1) Regular weight training is a must. Leanness in the legs comes about as a result of several factors: strengthening the underlying muscles, burning the layer of fat on top of the muscles and then finally, tightening the skin and shedding water. Weight training not only helps tone the underlying muscles, but signals the release of certain key fat-burning hormones like testosterone and the anti-aging human growth hormone, the latter of which also helps to tighten and firm skin. Best movements include compound exercises like lunges, squats, step-ups and leg presses and a mix-and-match of plyometrics.
2) Do interval cardio for overall fat loss. Doing short, but intense cardio intervals (push hard for 1 min, followed by a 1 min rest) helps speed up the metabolism for hours after the workout is over. We love hill sprints and stair climbing to hit those key troublesome areas for women, particularly the glute-hamstring tie-in where many women store fat. Check out my Black Friday Treadmill HIIT Workout!
3) Increase fruit and veggie intake. Most vegetables are natural diuretics, which can help shed water subcutaneously, leaving legs (and arms and tummies!) looking leaner with more definition. Also, fruits and vegetables help produce a more alkaline environment in the body, which helps create a more favorable environment to optimize fat oxidation. Check out our top 35 fat loss foods for some great ideas!
4) Drink lots of H2O! Though it seems counterintuitive, the more water you drink, the more water you will shed, creating more of that coveted “defined” look. Staying hydrated with at least 3 liters of plain water per day helps speed the metabolism, and keeps you feeling fuller and more satiated for longer.
5) Skip the dairy and sodium. Dairy is an insulin-producing food, a hormone that directly impacts the kidney to increase water retention. Sodium will drastically increase water retention also, though through a slightly different mechanism. So try to limit cheeses, milk, cream and of course ice cream (!) as much as possible if the goal is to lean out the legs and bring out more definition. Finally, check the sodium content on any processed food labels and aim for less than 200 mg per serving.
Related: 11 Things Lean People Do Everyday