The popularity of curvier body types a la Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez and Kate Upton has many women wondering if they can achieve a similar booty-full silhouette through exercise. The answer is…sort of, says Jennifer Stretch, a personal trainer and the co-founder of Fit Personal Training in Toronto.
“I would say yes, but…” says Stretch, who says genetics plays a significant role in whether or not you’re going to rock the hourglass shape, which is defined by broader shoulders, broader hips, and a narrow slim waist. “There’s only so much we can do with what we’ve been given genetically,” says Stretch. “However, that being said, a body that’s an untoned, unfit body is going to be a shapeless body.”
Building curves comes down to three things: broadening the upper body, tightening and toning the lower body and narrowing the waist, says Stretch. Your diet and exercise routine must work toward achieving that architecture.
First, you’d need to slim down, Stretch says. You can’t sculpt muscles when they’re hidden under a layer of body fat. Eat a clean, whole foods-based diet and don’t follow trends or fads. Stretch says to look to the Canada Food Guide for advice on what to eat and how much.
Stop snacking late at night. “Not eating late at night is a real key factor [in losing weight]. If you have your dinner at 6:30 p.m. make sure it’s sufficient to sustain you and then that’s it.”
When it comes to your workout routine, Stretch says forget about the elliptical and the treadmill and other cardio machines, which may help you slim down, but will do little to lift and shape your backside or lean out your core. “You’re going to burn calories and lose body fat but you’re not really doing anything to stress the muscles underneath that body fat to cause them to adapt and become toned and shapely and stronger.” To sculpt muscles, choose resistance-training exercises (think squats, lunges and rows using weights or simply body-weight) that broaden the upper body, whittle the core (focus on twists), and lift and tone the backside and lower body and perform them at a high intensity with little to no periods of rest in between.
For example, if you want to work on your waistline and backside, Stretch suggests this routine:
Perform alternating sets of abdominal exercises (Mason twists, reverse crunches, planks) with lower body exercises (sumo squats, jumping squats and stationary or walking leg lunges with a rear leg lift). To make these exercises doubly effective you’ll have to perform them in alternating sets with little to no rest in between. Perform the entire circuit three times. But Stretch says beginners would be wise to consult a personal trainer who can create a workout plan.
Just remember: you can lift, shape and tone your body but you can’t exactly duplicate J.Lo’s derriere. More importantly, keep your expectations grounded in reality.
“There are no exercises we can do that are going to give us a bust like Kim Kardashian if we’re an A-cup or a B-cup.”