Reset Your Mind
A common request from my personal training clients is a perky butt and smooth, toned thighs. It’s tough to be the girl who is self-conscious about going to the beach and being in public in her bathing suit. Before I discuss some tips on how to better tone and shape your legs, I want to touch on the topic of confidence and the practice of self-talk. It doesn’t matter what condition your body is in, until you start to re-program your negative thoughts, you will have a tough time with self-confidence. Over the next 21 days, I want you to practice these 4 steps below, and see what effect it has on not only your mind, but your body as well.
Stand in front of the mirror naked.
Look at yourself and say out loud “I am beautiful, I am strong, I love my body and I make healthy decisions for my life.” (or whatever positive words pertain to the areas you are struggling with)
Take it deeper. Specifically speak to the areas of your body you feel negative about. Example: I love my thighs, I love my butt, I love my arms. Find 1 positive thing about each area and speak it out loud.
Take a deep breath and go kill your workout!
The Hormone Challenge
Legs, for many females, can be an ongoing challenge when trying to reduce body fat. My legs have provided me many ups and downs over the past few years, with constant learnings along the way. So why is the lower half of our body such a struggle?
When you think about trying to slim down, does your mind go directly to cutting calories or spending hours on a treadmill? What often happens is our upper body fat levels decrease and we retain fat on our lower half, giving us that pear-shaped body we never wanted. So how can we reverse this? One word…HORMONES!
Get ready science nerds, I’m going to speak your language for a couple of minutes. Our fat stores are based on 2 types of cell receptors: alpha adrenergic receptors and beta adrenergic receptors. Alpha encourages fat storage while Beta releases fat. Women tend to hold more Alpha in their legs, butts and thighs, thus creating saddle bags and cellulite right where we don’t want it. The goal is to decrease the alphas and increase the betas. One key way of doing this is to decrease your Estrogen and Progesterone levels in your body. These hormones, when properly balanced in our bodies, will help burn more fat. A few ways to decrease these hormone levels are to increase your consumption of organic foods, including lots of cruciferous veggies, limit your coffee consumption, and stop using plastic containers to store your food!
Tips To Burn More Fat
Here are some simple things you can to, along with your weekly leg workout routines, to help slim down the lower half of your body.
Warm Lemon Water
Drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning will help balance your PH levels, which aids in hormonal balance. This also jumps starts your digestive system which allows you to pull more nutrition from your food which will give you more energy and aid in fighting a low immune system.
Green tea increases your metabolism. The polyphenol found in green tea works to intensify levels of fat oxidation and the rate at which your body turns food into calories.
When you exercise on an empty stomach, your insulin levels are lower which will help suppress fat storage receptors. It also causes you to increase your beta fat-burning receptors.
Switch Up Your Workouts
I like to train legs 3 times a week and add different styles of training to keep my body guessing and my muscles working at their highest level. Day 1 I do heavy training consisting of 10-12 reps for 4-5 sets of my favourite butt and leg exercises (squats, deadlifts, lunges, step ups, and weighted donkey kick.) Day 2 I do lots of functional movements (walking lunges, wall balls, sled push, and box jumps.) On the third leg day, I go for light weight with high reps, where I focus on working the muscle until failure. I usually finish this last day with a bands workout to really target the small muscles.
Running long distance burns calories, but it also increases your chances for metabolic damage and negative hormone release. If you want your skin to tighten up and your legs to get whipped into shape, you need to focus on short, powerful bursts. Sprint workouts are one of the best ways to burn the fat off your lower body and jump-start your metabolism. Focus on 30-40 seconds as hard as you can with a 30-60 second recovery. Check out my interval training workouts page for more ideas!
Drinking water helps flush your negative toxins and fat stores that are hanging out in all the wrong places. It also helps to eliminate water retention. When are bodies are deprived of water or dehydrated, our organs tell our body to hold onto water to protect us. So go fill up your water glass, drink up and flush away the fat.
By not stretching after a workout or not taking proper rest days between workouts, it can lead to the following.
Swelling in your tissue
Increase of injury
Instead of working out to the very last minute of your allotted time, end it 5-10 minutes early and stretch. This will actually increase the benefits of your workout by removing lactic acid, stretching the muscle out (which improves the long, lean look) and decreases injury.
I hope these tips help you reach your goals! I have some amazing leg workouts coming your way soon, so keep checking back!