It's time to get real about one thing -- exercise won't pluck fat straight from your butt. The only natural way to shrink your rear end is by slimming down all over with a total weight-loss plan. As you shed body fat, your buns will get proportionately smaller. Even though exercise doesn't directly affect fat deposits, it can lift and shape your buttocks for a shapelier appearance. And although diet affects your weight more than exercise, working out will help the pounds vanish faster by burning calories.
Sweat it out with cardio five days per week, an hour per session, to melt that fat. Cardio, or aerobic, activity burns calories more efficiently than other type of exercise, and it improves heart and lung power to boot. Running at 8 mph torches more than 850 calories per hour for a 160-pound woman, as does jumping rope. An hour of high-impact aerobics shreds nearly 550 calories per hour at the same weight, as does rollerblading. Rowing, hiking and using the elliptical machine at the gym are other fine options.
For a fabulous rear view, incorporate resistance training into your routine three times per week. At home, perform supermans, squats, lunges and lateral shuffles. If you have a sets of weights or access to a gym, perform deadlifts. Walking up stairs, skipping a step, also works glutes nicely. For each exercise, perform 12 repetitions per set. Start with just one set if you're new to resistance training, and work up to three sets for maximum toning.
Drop the cheesecake -- just because you're exercising doesn't mean you can get away with a poor diet. To slim down, you need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories for every pound of fat. Do this sensibly by eating 500 to 1,000 fewer calories than you burn every day, without going below 1,200 calories. Starvation leads to water and muscle loss, and it also slows your metabolism. Trade the soda and fried foods for water, raw or steamed fruits and veggies, whole grains such as oatmeal, popcorn and brown rice, and lean proteins such as tofu, tuna and cottage cheese.
Check with a doctor before starting an exercise routine, and don't perform heavy workouts right off the bat. Easing into a routine helps prevent injury and burnout, helping you sustain a workout schedule for life. Obtain quality shoes that were designed for your type of exercise, and wear comfortable clothes you can move easily in. Take at least five minutes to warm up before workouts, and drink water throughout your activity. If you feel sick or exhausted, take the day off.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.