Would you love slimmer, more toned legs? Who wouldn’t!? This short workout and set of lifestyle tips created by Sporteluxe expert contributor, Bottom’s Up Fitness founder and celebrity trainer Libby Babet is easy to do, fun and really gets results. All it takes is 20 minutes every other day and a little consistency. Enjoy!
“One of the most frequent questions I get asked by female clients is, ‘how can I make my legs smaller and more toned?’ As a rule of thumb, women tend to lose fat from the top down and build muscle from the bottom up, so at the end of the day, there’s one word that will get those pins lean and that word is CONSISTENCY.
“Yep, you’re gonna have to exercise regularly for a long period of time (regularly, but not every day or OTT, as rest and recovery is just as crucial!) and importantly, you need to cut out a few particular foods completely and boost your intake of others.”
Here are my 6 simple rules for leaner legs:
1. Train consistently and with workouts that will encourage change and hormonal shift in your body (your hormones can determine where you store fat). This means metabolic circuits, interval training, weights, or bodyweight resistance work and sprints.
2. Avoid trans fats completely (forever, ideally!) – that means anything deep fried, baked goods like biscuits, cake mixes and donuts, as well as takeaway meals from fast food chains, frozen entrees/meals, margarines, crisps and fried crackers, microwave popcorn and even a lot of cocoa or hot chocolate mixes. These kinds of fat are hard for your body to process and will sit in your best ‘storage’ spots (hello legs/hips) for a very long time – up to a few years if you don’t help your body break them down with plenty of live enzymes from real food.
TIP: raw cacao is great for you though, so grab some of that online/at your local health food shop as a chocolate replacement.
3. Eat more green vegetables and drink green tea, and give soy milk and tofu the heave-ho from your diet while you’re at it. Here’s why:
a) Green veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus and brussel sprouts break down into something called DIM with the assistance of enzymes upon chewing. DIM helps your body process oestrogens more effectively, which helps to lean out your legs. You can also try a DIM supplement to speed-track the process.
b) Green tea gives you a little metabolic boost, is packed with antioxidants and improves liver function, all of which protects your body from oestrogen excess and flushes weight from your legs.
c) Processed soy foods do the opposite of these things and can actually encourage your body to put weight ON in the legs when over-consumed, so stick with small serves and if you’re a soy lover, reach for fermented and unprocessed versions of soy instead, like tempeh, miso and edamame beans.
4. Cut down on starchy carbs and simple sugars to give your body a chance to burn through stored energy, rather than continually topping it up with new supplies! This doesn’t mean going ‘no carb’, it just means choosing unprocessed, complex and fibrous carbs instead. Great options are veggies, fruits, or healthier grain substitutes such as quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, brown or wild rice and nuts or seeds. Even a piece of organic sourdough with your breakfast is a great option.
5. Include a wide variety of squats, lunges, single-leg deadlifts, glute activation moves and full-body exercises that get your heart rate up in your workouts. Hire a PT, or join a group with an instructor that will help you get your technique spot-on, because if you do your squats incorrectly, you can end up building your quads up, rather than leaning them out.
6. Last but certainly not least, commit to doing my ‘Pintastic’ workout from video here. It’s packed with the kind of exercises that will help you achieve your leanest, loveliest legs ever. It’s fun too!
How to do this 20-minute ‘Pintastic’ video:
Spend 60 seconds on each exercise in the workout, or 30 seconds per side for unilateral (double-sided) moves. Once you’ve been through them all, take a minute to catch your breath, then repeat the circuit twice more through. If you dare, add weights to the squats and lunges for a little extra challenge. Here are the moves you’ll be doing:
- Plie to Toe Raise (make sure you squeeze your glutes at the top position)
- Kneeling Kick to Tuck
- Clock Lunges
- Jane Fonda Leg Lifts
- 1-Legged Burpees
- Shuttle Sprints (yes, those ones everyone loves to hate – they really get results!)
Most importantly, have fun!