If you don't like your calves, hold off on booking calf reduction surgery. You can get the legs you want by sticking to a consistent workout routine that combines cardio and strength training. You don't have to spend hours a day at the gym to see results either. Ditch your poor eating habits and you're calves will start to slim down and you'll be in your skinny jeans before you know it.
You can't expect to see your calf muscles if they're covered with excess fat. Cardio burns calories for weight loss. You can't target your calves with cardio, but it does help you burn fat all over your body, including on your legs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends women get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, though up to 300 minutes is more effective for weight loss. Choose forms of cardio that work your calves to increase the benefit.
Strength-training moves that target your calves help tone and define the area, which gives them a slimmer look. MayoClinic.com recommends two or three 20- to 30-minute strength-training sessions each week. Include moves that target each of your major muscle groups, including your legs. Do at least one set of 12 repetitions of each calf exercise in your routine. Add sets and repetitions as you get stronger and gain endurance. You'll start seeing results in just a couple of weeks.
When it comes to cardio, anything that gets your heart rate going counts. Choose something you enjoy to increase your motivation and reduce the chances that you'll throw in the towel before you reach your goals. Walking, jogging, biking, dancing and swimming are choices that make your calves work and burn calories at the same time. Strength-training moves that work your calves include calf raises, squats, box jumps, stepping moves and seated toe touches. Mix and match your favorites for a well-rounded workout.
If you don't make good eating choices, you'll undo all of your hard work. Don't hit the drive-through after you exercise or you might take in more calories than you just burned. Instead, fill your plate with a variety of foods from each food group to fulfill your nutrient needs and get the vitamins and minerals you need to fuel your workout schedule. Don't neglect the other muscles in your legs either. This could result in a muscle imbalance, which might cause you to get hurt and leave you with a disproportionate body shape too. Work your quads and hamstrings equally to get the legs you really want.
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.