Welcome to our newest installment of ASK A CELEBRITY TRAINER, where we take questions from clients and readers and pose them to our amazing team of talented trainers and nutritionists. We welcome questions from you any time! Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know if we can use your name when we publish the answers.
Q: I’d like to get a bigger butt and add curves to my body. I’m currently 5ft and 90 lbs so I don’t have a ton of body fat. I’ve been going to Barry’s regularly and doing exercises like squats/deadlifts/stuff and my butt is firmer but it’s not getting bigger; I want it to be bigger… Is it realistic for me to add over 2 inches to my butt? I’m Asian and I have genetics against me. I know diet is a big part of it so I am already upping my protein intake and lifting as heavy as I can (I know it’s key to lift heavy to increase mass). What else can I do? Any specific exercises?
– Jacqueline C
A: Hi Jacqueline. Well, it’s obvious you’ve done your research! You are already doing the right things, but we can suggest a couple of options. We’ve heard your complaint many times. Some of our Asian-American clients refer to this problem as AFBS – Asian Flat Butt Syndrome. Although there is of course much variation in any group, certain traits tend to appear more frequently in specific ethnic groups. Genetics is always going to be a limitation. Every person is born with a body type template and the way that person treats their body determines where the person lands within that template. For example, Taylor Lautner can go from being a skinny kid to a Greek statue with a strict diet and exercise regimen, but he’ll probably never be Lou Ferigno (not that he wants to be — werewolves get far more play than green monsters). So you will most likely never have a Kardashian booty, but you can still make it bigger.
It’s true that cardio is not likely to grow your butt, but it is going to make it firmer. And as you’ve lost body fat, your butt has probably even shrunken. Unfortunately we can’t decide where on our body to increase fat, so you’re going to have to stick to the muscle solution. Yes, eat more lean protein, as you’ve been doing. Yes, do squats, stepups and lunges. And yes, use the HEAVIEST weights you can. As you know, we don’t focus on butts every day at Barry’s Bootcamp. And while you will be working your glutes during other exercises, you need to maximize the impact on the area you want to improve most. So do those targeted glute exercises 3-4 times per week. You can do these at home with personal weights, so add them to your routine every other day, giving yourself a day to rest and your muscles a chance to grow. Next, think about the weights you are using. You want to shock those muscles. If you’ve been doing, say, 10 reps before failure with a 20 pound weight, try a weight so heavy that you can only get 5 reps before failure. There’s competing evidence, but much of it indicates that you should be lifting heavier weights to see a bigger difference. Either way, try something new. Finally, change up those workout moves. Doing a standard walking lunge? Next week switch to a deadlift lunge. Keep it fresh and keep those glutes confused. You may never be able to balance a plate on your shelf butt, but follow these tips and there’s a good chance you can rest a cocktail there by the end of 2013.
Q: I always workout late, like at 10 to 11 pm, and go straight to shower and bed after that. Is that okay or do I still need to be active for a while after each session?
A: This is a great question, Fizay, and one that comes up at Barry’s Bootcamp often. Since we offer classes all day from as early as 5 AM to as late as 10 PM, clients want to know when they should be coming in to get the maximum benefit. So let’s tackle the benefits and drawbacks of each part of the day.
Morning workouts: Studies show that working out on an empty stomach increases your metabolism. So if you start the day with a workout before you have eaten a big breakfast, you are likely to burn more calories for the day. So morning workouts might be the best choice for weight loss. But some people just aren’t ready for a tough workout in the morning, and for them the exercise might be harder, and they may accomplish less.
Afternoon workouts: We know that our body temperature is 2-4 degrees warmer in the afternoon and early evening hours. This means that you may have more energy and greater athletic performance in the second half of the day. You’re also likely to need less stretching in the afternoon since your muscles are already warm. It’s very possible that late afternoon and evening are the times to hit the gym if what you really want is to increase muscle mass.
Night workouts: This one is for you, Fizay. Working out at night has all of the benefits of afternoon workouts. There’s very little evidence that you need to stay awake for a period of time after your workout for any fitness reason. Many people are at their most relaxed in the evening, which means they can focus more on their performance. However, there is a chance that raising your heart rate so close to bedtime will interfere with your sleep, and if this happens, you should consider changing your schedule. Without proper sleep your workouts are going to be less effective.
The Bottom Line: The time of day you exercise is not nearly as important as being consistent in your exercise. Are you an early bird? Do the 5 AM thing? Do you have more energy at night? More energy means a better workout. We all have natural circadian rhythms, and you need to listen to your own. Find a time that works for you, and stick to it. you can work out whenever you want, as long as you work out.