How To Build A Fit Booty

The booty.

I know, I know. For some reason, it seems like you can never escape booty talk.

“I need to do something with this booty.”

Not even just her hips, but her thighs - that's hard work!

“My booty is perfect – I don’t want exercise to ruin that.”

Listen for long enough, and you’ll eventually hear “I need to get off my booty and do something.”

No matter what, this topic always comes up. And while I can’t help but be tickled, I’m also a little saddened by it.

More often now, I wind up having fitness-based conversations with people who “knew” me before and “know” me now, only because they’re trying to poke and prod at my understanding of what I want for myself. Much like the people who insisted that I “should be trying to get a man” instead of focusing on myself, I get people who want to talk to me about my booty.

Let me explain – I had a “giant booty.” I mean, giant. I was a size 28 – I didn’t have much choice except to have… a “giant booty.” And while in some circles a booty that large is “just wrong,” in other circles a “giant booty” is something similar to carrying a pot of gold on your back down the street. Everyone’s looking, wondering if you’ve got more in yours than they’ve got in theirs, if yours is better than theirs, wondering if they can get what you’ve got. And depending upon who you’re talking to, it might be worth just as much AS a pot of gold, for crying out loud. I’m sure you know what circles I made sure I stayed in, then – the ones that made me feel better about me and my,well.. giant booty.

As a woman, my weight is supposed to concentrate closer to my hips and thighs – it’s supposed to help protect our reproductive system. The extra fat keeps your eggs and various other goodies warm. (This is where the notion that “women with larger hips are better child birthers” or whatever comes from.) And while I cannot completely share the history of every bloodline in existence and how their bodies adapted to their environments… I can certainly share mine.

As a woman of color, I was blessed with being predisposed to a curvaceous, well-built figure. Meaning, if I treat my body right, the curves have no choice but to come. As my ancestors come from a place where countless generations built their muscle in certain places to help their bodies do what they needed to do to tend to their villages, my bloodline adapted – full hips and an ample busom to help me deliver and care for my children; strong calf, booty and thigh muscles; powerful neck and shoulder muscles. As a woman, I was built to be… well, built. Well built, to be exact.

And in a society where everyone makes money off of making life easier, I have to go out of my way to maintain that… build. I don’t have to work as hard as my ancestors in order to accomplish basic daily tasks.

January, '10

Somewhere along the line, any “giant booty” became acceptable. And as women, I often wonder if we ignored the fact that our frames were increasing because we were getting compliments on our derrierres. I mean, we were still getting complimented – we must be doing something right, right?

Let me mention a few important things that have to be a part of any resolution to be healthier:

First, just as being skinny is not an indicator of good health, neither is being or having fat. There’s no way around that – there is very little in the way of physical appearance that can gauge a person’s health. While we can talk about anorexics and the “super obese” as exceptions, the vast majority of us don’t fall on either end of the spectrum – we sit closer to the middle. So no, “getting a bigger booty” doesn’t mean “you’re doing something right.” It means you’re doing something, but “right?” I can’t call it.

Secondly, again – we have to stop basing our judgments of ourselves on what other people say or think. Thinking that I don’t have to “do anything” because other people like “how I am” is just an excuse to not consciously think about “how I am.” Almost like it’s putting the responsibility of “thinking about me” onto other people. Can I really trust other people to think about me in a way that’s best for me? If I could, I might’ve never been so overweight in the first place. Ownership. Gotta take it.

I had a lot of thinking to do. When I think about myself, am I happy with what I have? Regardless of your weight, I hope you are. You are you, and you should be happy regardless of what you have. But take it a step further – am I healthy? If not, am I willing to risk “what I have” to claim my health?

Lastly, and this is most important – our bodies are complex. With as many muscle groups as there are… you think you can’t build and rebuild and rebuild what you’ve got? You can do just about anything with your body if you commit to it AND commit to you.

Let me talk about my booty for a minute. When I started losing weight, the very first thing I lost WAS in my gut and booty region. I was so happy about the gut that I didn’t recognize that my booty was slipping away. Not until I started weight lifting that I realized it was deflated! Gone. Vanished. The case of the disappearing booty. I was gonna have to hire a PI and put out an APB for it.

So.. I had to do something. I mean, some serious body mapping. I had too much fat in my thighs to have an actual curve to my booty at the point where it met my thigh. I had a spare tire that was hiding the slope from my back to my booty. I needed to actually build a booty of muscle… which meant no more crease between my booty and my thigh, causing those saddle bags. I had work to do.

Since I was already burning the fat, I needed to work on rebuilding. Booty and thigh exercises on deck. And please believe, the squats are necessary. It is absolutely possible to rebuild yourself a fit booty – one that sits high, curves just right, and doesn’t cause skin to fold and protrude at the hips. If the fat was going to melt away, it needed something to conform to, in my mind. So, off I went muscle building. It’s working well for me.

All of this is to say… I need to make sure that I don’t cling to someone else’s perception of what I “should” look like, especially when that perception would bind me to an unhealthy lifestyle. I need to not believe that I can’t rebuild something like a booty in a much healthier way than cornbread and sweet potato pie. I need to resolve to be comfortable with who I am, and understand that wanting something else for my body doesn’t mean that I believe something is wrong with who I am. And lastly… a fit booty is a thousand times better than a booty I got through unhealthy means.. ’cause I worked for it, earned it and deserved it.

Who else out there is working on their fit booty? Let’s hear it!

(You might also want to check out my post on belly fat!)

About the Author:

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes health, fitness, nutrition, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and crtified in sports nutrition by Precision Nutrition. She now lives in New York with her husband and children, and is working on her 6th and 7th certifications because lol why not.


  1. Jessica June 11, 2010 at 11:54 AM - Reply

    Thank you for being so honest and calling attention to the way we accept an unhealthy lifestyle because of external comments! In the past I often let myself slide into unhealthy behaviors because I got feedback that my ‘thick’ thighs and behind were in keepin with our cultural norms. I appreciate you returning the conversation to how WE should feel about ourselves and our health!

    • Erika June 11, 2010 at 12:44 PM - Reply

      Oh, please believe… that “thick” phrase is the bane of my existence right now. It makes me want to punch a hole in something. If I could figure out a way to touch the issue without firing random shots at people (and without it being 2300 words long), I would.

      We’ve just… we’ve got a long way to go.

      • Melody November 6, 2013 at 9:32 PM - Reply

        Erika I love your post! Can you please share your workout routine and diet plan with me I really want to get a fit butt the healthy way! Not by eating a lot because I don’t want to gain stomach weight too. I’ve tried to google some workouts and stuff and I cant seem to find anything that really works, all see is squats, and more squats lol. But what else do you do? because squats alone are not doing it for me. Thanks, I’d appreciate any feedback!

        • Erika Nicole Kendall November 6, 2013 at 9:49 PM - Reply

          Well, the meal plans that are available for sale on the blog are my very own plans that I use. And squats definitely work, that’s for sure…the challenge is that they don’t work overnight, LOL.

  2. Cjbrownsc June 11, 2010 at 12:32 PM - Reply

    I am!!
    I’m working on a fit booty AND body – abs, arms, back, chest, legs, and of course, the booty! I want it all!! LOL

  3. De-Andrea June 11, 2010 at 12:52 PM - Reply

    When I started spinning, my booty disappeared! My leg muscles formed beautifully, but the first major change I noticed was what wasn’t there. lol I then learned exercises from a friend that would help with “re-forming” my behind (squats, etc.) and they’ve worked well thus far. I fell off the fitness bandwagon, but am back to working out 3x/week and I hope to increase it soon.

    Btw, i’ve been reading your blog for about a week now and Soror, you’ve been a great source of inspiration. Keep up the great work! 🙂

    • Erika June 11, 2010 at 1:14 PM - Reply

      LOL So you could feel my pain, too? I was crushed, LOL. Those squats are the absolute best, though. You do ’em right, and you can reap benefits forevermore. LOL

      I’m glad that you’re back on the right path! And thank you so much – that means the world to me. 🙂

  4. Ella June 11, 2010 at 2:07 PM - Reply

    I just want to thank the creator of this site….it has really encouraged me to get back on my weight loss journey. I was working out using P90X for five weeks and it’s a 90 program. I started to get bored with it, and there were a lot of the routines/exercises that I couldn’t do…for those that have never used it, it’s like bootcamp to the 100th power. My husband bought me a bike yesterday, so that’s motivation to get some bike riding done, but this site and seeing the picture of Erika is very encouraging. I just need to stay motivated to lose 30 lbs and then maintaining afterwards.

    • Erika June 11, 2010 at 7:59 PM - Reply

      Aww, thank you so much! P90x tends to turn people off because it is quite the rigorous workout. All I can tell you is to just try to stick it out. I think it might be the monotony of sticking a DVD in and knowing what you’re going to get that might drive you nuts. Why not do something else WITH P90X? Use your new bike! Take a class! Pile on the activity, and I’m sure you’ll get your 30lbs in. 🙂

    • Dee July 12, 2013 at 11:12 PM - Reply

      In regards to P90X, there’s a reason Tony says to do your best and forget the rest. As you get stronger, the workouts you couldn’t do (ie “the rest”) will eventually fall into place. And there’s always Power 90, the less extreme older brother of P90X. It’s still fairly challenging, but without the overly extra crazy stuff. When I realized there was NO way I could do “The X” I checked out Power 90. It’s been a few years, and I’ve forgotten how much weight and how many inches I lost, but it was enough that I went down a couple of dress sizes.

  5. whocaresia June 11, 2010 at 4:15 PM - Reply

    To be very frank I can’t buy into the booty building thing. If I am wrong, tell me how. Most women that I have seen with nice butts were born with them. Some of them look a little unsightly when the woman gains a lot of weight but for the most part most women with big butts look nice. But it is natural.

    I myself was not one of the black women who was born with it. I don’t know if I took more from the white side (that I recently found out is in my blood)of my family but I’ve never had a boom-boom. I’ve done booty exercises. All it did was to lift it up a little and put a slightly more tone look at the bottom of the muscle. I don’t think this can change for women with little to work with. Even the lady in this article HAD a booty but she lost it . She had something to work with. It just went into hiding.

    Also, do you have friends with little booties that have been able to pick them up with your advice and exercise?

    • Erika June 11, 2010 at 4:35 PM - Reply

      LOL If a woman gains fat and it doesn’t naturally deposit into that “boom boom” type booty, then she needs to rely on building the muscles in those specific places to give her the curve she wants. It’s not my job to “prove” that to you – any anatomy book outlining how muscle lays across the body will SHOW you what you have to work with. It’s up to you whether you remain patient and continue to put forth the effort.

      My question to you would be, what kind of “boom boom” are you wanting? Because a “fit booty” and a “phat booty” are not the same in any capacity. A woman whose fat naturally deposits into her hips and booty area (where, as I explained, it’s supposed to go) is going to develop that unsightliness when she collects too much fat. That’s just how it is. So sure, I had a giant behind, but I also had a giant front and large thighs to go along with it. Realistically, I’d take my fit booty over the one I had any day.

      Do I have friends who started off small and grew with this advice? Actually, a dear friend who maintains her booty THROUGH these exercises put ME on to game a year or so ago. This is not “new” or “novel” stuff, here – the facebook page for this site is full of women sharing details of working on and with their booties. It’s not just me, mama. When you see that you’re getting “a little” of a lift, you KEEP GOING. Once you get it, you have to WORK to maintain it.

      So know this – I hear you, but you need to hear me too. You can’t stop just ’cause you see a little work. You have to keep at it in order to keep it, lol.

      • ms pie October 4, 2012 at 3:00 PM - Reply

        I love reading this…….Im too is really working on my booty I work out like crazy cardio weights but my booty looks the same, wide, I have a tire around my waist from the front it looks big . I want a big booty that sits high. You ladies motive and inspire me so much.

      • MoMof3 April 6, 2014 at 2:59 AM - Reply

        Well, I am not sure how the whole fat going towards your booty and hips helps with childbirth. The reason I say this is because I am one of 4 sisters. We were all blessed to give birth to our own kids. However, all of my sisters are curvy and have what we call “junk in the trunk”, but they all had complications with their pregnancies, having to have their babies early to keep from having a miscarriage and they had to have C sections with all of their kids. When I, the last to become pregnant who was getting close to age of 30’s door finally did get pregnant all of my sisters and other family members were nervous. They were concern about how my skinny body was going to carry a baby and push out a baby. They figured just like I did that I was going to have to have a C-section because they all did (genes right). For the record, I have always been skinny. Every pregnancy I started off weighing 95 to 98 pounds, all skin and bones. For months me and others wouldn’t have known I was pregnant because I didn’t have morning sickness and I didn’t start to show until around 6 to 7 months but of course I knew I was pregnant the moment “my flow didn’t go.” I had the perfect pregnancies and the perfect deliveries. I pushed all my babies out vaginally with no problem. My longest labor period was 6 hours and some change with my last baby. I believe the most fat or the only fat deposit I have is in my brain. What you said maybe true and I just maybe that rare case that goes against the grain of normality. I will say unlike my sisters I was pretty active throughout my childhood whereas they were not and have always been on the healthy side as far as what I did or did not eat. I’m guessing what is on the outside of the skin and bones is not a sneak peek of what is under the skin and bones. My mom said the way I pushed those babies out you would think I had booty and hips for days. I believe your health has more to do with it than anything else. After every child my body went back to its pre-pregnancy size within 2 months. With that said I am just thankful for my three kids and your article is very inspiring, I maybe bony but I need to keep my body in tip top shape as well as. Unfortunately, I have used my kids as an excuse to not keep my body in tip top shape and have begun to eat things I usually would not eat but I’m still skinny (because of quick metabolism) but unhealthy unlike I was before having and a year after having my kids. So thanks for this, I mean girl you have really inspired me to get off my bones and workout. Like you said your outside or external should not be an indication of how healthy you are, big booty or skins and bones does not equal fit or healthy. Just being healthy equals being healthy by working out, eating right and staying stress free. Thanks so much Erika.

        • Erika Nicole Kendall April 7, 2014 at 12:32 PM - Reply

          I think we should always remember that there’s always multiple factors and components that contribute to something like fertility and pregnancy complications, and that doesn’t necessarily change the fact that it’s widely known (though not 100% proven and accepted) that fat deposits on the healthy female body track with reproductive organs and procreation.

          Not only that, but without looking at your chart and talking to your doctors, we could never understand the full context of your particular pregnancy and circumstances… so we could never go into specifics, nor do I think that’d be right. We’re all different, lucky and blessed in some ways, cursed and less fortunate in others. It’s complex. But I’m so glad you shared. 🙂

  6. Latashia Alxander June 14, 2010 at 12:21 PM - Reply

    I, like Ella, get bored with workouts very easily (especially Dvd’s), so I am always looking for ways to incorporate something “fun” with it. I am on Week 2 of P90x and I found several things that helped me. #1. I already had a gym membership (I was up to doing 10 classes a week…Zumba, etc), so I decided to incorporate the gym into P90x…I’m paying for it anyway!! I converted it and downloaded it to my IPOD and I workout at the gym with it (kind of memorized the moves…lol) I can honestly say that it keeps me moving and I workout HARD! I also get use of their pullup bars and weights so it’s a great transition for me!

  7. Gabulous June 29, 2010 at 9:44 AM - Reply

    Thanks so much for this insite! LOVE IT! I was just saying that I don’t want to lose my booty just the gut. Do you have any other suggestions for losing and toning the stomach region? It’s so hard to do and I feel like I’ve tried most everything.

  8. Norn July 25, 2010 at 8:50 PM - Reply

    You are so cool & smart!
    I have lost & built so much this past year, but where my butt used to stick out kinda cute, now it looks like old skin just hangin’.

  9. Chocolate July 25, 2010 at 9:04 PM - Reply

    Very informative article. I believe that like WHOCARESIA, I have inherited some traits from my white ancestral background. I have what I call a black/white girl booty. It has some white traits as well as some black girl tenancies coupled with a few bouts of cellulite. Ugh.

    I will just keep it real here. I ultimately am in the in-between stages. I want a phat booty, but I also want a fit booty. I want a nice round, fit, sexy, cellulite free, bang boom pow booty…..much like the woman in the video, “I like the way you move” by Outkast. I guess I am scared to lose what little booty I have and this is the main reason why I stop exercising when I see that it is dwindling away. I have already lost my boobs and now my booty? I am really not taking likely to this.

    This article is an inspiration, but when I saw the author’s before and after pictures, I would prefer to have the before than the after, but that’s just me. Everyone shouts SQUATS, SQUATS, SQUATS but if I squat my booty to non-existence, I will not be a happy camper! The purpose of exercise is to promote better health, but let’s face it, WE WANT OUR BODIES AND BOOTIES TO LOOK THEIR BEST!

    I want to build my booty up. My question is, how to build without losing it. What other exercises can I do to build it up?

    Thanks for listening.


    • Erika July 25, 2010 at 9:16 PM - Reply

      By definition, you cannot “squat your booty to non-existence.” It is not possible. You squat, you lunge, you use the muscles by performing the exercises and they have no choice but to grow and develop the shape. You would rather have a fat booty that developed from an unhealthy lifestyle – sagging, dimply and paired with saddlebags? Then really, I don’t have anything for you, my dear.

      The silly thing is to think that it “cannot be done” just because it doesn’t happen overnight. Building a great body takes hard work. The same work we SHOULD have been putting in on ourselves all this time. Now, all of a sudden we want to act right and it’s supposed to happen overnight? It’s not going down like that. LOL Not ever.

      Everyone is saying squats because squats WORK. They make use of all of the sets of muscles required to make those booty muscles grow. Clenching and squeezing your cheeks, lunges, frog hops… there are a few booty exercises on this site that can help you. But there’s no possible way that a “fat booty” is your body “looking its best.”

      I’m sorry, but all of this “I don’t buy it, I don’t believe it, I don’t think” conversation just sounds like a slew of excuses to me. It’s another reason to not work. *shrug* If y’all want to skate on your workouts to cling to some perception of your booty, then by all means.. have at it. Just don’t expect me to coddle that. I just cannot… and I say that with love.

  10. Chocolate July 25, 2010 at 9:35 PM - Reply

    Okay, I got it. I hear what you are saying. A bunch of excuses and a bunch of bull is what I just fed you. To be perfectly honest, my previous post was full of a bunch of excuses. At one point, I was doing an excellent job, exercising and eating clean, but lately, I have been slipping…BIG TIME. Now, I just need to get off my unhealthy “BOOTY” and do something! Thanks for the pep talk. I needed it.

    • Erika July 26, 2010 at 9:53 AM - Reply

      I’m just sayin’… so you recognize that you’re giving me excuses instead of being about the business of your health? So get back on it. Seriously. 🙂

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