As women we are designed with stronger lower bodies. Therefore muscle and bulk development is easier to build on your lower body.
It is no surprise that with an already heavy lower body with over loading and incorrectly training your legs, you are going to achieve a bulk aesthetic. The question is, is that what you want? We all want different things, yes. This article is for women who want to slim their legs. For me, I love having the correct amount of muscle tone, especially when walking and standing. I love having my thighs so firm that when I walk the skin doesn’t move in delayed time. I want slim toned legs that give an elongated feel especially because I am not very tall. Another challenge with being shorter is that picking up heavy weights are easier, so building muscle is easier, you can quickly “get wide.”
Muscle and bulk is also more difficult to shed down below, the more you use your legs the more muscle you will build. The more you eat, the more you feed that muscle. With my clients when we have built enough muscle tone, I take it back. This can easily be determined by checking how your jeans fit. Can they go over your thighs? Are your boots closing over your calves? The goal is to achieve the correct amount of muscle while steadily burning fat. Do I train legs more than once week to slim down my thighs? Yes and no. It depends HOW you are training your legs. Heavy squats and deadlifts wont give you the result you want.
FIRST IS FIRST
Before we talk about weight training and cardio. DIET IS KEY. 80% of your work is what you put in your mouth. Creating trauma through training to only over eat yourself, even with good nutrition is not going to get you the desired results. I’m talking to YOU! The career women, the student, the wifey, the mom. Everyday superheros, whose job is not to train for a living. Your GOALS can and need to be achieved in a balanced sustainable way. I’m not addressing the Olympic athlete. Training two-three hours per day every single day is not a functional solution for many. Even if we do have the time to train all day, why do you have too? To wake up one day and say; “I wish I lived more? I wish I made more memories.” Personally I prefer to have a full balanced life, outside of the gym, and I’m a trainer, my life revolves around training. START by addressing your eating! See my Glow Cleanse to help you make educated decisions.
How often do I need to train weights per week to see a decrease in my thigh bulk?
Only once per week! Putting in integral lower body work once per week and ruining glutes, thighs, hamstrings, calves and lower back is good enough for me. I’m talking about focused legs and glutes. The kind of session where you can’t walk or sit the next day.
If you’ve been training properly for YEARS, I’d recommend even two sessions of lower body but a lot lighter in weight, keeping the reps very high. For all leg workouts try to do as many sets as you can 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps depending on the exercise.
But I love weights and I’m doing heavy weights 4 times per week, will I still see results?
You will definitely see the result of getting stronger. Slimmer thighs might not be in the cards for you. Implement Lighter weights in your sessions and do a mix of full body, bodyweight, boxing, mobility and movement for every of the 4 sessions.
What about Upper Body?
Upper Body session is the other essential weight session of the week. Completely annihilate arms, chest, upper back and even core. Give your body time to recover. If you’re training more than twice per week, make sure your third session is full body. Or that all 4 sessions are a mixture.
CARDIO, what kind of cardio can I do to slim my thighs? Is running the answer? I hate running!
You don’t have to run to 1) tone your legs, ass and calves & 2) lose weight. If anything flat road running sheds the bulk on my calves and my glute. Trail running builds my calves and glutes and strengthens my stabilizers and inner thighs. Stairs running (Biskop and Westcliff) builds quads, calves and glutes.
High intensity, start stop, explosive and power work will BUILD muscle in your quads, calves and hamstrings. Its great to add some muscle tone and build power and speed. For eg stairs, steps, sand drills and beach training, sprints in the mountain, sprints on the treadmill and skipping intervals. Do this 1-2 per week, especially in season (spring and summer). Duration 30- 45 minutes max, including warm up.
Slower, steady work with hard finish will burn some fat and muscle like a road jog, trail run, run on promenade, run on treadmill, elliptical machine. Jog at a steady state and finish off strong. Duration 45-60 minutes max, including warm up. 1-2 per week.
Slow, steady and long work will burn fat like a long brisk walk, long slow steady hike, incline walk on treadmill, slow session on the elliptical. Set treadmill on highest incline of 15, speed 5.5-6, hold onto the top of the treadmill and take big long strides for 45-60 minutes.
TOP TIP If you’re really trying to lean out your legs, add in incline walking for 20 minutes after any weights session. 1-2 per week.
If you now look at your routine to lose thigh bulk, you would have to up your cardio significantly, making sure you’re choosing the right cardio for you. There is no point in loosing so much bulk that your muscle has vanished too. Sometimes we have to embrace our curves, our hips, our thighs and enjoy the shape god gave us. We can use training and diet to enrich our lives and settle the mind, working on longevity and health. If we are designed with heavier legs, we can only do the best we can to sculpt them. The rest of the time we need to enjoy those boudjies!