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Do Squats Make Your Butt Bigger?

do squats make your butt bigger

Yes, squats can make your butt bigger, but how much bigger and in what shape depends on your genetics and lifestyle choices.

The way squats make your butt bigger is by making your glute muscles in what the medical community calls “hypertrophy.” Hypertrophy is an increase in the growth or volume of muscle cells, to give you an “award” winning look (source).  In addition to the increase in size from hypertrophy, exercise increases the size of both your skeletal and cardiac muscle fibers and causes them to accumulate protein (source).

Muscle strength and muscle size are not the same thing though. If you want to make your muscles bigger (size) then you need to increase “volume load” on a regular basis (source). Think of volume load as a multiplication equation: Reps * Weight = Volume Load.

This means you need to increase either the number of reps or the amount of weight you lift per rep to grow bigger muscles (up to your genetic limit that is). For inspiration, Kim Kardashian does 1,000 squats a day (source). That’s an extreme example, but the results for her and her genetic makeup speak for themselves as her booty is a signature feature.

Other factors that influence butt size

Regardless of how many squats you do per day, genetics influences how big (or small) your butt can get. You inherit between 30-85% of your muscle strength and 50-80% of your lean body mass composition (source). “Butt,” this still leaves room to beat mom and dad in the gym.

Another way genetics influences how big your butt gets is in how your body stores fat. Different people store fat in different parts of their body (source). This matters in two ways:

  1. Where your body stores fat influences the size of different body parts. Unless you have 0% body fat, it has to live somewhere. So, if your fat likes to live on your derriere, you’ll naturally have a bigger rear end than if your fat likes to live closer to your shoulders.
  2. The size of different body parts influences the perception of the size of other parts.

Size is relative. Think about a piece of broccoli. To an ant, it looks like a giant tree and a broccoli garden is an entire forest. Now apply this logic to your body composition. A smaller waist will make your butt appear bigger.

Nutrition plays a huge role in butt size as well. Muscles like protein, and while you can grow muscle size while restricting calories (source), you will grow faster with a bit of a caloric surplus (source).

For those of you just starting out on your exercise journey, a little bonus for you. You’ll grow muscle faster than those highly tuned athletes (source). And because muscle burns more calories pound-for-pound than fat tissue (source), you’ll burn more calories as you build more muscle.

Different squats for different butts

Shape might matter to you as much as size, and different types of squats will have different effects on the muscles in your butt.  Choosing squats that can work your gluteal muscle groups more or demand more from them will engage these muscles more and help you get more gain. Here’s a few of our favorite glute growing squats!

Glute Focused Squat Machine Squats

Using a squat machine like ours is great for working your booty.  The machine helps you hold proper squat form, and because it is a glute focused machine, you’ll be engaging the right muscles vs. wondering if they’re being engaged.  And if you choose our machine over another, you’ll gain access to our custom workouts, app, and more to keep you, and your glutes, reaching your goals. 

Bulgarian Split Squats

Bulgarian split squats are great for building your butt with an added emphasis on toning your hips. That’s because the unilateral nature of the exercise along with the added effort to balance heavily engages your hip abductor muscles that run along the outside of your hips.

Sumo Squats

You might not want a sumo seized rump, but sumo squats will get you growth in your glutes while toning your inner thigh groin muscles because of the wide leg stance in this exercise.

Now that you know how your genetics, nutrition, and squats work together, you can tailor leg day for maximum “hypertrophy” to get that “medal-worthy” rear end. So yes, squats can make your butt bigger, but only if your genetics allow for it, and you make the right lifestyle changes to work with your body.

How To Get Rid Of Your Saddlebags

how to get rid of saddlebags

Saddlebags are more common than you think, and are not caused by any one thing you are doing.  But good news, they can be reduced and diminished by knowing the cause.  Genetics, weight gain, aging, or sitting too long, but instead of looking for the cause, lets focus on a solution. This starts with some minor lifestyle changes including eating some of the right foods to aid in digestion, and modifying some of the exercises in your routines.

If you’re ready to say goodbye to those unwanted curves, and hello to a more toned and streamlined lower body, let’s “pack those bags” and “set them riding into the sunset!”  

The first step is to learn what saddlebags are and why they appear, especially on women.

What Are Saddlebags?

Saddlebags are pockets of excess fat that typically accumulate around the hips and thighs, especially in the area just below the buttocks where the back of the thigh meets the glutes. This region may appear less toned than the surrounding muscles, even if you focus your exercise routine on them, which can create the illusion of a bulge or bump.  While saddlebags do not pose significant health risks, they can sometimes cause feelings of self-consciousness which is likely why you’re here.

And these thigh bulges are more common for women with pear-shaped figures.  Women have a broader pelvis than men, and this is why more women get saddlebags than men.  Pear shapes also tend to accumulate saddlebags more frequently because the shape is caused by estrogen dominance, another trait more women have than men. (source)

Estrogen also can cause fat accumulation in both the abdominal and thigh areas too. This problem is mainly attributed to genetics because your genetic makeup primarily determines your body fat distribution. (source).

And these are the reasons you are likely seeing saddlebags form.  It may not be that you’re eating wrong or working out the wrong way, it is a combination of genetics, age and lifestyle choices.  So let's jump into the causes of them and learn how to put the odds in our favor to get rid of saddlebags once and for all!

The Causes Of Saddlebags

Hormone Imbalance

Estrogen levels can fluctuate with life changes like puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause.  Even if you do not have excess fat deposits across the other areas of your body, you may still develop hip and thigh curves (or the ones you have will get larger) if your estrogen levels are higher than expected or out of balance (source). 

While estrogen is a hormone primarily associated with female reproductive health, it also stimulates the growth of fat cells. This is why some women may experience weight gain in the hips and thighs during pregnancy or other times when their estrogen levels are elevated (source).  

Genetics

If the women in your family all have saddlebags, then there is a high chance that you will have them too. Genetics is a factor that predetermines the areas in our body that are more likely to store fat, and you are also more likely to suffer from these curves if many women in your family are prone to having ‘pear-shaped’ physiques (source).

Lifestyle Choices

Processed and junk foods are high in calories, but lack nutrients which can contribute significantly to weight gain.  The combination of empty calories, overeating, and excessive calorie consumption in general results in weight gain and fat accumulation in areas like the thighs (source).  And if you’re not offsetting the intake with calorie burning exercises, you’re going to be seeing a larger accumulation.

The area where your glutes and upper hamstrings meet can become flabby when the muscles in the lower back and butt aren’t regularly used.  A good example is sitting at a desk for prolonged periods while you work.  It makes it easier for fat to accumulate in the surrounding tissues which magnify the appearance of lower body bulges.  You may want to try a standing desk as an alternative and take breaks to do squats and kickbacks (if there’s nobody behind you) to get some thigh toning exercises in.

Eating well and exercising is your best bet to reduce fat in the outer thigh area.  This can be achieved gradually through small changes over time rather than trying to do everything simultaneously.  The most important thing is to stick with it.  Because saddlebags are part genetics and part lifestyle, consistency is the key to fighting them off.

Change Your Diet

To help slim down your hips, try incorporating fiber-rich foods like wheat, quinoa, brown rice, and bran bread. These foods take longer to digest, so you'll feel full longer and less likely to snack (source).  Lean proteins like fish, eggs, and nuts can help you lose fat and maintain a healthy weight (source). 

Switching to whole foods with lower processing, and reduced calorie intake is a key factor in shrinking those stubborn saddlebags (source). Eating a low-sugar diet will reduce inflammation (source), helping to make your hips and thighs look slimmer over time.  

Changing your diet and reducing your calorie intake can be a long-term game-changer in reducing weight across all areas of your body, not just your thighs. You cannot control your genetics, but you can control what you eat.

Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential for regulating your hormones and keeping your cortisol levels in check.  It's easier to maintain a healthy weight and decrease body fat when your hormones are balanced, and your cortisol levels are lower (source). Getting enough sleep can also help reduce your appetite and cravings which makes you less likely to eat extra calories (source).

Increase Your Water Intake

Drinking enough water can help reduce your appetite and make you feel fuller (source). It also helps with healthy digestion which reduces bloating. When you're bloated, those hip and thigh curves can look even more noticeable.

Exercise

Combine cardiovascular activities like running or walking with bodyweight exercises and resistance training to boost the size and strength of your glutes and hamstrings. Assuming your genetics allow for it.  Increasing your muscle mass in the thigh region may help to increase your body's calorie-burning capacity, and work with your diet to help stop saddlebags from forming.

And it’s easy to get started when you have the right movements.

5 Exercises to Get Rid of Saddlebags

Side Saddle Leg Lifts

Side saddle leg lifts reduce the appearance of outer thigh bulges by targeting and toning the muscles in your outer thighs and hips. You tone and strengthen these muscles as you lift your top leg and hold that position.

  1. Lie on your side with your legs straight, and your bottom arm extended above your head.
  2. Place your top hand on the floor in front of your chest for support.
  3. Raise your top leg as high as you can while keeping it straight.
  4. Hold the lifted position for a few seconds, then slowly lower your leg.
  5. Repeat for several reps, then switch sides and repeat the exercise with your other leg.

Bodyweight Squats

Your glutes and outer thighs work hard to stabilize and control your body as you lower yourself and rise back up. As these muscles become stronger, you may notice a more toned and streamlined lower body appearance.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides.
  2. While keeping your chest forward, extend your butt outwards and begin bending your knees to a 90 degree angle. 
  3. Rise back up while keeping your face looking forward, chest up, and return to the starting position.

If you're having trouble feeling this movement in your glutes, try a glute-focused squat machine like ours. A glute focused squat machine will train your body and muscles to do the squat movement correctly for more consistent results.  Not to mention hold proper squat form.

Step-Ups

The motion of stepping up targets your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Step-ups will tone and shape your lower body reducing the appearance of lower body bulges.

  1. Stand in front of a bench, step, or sturdy elevated platform.
  2. Place one foot on top of the step, ensuring your entire foot is firmly planted on the surface.
  3. Push through your heel and lift your body onto the step, bringing your other foot up to meet it.
  4. Step back down with the same foot you started with, then repeat the exercise with your other foot leading.

Side Lunges

Side lunges tone and strengthen your adductors and your glutes. Your adductors keep you stable and balanced when you step to the side, and working them helps to minimize the appearance of stubborn outer hip and thigh fat.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Step your right foot out to the side.
  3. Lower yourself into a lunge by bending your right knee and keeping your left leg straight. 
  4. Return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat on the left side. 

Hip Dip on Side Plank

Lowering and lifting your hips during hip dips on side planks engage your glutes, hips, thighs, and obliques. By targeting and strengthening these muscles, hip dips on side plank tone and shape the area where saddlebags tend to appear.

  1. Begin in a side plank position, with your feet stacked on top of each other and your elbow or hand supporting your upper body.
  2. Lower your hips down towards the ground.
  3. Lift them towards the ceiling, squeezing your oblique muscles at the movement's top.
  4. Switch sides and repeat the exercise on your other side.

You can get rid of saddlebags, once you know the cause.  It could be you’re at an age where you’re more prone, your genetics, and lifestyle habits like sitting for long periods of time.  Now that you know the causes, you can take control and finally get rid of saddlebags once and for all.

How The Amount You Sleep Affects How You Lose Weight

How The Amount You Sleep Affects How You Lose Weight

Both the amount of sleep and the quality of sleep affect your ability to lose weight. Not getting enough shares or even getting too much sleep can sabotage your BMI (body mass index) and make you 25-35% less likely to lose weight (source).

The optimal sleep time per night for weight loss is 7-8 hours (source), but not all sleep is created equal. Better, more restorative sleep comes from more time spent in deep sleep stages (source) and higher quality sleep can increase your likelihood of weight loss by 33% (source).  And one of the major causes is how sleep impacts your body’s hormones.

Sleep’s impact on hormone production for weight loss

When you don’t get enough sleep your body produces more of the hormone called gherlin and less of the one called leptin. Gherlin makes you hungry, leptin makes you feel full (source).

By not getting proper sleep, you’re actually putting your body into a chemically altered state that makes it harder to lose weight. That’s because your body is fooling you into eating more calories. On average, people eat 200–500 more calories per day when they don’t get enough sleep (source). That’s up to 25% more based on a 2,000 calorie diet.  But you don’t want to overdo it either, too much sleep can also have a negative effect on weight loss, we share that fun fact in the bottom.

And don’t fall for those nutrition store “leptin” supplements. They don’t actually contain any leptin (source). Instead, they typically have caffeine to suppress appetite.  This is very similar to what you’ll see as a main ingredient in sports drinks and weight loss supplements.  And if you’re over caffeinated because you’re taking the supplements at the incorrect times, you may have even more difficulty getting to sleep and staying there (source).

Quality sleep leads to quality weight loss

Sleep is not the only factor involved in weight loss. Other elements like exercise and diet also play a crucial role. But sleep directly impacts both of these.

Better rest means more motivation to work out and more energy during workouts (source). So better sleep leads to better exercise that burns more calories and helps you lose more weight. But the circle of life doesn’t stop there.

Exercise, especially afternoon exercise, helps you get more deep sleep, which improves overall sleep quality (source). In turn, higher quality sleep leads to better diet choices.

When you get good sleep, it’s easier to choose fruits, vegetables, and other foods high in fiber (which combine with the proper gherlin/leptin levels in your body to help prevent overeating) (source). Poor sleep, on the other hand, can hurt your nutrition by causing you to eat more saturated fats and sugars (source).

Best of all, this combination of sleep, exercise, and diet come together to help your body lose the right kind of weight while you sleep, i.e. fat. When you reduce your daily calories to lose weight AND get proper sleep, you’re more likely to lose weight by burning fat deposits vs fat-free body mass (e.g. your muscles) (source).

A major reason for this is increased cortisol levels caused by lack of good sleep (source). Cortisol is the stress hormone that kicks your body’s prehistoric survival instincts into high gear, causing it to conserve fat deposits and sacrifice muscle.

Pound for pound, muscle burns nearly 3 times the calories that fatty tissue does (source), so getting good sleep and keeping cortisol levels low helps you keep that lean body mass that incinerates more calories throughout the day, which leads to more successful weight loss.

Now that you understand the connection between how much sleep you need and weight loss you can plan for proper resting regimens. Just don’t snooze that alarm too much because too much sleep will hinder your weight loss efforts too (source).

 

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