A recent story published by The Daily Mail details how a Miami woman has spent more than $10,000 on a Brazillian butt lift in order to obtain a Kim Kardashian-esque butt. Marlene Chinea, a 36-year-old nurse, says she was unable to achieve the figure she desired naturally after doing more than 300 squats a day. She decided to undergo this procedure, where a doctor injected four pounds of her own fat into her backside, after failing to get the butt she wanted through exercise. It’s a story that reflects changing body ideals and how far some will go to keep up with Instagram idols like the Kardashians, Nicki Minaj and fitness model Jen Selter.
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The desire for a rounder, larger butt is at an all-time high. While not everyone is desperate to take the perfect belfie, we like big butts and the numbers don’t lie. Butt augmentations and lifts are on the rise. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more than 21,000 people underwent butt augmentation procedures in 2014, an 86 percent increase from the previous year. And the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down in 2016. If surgery isn’t an option, the ever-popular 30-day-squat challenge promises to deliver the butt of your dreams. So if you are thinking of transforming your derriere, which route is the best way to go? Is it better to build your butt or buy your butt?
Building Your Butt
You can do as many squats as your body can handle, but you may not see the changes in your glutes if you don’t take the proper diet and nutrition steps necessary to make your booty pop. “Squats are great for toning and shaping the butt,” says OrangeTheory Fitness trainer Cindy London, “but you won’t get the butt you’re picturing without a combination of strength training, cardiovascular exercise and proper nutrition.”
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For maximum results, it’s beneficial to mix up exercises that target this area. “Any compound exercise such as squats, lunges and deadlifts are great for the lower body. You can also isolate the butt by doing glute kickbacks or donkey kicks,” recommends London. Don’t give up if your butt doesn’t immediately pop out after a few visits to the gym. “Genetics play a large part. Some people are born with a booty, others have to work really hard for it and some may not be able to achieve the look they want. Be consistent with your workouts so you can build the muscles that will tone, define and lift.”
Buying Your Butt
The two most popular butt enhancement procedures are butt augmentations, in which an implant is added through a small incision, and fat transfer, where fat is redistributed from other parts of the body. The hallmark of a good butt enhancement is when the butt has been reshaped, rather than just made bigger. “Shape is more important than size. Just as in breast surgery, there are doctors who perform Brazilian butt lifts that are considered ‘stuffers,’ and then there are ‘shapers,’” says Miami plastic surgeon Daniel Careaga, MD. “Find a surgeon that takes the time to shape and contour the buttocks rather than one that just wants to go big or go home.”
Understanding that shape and size is relative to each individual is also important. “What may be a great result in one patient can end up being a terrible result in another,” says Dr. Careaga. “This is why it’s crucial to find a board-certified plastic surgeon who has the training and experience necessary to successfully perform your procedure. Avoid surgeons advertising as ‘cosmetic surgeons’ (no such board exists), surgeons who use flashy ads and discounts to lure in patients or cosmetic surgery factories that are glorified meat markets.”
Making It Last
The results you get from building your butt in the gym must be maintained with continued diet and exercise. Similarly, the results you get from a procedure like the Brazilian butt lift won’t last forever. “Approximately one third of the fat used to lift and shape your butt will not survive the transfer process and will be absorbed and excreted by your body,” says Dr. Careaga. “The fat that does survive will become part of the natural fat already in that area and will behave as such. That means it will get bigger if you gain weight and smaller if you lose weight.”
Regardless of whether you approach a booty transformation through exercise or plastic surgery, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to having the butt you’ve always wanted. “Try to avoid surgery if you can, but if you’ve tried everything to naturally improve your appearance and it’s greatly affecting your self-confidence, then plastic surgery can definitely be an option,” says London. “But even with plastic surgery, you still have to practice healthy living to maintain your new look.”