Your legs can be your best accessories, but if you have excess fat jiggling each time you take a step, this is most likely not the case. Just because you naturally have more body fat than a man and tend to store excess fat in your lower body, doesn't mean you have to settle for it. Losing the excess fat and toning those legs with targeted exercises can give you the gams of your dreams.
Burning Fat and Toning Tips
Before you can flaunt toned legs, you must reduce the excess fat that's covering up your leg muscles. While you work off the fat, add definition and shape by doing targeted strengthening exercises. Understand that regardless of what area of your body you want to lose fat from, a full-body approach is required, because reducing fat from one area isn't possible. As you reduce fat from your entire body through diet and exercise, the excess fat on your legs will also reduce and reveal your toned gems.
Reducing body fat requires you to create a caloric deficit of 3,500 to 7,000 calories per week so you lose 1 to 2 pounds per week, which is recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A well-balance, reduced-calorie diet that includes fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy and whole grains, and is low in salt, sugar, cholesterol and saturated and trans fats, can contribute to your caloric deficit. Eating smaller portions and choosing low-calorie foods over high-calorie foods will help shrink your body, including your legs.
Moderate cardio for 150 to 300 minutes per week and strength training on two days can contribute to weight loss from head to toe. Leg-intense cardio, such as walking briskly, riding a bike or climbing stairs can really activate those leg muscles for toning while burning calories. Maintain a pace that allows you to talk, but not sing. Strength training that focuses on all major muscle groups can maintain and increase lean muscle tissue, which speeds your metabolism and promotes weight loss. Always use challenging weight that's heavy enough so you can't do another repetition after finishing a set.
In addition to promoting lean muscle tissue, targeted strengthening exercises performed on non-consecutive days can tone your legs. Perform exercises, such as squats, lunges, step-ups and plies as part of your strength-training routine. Work your way up to completing two or three sets and eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise. Add variety by doing walking lunges or reverse lunges, and as you get stronger, hold dumbbells in your hands for an extra challenge. You'll soon have leg definition you'll want to show off.
- Scientific American: Why Does Fat Deposit on the Hips and Thighs of Women and Around the Stomachs of Men?
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Aim for a Healthy Weight
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- Ask the Trainer: Effective Leg Toning Exercises for Women
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images