Wide calves driving you crazy? Don't fret -- with dedication and a solid plan, you can reshape those gams. This entails a multitiered strategy that includes a healthy diet as well as exercise like yoga. However, no workout burns fat from specific body parts; that calf flab won't budge unless you burn fat from all over. What's more, genetics may never allow you to achieve Barbie-thin calves. Perform yoga to tone and add definition, and then learn to love the calf shape that Mother Nature gave you.
With roots dating back to ancient India, yoga has hit the mainstream in modern American culture. Yoga emphasizes holistic health while building muscle, increasing flexibility and combating stress. Considered a strength-training exercise with meditative benefits, yoga can also help alleviate sleep disorders, reduce your resting heart rate and help you manage pain. If binge eating is contributing to excess fat buildup, yoga can help by facilitating healthy lifestyle changes. Perform yoga about three times per week to reap these rewards.
Yoga for Calves
Yoga may not shave fat straight from your calves, but it sure can help you add shape down there. If you're performing yoga at home, try Chair pose, Extended Triangle, Half Moon, Warrior II and Staff pose. As you advance and gain better balance, try Warrior III, Tree pose and Eagle pose. Round out your yoga workout by targeting all major muscle groups; otherwise, you risk developing awkward posture. Better yet, take a yoga class to learn how to plan your routine like a pro.
Yoga may give those calves a gorgeous shape, but to thin them you need to lose weight. Yoga is a good first step, as it burns extra calories and boosts your metabolism by building lean muscle mass. However, you also need to watch your diet. Women tend to lose weight quickly and safely by cutting back to 1,200 calories per day. Base your meals around whole plant foods including fresh fruits, steamed veggies, whole grains like brown rice and corn tortillas, and lean proteins like hummus and soy beans.
Cardio picks up where yoga leaves off, torching calories while strengthening your heart and lungs. You'll lose weight faster and meet health requirements with 150 to 300 minutes of cardio per week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To blast those calf muscles, focus on exercises that work your legs. Running, climbing stairs and playing tennis are all terrific options. You can even do your cardio on yoga day if you choose.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.