Not everyone is blessed with genetically gorgeous and toned legs. While the majority of us work so damn hard at the gym to tighten our lower body muscles, there are some lucky ones who make us go green with envy with well-toned and lean legs without even breaking a sweat!
It’s no secret that legs are the most difficult part of our bodies to work on and we will not sugar coat it for you in any way - it requires a lot of work, time and a systematic approach to speed up the tightening process of your lower body muscles (and you will have to make your peace with it!)
Now, spot reduction isn’t really a thing when it comes to legs. To get lean legs you will have to start with burning your overall body fat with a total-body strength and cardio routine and a balanced diet in addition to making a few changes to your lifestyle. Here are some pointers to get you started.
Incorporate strength training into your workout routine. Building more muscle tissues burns more calories. Thus when you increase your muscle mass, you'll burn more calories every day, till up to 48 hours after your workout, even when your body is at rest, resulting in weight loss.
We know you dread the very thought of it, but doing cardio at least thrice a week for 30-40 minutes is a must for girls seeking weight loss. To aid fat burning around your hips and thighs inculcate leg-intensive cardio in your workout routine such as - cycling, running, rowing, climbing stairs, etc. Take it a notch higher and play it smart by inculcating HIIT in your cardio workout. High-Intensity Intervals are short bursts (30-60 seconds) of maximum effort cardio followed by rest periods (1-2 minutes) which brings the heart rate up and then gives it time to come down in between. It will help boost your metabolism, burn more calories and fat in a shorter duration of time, increase your muscle mass and in turn, giving you the lean legs and body that you are looking for.
Getting a Fab body is 30 percent workout and 70 percent diet so take your food seriously when working on your dream physique. Replenishing your body with ample fluid and Protein after every workout is a must. Drink lots of water and add green veggies, oats, quinoa, greek yogurt, avocados, sprouts and almonds to your diet and steer clear of processed foods and aerated drinks. The trick is to time your carbs and fats. Following a sensible eating and exercise plan with a more gradual weight-loss rate makes it more likely that you'll maintain your weight loss, including slimmer legs, for the long term. Consult a nutritionist for more clarity.
Having well toned and lean legs gives you the confidence to carry off those unforgiving skinny jeans, shorts and skirts with much ease and panache. Legs are one of the major muscle groups in our body. Be sure to train them at least twice a week. And since you’ll be using some of the body’s biggest muscles, you’ll increase calorie burn and lose weight. So girls, don't skip leg day and squat till you walk funny. You can incorporate the following exercises in your leg day workout routine that target various leg muscles -
a. Glutes And Abductors: One leg deadlift, glute raises, dumbbell step ups + kickback, side lunge, sumo jump squats, bulgarian split squats, donkey kicks, squat kickback, weighted glute bridge, clamshell, etc.
b. Quads: Barbell lunge, cable hip abduction, cardio - recumbent bike (rowing machine), leg extension machine, sumo barbell squat, jump squats, standing leg circles, wall sit, high box jump, burpees, etc.
c. Inner Thigh/ Adductors: Lunge back kick, diamond kicks, cross jacks, bodyweight lunges, inner thigh lifts, deep side lunge, sumo squats, side leg raises, side leg extensions, etc.
d. Hamstrings: Single leg deadlift, sumo deadlifts, bridge curls, hamstring curls, plank leg lifts, two-arm kettlebell swing, romanian deadlift, front and back lunges, twisted hyperextensions, etc.
e. Calves: Calf raises, standing barbell calf raises, plie squat calf raises, jump rope, wall sit plie calf raises, mountain climbers, ankle hops, etc.
f. Exercise And Lifestyle Changes Go Hand In Hand
Incorporating these simple yet important lifestyle changes will take you a long way in achieving your fitness goals quickly. Start with ditching the elevator and climbing those stairs. Walk to the gym instead of driving down. Track your daily activity and workouts using a fitness tracking band or watch and set a daily goal of 10,000 steps. Such simple lifestyle change can burn up to an extra 500 calories every day making your legs leaner, stronger and bringing you closer to your fitness goals.
Be sure to give your legs a much-deserved rest period of 48-72 hours before you indulge in an intensive leg workout routine again to allow your muscles time to recover and develop strength. Also, take care of your knees and make sure you do the above exercises in proper form under the supervision of a certified trainer (if a beginner), and use a good running technique if you are a runner.
In the end, just remember that good things take time. Recognize the fact that if your legs have always been heavy, they’ll likely be one of the last places to slim down. Refrain from starving yourself to lose weight too quickly as you will most likely gain it back as soon as you stop following the diet. To add to the misery, starvation may lead to an unhealthy calorie deficit which might lead to muscle loss, which takes away from well-defined, toned legs. Adopt a systematic approach to weight training - Cardio, HIIT, leg exercises combined with a balanced diet of protein, carbs, and fats to sculpt your butt, hamstrings, quads, thighs, and calves to get strong, sexy, lean legs. Persevere, dear lady, because results will come in late, but they will be long-term and far-reaching.
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