Hi everybody! This is my first post, but I have been reading this board for awhile and am very impressed with what a supportive community it is.
I am 20 years old and working on losing the 15 pounds I gained during a very depressed year away at school. I have pretty much tackled the issues that were causing me to binge eat, so now it's just a matter of continuing to eat right and exercise. That's where my question comes in. See, my thighs are really enormous. They are not proportional to the rest of my body (I am generally petite and have a fairly small waist). This is partly because they are extremely muscular, due to many years of dancing, and partly because they are always the first place that I start gaining weight.
I am not sure what is the best way of exercising to fix this problem. I know you can't spot reduce when it comes to fat, which is why I generally do about an hour of cardio (elliptical and treadmill) every day. I also do a little weight training on my upper body only three times per week. I am hesitant to do weights on my lower body because I don't want those thigh muscles getting any bigger! However, I know that weight training is important for toning and boosting metabolism. Should I continue avoiding weights for my legs? Is there something else I should be doing in my exercise routine? Any insight here would be much appreciated!
Definitely don't avoid weight training. Cardio will burn the fat, but muscle is what gives the legs their shape. If you diet and do cardio, you'll lose both muscle and fat and then your thighs will look soft. Weight training won't make your thighs more muscular as long as you use a low weight and high reps. This will just tone the muscles.
DonutsNCoffee, thanks for your reply. Perhaps you (or anyone) could suggest a couple of good weight exercises for toning the legs. My gym has so much weight equipment that I don't know where to start! Also, how low is a "low" weight? As low as the machine will go? As low as I need it to be to achieve a certain number of reps?
One more question: you say that if I diet and do cardio, I will lose both fat and muscle, which makes sense. However, if smaller thighs is what I'm aiming for, and muscle is what's making my thighs big, wouldn't it make sense to purposely lose some of that muscle (by not lifting weights), and only tone once the muscle has reached a smaller size? Or is my logic there faulty?
The more muscle you have, technically the more fat you will burn, so if you don't incorporate weight training, you are doing yourself a dis-service. The weight you use should be enough weight to where you "feel" it and should not be easy weight, but you should be able to do 12-15 reps and 3-4 sets... if you can only do 5-6 reps, then the weight is probably too much. Also, I do my weight training and follow with cardio, because weight training increases your heartrate so once you start your cardio workout, you are strictly burning... lunges are the best for legs... point your toes ******d just a little and this helps as well... do several types of lunges, squats are good but you have to be careful with them... hip adductor and abductor exercises are good too... do you have a trainer you can talk to? Might be worth hiring one for a couple of hours to get you into a good routine... good luck!
I was thinking once I reach my desired weight and the size of thighs I can start toning them by weights.Once am sure that I have burnt off all the fat I cud then I wud like to do some strenghth training.I was combining cardio and strenght training when I read that sometimes one might get bulkier if the fat is still there and it may push out.And any way sometimes I feel so sore after doing strength training that for few days I need complete rest with no aerobic excercise.Hence I decided to do only cardio for sumtime then gradually venture in to toning routine.Is that ok?????PLS PLS DO LET ME KNOW.......
You can do toning exercises without weight- like leg lifts. That's one option that will keep your legs from getting bulkier, but will still tone. Front lunges are also beneficial (I have found) and you can do those with ot without weights (you hold them in your hands).
As far as machines, you might also try the leg press and the hip adducter and abducter (spelling??). The leg press will work the fronts of your thighs and your calves (I think). The other two: one works your outer thighs and one works your inner thighs (I can't remember which is which).
Hope this helps- these work for me, but I am a work in progess, so you might want advice from a more experienced pro! Good luck!
The only exercises I do for my legs are squats, leg curls, and calf raises. That along with running and biking and has kept my thighs from getting more muscular and has helped burn the fat off them. Pick a weight that you can only do for 8-12 reps per set. If you can do more, the weight is too low. If you can't do at least 8 reps, the weight is too high. In order to gain muscle, you have to be in the 1-4 rep range cause this is what really breaks down the muscle. Rest 90 seconds in between sets and do about 4-6 sets.
As to your question about deliberately trying to lose muscle, I would recommend against it. First, it will lower your metabolism making it easier for you to gain fat, which obviously you don't want. Second, you can't target where muscle is lost from in much the same way you can't target where fat is lost. You will lose muscle in places other than your thighs.
I would avoid lunges as these are bad for the knees. Cardio immediately after weight lifting is a good way to burn fat. The weight lifting has used up muscle glycogen so the body is forced to burn fat in order to power your cardio.
While it's true that gaining muscle will push the fat out farther, don't worry. You have to use a weight where you can only do 1-4 reps. And you have to eat a lot of protein. If you're too sore after weight training to do light cardio, then I would say you're using a weight that is too much.
THANK A MILLION FOR REPLYING TO ME SO SOON...NOW AM MOTIVATED TO START MY TONING SOON BUT I WANT TO DO IT GRADUALLY AND WAS WONDERING WILL STEP STOOL EXCERCISE HELP IN TONING..THANX AGAIN...I REALLY APPRECIATE IT..
Thanks for the tips, guys! I did leg presses and hip abductor/adductor at the gym yesterday. Today I am a little sore, but it's that good kind of sore where I know I was working hard enough! I'm going to keep trying the different weight machines at the gym till I find a regimen that really works all my lower body muscles.
One more question: once my muscles have gotten used to lower-body weights, how often should I be doing them? Every day? Every other?
Never work the same muscle group 2 days in a row... general rule is work the muscle group with 2 days rest (some prefer 3)... you do yourself no good if you do it sooner. Setup a plan to work 1-2 complementary muscle groups 3-4 days per week... good luck