This topic came up when I started working with a new female client who stopped training legs because she felt they were getting too big. I want to discuss the impossibility of this happening, unless a couple of things occur concurrently. Because women tend to have a higher predominance of stubborn fat (alpha or – fat receptors) in the lower body, the legs tend to appear larger compared to the upper body. But that doesn’t mean if you stop training your legs, they will shrink. In fact, the opposite would occur.
I’ll bring it down to the basics and illustrate a visual comparison of what 1 lb of muscle versus 1 lb of fat looks like. A pound of muscle looks like a golf ball whereas a pound of fat would be the size of a large grapefruit.
As muscle is gained, you will actually get smaller in size; to a limit. But it takes a long time and hard effort to get bulky and build an excessive amount of muscle in a woman.
in order to gain muscle and lose fat in the legs…
1.) Vary your rep and load ranges:
– bodyweight exercises are a good starting point.
– as your confidence increases, so too should the weights you are lifting.
– different rep ranges give your workout variety and stimulate different cardiovascular and muscle responses
(0-5 reps mainly stimulate strength gains with minimal cardio recruitment.)
(5-15 reps mainly stimulate hypertrophy gains with a moderate amount of cardio recruitment)
(15 reps and over stimulate moderate muscle growth with an emphasis on cardio)
2.) Challenge yourself. If the weight you used for your first set wasn’t too difficult, increase the load for the next set. The body adapts very quickly, so change is necessary to force the body to work harder to avoid adaptation (and less progression -> less results)
3.) Eat the right foods. This is huge! Women tend to under eat so much that they will never drop fat because the body is in a starvation mode and will hold onto every single calorie.
Hope this article gives you some advice on how to change your training to maximize your time in the gym and get better results. Please share the article with friends who might need to read this.