3 Rope Climbs
15 Clapping Push-ups
My wife was in the locker room at the gym when she overheard the following conversation between a mother and her teenage daughter who were both trying on some leggings from the gym’s pro shop:
Obvious to anyone over the age of 20, perhaps, is that the daughter’s desire to have a big butt represents a head-snappingly fast cultural change. Prior to a few years ago, the last thing a woman wanted was to have a big butt.
But what my wife overhead was just another case of what I call aspirational Kardashianism, which is the bizarre, rapid-onset modern practice of trying to cultivate a large butt through surgical intervention, fat injection, marathon workout sessions geared solely towards butt development, or just plain eating.
It’s a condition where “quality,” symmetry, and aesthetics of the butt take a crowded backseat to size. It’s just another case of cultural emulation, but instead of a generation of boys growing up to “be like Mike,” this generation of women is aspiring to “be like Kim,” but substitute being adept at fade-away jumpers with the proclivity to take countless bend-over-and-smile selfies.
In a surprising twist, though, there’s some research out there that suggests women with bigger butts are actually healthier and may live longer; that the extra gluteal fat they sport protects them against cardiovascular and even metabolic disease.
Generally speaking, the size of the butt is determined by four factors:
Clearly, big butts are for the most part born, not made. All of the preceding factors are genetic. The first two are almost certainly controlled by multiple genes, but scientists reporting in the journal Genome have reported that, in sheep at least, that a single mutated gene (named “callipyge,” from the Greek word meaning beautiful buttocks) causes some animals to have an unusually large, muscular bottom.
Whether this same gene exists in humans is unknown, as is whether it explains the proclivities of certain lonely sheepherders, but one thing is clear: a bigger butt seems to come with certain health benefits.
Oxford researcher Dr. Konstantin Manolopoulos looked at a sampling of 16,000 women and found that thigh fat and a larger hip circumference, unlike tummy fat, promotes health and is in fact “protective by itself.”
Apparently, abdominal fat is much more active in storing and releasing fat after heavy exercise or periods of starvation. Thigh and butt fat, however, is used for much longer-term storage.
The fat stored near the stomach dispenses free fatty acids that float around the body and are deposited in organs like the liver, and this is associated with things like diabetes, insulin resistance, or heart disease. This type of fat is also known to release inflammatory cytokines, which further promote disease.