Have you ever seen a more perfectly sculpted pair of legs? Carrie Underwood (of American Idol fame) has the sort of definition and tone that most women only dream about. And she’s clearly worked hard to get them – so we can hardly blame her for showing them off, can we?
Don’t imagine for a second that owning a pair of pins like this is out of your reach. A few minutes on Google will tell you that Carrie was 2 sizes heavier than this when competing in Idol and has only recently displayed such a lean physique. Of course we can assume she already had the groundwork in place – muscle like that doesn’t come from body fat loss alone. Want to start laying the steps for your own incredibly defined legs? Here’s what you need to do:
How To Dramatically Sculpt Your Legs In 4 Easy Steps
1. Choose compound exercises that work all your major leg muscles in one hit. Weight machines are for people who want to take the easy route and create some major postural dysfunction to boot. Not only that, they build poorly balanced, chunky muscles. So not what you’re after! Exercises like squats, lunges, side-ways lunges, dead-lifts, 1-leg dead-lifts or squats, and stability ball work like lying leg curls (pictured below) are absolutely the best way to define your legs.
To achieve the bonus effect of some powerful fat burning while working with weights, perform 4 or 5 types of the above exercises back to back, for about 8-12 reps each, with no rest between exercises. Rest for 30 seconds after completing the circuit. Repeat this 3-4 times. Aim for at least 2 sessions like this each week (assuming you will also be working your core and upper body at some stage during the week).
2. Sprint, baby, sprint! Don’t be fooled into thinking that endless boring amounts of endurance cardio will do you any favors either on the weight loss or the toning side of things. Have you ever compared a sprinters body to a marathon runners? Think about that for a moment. And then check out this piece I put together on how to blast off body fat with sprint and interval cardio. I’d recommend 2-3 sessions of 15-20 minute sprint work each week, either on it’s own, or right after a weight session. Be at your freshest by doing your sprints after an upper/core dominant weight session rather than after a big leg workout.
3. Drain out any excess fluid that may be puffing you up. It’s more than certain that a good percentage of your despised ‘fat’ is actually excess fluid (water retention) that you are carrying due to a combination of too much caffeine, too much sugar, too many grain-based foods, and a hormonal imbalance brought on by all this bad food couple with daily stress. Talk about a recipe for bloating and disaster!
It’s easy to trim your body of excess fluid by making a few simple changes to the way you eat. No, I’m not talking about going without water! Try cutting all of the above-mentioned foods out of your diet for 2 weeks, as well as any form of table salt. Remember that sugar, caffeine, salt and starch are often hidden in processed foods, so you may as well cut them as well. I promise you will be amazed at the difference this will make in as little as a few days – sticking to it for 2 weeks will ensure that you actually start to lose body fat as well. Sound too tough for you? Tough luck then – you won’t be looking any leaner anytime soon.
4. Develop a long-term nutritional plan that you know you can stick with. All the exercise in the world isn’t going to sculpt your legs if you don’t trim off the, ahem, insulation. You can build perfect leg muscles and even a full six-pack but still have it well and truly hidden under a layer or 3 of jelly. Now without assessing you I have no idea of your eating or exercise lifestyle, your stress levels, how well you sleep, or what sort of hormonal imbalances may (without your knowledge let alone your consent!) be sabotaging you. So it’s hard for me to give you an individualized nutrition prescription.
Here are 5 works-for-anyone rules that I know will put you on the right track and make a difference in as little as a week.
- Eat at least 15% good fat with every meal. Organic extra virgin coconut oil (see my article on this wonder food), olive oil and avocado are my favorites.
- Eat animal protein at least twice daily and preferably with each meal. Choose from (organic where possible) beef, lamb, game meat, eggs, dairy, poultry and (wild) seafood.
- Avoid sugar. Always. Yes, that includes no-added-sugar-so-called-healthy-stuff like fruit juice. Sugar is bad bad news if you want to get lean. Or live long.
- Go easy on the starches. Truth be told I’ve found that the vast majority of people cannot tolerate starchy carbs at all. But maybe you’re the exception. Who knows? Even if you feel convinced that carbs (no, it doesn’t really make any difference if they’re whole-grain unless you’re talking 100% whole-grain and virtually unprocessed, i.e. inedible) are okay for you, I’d suggest you check for sure by following my advice in Step 3 above.
- Don’t skip meals and don’t imagine for a second that coffee and muffin/croissant/low-fat yogurt counts as breakfast. Breakfast is a real meal. Eat carbs from vegetables, fats and animal protein and I promise you’ll be dramatically more energetic than what you are now and immediently on your way to a leaner pair of legs.
Don’t think all that is worth the effort? Well that’s your call. I know what mine is. Here’s that pic again just in case I need to tip the balance for you ..
Life is Now. Press Play.
Do you have any tips to share on how you’ve defined your legs or other body parts? Get involved in the comments section of BodyIncredible.com now!
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