation called the Bulgarian split squat. It does triple booty duty by activating all three glute muscles, plus your hamstrings and quads, for strong, tight thighs. Here’s how to do it: Place one leg behind you on a bench, chair or a sofa, stand upright on the opposite leg, then bend it to lunge forward. Pro tip: Make sure your forward knee doesn’t extend past your toe. To return to starting position, push up through the heel.
Do This Simple Twist to Whittle Your Middle
A tight core is important for overall functional strength, plus it’s essential to maintaining an hourglass shape. Rather than torture yourself with endless traditional sit-ups or crunches, recruit the entire core with Russian twists. Begin by sitting on your bottom with your feet hovering a few inches above the ground. Then rotate your torso side to side, tapping all 10 fingertips to each side as you turn. By engaging your obliques, you’ll get that slim, whittled waist. According to Robinson, who describes her gym as having a girl-power family atmosphere, this exercise also helps to improve your balance, stability and posture.
Visit the Green Market — and Bring Along Your Water Bottle
There’s an old saying that flat tummies are made in the kitchen not in the gym. To build and maintain muscle and keep the jelly rolls in check, aim to eat about one gram of lean protein per pound of body weight. Of course, anything with too much processed sugar or saturated fat can be a recipe for unslightly fat, but eating a balanced, mostly plant-based diet can boost your energy, reduce inflammation and support your weight loss goals. If you’re not ready for Beyonce’s 22-day vegan challenge, don’t worry (not many of us are). You can start by bringing “Meatless Mondays” into your life (or any day of the week you prefer to go veggie). Whatever you eat, remember to hydrate with plenty of water, especially after workouts and before meals. Nutritionists suggest that drinking 17 ounces of water before every meal is helpful to your health and for weight loss.
Spice it up
Another weight loss tip — get generous with the hot sauce, which can increase your metabolism slightly. But if you can’t take the heat, try switching up from skinny lattes to green tea. While coffee’s a well-known fat burner, green tea contains compounds shown to shrink fat cells and activate muscles. Win-win. One more secret weapon: cinnamon. Sprinkle it on everything from cereal to Greek yogurt — it can curb your appetite.
Give Thanks for What Your Mama Gave Ya
There’s no way to target fat loss from any specific area of the body. But you can definitely target specific muscles for toning with resistance training. And the most important factor in any body-positive workout plan? Find something you love to do. After all, you won’t stick with it for long if gets boring or becomes a chore. Pro tip: Even more important than enjoying your exercise is valuing your assets. Shapeliness is a function of genetics and health — but not dress size. As curve model Kamie Crawford says, “Learn to love yourself first. Honor your body and decorate it beautifully. As long as you’re happy and healthy, you’re exactly where you need to be.”