How to Lose Leg Fat Fast | The Definitive Guide
Achieving sustainable fat loss
In this article, we’ll give you the definitive answer and guide to the question of “How to lose leg fat fast?”
Over 10,000 years ago everyone got their food through hunting and gathering.
Through the history of evolution this calorie scarce experience has conditioned us as humans (our persuasive ‘limbic brain’) to consume more than we actually need.
Fast-forward to today, there are now flashy advertisements everywhere you look. These ads promote the most addictive, unhealthy, and highly caloric foods that have contributed to over 36% of the UK population becoming overweight or obese.
With the increasing consumption of unhealthy foods, some of your body parts may have also increased in size. One of these areas may be your legs, which leads us to the question, ‘How do you lose leg fat FAST?’.
Key Insight: Spot-reducing fat is not really what you should be looking for.
We assume that your ultimate goal is to make your lower body look better and your logical thought says you have to lose fat in order for this to happen.
While fat burning (getting leaner) is one of the ways to make the legs look better, it certainly isn’t the only thing you can do.
Here’s what you’ll learn in this article:
1. How to create a sustainable fat-loss diet
2. Means of creating a leg-shaping workout plan
3. Getting out of the diet and keeping the weight off
How to lose fat fast
If you’ve read our previous article on ‘How to lose body fat fast’, you’ll understand that fat loss is essentially a matter of your caloric balance.
You MUST have a healthy diet, otherwise, it won’t work.
If you haven’t read that article yet, go and check it out now!
Stored fat is basically an energy storage of the body, which accumulates when we’re over-consuming energy (food).
We require a given number of calories daily to maintain body weight and physiological functions.
If you exceed that number, the body won’t simply allow the excess energy to go to waste, which is why it stores it as fat for later use.
How do you tap into that energy store? It’s simple.
You have to put the body in conditions of an energy deficit.
When you are consuming less calories than the body requires for maintenance of weight and functions, you allow it to use its energy reserve (fat).
In the article linked above we explain all of this in-depth, but let’s rehearse some of that information briefly, in a list of diminishing importance.
#1 Total daily calories
The first and most important factor that will determine the change of your weight, is the energy balance.
In other words, that is your energy output (calories burned) vs. Your energy input (food consumed).
Your energy output depends on a variety of factors, such as weight, height, age, non-exercise activity, food intake & exercise output.
There’s a formula for each factor, but you can use THIS integrated calculator to get your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) with the proximity of ~150 calories +.
As we already mentioned, the input has to be lower than the output, in order for you to burn fat consistently.
Oh and… You won’t really need cardio (aerobic exercises) to lose weight, given that you are in a deficit.
Now, due to the fact the body doesn’t like drastic changes, that deficit of energy should be moderate.
The healthiest rate of weight loss forms at up to 1 kilogram weekly.
If you exceed that rate, given that you are not obese, you will experience a decline in energy and a variety of functions.
This healthy rate of weight loss can be achieved with a daily caloric deficit of ~500 calories.
#2 Total daily macronutrition
After you have calculated your TDEE, it is time to split the calories into the separate macronutrients:
This number list above is in order of importance.
Before we move on to explaining each macronutrient briefly, we’ll just mention that micronutrition (Vitamins and minerals) is important as well.
Feel free to include all types of veggies in your diet to grant the body sufficient vitamins, minerals and fiber. The more colorful your diet is, the better.
First, we have protein, which is the most common substance in the body, next to water.
Protein is responsible for maintenance of lean body mass (Every other tissue besides fat) & recovery, as well as the formation of a variety of hormones and enzymes.
Optimal protein intake forms at the range of 1.8-2.2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight.
Second is fat, which is responsible for a variety of functions in the body and specifically endocrine (hormonal) functions.
A severe depletion of fat will lead to a decline in health, which is something you should avoid at all costs.
Optimal fat intake forms at about ~1 gram per kilogram of bodyweight.
Third, we have carbohydrates, which are NOT essential for the body, as it can synthesize glucose on its own.
Glucose is the end product of carbohydrate metabolism and its stored form is glycogen, which is retained in the muscles and the liver.
Now, even though carbohydrates are not essential like protein and fats, we must not completely neglect them.
A severe depletion of carbohydrates will lead to suboptimal training, which will then lead to suboptimal lean body mass retention and a slower metabolism.
Focus on adding quality carbs from whole grains to boost your workouts.
After a workout, you can have quick-digesting carbs like fruit juices or raw fruits.
Creating the caloric deficit must NEVER be done at the cost of protein, but mainly at the cost of carbs and a very tiny bit of fats (Up to 100 calories of fats).
#3 Meal patterns
Okay, you have your calories and macronutrients down to a number, but how many meals should you eat per day?
Intermittent fasting with 1 meal a day? Eating every 2 hours?
Well, the truth here is that retention of lean body mass can be achieved at as low as 2 meals per day and as high as 6 meals a day.
Ultimately, you should choose the meal pattern that is the EASIEST for you to stick to.
Creating a diet plan is not hard and doesn’t really involve much effort.
The reason why most people fail their fat loss journey is because they can’t adhere to the plan.
Dieting must not feel like torture, but it should be a rather pleasant experience.
Fat burners, L-carnitine, protein powders – Do you need all of those?
Supplements are the LAST thing to pay attention to in your diet.
Remember that NO supplement will compensate for the lack of a sustainable diet plan.
Should You Train While Losing Weight?
If you’ve been wondering how to lose leg fat fast, say no more.
You now know that creating a proper, adherable nutrition plan is the most important thing for achieving a healthy rate of fat loss.
However, making your lower body look better is not just a matter of fat loss.
Shaping up the active muscle tissue, underneath the thigh fat is one of the BEST things you can do to get some good-looking thigh muscles.
Now, some people might think that shaping up the muscle is a matter of doing cardio… That’s not true.
The best way to build muscle is strength training.
Resistance exercises are the BEST toning exercises you can do, far superior to cardio.
Key Insight: Remember ladies, gaining muscle WILL NOT make you look like a man.
As Ultimate Fighting Champion Ronda Rousey puts it:
“If people say that my body looks masculine or something like that, I’m just like: Listen, just because my body was developed for a purpose other than fucking millionaires doesn’t mean it’s masculine.”
“I think it’s femininely bad ass as fuck because there isn’t a single muscle on this body that doesn’t serve a purpose because I’m not a do-nothin’ bitch.”
Remember that the human body was made to look aesthetic (not ugly), although it’s important to remember that gaining muscle will not happen overnight.
If you’re a lady, you may know that you won’t have as much testosterone as a man, which is the hormone that is responsible for the development of male-like physical traits.
In other words, for females, gaining muscle simply equals: ‘toning up’.
Note: Developing the fast-twitch muscle fibres will make your body look curvy and aesthetic.
The fast-twitch muscle fibres are responsible for short, power-burst movements, at a higher intensity.
Ever wondered why marathon runners are skinny and sprinters are well-defined? That’s because sprinters develop greater fast-twitch muscle fibres whereas aerobic athletes do not.
Including such high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the best things you can do for your body.
Lower Body Workout For Women
When creating a workout plan to help you shape up those thighs and get rid of thigh fat, there are a couple of things to consider:
- The workout must revolve around power-burst movements, that will engage your fast-twitch fibres
- There must be a good recovery period between each training session – 48 to 96 hours.
- You must target all the muscles of the lower body – Thighs, hamstrings, glutes, calves, lower back.
- You can train the upper body too while the lower body is resting and recovering
Generally, as you are looking to prioritize lower body development as a female, you will have about 3 different workouts per week.
Let’s take a look.
The Workout – Bodyweight exercises & sprints
For this workout, we will focus on bodyweight exercises to warm up the legs for the more intense exercise afterwards – Sprints.
The workout can be done every 48~96 hours, 2 to 3 times a week.
Exercise #1 – Bodyweight squats
Rest times: 1 minute between sets
This first exercise is a classic one, that will engage the thighs, hamstrings and glutes.
If you don’t like it, you can replace it with lunges.
Let’s take a look at the proper execution.
- Stand up straight with your feet at shoulder-width
- Open toes out slightly
- Keep torso straight – 1-3 are your starting position.
- Place arms crossed on your shoulders or out in front of you.
- Look forward
- Let your butt go down, without crossing the line of your toes with the knees
- Once the legs are parallel to the ground, squat up without locking out the knee
- Up top, squeeze the butt
- Repeat the movement pattern
Note that this is just a warm-up for the sprints, no need to go extra hard on this one.
Exercise #2 – Bodyweight walking lunges
Reps: 12 per leg
Rest times: 50 seconds
This second exercise will further activate the thighs, hamstrings and the butt, and will also kick-start the stabilizing muscles of the lower body.
Again, it is a warm-up, so don’t go too hard on it.
Aim for an easy, controlled pace.
- Stand up straight with legs at shoulder width as you would for a squat
- Keep arms by your side and torso straight
- Look forward
- Take a big step forward with your left legand go down slowly
- Avoid hitting the ground hard with your right knee
- Push up off of the left leg and transition onto the next step with the right leg
- Repeat until you get 12 reps on each leg
Exercise #3 – Sprints
Length: 100,30,30,50,50 meters
Rest: 60-90 seconds between sets
Generally, during a calorie deficit, doing very high-intensity movements is not recommended, due to the fact they usually require more energy to recover from.
However, sprints are a movement that is within the natural human patterns, and it may turn out to be one of the best lower-body shapers, even during your weight-loss period.
If you do them consistently you’ll see that your leg development improves drastically compared to those squats and lunges.
Oh and did we mention that sprints blast the WHOLE lower body? That includes the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes & calves. Everything gets worked!
Now, though the lower body is warmed up from the first two exercises, you’ll start with a 200 meter light jog at a low effort and then move on to two high-intensity sets to finish off the workout.
Length #1 – 100 meters
For this first length, you will complete a 100 meter run at a slightly quicker pace.
Consider this a warm-up, but then again, let the pace be higher than your normal jogging pace.
Length #2- 30 meters
After the first 100-meter length, we’re upping the intensity and decreasing the distance substantially.
For this second set, you should up your pace to about 60% of your maximum effort.
Note that this isn’t a full-on sprint, but rather a more intense one, compared to the 100-meter run.
The goal here is to gradually start activating more and more fast-twitch fibres.
Length #3 – 30 meters
This third length can be considered your first working set.
Go for a substantially higher effort, reaching about 70-80% of your maximum capabilities.
Lengths #4 & #5 – 50 meters
Now, these last two are the working sets, where we should put more effort.
We increase the distance and effort, to ultimately blast the lower body.
Reach up to 90-95% of your maximum capabilities and rest up to 3 minutes between sets.
Note that your heart rate must not substantially decrease between sets, which is why we recommend starting the next set right before you feel 100% recovered- This will allow you to keep the heart rate up.
Key insight: You generally see a lot of women in the gym do opening/closing exercises for the legs. While those might be helpful to a certain extent, developing the outer and inner thighs can be done with no such exercises. Squats, lunges and sprints give those muscles a good workout.
How To Keep The Weight Off
Statistically, 85-90% of people who lose a substantial amount of excess fat, regain 100% or more of the weight back when they stop the diet.
This simply happens because people think dieting is something temporary – They reach the desired shape and suddenly abandon the diet.
After a diet, it is recommended that you:
- Gradually increase the calories over the period of a month or two
- Transition into a more intense training regimen, that will allow you to develop the musculature
- Stay consistent with good nutrition and regular exercising
The modern-day lifestyle imposes us to a sedentary life, full of processed, calorie-stacked foods.
Contrary to that are our natural human patterns, which dictate that we should make use of our bio-suit (the musculature) and be able to run, jump, climb, swim, etc.
If we get out of the modern-day lifestyle by developing sustainable exercising and eating habits, being and staying in shape will come naturally.
So, how to lose leg fat fast?
Maybe you’ve been working hard to lose leg fat, but haven’t seen much of a difference.
That’s because losing leg fat will require a change of habits, and turning bad habits into good habits can feel like digging a spade into dry earth on a summers day. However, as American journalist and personal trainer Jenna Wolfe once said: “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”
Now that you’ve read advice from a qualified personal trainer (me) you’ll now know that:
- Losing leg fat is mainly about creating a moderate caloric deficit of ~500 calories daily and granting ~2.2 g of protein & ~1g of fat per KG of bodyweight. The remaining calories go for carbohydrates to fuel your workouts.
- Sticking to good nutrition habits is a must – Dieting must not be a torture
- Shaping up the muscle underneath the fat tissue is the best way to visually improve the look of your legs
- Doing so requires short, power-burst movements
- Sprints are the best way to develop your lower body, as they are an intense movement from the natural human movement patterns
- Gradually increasing food intake after a diet & maintaining exercise habits is the best way to keep the weight off
- Ultimately, by making use of your biological machine, you will naturally stay in shape and become a functional human being
We believe you can change and we know that the principles above will make that achievable for you. Now go and crush it!
Have you lost any leg/body fat? What did you do that we didn’t mention in this guide?