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How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Butt

by 
author image Jody Braverman
Jody Braverman is a professional writer and editor based in Atlanta. She studied creative writing at the American University of Paris and received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland. She also received personal trainer certification from NASM and her 200-hour yoga teacher certification from YogaWorks.
How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Butt
How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Butt Photo Credit: MangoStar_Studio/iStock/GettyImages

You've probably noticed that when you gain weight, your butt gets bigger. The reverse is also true. Because your butt is partially made up of fat, it will get smaller when you lose total body fat. Doing the right type of cardio and strength training can help you lose weight while maintaining your curves in all the right places.

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Understand Weight Loss and Your Body Type

You can't spot reduce, so you can't target particular areas of your body for weight loss. As you shed pounds, they'll come from all over your body, including your butt.

Your body type plays a role in how much fat you lose from your rear. If you're pear-shaped, meaning you tend to store fat around your hips and butt, you'll likely see less of a reduction in size. If you have more of an apple shape, easily putting on fat around the midsection with a naturally small behind, you'll have to work a bit harder to preserve your curves.

Do High-Intensity Cardio

Cardio is cardio, right? Wrong. When it comes to losing fat and preserving your curves, not all cardio is created equal.

Jumping on the treadmill for an hour a day will definitely burn calories, but it may also give you pancake butt, and that is not the look you're going for. Doing a lot of cardio can also make it harder to build muscle. And you're going to want to build muscle to replace some of the fat you're going to lose from your butt.

Read more: High Intensity Interval Training for Weight Loss

A better option is shorter, higher-intensity workouts, such as sprints, stair climbing, spinning and cardio kickboxing.

Not only are these types of workouts more effective for fat loss than steady state cardio, it's also better at banishing abdominal fat, according to study results published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise in 2009.

You can also see these results in real-world athletes. Just look at a sprinter's body compared to a marathon runner's body. Sprinters need powerful thighs and glutes (the butt muscles) to execute high speeds over short distances. Long-distance runners need light and lean bodies (read: no butt) to carry them for miles.

So, save time and save your bum by working out intensely for 20 to 30 minutes a session. It's a win-win.

Heavy squats build serious muscle.
Heavy squats build serious muscle. Photo Credit: g-stockstudio/iStock/GettyImages

Build Muscle

Muscle takes up less space than fat, but it still takes up space. You can replace some of the lost volume in your rear as you lose weight by building your glute muscles. Plus, muscle is firmer than fat, so your new butt will have a more lifted, perkier appearance.

Muscle is also more metabolically active than fat; having more muscle will make it easier for you to shed fat and keep it off. As part of a total-body strength training program, work your glutes two to three times a week.

The best exercises to target the glutes include squats, lunges, quadruped hip extensions, hip thrusts, step-ups and cable kickbacks. Do three to five sets of eight to 12 reps of each exercise.

Lift a heavy enough weight that your glutes and thighs feel very fatigued at the end of the last couple sets. Gradually add more weight as you get stronger to continue making muscle gains.

Read more: 17 Exercises to Shape and Tone Your Booty

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