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tinydancer33



Joined: 22 Nov 2006
Total Posts: 9

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 7:36 pm    Post subject: I want lean legs not just muscle! Reply with quote

Okay, so i have been goin to the gym at least three times a week with the hopes of slimming down my legs...however i know how huge calves and my legs look bulky not lean! I run for 15 minutes than walk on an incline of 15.0 for 10 minutes than I do 5 more minutes of running. What is going on? Does anyone else have this problem? Should I be adding pilates to my workout to help me get lean legs? Please help...thanks so much!
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Bird77



Joined: 19 Sep 2006
Total Posts: 827

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, are you talking large muscles, or are you talking about fat?

Some of us naturally have muscular legs (or, as boyfriend says, freakishly strong legs Laughing). If you're like this, then that's your genetics. And really, that's not a bad thing, at least if you're like me and you run, dance and do a martial art with a lot of kicking. Leg strength, to me, is a good thing, and I'm proud of my increasingly cut quads, hamstrings and calves. And calf muscles look really, really good in heels. If you're naturally strong in the legs, then take pride in it. Better that than Victoria Beckham's creepy toothpicks any day. If you have strong legs, the only way to avoid having muscles is to stop walking. Yeah, that's a crappy option, isn't it? Better to accept that you have some great muscle and move on.

Now, if you're talking about leg fat, then that's a different story. A lot of women store fat on their thighs, and getting rid of it can be frustrating. Working out will help because you'll burn more fat, but you can't spot reduce. All you can do is get lots of exercise (cardio plus strength) and eat right. Eventually, you will lose the fat and see smaller legs.

Pilates is good for building flexibility and core strength, but no exercise will make a body part smaller. The idea of training muscles to be "long and lean" rather than "bulky" is a joke (despite what some bodybuilding types say). Your muscle shape is genetic, so barring some pretty sci-fi developments, sometimes you just have to accept that your body is a certain way. It's like being short, or having blue eyes. You can lose weight and get fit, but no amount of gym time is going to make most of us girls look like Cindy Crawford. Sorry.

In these days, a man who says a thing cannot be done is quite apt to be interrupted by some idiot doing it.
- Elbert Hubbard
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tinydancer33



Joined: 22 Nov 2006
Total Posts: 9

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

its' definetly muscle, but i never considered that it could be both. It may be that I have fat over my muscles which is making them look larger. Thanks for bringing that up!

I do have a muscular frame and have always thought it was a curse, but being strong does have its advantages. I love to play sports and i like my my butt lol...but i just wish they looked a little more toned instead of muscular... I'll keep running to help lose the fat, but the minute my calves get as big as my thighs I am going to boycott the gym... and walking for that matter.

I want to work on my flexibility so I am going to try pilates to see if it does anything...

thanks for your input! Very Happy
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runner23



Joined: 29 Dec 2007
Total Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the same types of legs...naturally muscular, but all the other posts are correct - curvy is really sexy and I love my hourglass figure (appreciate and acknowledge the fun attention!) Wink It may be fat over muscle, but to get rid of this, skip the incline! This will only build more bulky muscle and make them even larger. Try interval training (2 min walking, 5 minutes jogging/running) with absolutely no incline for at least 30 minutes working up to 1 hour. Good luck!
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dalyceh



Joined: 16 Mar 2007
Total Posts: 592

PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you poke it and your finger doesn't really go in when you flex your muscle there probably isn't much fat over it. However, Bird is right you can't change how your muscles look!

Enjoy your body big calves and all!


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mackadoodle



Joined: 03 May 2005
Total Posts: 1342

PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, runner23. The person you are talking to (tinydancer) hasn't even been here since last February. But since you brought it up... for the sake of others, I just couldn't let this one go:
runner23 wrote:
It may be fat over muscle, but to get rid of this, skip the incline! This will only build more bulky muscle and make them even larger.


Where do people come up with these things???

Walking/jogging on an incline will NOT build bulky muscle!!! Even super-heavy weight-training won't build bulky muscles without lots of time AND LOTS OF CALORIES!

Nor will "intervals" (incline or not) get rid of the "fat over muscle". Not on their own anyway. The diet still has to be right.

NOBODY BULKS UP EASILY. True, some people do gain muscle mass more easily than others... but NOBODY does it "easily"!

Muscle-gain (just like fat-gain) requires eating above your caloric maintenance levels... except it takes a lot more time to gain muscle-mass than it takes to gain fat.

There MUST BE A CALORIE SURPLUS to achieve significant muscle-gain. And there must be a CALORIE DEFICIT to lose fat.

In a calorie deficit, there will be NO signifcant muscle-gain NO MATTER WHAT type(s) of exercises one may do.

BIRD77's reply rocks!! She is absolutely spot-on with her info here!!!! Thank you, Bird77!!!
Thank you!!!
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dalyceh



Joined: 16 Mar 2007
Total Posts: 592

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mackadoodle wrote:
Muscle-gain (just like fat-gain) requires eating above your caloric maintenance levels... except it takes a lot more time to gain muscle-mass than it takes to gain fat.

There MUST BE A CALORIE SURPLUS to achieve significant muscle-gain. And there must be a CALORIE DEFICIT to lose fat.

In a calorie deficit, there will be NO signifcant muscle-gain NO MATTER WHAT type(s) of exercises one may do.


I think I am a bit confused hun. When you have a calorie deficiet, less calories than your body needs to maintain its weight, and you have a proper fitness routine, don't you burn fat as well as build muscle? You body uses stored energy from your fat tissue to help counteract some of the deficit to build muscles?


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mackadoodle



Joined: 03 May 2005
Total Posts: 1342

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
mackadoodle wrote:
Muscle-gain (just like fat-gain) requires eating above your caloric maintenance levels... except it takes a lot more time to gain muscle-mass than it takes to gain fat.

There MUST BE A CALORIE SURPLUS to achieve significant muscle-gain. And there must be a CALORIE DEFICIT to lose fat.

In a calorie deficit, there will be NO signifcant muscle-gain NO MATTER WHAT type(s) of exercises one may do.


dalyceh wrote:
I think I am a bit confused hun. When you have a calorie deficiet, less calories than your body needs to maintain its weight, and you have a proper fitness routine, don't you burn fat as well as build muscle? You body uses stored energy from your fat tissue to help counteract some of the deficit to build muscles?

Good question. Even if you are getting some of your energy from stored fat... you are still either in an overall round-the-clock deficit for your specific energy needs... or you're not.

If you are on a good, well-constructed weight-training routine... and a good nutrient-packed diet... (at a deficit) you "build" muscle to a point. As in gaining strength & density... but NOT size.

Some people, when first starting (or returning to) a good weight-training program may gain a LITTLE muscle-size at first... even while eating below maintenance but NOT a significant amount... and NEVER the big bulky muscle that so many women fear. Sometimes the muscles will FEEL bigger because they're getting dense, harder, stronger, and the cells are full & plumped up (think of a flat tire, compared to a full firm tire).
PLUS, AS WE LOSE FAT our muscles start to become more detectable (both to the eye and to the touch) which can make them SEEM bigger. But actually, as we continue to lose weight... we are lucky to hang on to all our muscle, let alone gain any.

It is possible to gain SOME muscle while simultaneously losing fat... but that usually happens at a caloric maintenance, not a deficit. An example of this would be if... after a while (let's say 3 months) of consistent good training... I haven't lost ANY weight, but my clothes are fitting much looser. (the fact that my weight hasn't changed, in 3 months, is proof that I've been eating at maintenance, regardless of what I thought my caloric needs might have been) Obviously, I have lost SOME fat & gained SOME muscle, or my clothes wouldn't be looser, at the same weight. BUT I will NOT have gained a SIGNIFICANT amount of muscle, NOR will I have lost huge amount of fat. It would be somewhat delusional of me to believe that I'd lost 20 whole lbs of fat, and replaced it with 20 whole lbs of muscle. That just ain't gonna happen.

SO ALL THESE WOMEN WHO WORRY THAT THEY'LL GET BIG, BULKY MUSCLES from training too hard, are worried needlessly. It won't happen. Not while eating at a deficit to lose weight/fat... and not while eating at maintenance to maintain weight.

EVEN FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO BUILD BIGGER MUSCLES, IT'S NOT THAT EASY Arrow If my goal is to gain 20 lbs of muscle, I would need to eat ABOVE maintenance. AND the numbers on the scale need to go UP... NOT go down or stay the same. And it would take longer than 3 months. If I do gain 20 lbs, in 3 months, even with a perfect diet & training program (designed for optimal muscle-gain) there will also be some accompanying fat-gain. Just how much of that weight actually turns out to be muscle, depends on many variables (including genetics) but BOTTOM LINE is...

...regardless of genetics, NO notable gain is going to happen without the caloric support.

Hope this helps.


Last edited by mackadoodle on Fri Jan 04, 2008 7:55 pm; edited 2 times in total
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dalyceh



Joined: 16 Mar 2007
Total Posts: 592

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the more detailed explanation. I was getting threw of by your definition of "significant" I suppose.


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mackadoodle



Joined: 03 May 2005
Total Posts: 1342

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dalyceh wrote:
Thank you for the more detailed explanation. I was getting threw of by your definition of "significant" I suppose.

You're welcome. Hope it made sense to you. Basically what I mean by "significant" is a notable size increase. This is where your scale comes in handy. If you're gaining weight, while training properly... then yes, some of that gain is likely muscle, but you can bet some of it is fat too. But this can't happen with training alone. You can't gain weight without the extra calories.

So if you're actually steadily losing weight, while on a good weight-training program... the "big" muscles that you think you're seeing are really just healthier, stronger, fuller muscles that are becoming more & more visible as you continue to trim off the fat. ALSO: Following an intense workout, there can be some temporary swelling in the muscles.
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Lynnette214



Joined: 20 Sep 2006
Total Posts: 23

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just had to chime in!

I have the same build as you. Thick, muscley legs!! At first, when I started running, I was bummed about it. But then I tried to think more positively. I guess the alternative (to be weak) wasn't that exciting either. Smile

I just had to learn to think positively about it. As in, having a strong frame is a good thing, and I should be proud of it!

Something I have done personally, since all my cardio is running outdoors and on the treadmill, is to make sure that I build strength elsewhere as well, so I don't look lopsided. Smile Adding arms helped, and the tone muscles I received there made me forget (well almost) about my bigger legs! Smile
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mackadoodle



Joined: 03 May 2005
Total Posts: 1342

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lynnette214 wrote:
Thick, muscley legs!! At first, when I started running, I was bummed about it. But then I tried to think more positively. I guess the alternative (to be weak) wasn't that exciting either. Smile
Your leg-muscles may be bigger than you like, due to genetics... but running, alone will not build "thick" muscles. True, some people build muscle more easily than others. And some people build more easily in their lower bodies than their upper bodies, or vice versa. And some people have "thicker" muscles than others even with very little exercise. That would all be genetics. HOWEVER, regardless of genetics, or how quickly one is able to develop muscle... nobody is going add significant size (to what they already have) without the caloric support.

It is more likely that your muscles became stronger, fuller, and shaplier from running... PLUS as you became leaner (less bodyfat) the shapes of the muscles became more visible, making them seem even bigger. If they were truly getting a lot bigger than they had been... then you would have been gaining weight, which could not have happened without a calorie surplus.

Lynnette214 wrote:
I just had to learn to think positively about it. As in, having a strong frame is a good thing, and I should be proud of it!

Having a strong frame IS a good thing!!! A very good thing!!! Scrawny toothpic frames, like you see on some models & stars, make great clothes-hangers but that's about it. You can really tell, in swimsuit scenes, which actresses workout sensibly and feed their bodies well... compared to those who don't.

Awesome attitude!
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Lynnette214



Joined: 20 Sep 2006
Total Posts: 23

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ya, you're right mackadoodle, I always have had big legs anyway, ever since childhood. It is genetics, my brothers and I just recently compared and we are all the same!

You are full of wonderful advice, I have enjoyed reading through your posts! Very Happy
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mackadoodle



Joined: 03 May 2005
Total Posts: 1342

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lynnette214 wrote:
Ya, you're right mackadoodle, I always have had big legs anyway, ever since childhood. It is genetics, my brothers and I just recently compared and we are all the same!

You are full of wonderful advice, I have enjoyed reading through your posts! Very Happy

You mean you've always had strong, awesome legs, don't you?

Just think, you could have scrawny little toothpick legs that look like they might just snap in half while running. That would be no bueno.

And thanks for the compliment!!!
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Twilightt



Joined: 23 May 2008
Total Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 8:37 pm    Post subject: Hey Reply with quote

Actully, everything is all great and that. you strech before you jog or run, and you strech after. After joging your muscels are warm and they can strech! NOTICE < i talk to my dortor about these kind of things.

Therefore, you lose fat and! You make your muscels look lean then bulky and ew.
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