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Before this blog I was moderately exercising, mainly lifting while in season for throwing/track which started in August and went through the end of April, early May. All of this muscle, and the lack of use I was getting out of it was starting to take a toll on me. I honestly made the excuse of “Oh it’s all muscle” thousands of times, lying to myself. I noticed that the weight I was gaining was all around my stomach, my legs were getting a lot of cellulite, and I was disgusted. I knew I couldn’t wear my shorts, tshirts, and sweats everyday to work like I had done going to class on campus. My jeans were not fitting well, some not at all, shirts weren’t hiding my ‘beer and food belly’ so to speak, I’d walk and just taking steps it would bounce. Not to mention that my weight was at 180, and climbing.

So, I started to pick up running again but I lacked motivation to go and do it everyday. I started at a minimal 25 minutes, then worked up the minutes every time I went so not to disappoint myself or get injured. I got up to 40 minutes and lost motivation again. It wasn’t enough though, because I was just eating anything and everything in sight. Granted, the weekend cookouts and going to the bars to catch up with friends, and the taco bell runs early in the morning afterward were doing plenty of harm.

Enough is enough.

So it’s time to get into the nitty gritty. The honest truth is that I want smaller legs or hamhocks, tree trunks, thunder thighs, whatever you will. I want my gut to get out of town, and stay gone. I’ve plateaued from running over the course of so many years, and the injuries stemming from this are because I don’t rest or properly recover. To get rid of my thick, muscular thighs, running longer than 25 minutes at a time is the way to go. Also, not doing any quick, explosive exercises that builds fast-twitch muscle fibers, INSTEAD, breaking them down and getting LEAN. I’ve started toning, tightening, and pushing to kick my own ass into shape. The new plan is a combination of a Yoga, Long Distance Running, and Circuit Training.

Here is what I’ve learned so far! 

from  http://www.femalemuscle.com/nutrition/leg_muscle.html

Weight train, but the best thing you can do is simply to avoid heavy weight training for the lower body. If you do any lower body weight training workouts, use supersets, tri-sets and giant sets. Also, keep the rest intervals between straight sets very short (20-45 seconds) to add an aerobic effect. You should also use weights light enough so your reps stays in the 12-15 range. Reps in the range of 6 – 10 tend to increase muscle size.
It may also help to perform your entire leg workout in a circuit style. For example, you might do a lunge followed by a leg curl, inner thigh machine (adduction), leg press, calf raise and then a leg extension. Then you would rest a minute and repeat the same circuit or even a completely different circuit once or twice more. Multiple sets to failure on one portion of a muscle (i.e., 8-12 sets in a row for front thigh/quadricep) are best for bodybuilding and increasing muscle mass. Skipping from one section of the leg to the next in a non-specific, nonstop circuit tends to give the muscles a more “toned” and streamlined look.

As far as cardio exercise goes, endurance training, especially jogging, has a reducing effect on the entire lower body. If you look at a long distance runner’s physique, you’ll notice that they never have “thick” legs. It’s an adaptive response for the body to reduce leg size to accommodate the endurance training. Sprinters and power/anaerobic athletes usually have larger, more muscular legs than long distance runners. If you have no lower body joint problems, distance running might be the answer. <– (ME! From doing soccer and track for so many years! Woof!)

If light weight training combined with distance running doesn’t reduce your legs, then you may need to drop the lower body weight training completely

Lastly, a calorie deficit will make you lose body fat, and losing body fat will reduce any body part in size. You’re 16% already, which is very lean, so you don’t have much room to drop further, but if your body fat percentage does go down, your leg measurements will probably go down too.

Keep in mind that ultimately, we are all subject to our genetics. Some women simply have naturally larger legs than others. These are the “mesomorph” or endo-mesomorph body types.

I used to believe it was ridiculous when women said they got “too big.” I often got on my soapbox and spouted from memory my “women don’t have enough testosterone to get big” lecture.

After working with hundreds of women of every body type imaginable over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that I was wrong! It’s not easy for most women to build muscle mass, but there is a small handful with the genetic predisposition to gain size very easily.

You’ll definitely see some reduction in size by following these suggestions. I’ve seen many people completely transform their body shape and create an “optical illusion” through strategic training and nutrition…taking a little bit of fat and muscle off in one place, while adding a little muscle in other places.

Your body can and will change, but a healthy and realistic approach is to accept the basic shape and body type you were endowed with and learn how to adjust your nutrition training accordingly. The same training program won’t work for everyone, so be cautious of people who recommend the same type of heavy training for you as they do for a skinny “ectomorph” body type.

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