Exercises and strategies to tone your legs, thighs & hips!
Check out our best fat loss tips, used by KD Trainer’s most successful clients. And learn how to slim down your thighs, hips, and legs.
Let’s clear one thing up first: The idea of spot-reduction, or specifically losing fat from a certain body part, is a MYTH.
It is simply a fact that exercising a certain body part does NOT cause your body to bias fat burning on just that part.
That’s because fat loss happens only when you’re in a net negative energy balance, a.k.a calorie deficit. Fat is not burned just because a muscle is doing work.
And fat loss happens throughout the entire body as fat is stored everywhere.
I know, not exactly what you wanted to hear, isn’t it?
As opposed to all the sweet promises and “shortcuts” from your typical fitness iNfLuEnCer, this just doesn’t tug at your heartstrings huh.
But there are strategies you can employ to lose fat effectively and tone up your leg muscles to make them look awesome.
1. Calorie Deficit/ Track Your Food Intake
If you wanted to save up money, you would instinctively have a budget to limit spendings and track your finances to make sure you don’t spend more than you earn.
The very same principle applies to losing fat.
Keeping track of the foods you eat helps make sure you don’t eat more calories than what your body burns daily. So that you remain in a calorie deficit and lose fat consistently.
More importantly, you get to learn the calorie and nutrient content of your foods. Which helps you make healthier food choices.
There are calorie counting apps for this and they’re easy to use and have estimates for most foods.
2. Lift Weights/ Exercise!
Though you can’t spot-reduce body fat, you can spot-train muscles so they look toned and strong.
With poorly developed muscles, a low to moderate body fat level often results in the dreaded “skinny fat” look. And what better way to tone up your muscles than with weight training.
Unfortunately, many people neglect proper leg training because they think they’re already working their legs when they’re running or cycling. Which is simply not enough of a training stimulus to elicit muscle growth in the legs.
To get the best bang for your workout buck, focus on strength exercises that specifically target your legs.
Ideally, you would want to train your legs 2 to 3 times per week, with 3 to 4 exercises each training session and roughly 2 to 3 intense sets per exercise.
Here are 5 of the best strength exercises for your legs
- Squat (Bodyweight/ Goblet/ Barbell squat)
- Hip bridge
- Bulgarian split squat
And here’s a quick and effective warmup routine for you!
Incorporate them into your own leg workouts by choosing 2 or 3 out of the 5 exercises listed above, and add in 1 or 2 accessory exercises like frog pump, clamshell or kickback.
3. Have An Occasional Refeed Day
This is absolutely not to be confused with a “cheat day”, which is just unplanned days of uncontrolled eating.
A refeed day is a planned increase in calorie and carb intake for one or two days on a weekly basis.
As you go on a prolonged period of restricted calorie intake, your body begins to fight back by reducing your metabolism and fat loss slows down or even stagnates.
This is especially true for women, where they may even experience disruptions to their menstrual cycle. Refeeds are thus needed to counteract this.
– “Wouldn’t a cheat day work the same?”, you ask?
First, as your body enters a calorie deficit, the hormone leptin drops – resulting in a reduction of energy output (calories burned, basal metabolism), energy levels and mood.
And carbohydrates have been shown to have a positive impact on leptin levels, while fat does not elicit any leptin response at all. Which is why we want to fit in as many carbs as possible during a refeed.
As opposed to “cheat days”, where foods are typically higher in fat and most people ended up eating so much that they negated all their prior hard-earned calorie deficits.
Simply put, during a refeed day you should be consuming at least 50% of your calories from carbohydrates, and eating at a 10% calorie surplus.
4. Eat More Protein & Fiber
Pack every meal with high fiber and high protein foods to boost weight loss. Since they help keep you fuller on fewer calories, leading to generally lower calorie intake.
Protein, in particular, is especially essential. Not only for building the lean muscles that will make your legs look great, but also for their well-studied appetite suppressant effect.
Aim for 70 to 100 grams of protein per day for females and 90 to 120 grams for males.
Or 1 serving of protein(lean meats, eggs) per meal for females and 2 servings of protein per meal for males.
5. Reduce Salt Intake
Salt makes your body retain more water and that causes bloating, which can affect your whole body, hips and thighs included.
Water is bounded to salt, so the more salt you eat, the more water gets stored instead of being excreted by your kidneys. By reducing salt intake, you’ll notice almost an immediate change in how you look and how your clothes fit.
The recommended salt(sodium) intake is 1500 milligrams per day, but most people are eating way more than that. Cut back by limiting fast food, processed food, kuah, sauces, noodle soups, and salty food in general.
The Bottom Line
Execute all of the above tips and strategy and you’ll definitely feel (and see!) the benefits.
Just like everything else in life, this takes time, know-how, and consistent work, but are easy enough to do.
Want to learn more about how to change your eating and lifestyle habits in order to get fit?
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See you inside:)