Getting lean legs is not easy, and unfortunately, most adult Americans are overweight or obese, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. To get rid of flabby legs, you will need to perform cardiovascular exercise and resistance training, and modify your diet to burn calories, lose fat and tone muscle. Depending on the amount of weight you need to lose, results might take a few weeks or a few months. However, consistency in your training and in your diet will yield results.
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Perform cardio five to six days per week to burn calories and reduce body fat. The more frequently you exercise, the more you will reduce your weight and improve your health.
Exercise for 30 to 60 minutes during each session. Build up to this amount of exercise gradually.
Keep your intensity moderate to high the entire session. Intensity and heart rate are directly correlated to the amount of calories you burn.
Choose new activities that challenge you to see changes to your body fat. If you always walk, try jogging. If you usually do the elliptical, try indoor cycling.
Keep track of your cardio workouts in your notebook. Record activity, duration and intensity, as well as how easy or hard the workout is. Adjust your workouts as needed to stay challenged and see changes in body fat.
Perform resistance exercises for your legs one to two times per week on nonconsecutive days to ensure muscle recovery. Start with one set of eight to 12 repetitions and progress to four sets. Rest 30 to 90 seconds between sets.
Choose two to three multi-joint leg exercises per workout. Examples include lunges, squats, step ups or leg presses. These will work the quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves, as well as burn more calories.
Do two to three single-joint exercises per workout. Include one for the hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. Examples include leg extensions, lying leg curls and calf raises.
Use enough resistance so that the exercise is challenging. You need to work hard to get rid of flabby legs.
Record workouts in your notebook. Detail exercises performed, sets, reps and weights used. Also note how difficult or easy the workout is so you can adjust accordingly at your next session.
Reduce your caloric intake by 10 to 20 percent if you have excess weight to lose. If you are at a healthy weight, keep caloric intake the same, but change what you are eating.
Include whole grains such as whole wheat bread, oatmeal, sweet potatoes and legumes instead of processed carbs. They are nutrient-dense and healthier.
Replace saturated fats, such as butter, with heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Choices include olives, nuts, avocados or olive and nut oils.
Choose lean sources of protein and grill or bake vs. frying. Poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy, and lean cuts of beef and pork are all good choices.
Drink at least 64 oz. of water each day. Increase that amount if you exercise and/or sweat a lot. This will prevent dehydration, reduce bloating and help you lose body fat for lean legs.
- ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription; American College of Sports Medicine
- Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning; National Strength and Conditioning Association
- Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook; Nancy Clark
- American Council on Exercise: Upper Leg Exercises