First of all, love and accept yourself as you are. If you’ve put on a few pounds and are self-conscious about showing off your less than athletic self, it’s okay!
Beating yourself up over what you did or didn’t do or could or should have done to be in better shape for shorts seasons isn’t going to help you – it’ll only make you feel more guilty and self-conscious.
Embrace where you are at now and then start working on a fitness plan to get stronger and shapelier for the rest of the season. Start by doing the exercises below 3 times a week to strengthen and shape up your lower body including your glutes.
1. ALTERNATING JUMP SQUATS
Start low in a squat position. Avoid letting your knees go past your toes – you should feel like your sticking your butt out. Keep your core contracted; then jump up, extending your knees, arms down by your sides, landing on the ball of each foot as you return to the ground. Lower back down into a squat position and repeat for 30 to 60 seconds. Start at 30s if you are a beginner and increase your time as you get progress.
Take a rest and repeat 2 to 3 times.
2. SINGLE-LEG ROMANIAN DEADLIFTS
You will feel your gluteals working hard in this exercise after a dozen repetitions or less. Single-leg deadlifts work your glutes and trunk by forcing you to stabilize and avoid losing your balance. Start by standing on your left leg with a kettlebell (weight depending on your abilities: try 5-8kg to start) in your left hand.
Contract your glutes as you hinge from the hips and lower the weight down in front of your left leg to the floor. Simultaneously your right leg should be extending behind you. Avoid arching your back by keeping your abs tight– you should be working your glutes. Repeat 10-12 times on each leg and complete 2 to 3 sets in total.
3. DUMBBELL STEP UPS
Target your quadriceps (thigh muscles) with dumbbell step-ups to round out your lower-body routine. Start by holding on to a dumbbell in each hand while standing up tall in front of a bench. Step up on to the bench with your left leg while extending your right leg behind you for a beat; step back down with the right leg followed by the leg;
Repeat step-ups 10 times on left leg before switching to step-up with the right. Aim to complete 2 to 3 sets with a rest break in between.
4. WALK UPHILL
If you want to shape up your lower half, you cannot neglect cardio. Cardio exercises elevate the heart rate, which in turn helps to increase metabolism and fat-burning potential. Walking is a great can-do-anytime-almost-anywhere exercise. However if you want to get your heart rate up, you’ll want to pick up your pace and find more challenging routes.
Hills meet this challenge as well as proving to be a great glute-burning exercise. Find a hilly area outdoors to walk at a brisk pace for 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can do this on the treadmill by setting the incline to a gradient in which you feel like you’re working hard. If you tire too quickly after a few minutes, you’ve set the incline too high.
Be sure to stretch your quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes afterwards to avoid stiffness.