All women want a great pair of legs. Beautiful, sleek legs are desired by women all over the world. Excess body fat and bulky leg muscles, especially in the calves, can leave you less than satisfied with the appearance of you legs. In order to tone and slim the legs, you need to focus on both decreasing the size of your calf muscles and decreasing overall body fat. You can do this through proper diet, exercise and stretching.
Consume only natural foods such as lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and low-fat dairy products. These naturally low-calorie foods are packed with nutrients and fiber and will help lower your body fat. Limit your intake of unhealthy fats found in fried foods, as well as processed foods and items with added sugar. These foods are loaded with "empty" calories that do nothing but increase your body fat.
Run. This is the best cardiovascular exercise to blast body fat and slim your calf muscles. Stick to longer, slower runs instead of short, fast runs such as sprinting. It's during these slow, long runs that you use fat as your fuel source instead of carbohydrates. This will help significantly lower your overall body fat percentage and decrease muscle mass in your calves. Other good cardiovascular activities to help you burn fat are swimming, cycling, and using the elliptical machine. Always keep the resistance low and aim to complete 30 minutes or more of body-slimming cardiovascular activity at least five times each week.
Avoid exercises that significantly task the calf muscles. This includes jumping and climbing exercises such as the step machine, hill walking/running and jumping rope. These activities call for strength in the calves and tend to increase the size of the muscles.
Perform calf raises. This exercise tones and tightens the calf muscles directly to give them a slimmer appearance. Stand facing a wall, with your hands resting on the wall at shoulder height. Place feet shoulder-width apart with your body parallel to the wall. Slowly raise onto the balls of your feet, lifting the heels as high as you can to contract your calf muscles. Hold for one second, then slowly lower your heels back to the floor. This is one repetition. Complete three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.
Do calf stretches. These are an effective way to help keep the calf muscles long and lean. Place both hands on a wall directly in front of you. With your right leg, bend at the knee and take a step backward. Your left leg should remain between your right leg and the wall. Bend at your elbows and lean toward the wall with your upper body, while slowly pressing your right heel into the floor. Hold this stretch for 15 to 20 seconds, then switch legs and repeat this stretch on the left leg. Perform this stretch three times on each leg.
- Always stretch before and after engaging in cardiovascular activity.
- Don't run if you have problems with your knees. Instead, stick with low-impact cardiovascular activities such as walking, cycling, swimming or using the elliptical machine.
Since 2001, Atlanta native Meredith Mayer has been writing articles on fitness, sports nutrition, and exercise. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science in journalism, as well as nutrition. Mayer is also a Certified Fitness Trainer through the International Sports Science Association.