We all lust over our dream set that look long and lean in both our leather pants and lycra. So what’s the secret to getting them? Like any good thing, there’s no simple shortcut and it’s important to acknowledge that legs are one of the parts of our bodies that have a lot to do with genetics. However, genetics aside, there are things that are in our control that we can focus on to work our way towards ‘Legs 11’ status.
1. Get moving
Actively work towards your dream legs by getting moving in the gym, on the street, in your lounge even. Today we are spoilt with endless tools at our fingertips to get us training harder and smarter, running further and being more motivated. You don’t even need a gym or a personal trainer to get a great workout that you can do anytime, anywhere.
So what type of movement is best? You’d be surprised…
Long crowned as the key to getting leaner legs, cardio should NOT actually be a priority in your training schedule over weight training. Adding weighted exercises into your programs is going to make the most significant difference to the shape and tone of your legs. Don’t be intimidated by the squat racks or dumbbells; the most frightening thing you’ll encounter in the weights room is probably the guy who forgot to put on deodorant!
Key moves you should include are squats, lunges, deadlifts, hip lifts and step ups. Added bonus is these will leave you with a killer butt, too. Focusing on these lower body muscles, the biggest in our body, will have the greatest effect on your metabolic rate and help target the areas where women hormonally tend to hold more body fat – the quads and hamstrings.
Once you’ve scheduled in your weight training, ideally 2-3 times per week, then add your cardio dose. Mix it up between High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), endurance running, or sprints and spin classes. If you’ve got some time and energy left after this, I would highly recommend adding in a barre class or two. I swear by barre workouts for some added leg and core definition.
2. Think nutrition
Equally as important as the exercise is your eating. Here are some of my best nutrition tips:
- Get to know your body – what foods it likes and what food disagrees with it. We’re all different so you need to spend time getting to know YOUR body and what works for YOU.
- Don’t fight the fat. Make sure you include healthy fats in your daily meals such as avocado, raw nuts and good oils. This will help minimise sugar cravings.
- Choose good quality proteins that will nourish and fuel your body. Protein provides the most nutrients per calorie and will keep you feeling fuller for longer helping to combat unnecessary snacking.
- Invest in a good protein powder for post workout recovery. Whey protein is optimal if your body is fine with dairy, otherwise go for a good clean rice or pea protein. Try and mix just with water. If you end up with so many ingredients in there that it sounds like a dessert, the only good it’s doing is making your instagram picture look pretty!
- Apply some self control. Discipline is probably one of the hardest things for us to learn but it will make such a difference. Don’t strip yourself of everything you enjoy but make wise decisions with your eating and try and maintain healthy habits as much as possible for optimal results.
All sounds like too much?
I know what you’re thinking – how do I fit this all in and afford it? Health is never going to be the cheaper option or the easier one but it’s always going to be the best one. Take advantage of free tools such as the Nike+ Training Club and Nike+ Running Apps, try some barre workouts online if there are no studios near you and use your city as your gym.
So, what are you waiting for?
Lace up those trainers and get going with some of these tips and you’ll be on your way to your best legs yet, I promise!