Beyonce. J. Lo. Kim Kardashian. Pop culture is saturated with bootylicious icons right now, and women have become butt-obsessed because of it. Let me be the first to say that I don’t have a booty. My curve levels are at a solid 1 out of 10 (10 being a Kardashian-sized posterior).

If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’re in the same boat as I am. Welcome to the club, friend. Luckily for me, my friend Amanda just so happens to be a NASM-certified personal trainer and has competed in a professional bikini competition before. At the risk of sounding like a major perv, she also has one of the best lady-butts I’ve ever seen. So when she said she could help me get the booty of my dreams, I snapped to attention.

how you can get a booty

Photo courtesy of Bri Alex

According to Amanda, there are five main reasons why we might not have our dream butts. The biggest reason is genetics. It’s a simple fact of life that some of us are born with buns of steel, and others—for lack of a better term—with marshmallows. Hip width and fat distribution are just two of the many genetic factors that play into our ability to grow the perfect booty.

Another major reason you might not have a booty is if you’ve been looking for a “quick fix.” Buying expensive “as seen on TV” products won’t magically solve your butt problems, no matter how much money you dish out on a piece of exercise equipment. Similarly, just following workout routines in magazines often leads to stagnation and a lack of results. The exercises listed in women’s magazines might be a good place to start working out your glutes, but they’re not all you should be doing.

how you can get a booty

Photo courtesy of Fit Approach on Flickr

You might be hindering your booty growth if you’re doing too much cardio as well. Too much cardio done for extended periods of time will begin to burn muscle instead of fat, meaning you’ll literally be taking away muscle that you’ve built during weight training and other forms of exercise. However, it’s important to note that only cardio done improperly will lead to these results. Certain cardio options like HIIT (high-intensity interval training) are a great way to get your blood pumping while building muscle.

Finally, the number one most important reason why you don’t have a booty is because you’re going to the gym but are forgetting to eat well. Eating well and fueling your body with whole foods is key to growing any muscle groups, including your butt. If you’re not taking care of your body through good nutrition, you’ll never get the results you want from your exercises – simple as that.

How to Get Your Dream Booty

how you can get a booty

Photo courtesy of jerryonlife on Flickr

Though it might seem like a daunting task at first, there are plenty of ways you can help strengthen your muscles to build an epic booty. Your butt area has four major muscles you need to focus on strengthening: the gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, and your hip flexors (whose technical name I can’t pronounce). To build a high, firm butt, you need to do exercises that target each of these muscle groups.

To get the most from your workouts, Amanda recommends working your legs and glutes 2-3 times per week with a rest day in between each workout (work your butt Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – for example). Having a rest day in between workouts is crucial, as it will allow you to switch up the intensity of your workout and the types of exercises you’re doing.

Amanda suggests doing a mixture of heavy lifting with low reps (8-10 reps), high volume and high reps (12-15 reps of multiple set of exercises), and plyometrics, which refers to jump training exercises like jump squats. By doing a combination of these types of exercises, you’ll be able to build and tone your muscles while increasing your endurance.

how you can get a booty

GIF by Gabby Phi

Specific exercises that will help build your booty include barbell squats, walking lunges, sumo squats, donkey kicks, Romanian deadlifts, weighted glute abductors, or box jumps. YouTube is filled with exercise videos, so if you search for any of these exercises you’ll be able to find a how-to video to help you start training.

#SpoonTip: If you can’t get to the gym, try incorporating some resistance bands into your workouts instead. Resistance band exercises combined with plyometric exercises will kick your butt into shape in no time.

But again, if your nutrition isn’t where it needs to be, you’ll never get the results you want. As Amanda says, you have to eat in order to grow. When you work out, you’re actually tearing your muscles and breaking them down in order to grow newer, stronger muscle tissue. It sounds absolutely repulsive, but it does wonders for your body.

how you can get a booty

Photo by Erin Thomas

If you fuel your body with healthy, whole foods, your body will take all those good nutrients and feed them directly to the muscles being broken down and rebuilt. Your body wants calories to build muscles, meaning you should never diet (i.e. restrict calories) if you’re trying to strengthen and grow your muscles, no matter what muscle group you’re focusing on.

To figure out how many calories your body needs each day, you first need to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMR tells you how many calories your body burns each day without you doing any exercise. From there, you should add 200-600 calories that you need to eat each day to get your dream booty. The exact number of calories you need to add will vary based on your age, gender, etc., but can be figured out with a quick Google search.

how you can get a booty

Photo by Tiare Brown

If you’re struggling to eat healthily throughout the week, try preparing your meals 1-2 weeks in advance and freezing individual servings for future use. Amanda buys whole foods such as sweet potatoes, chicken, eggs, brown rice, and oats in bulk, as it saves her time and money to buy and prep foods using this method.

Whatever you do, don’t let your body go hungry. Figure out what meal plan works best for you. I personally eat three meals per day and feel better eating like this. Amanda prefers six smaller meals throughout the day to keep her body fueled. Experiment a bit with your eating times and see what keeps you going throughout the day. Remember, this might mean planning your meals before leaving the house.

Finally, the absolute most important thing you need to do when working towards your booty goal is to stay consistent. You’ll get better results if you stick to a schedule and hold yourself accountable. With that said, don’t fret about how long it’s taking you to reach your booty goal. Think about how far you’ve come and don’t compare yourself to others—this is your fitness journey, so don’t be afraid to own it.