How to Get Skinny Legs Without Gaining Muscle
The secret to skinny legs is the following: 1) A healthy diet with a small to moderate calorie deficit, 2) Incorporating cardio into your workout routine, 3) Utilizing proper toning exercises, 4) Implementing an effective stretch routine, and 5) Most importantly, taking action and staying consistent.
1) Healthy Diet with a Small to Moderate Calorie Deficit
One of the most common complaints I’ve gotten from clients I’ve trained in the past is that they are completing all their workouts, but not getting any results whatsoever. So, I ask them about their diets. After discussing their eating habits, it seems, virtually across the board, that unhealthy eating habits is always the culprit behind this lack of progress. This is especially true if your goal is to achieve slimmer legs.
When it comes to the diet aspect of getting skinny legs, both quality and quantity matter. Some of my clients eat a very “clean” and healthy diet, but are unable to achieve any results. And the reason behind this is that they aren’t practicing proper portion control. Overeating, even healthy foods only, can lead to weight gain and increasing excess fat in the legs. The bottom-line to burning fat in the legs is the calorie deficit. So, the amount of food you’re eating is just as important as quality of food when it comes to achieving skinny legs.
However, it is important to note here that starvation diets are not a good idea. Starvation diets only work temporarily and they come with a heavy cost. A lot of people who try starvation diets often find themselves in the endless cycle of yo-yo dieting that eventually leads to a lower metabolic rate, health issues and weight gain. The key is to find that perfect amount between too much and not enough. A small to moderate calorie deficit is really all you need to achieve fat loss in the legs and start your journey to skinny legs for life.
If you want to see what an example of a healthy full day of eating to achieve slim legs looks like, watch this video:
2) Incorporating Cardio into Your Workout Routine
If you successfully execute a healthy diet at a small to moderate calorie deficit, you are basically going to start burning your body fat for fuel. Your body fat including leg fat is simply your body’s storage of extra calories or energy. So, when you’re not consuming enough calories to suffice your body’s energy requirements, that is when body and leg fat starts getting burned. So, if you’re in a calorie deficit, any and all exercise will potentially burn body fat. However, if you want to speed up the process even more, the best way is to incorporate a fat burning cardio routine into your workout.
The definition of cardio or “cardiovascular” exercise is any activity that gets your heart rate up for a certain amount of time. There are a number of different ways to do cardio. Some people prefer running, others prefer body weight HIIT circuits, dance, Power Yoga, etc. Including at least 20 minutes of a cardio workout into your day can result in dramatic results over time.
So what’s the best cardio for skinny legs?
Well, it really depends on the person doing the exercise. Some people have very responsive satellite cells in certain areas of their bodies that are easily stimulated by exercise. I, for one, have very responsive satellite cells in my legs. So, certain cardio exercises such as running and cycling can cause me to gain muscle in my legs quickly. The word cardio is quite misleading in the sense that it makes many people believe that all cardio exercises simply burn fat and work the heart. Regardless of what type of cardio you do, it is still to a certain degree, a strength exercise. Even a low impact form of cardio such as walking works out and strengthens the muscles in the legs, albeit, not as much as weight lifting.
The truth is that everyone responds to exercise stimuli differently. Even categorizing people into the 3 body types or somatotypes; the ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph is an oversimplified approach. Not only does it make people believe they are doomed to their genetic fate, but also, doesn’t take into account how truly diverse humans are. The truth is that few people are pure ectomorphs, mesomorphs or endomorphs. The 3 body types should really be viewed as a spectrum and most people are a combination of 2 different body types falling on various areas of the spectrum.
In addition to that, your body type can change depending on the lifestyle that you live. Someone born with an ectomorph body type can start looking more like an endomorph if they choose to live a sedentary lifestyle and gorge on junk food for a long period of time. More and more scientific studies in the field of epigenetics have proven in recent times that our lifestyle behaviors and choices can have a major impact on our genetic expression. Even the thoughts and beliefs we have in our head can stimulate a biological response.
So, the best way to determine what cardio is best for you to achieve slimmer legs is to pay close attention to how your body responds to the type of cardio you do. And make decisions accordingly. If your current cardio routine hasn’t helped your legs slim down for a while now, then it is time to consider other cardio options.
3) Utilizing the Proper Toning exercises in Your Workout Routine.
Another mistake that many of my clients make is avoiding any toning or strength exercises in fear of getting bulked up. And the fear is completely rational. Many fitness programs were not designed specifically for the goal of slimming down legs. And many trainers believe that it is impossible for people to bulk up in a caloric deficit. In theory, it makes a lot of sense that people can’t gain muscle if they are in a calorie deficit. Maintaining muscle mass requires extra calories. And for a lot of bodybuilders, it takes a lot of work and extra calories to maintain their physiques. I’ve worked out with many bodybuilders before and I’ve seen how fast they lose muscle mass by simply eating slightly less. However, in the case of complete workout newbies, it is very common to gain muscle mass and burn fat simultaneously at a calorie deficit. And again, everyone responds to exercise stimuli differently. Some people with inactive satellite cells have to work twice or 3x as hard to gain muscle mass compared to people with more active satellite cells.
Many trainers who tell people that it’s not possible to bulk up are not trying to be malicious. They are simply speaking from their own experience. And in addition to that, everyone’s idea of “bulky” is quite different. At my current physique as of today, I’ve been called everything from thicc to anorexic. Which just goes to show how vastly different everyone’s opinion is.
So, why should you do strength and toning exercises for the legs if you don’t want to gain muscle and bulk up? Because doing the RIGHT type of toning exercises for the legs can actually result in that slim legs effect I know many people want to achieve. Utilizing proper toning exercises can also reduce the appearance of cellulite and help you maintain skinny legs much more easily than simply doing hours and hours of cardio.
If you want to try a proper toning workout that works, here are a couple of good ones. Don’t just take my word for it. Scroll through the comments and you’ll see that hundreds of people have been able to successfully slim down their legs by doing these leg slimming workouts:
4) Implementing an Effective Stretch Routine
This step is often skipped or undervalued in many fitness programs. If you want to get skinny legs, implementing an effective stretching routine is absolutely crucial. A proper and effective stretching routine can stop overactive muscle fibers from continuing to twitch after an intense workout. It can also cause muscle fibers to relax, unravel and lengthen. A lot of stretch routines you find online are not perfectly effective because each stretch is not being held long enough for this effect to take place.
There is a component in your body known as the Golgi Tendon Organ, which I will call from here on out, the GTO. Stretching stimulates the GTO. And when the GTO is properly stimulated, it interrupts the contraction of associated muscles. Studies have shown that in many cases, it takes at least 30 seconds of static stretching for the GTO to get activated. If you’re not holding your stretches long enough, there is a chance it may not be as effective as you want it to be. Longer holds of these passive stretching poses has other benefits as well such as in the case of Yin Yoga. Long holds trigger myofascial release, increase production of hyaluronic acid and reduce inflammation in your joints.
Stretching is definitely an undervalued aspect of physical fitness because it doesn’t directly promote aesthetics like defined abs, toned biceps and weight loss. However, it’s arguably the most important part of physical fitness because it helps prevent injuries, maintains a body’s range of motion and takes care of the deep connective tissues.
If you want to follow an effective stretch routine for your entire body as well as your legs, you can do the one below. I recommend doing this routine after every single workout session.
5) Taking Action and Staying Consistent
One of the most common questions I get asked online is “how long does it take to see results?” In my opinion, this is the most ridiculously silly question a person can ask someone they have never met. People online who have never met you in person will have no idea what you look like, what your medical history looks like, or where you stand in your fitness journey. How in the world are they going to know how long it’s going to take for YOU to see results?
But I also understand why people would ask this question. Search engine optimization on YouTube seems to favor titles that include a timeframe for results. A video titled, “Slim Legs in a Week!” is more likely to be clicked on and viewed. And the more a video gets clicked on and viewed, the more likely YouTube will continue to show the video to other people. With 300 hours of video getting uploaded onto YouTube every minute, creators are incentivized to title their videos this way if they don’t want their videos to get buried forever. And unfortunately, because of this, oftentimes, these titles can give viewers false expectations. If a video was titled, “Exercise for Healthy Legs,” most likely, no one would click on the video before it gets buried in the sandbox forever.
That’s not to say that those clickbaity titled workouts do not work. They will absolutely work to a certain degree if you also do them along with everything else mentioned in this article. So, how long is it going to take for YOU to see results? The true answer is not going to be what you want to hear. The true answer is that I have no idea. No one online is going to have any idea. Even if you’re working with a personal trainer in person, he or she can only provide a rough estimate with extensive tools. I can only tell you how long it took for me, how long it took for my clients or how long it took for some of my students in my program. But no one is going to know how long it is going to take for YOU. Not even YOU. You’ll only know when you start taking consistent action.
Sitting around and asking people online questions like, “how long will it take for me to see results?” isn’t going to get you anywhere closer to getting skinny legs. You actually have to start taking action by doing the right types of exercise and developing healthy eating habits if you want to get results. And the sooner you start taking action, the sooner those results will come. Some of my students in my Slim Legs System Program see dramatic results in a week, others see dramatic results in 8 weeks. It is literally different for everyone. But one thing is for sure, the people who get the results are the ones who are doing what they need to do and staying consistent to get there.
If you’re ready to start taking real action and embark on your journey to Slim Legs, join a growing number of people already well on their way to Skinny Legs. Start the Slim Legs System Today!