How To Lose Leg Fat Without Gaining Muscle
If you want a slender leg without the muscle definition that often comes from working out, then you need a diet and workout routine that promotes fat loss but not muscle gain. The truth is that you could just diet and eventually lose fat in the leg, but then the leg would not have a sleek and toned look. Exercise is necessary to create a healthy look.
Do You Have Leg Fat Or Big Muscles?
First, it is important to know that you may have big leg muscles and not so much fat, even though your legs are bigger than other people’s legs.
The best way to tell is to straighten out your leg and pinch your area that you want to lose from. If you find that there is not much to pinch, then you don’t have a lot of fat there and your muscle may be creating the size rather than excess fat.
For many this is fine, but some even chose to try to lose some leg muscle on purpose.
“Long bouts of cardio done in a calorie deficit and not getting enough protein will result in lost muscle.” – Fitness B&W
Think Bodyweight Exercises Are The Best Idea?
Some people recommend squats, lunges, or leg curls without the weights to lose leg fat without building muscle. In fact, if you do a search in Google, it will likely be one of the first things that turns up for you.
However, squats and exercises like it do not slim down legs. These exercises target specific muscles in the leg and can make them bigger, not smaller.
Therefore, if you have fat on your leg, avoid these exercises for now. You can do them later when you have lost the fat and feel more comfortable adding a little bit of muscle on your leg.
Get Busy With Cardio
The best thing you can do to lose leg fat without gaining muscle is to do cardio. Not cardio that involves a lot of leg work, such as a step machine, but cardio that gets your whole body involved, including your core, arms, and legs. Long-term moderately high intensity is where you want to aim for.
“The key to cardio workouts that will burn fat in the thighs as well as the rest of the body is working out for a long time period.” – MDhealth
In fact, there are even newer exercise programs out like The Beta Switch and a few others that are starting push push clients away from doing long, endless bouts of cardio.
Use Slow-Twitch Muscle Fibers
The biggest thing to remember is that you want to burn off fat but avoid bulking up muscle fiber. This means that endurance cardio is the best solution for slimming down legs without bulking up.
For instance, long distance running is a great exercise for slimming down legs. Many people think that running will bulk up the leg, but long distance running uses slow-twitch fibers in the muscle, which results in the lean legs of distance runners. Sprinters, on the other hand, use fast-twitch muscles in their leg and get more bulging muscles because of it.
If you don’t like running, you can use cardio machines with very little resistance to help you burn off fat without gaining muscle. For instance, get on an elliptical machine and set the resistance very low – or to nothing if you want.
Focus On Your Butt Muscles
Lastly, as you do your cardio that requires leg work, focus on your butt muscles rather than your leg muscles and this will help you firm up your butt rather than build muscles on your leg. You can do this by maintaining the right posture as you exercise.
For instance, running uphill will target the glutes and hamstrings more than the calves. Running sideways can help you target your side butt muscles. And, sticking your butt out while on the elliptical while your push down with your heel will target your butt and outer thigh.