Leaner legs

Nearly every female who comes through our doors wants to improve their legs, bum and thighs.

As a female, these areas and especially our legs are one of the trickiest areas to shift body fat off. Alongside increased stubborn fat storage, cellulite is especially common on the legs and can be a real motivator for a lot of women when it comes to their training.

So, we’ve decided that we want leaner legs. Now, how do we go about achieving it?

For a lot of us we instantly look at our training programme and adjust the variables within it, such as duration and level of intensity. We look at new and faster ways to burn more calories because that’s obviously going to result in less fat being stored on our legs, right? Wrong.

Often, it is not about burning more and more calories, but about working SMARTER. Why? The answer to leaning out our legs lies in understanding hormones. How else can you explain that women predominantly store fat on their lower body whilst men store it around their midsection?

Without wanting to go into too much scientific detail, this is much more than a caloric issue. This is evident through those women that go on low calorie diets, loosing fat off their top half but none off their bottom. This rings true for those women that embark upon marathon training programmes, only appearing at the end of it with a rather unwanted “pear shaped” physique. This all happens because stubborn fat storage is down to our hormones and not necessarily our calories.

We store fat based on two types of cell receptors, alpha adrenergic receptors and beta adrenergic receptor. The former encourages fat storage whilst the latter releases fat. And guess what? Women have higher densities of the former in the legs, bum and thighs whilst men have greater levels in their midsection.

So, in order to increase fat loss in those stubborn areas we must strive to lower alphas and increase betas. This is also related to our oestrogen and progesterone ratio. There are some really simple ways in which we can do this, starting with cutting down on non-organic food and coffee consumption. We can also aim to increase our consumption of cruciferous veggies, drinking lemon water and reduce our use of plastics (always opt for BPA free bottles/containers etc.).

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but introducing those few simple tips into your daily regime isn’t quite enough to magically get those legs you’ve always wanted over night. It requires consistency. If you have been storing stubborn fat in that area for as long as you can remember it will often take months and in some cases, years to shift it. This key point of consistency is true for both males and females when it comes to training and nutrition. You cannot get around it. It takes patience and commitment to change your physique so be prepared to put the hours in.

So, what are the best ways to shift stubborn body fat?

Jade Teta from Metabolic Effect Inc. lists some great tips to help get you well on the way to leaning out those areas you’ve always struggled with:

  • Exercise fasted – This puts the body in a lower insulin state during exercise, helping to lower ALPHA receptor activity, which in turn increase BETA receptor activity. This can be a useful tool to use occasionally, especially when performing cardiovascular based training such as HIIT.
  • Start your workouts with 5-10 minutes of Interval Training – Warm up and then sprint hard for 30s-60s and recover for the same period of time. Repeat 5-8 times.
  • Don’t neglect lower body training! – Focus on multi-joint exercises that recruit more muscle mass. Lunges, Squats, Split Squats, Step-Ups and Deadlifts always make an appearance in the programmes we write for both our males and female clients here at W10. We like to call them “the most bang for your buck” exercises.
  • End your workout with some steady state cardio for 10-20 minutes – This will help to ensure that the increased fat released gets burned and not restored.
  • Drink lots of green tea throughout the day – Green tea can stimulate fat burning by bypassing the Alpha Receptors altogether and also aids detoxification.

Of course, diet plays a huge part in shifting body fat from all areas of the body and should therefore not be overlooked, especially during the initial phases of fat loss. The above points are just small tips that will aid you when you get to the point of reducing stubborn body fat in certain areas where fat loss may have plateaued. So, ensure you are getting the basics right first with regards to your nutrition and training, and then when the time comes, implement the above and see how you get on.

Contact us on 0203 489 5428 or drop us an email on info@w10performance.com to find out more about training at W10 Performance.