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You want to know how to get lean, not bulky?

You want to exercise and push your limits, but you have a fear of getting too bulky in the process?

The truth is, you can get the lean body you want without putting on too much unwanted muscle size…if you focus on the right type of exercise for a lean body.

Before we get into more details, let me just say that there is nothing wrong with women who are muscular and strong- if that is their preference!

This blog post is for the girls (like myself) who ended up with a bulky body when their goal was to get lean and slim down. For the girls whose arms are getting bigger but not toned. For girls who experience the same but just with their lower body.

For the girls that were consistently told that they can not get too muscular and their fears are irrational, even when they couldn’t fit in their tops and jeans anymore.

Since this topic seems to be taboo in the fitness world (mostly consisting of ”girls can’t get too big” members), I decided to share with you my guide on how to get lean for women (not bulky!).

So, if you are wondering how to slim down your legs without bulking up muscle, or how to tone your arms without making them bigger, you’re in the right place.

Let’s start!

”WHY AM I BULKING UP INSTEAD OF SLIMMING DOWN?”

OK, so I get this question a LOT.

And, I can relate. I was in the same situation a couple of years ago, so I can speak from my own experience.

When I started going to the gym, my goal was simple – reduce body fat and get toned.

So, in the beginning, I was mainly focusing on cardio, and I skipped resistance training.

Cardio helped me slim down and reduce body fat but it didn’t help me get toned. I actually ended up looking skinny fat.

And when I asked for advice, I was told I should forget about cardio and try heavy weights. I saw a lot of girls doing it, and everybody kept telling me it was the right way to go, so I kind of went for it.

And at first, I was really happy and excited about my progress!

I was getting stronger and toned, and I even had proper abs. But, after a certain point, my back became too broad and I felt like my thighs were HUGE. I just started feeling like my body was too bulky.

I was constantly asking myself, why am I getting bigger instead of slimming down?

And why some girls seemed to be getting smaller from lifting heavy and I was just getting bigger?

The more I lifted the bigger I got.

I talked to different personal trainers at my gym, and they all told me the same thing – women cannot bulk up, they don’t have enough testosterone.

But that’s simply not true!

heavy lifting can cause bulk

WOMEN CAN, IN FACT, GET TOO BULKY (FOR THEIR OWN LIKING)

To be honest, I’m so tired of hearing that women can’t get bulky.

If a woman thinks that she has too much muscle and has a bulky body, then who is anyone to tell her that she is wrong?

The perception of a ”bulky body” is much different for men and women.

It may be nothing compared to the 6-pack bodybuilder next to you in the gym, but it can be too much for a girl’s liking.

The point is, this should be completely up to you and your fitness goals.

And as much I support girls wanting to get stronger and put on decent muscle, I prefer a lean look with some muscle but still a slim frame. And I don’t like much muscle on my legs.

This is my own personal preference. And that should be OK!

So, when I realized that my body had changed in a way that I didn’t like, I decided to do something about it.

I did a lot of research; I tried different styles of training and finally figured out what was causing me to get a bulky body:

I was doing the WRONG type of resistance training.

So, if you are also getting bigger but not toned, you’re probably making the same mistake.

I’m going to share with you what are the best exercises to do – and which ones you should avoid – to get lean without getting bulky.

HOW TO TONE MUSCLE WITHOUT BULKING UP IN 4 STEPS 

how to get lean and not bulky

There are 4 simple steps you should follow if you want to get toned without getting too muscular.

This is what I have learned over the years in terms of the type of exercises to do and which ones to avoid to achieve this look.

1. DON’T SKIP RESISTANCE TRAINING

Not all resistance training will make you bulky.

How you end up looking lean is actually by gaining muscle, which might sound contradictory, but you need muscle to look toned.

I know some of you may be tempted to just skip resistance training in fear of getting too muscular (been there, done that), but I promise you, there’s a way to do it without bulking up.

Let me explain :)

This is what I looked like before I started doing any resistance training, compared to what I looked like after a few months.

As you can see, I was not toned, and I had more body fat – gaining muscle will help you lose body fat quicker.

Muscles are more metabolically active than fat, which means they burn more calories throughout the day.

So, if you have more muscle, you’ll burn more calories than someone who has a high percentage of body fat.

Also, you cannot look toned if you don’t have muscle.

So, even if you do tons of cardio and manage to slim down, you won’t get a nice muscle definition if you skip resistance training completely.

You will just end up looking skinny fat.

THE BEST WORKOUT FOR A LEAN BODY

the best exercises to get toned and not bulky

There are some exercises that build muscle in a way that makes you look more muscular and others which don’t.

The type of exercises that will tone muscle without bulking up include:

In addition, I also posted 3 free resistance-training sessions on my blog, so have a look at these to get a further idea of the type of exercises I’m talking about:

RELATED POST: WHY WOMEN SHOULD NOT TRAIN LIKE MEN

2. AVOID CERTAIN TYPES OF EXERCISES IF YOU WANT TO GET LEAN MUSCLE

exercises to avoid not to get bulky

In my experience, these are the types of exercises that contribute to the bulky look. Don’t get me wrong – they are great exercises for your body. But if you want a leaner look (especially in your legs), avoid them.

  • Heavy weight lifting – For me, chin-ups made my back very broad, and squats and deadlifts made my legs too muscular. I would avoid these and any really heavy lifting
  • HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) – Overdoing it on the lower body can make your legs too muscular (depending on your body type), and lots of women have complained to me about this happening to them. I have some HIIT workouts on my blog that won’t make you bulky. Have a look at these for some ways to incorporate HIIT into your workouts:
  • CrossFit – While I actually love CrossFit (especially the AMRAP parts), I just ended up looking too muscular. If you are an ectomorph (the naturally thin body type), you can most likely do CrossFit, and any of these exercises, without getting too bulky, but the other body types might not
  • Step machine – This will build muscle in your quads at the front of your legs, which most women don’t like
  • Hill sprints – Sprinting is great but avoid doing it uphill as this will contribute to bulky legs. This is how I like to do my sprinting to avoid bulking up

I have another blog post in my “how to get skinny legs series” and it’s on how to do weights without getting bulky. Have a look at that if you want some extra info :)

RELATED POST: HOW TO SLIM MUSCULAR THIGHS

3. LEARN YOUR BODY TYPE SO YOU CAN ADJUST YOUR WORKOUTS & DIET ACCORDINGLY

three main body types
Jennifer Lopez (endomorph), Jessica Biel (mesomorph), Karlie Kloss (ectomorph)

I mentioned body type twice in the previous sections, and I talk about body types a lot on my blog.

Knowing your body type is VERY important when you’re deciding on your fitness goals.

And it’s even more important when you’re planning how to achieve your goals.

There are three main body types, and two of those can become bulky very easily!

They all lose weight and build muscle differently, so it’s super important to know how to train for your body type.

ECTOMORPHS

If you are an ectomorph body type, like Karlie Kloss, you are most likely naturally very slim, and you don’t build muscle very easily. So, workouts – like squats and HIIT – are not very likely to bulk you up.

You should do cardio to stay lean and incorporate resistance training in order to get toned and avoid the skinny fat look.

MESOMORPHS

Mesomorphs, like Jessica Biel, are usually of average size, and they lose and gain weight quite quickly. Also, they are athletic by nature, which means they can build muscle easily.

So, if you are a mesomorph, and you want to get toned without becoming too muscular, you should do cardio to reduce body fat and skip certain types of resistance training. I’m also a mesomorph body type, and as I mentioned, I tend to bulk up when I do CrossFit and heavy lifting.

ENDOMORPHS

Endomorphs, like Jennifer Lopez, have a naturally bigger frame, and they can bulk up easily if they do the wrong type of resistance training.

For example, most endomorphs should do plenty of cardio and avoid HIIT and weights if they want to get a leaner look.

WANT TO KNOW YOUR BODY TYPE?

We’ve Created A Quiz To Help You Determine Your Body Type!

  • It’s FREE
  • Takes Only 2 Minutes To Complete
  • You’ll Get 3 Workout & 3 Nutrition Tips For YOUR Body Type
calculator_imagev-2 (1)

 

4. DON’T FORGET ABOUT CARDIO TO GET LEAN

power walking to get lean not bulky

To keep a smaller frame, you should be incorporating cardio into your workout program. I love running and walking and am always slimmer when I do cardio.

Plus, they’re both great for leaning out your legs and losing weight. I would try to do cardio around 3 times per week.

RELATED POST: HOW TO GET SKINNY LEGS – WHY YOU NEED CARDIO FOR FAT LOSS

FAQ: HOW TO AVOID BULKY LEGS WHEN WORKING OUT

A lot of women have asked me how to get skinny legs without getting gaining muscle and whether certain types of workouts cause bulkiness.

So, I will answer these here :)

exercises to get toned not bulky

WILL MY LEGS GET BIGGER FROM CYCLING?

With cycling, it depends on your body type and how often you do it. If you’re not sure about your body type, you can take my free body type survey and find out quickly.

Ectomorphs and mesomorphs are probably fine with cycling, but endomorphs might try to avoid it. I am a mesomorph and used to do a spin class a couple of times per week, and I was fine (but I did a lot of running, also).

I would just make sure you don’t overdo it on the cycling and monitor it to see how you go. If you notice your legs starting to bulk up, I would stop and focus on the walking/running.

WILL PUMP CLASSES BULK UP MY THIGHS?

Pump classes are also fine, and I don’t think you will bulk up doing pump class as it is VERY high rep and usually pretty light-weight.

But again, I wouldn’t overdo it. I used to do Pump and was fine. I just prefer to do other exercises now, as I find them more effective and also don’t take as much time.

IS DANCING GOING TO HELP ME GET LEAN LEGS?

Dancing is quite variable, so it depends on the type of dancing you’re doing.

I think most dancing should be fine. But again, I would just monitor it and see how your body responds. I love dancing, and if you love it, I would definitely do it!

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask in the comment section!

Love, Rachael xx

Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.

After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.

Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.

207 Responses

  1. Hey I am a first time mom endomorph and have always struggled losing the “fupa”, or the excess fat in my lower abdominal region. I know I need to lose body fat overall – how could I do that by dancing?

    1. Hey lovely! Getting rid of belly fat is almost 100% related to your diet. The only way to get rid of this fat is to lose overall body fat which is done through consuming less calories than your body uses (eating at a calorie deficit).

      As for the workouts, any type of resistance training helps, but generally HIIT gets the quickest results. High intensity cardio such as running also helps a lot. :)

    1. Hey lovely! The first step is to stop the exercises that you’re doing because they are probably causing the bulkiness in your upper body. We can’t really spot reduce so for you to lose fat or bulkiness in certain areas of your body, you’ll need to lose weight overall. You can do this by following the right cardio and resistance workouts for your body type and applying a calorie deficit to your diet. :)

    1. Hi lovely! Everyone gets results at different rates. Some may see changes just after a few week while others may need more time or even months. It really depends on how your body reacts to workouts and the type of exercises and diet that you follow. :)

  2. thank you for this!!! i have been getting discouraged lately but also felt like I was going crazy…
    I am wearing a strapless dress for my wedding and did NOT like how my back looked when I tried it on this weekend. I have been doing more weight training but it seems to be having the opposite effect I wanted eventhough yes I have toned.
    I am going to give pilates a try again and see if that achieves the results im looking for!
    I literally hated the way I looked from the back (front I like) and was questioning my dress altogether all of a sudden :( the good news is I have almost 4 months so I can hopefully reduce some of the ‘bulk’ before then.
    Anything specific you would recommend for trying to target back and shoulder for a strapless dress?

    thanks again!!!

  3. Hi! According to Rachael’s test, I’m a cross between a mesomorph and an ectomorph, although I’m very short (5’3″ feet). My legs seem to tend more towards mesomorph, though, so I was wondering, how would martial arts affect my legs? My goal is to have slim legs. Hopefully this is enough information!

  4. Hi!! Thanks for such a great article. I noticed you said to avoid heavy lifting like deadlifting and squats. Would doing lower weight, higher rep deadlifts and squats still be a no no?

    1. Hi lovely! It really depends on your fitness goals. If your goal is to slim down your legs, I would avoid the squats and stick to bodyweight workouts. :)

  5. Hi!!! What are your thought on how much protein should be taken in order to be leaned and toned?
    How much do you recommend?

    1. Hi lovely! Your ideal macros ratio should be based on different factors like your fitness level, age, height and weight. If you want, you can calculate that through this link. :)

  6. Thank you for your article. I have been working out for over a year with a trainer and have started feeling bulky. He won’t listen to me when I tell him I’m concerned. Every week we go up in weights. I’m frustrated. How would you approach him if he was your trainer? What can I do?

  7. Does the Lean Legs Video Course have daily instructions? I wanted a day-by-day plan, and was just wondering if the Video Course has that, even if I’m only walking on some days. Thanks!

  8. I just stumbled upon this article and it is incredibly validating! I was a college athlete for four years and required to do HEAVY, Olympic style lifting. I was technically in good shape, but was never more unhappy with my body (there’s nothing wrong with building a lot of muscle, and for my sport it was beneficial, but it’s not the look that I personally wanted). All I kept seeing and hearing was that women physically couldn’t bulk up from lifting heavy, but that was not my experience at all. After college, I started doing more cardio-intensive and body weight workouts meant for toning, and I very quickly saw a difference. Not everyone will bulk by lifting heavy, but people seriously need to understand that there are different body types!

    1. Hi lovely! Glad to know that you were able to learn a lot from Rachael’s article! If you need any help or tips, feel free to reach out to us at info@rachaelattard.com. I wish you all the best on your fitness journey! :)

  9. I like to do stairs climbing at my apartment especially when it is raining. Is it alright to do stair climbing if I just walk (not run) up the stairs.

    1. Hi lovely! If your goal is to slim down your legs, it’s really the type of exercise that could help you achieve this. It would be best to replace it with more power walking. Try to invest in a treadmill or find another spacious area. Make sure that you always power walk on a flat surface. :) If you need more fitness tips, you may reach out to us at info@rachaelattard.com

  10. This article is so refreshing. Thank you for writing it. My worst nightmare just happened and my shoulders and chest look so manly! I finally got brave enough to go to the gym and signed up with the personal trainer and shared about what I desired and my fears around getting bulky. He said the same thing, women can’t get bulky without testosterone. It’s such a lie!! My body is not balanced and beautiful like I was going for. Can I make the bulk go away? Is it stuck like this forever? I just wanna be curvy and toned and beautiful in my feminine body. I don’t want to look like a man :(

    1. Hi lovely,

      Hi lovely,

      Thanks for reaching out! I completely understand how you feel and I’ll do my best to help! :)

      If your goal is to slim down your muscular upper body, I have a detailed blog post that’s going to help you. You’ll find out which exercises to avoid and which to focus on more! If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to us at info@rachaelattard.com

  11. Hi, I’ve got a question on the days that I do high impact cardio (running) are those steps included in my 10000 dialy steps or should I do more

    1. Hi lovely,

      It’s not counted. I recommend counting only the steps that you accumulate on your power walks. :)

  12. Hey rachel
    I started working out in March and i have been doing leg exercises(lunges,leg lifts,squats,inner thigh pulses etc)and some times some Hiit from chloe ting on youtube.I have lost about 20 kg from my total body but my legs still look so bulky.I want to keep working out but could you suggest me to do a workout(running,cycling etc or whatever) that will help me have slim legs and not bulky?
    Thank youuuu

    1. Hi lovely,

      If your legs get bulky easily and you want to avoid building more muscle, the best exercises to avoid are those where you can feel your quads burning. This includes squats, deadlifts, lunges, and overdoing it on the HIIT exercises including burpees, jump lunges, jump squats and box jumps.

      Also, you can check out our 3 Steps To Lean Legs Program and our new Glutes, Abs and Legs (GAL) Program which were designed to help you get slim and toned legs without causing any unwanted bulkiness. :)

      Love,
      Len

  13. My results when I take the Body Type Quiz are an endomorph, but I think I am actually a mesomorph. I am pretty balanced all over and when I gain weight I can hide it pretty easily as it is all over, not just in one or two places. I am 122 lbs. and 5’1. I may be an endo-mesomorph. I am just wondering if I should follow the Lean Legs video course for the endomorph or mesomorph. My fingers overlap when I do the wrist check with thumb and middle finger.

    1. Hi lovely,

      It would be best if you send us a photo of you in sports/fitness clothes (e.g. leggings, a top, etc) so I can see your waist, legs, figure, and help you determine your body type and which version of the program will give you the best and fastest results. You can email it to info@rachaelattard.com. Don’t worry because the photos won’t leave the thread. :)

      Love,
      Len

  14. Hi team!

    I’ve been working out everyday since February 2020, I’ve lost 11 kg and I’ve reached my ideal weight with a nutritionist. But for some reason I don’t look as skinny as I should for my weight. I do resistance training with a kinesiologist 3 times a week (no weight lifting, just bands and TRX and I avoid HIIT exercises) and I do yoga twice a week. I feel my shoulders and back are too bulky, I was thinking to reduce a day of resistance training and avoid yoga postures that bulk deltoids like downward facing dog. Could you please give me some advice? I’m desperate! I feel guilty to cut down a day of workout, because then I will train only 4 times a week (and that considering yoga as a workout) I work from home and I’m siting on my desk all day.

  15. Hey Rachael, thanks for the great article! Question – is there any way to reverse the damage if I already got too bulky due to the wrong type of exercise? I used to be big on kickboxing and boxing before, as a part of my training, I would do 200-300 push ups a day, plus weights. I am an endomorph, and so my shoulders and upper back got so wide! I no longer train the way I used to, but my back is still disproportionately wide – I am short, so it looks kind of funny. Is there anything I can do to undo this? I train very moderately these days (~3 times a week at a regular gym) and avoid pushups, but the wide back is still with me. If the damage is impossible to reverse, is there any way I can do exercises for shoulders and back definition without making them even bulkier? When I stop training the upper body, I lose all definition there. When I resume training, I bulk up even more. Thanks a lot in advance! Nat

    1. Hi lovely,

      If your legs get bulky easily and you want to avoid building more muscle, the best exercises to avoid are those where you can feel your quads burning. This includes squats, deadlifts, lunges, and overdoing it on the HIIT exercises including burpees, jump lunges, jump squats, and box jumps.

      If your goal is to slim down your muscular upper body, I have a blog post that’s going to help you. You’ll find out which exercises to avoid and which to focus on more!

      Lastly, feel free to check out our 3 Steps To Lean Legs Program. This plan was made to not only lose fat but also slim down bulky muscle and achieve more lean and toned look. :)

      I hope that helps. xx

      Love,
      Len

  16. Hi Rachael! Is there anything I can do to stop getting bulky legs from playing tennis? I’ve been playing around 3 times a week recently at quite an advanced level and have really noticed my thighs getting bigger (the same thing happened many years ago when I cycled to work for a few months so I think I am prone to bulking up even though I am a mesomorph). Please let me know if there are any exercises or stretches I can do or if I just have to accept that playing tennis will make my thighs big! Thanks!

    1. Hi lovely,

      If your legs get bulky easily and you want to avoid building more muscle, the best exercises to avoid are those where you can feel your quads burning. It would be best to stick to light resistance workouts. From Rachael’s experience, power walking is one of the best types of cardio that could help you slim down your legs so you should also incorporate that into your routine. Try to aim for at least 10,000 steps a day, 5-6x a week, and make sure that you do it on a flat surface. Aside from following the right type of workouts, adjusting your diet for weight loss could also help you lose the bulky muscle. I have a very detailed blog post that will help you learn how to slim down your legs so please go give it a read. :)

      Love,
      Len

  17. Hi, your tips are really useful, I have lost lots of weight and am a low bmi 17 but i still have fat around my waist and high body fat %. Can you suggest how youd change this program for a small toned waist??? Would be very good. Thank you

    1. Hi lovely,

      Getting rid of belly fat is almost 100% related to your diet. The only way to get rid of this fat is to lose overall body fat which is done through consuming less calories than your body uses (eating at a calorie deficit).

      As for the workouts, any type of resistance training helps, but generally HIIT gets the quickest results. High intensity cardio such as running also helps a lot.

      For more helpful tips please have a read of these blog posts:

      The truth about how to lose belly fat

      How to lose lower belly fat

      Favourite ab workout

      Best of luck! xx

      Love,
      Len

  18. Hi,do you have any insight on how jumping on a small trampoline would affect one’s body/legs? From what I’ve read it is a good full body exercise,and has a lot of benefits.I’m just curious how different body types would be affected. Also,would jogging slim down your legs,the same way as running? (I just find jogging makes me feel better mentally,and running makes me feel very agitated and anxious) I’m a mesomorph.

    1. Hi lovely,

      Rebounding/Trampoline is kind of like skipping – it’s a great cardio exercise but it won’t slim down your legs and the bouncing motion can actually make your calves and thighs bigger. Every once in a while is probably OK. But I don’t think it is the most effective exercise – power walking and running are more effective in terms of cardio :)

      Jogging is almost the same as running. It is great cardio that can burn a lot of calories, but it can also cause unwanted bulkiness to some women because it engages your quads a lot. That’s why Rachael recommends that you do it at a maximum of 20 mins 3x a week.

      I hope that helps. xx

      Love,
      Len

  19. Hi, I am doing EMI wing – 30 min Full Body Fat Burn HIIT (NO JUMPING) – Ab, Core, Arm, Back, Leg, Thigh & Cardio –
    Is this the type of exercise that make me bulky? I am sorry but I have little to no experience in the workout world and it always ends up confusing me more.
    Would appreciate your review as I don’t want to end up getting heavier 😔

    1. Hi lovely,

      If your legs get bulky easily and you want to avoid building more muscle, the best exercises to avoid are those where you can feel your quads burning. This includes squats, deadlifts, lunges, and overdoing it on the HIIT exercises including burpees, jump lunges, jump squats, and box jumps.

      Also, you can check out our 3 Steps To Lean Legs Program which is designed to help you get slim and toned legs without causing any unwanted bulkiness. :)

      If you have more questions, you can email us at info@rachaelattard.com

      Love,
      Len

  20. Hi Rachael,
    I’ve just signed up for the Lean Legs program and really excited to get started. Everything on your blog so far has rung true, my calf muscles are massive and I am an endomorph. All the training I have been getting and doing has just been bulking me up and making me look bigger when weight loss and toning has been the main goal.
    Quick question – would you still recommend the use of a cross trainer as a piece of equipment to use at the gym or avoid ?

    Thank you x

    1. Hi lovely,

      Thanks for reaching out! :)

      I don’t think this machine will really cause bulkiness, but it won’t slim down your legs like running and walking will. The pushing down motion means you engage your quads more so it will build more muscle here. But it’s not the style of workout that will necessarily cause bulkiness. If you can’t walk or run for some reason, the cross trainer is the next best thing. But I would encourage running and especially walking if you can!

      I hope that helps. xx

      Love,
      Len

  21. I have knee valgus (not severe though) and i’m currently doing exercises both to help with pain and also to help correct my condition. If i decide to go on your program, will there be knee friendly options and will i still be able to keep doing my exercises?

    1. Hi lovely,

      The workouts included in the program are low-impact so they should be safe but I would still recommend that you check with your doctor to be 100% safe. If you want to have an idea of what the workouts look like, you can try Rachael’s ‘Train Like A Model 5-Day Course’ for free. :) You can register an account in our Lean Legs Platform. It will only take 2 minutes and it’s completely free. You can do that through this link.

      You will find her free content and other workouts under the ‘INSPIRATION & FREEBIES’ tab. :)

      Love,
      Len

    1. Hi lovely,

      Thanks for reaching out! :)

      If your goal is to slim down your muscular upper body, I have a blog post that’s going to help you. You’ll find out which exercises to avoid and which to focus on more!

      Also, you can check out our 3 Steps to Lean Legs Program. This plan was made to not only lose fat but also slim down bulky muscle and achieve a more lean and toned look. the workouts are full-body so it will also help slim down your upper body and core. xx

      I hope that helps!

      Love,
      Len

  22. Hi Rachael, I’m currently in the process of refreshing my workout plan and I had a question regarding resistance training and the dreaded rep/weight balance:

    What do you classify as “high” vs “low” reps? You recommend high reps for leanness, but other sources advise to train for strength (1-5 reps with very heavy weights), with 6-12 reps for hypertrophy, and 15 or more for “endurance”. But then wrt weight loss, many sources seem to advise to “train for hypertrophy but eat in deficit” and to “increase the intensity of the workout”. Is this what you would class as high reps? I switched to 4 circuits using bodyweight and pretty light dumbbells (currently doing 8/10/10/12) and cut my calories but I seem to be getting bigger, not smaller (although 2 people have commented that I’ve lost weight, and the scales seem to have remained roughly the same). I can’t tell whether to do fewer reps or more!

    So how many reps is a good number? I’ve noticed a lot of your workouts go by time rather than reps, but I prefer being able to count out the reps to keep my energy going throughout the circuit rather than relying on a timer. I’m an endomorph body type, 170cm/70kg, pretty muscular but I seem to carry a lot of fat, particularly on my thighs (my lower body fat % is twice that of my upper body, according to Boditrax). I can’t tell if my feeling of “bulkyness” is as a result of muscle or fat (maybe both? I don’t mind having muscles but I wish I could SEE them. At the moment they just seem to be padding me out more and making my fat look fatter). I am hoping that if I slim down I might start to see some more definition. I’m working on my diet, which is the most challenging part for me, but it would be nice to feel like I’ve got the exercise part “right” to match my goals.

    I’d really appreciate your take on this nebulous “high”/”low” conundrum and the seemingly conflicting info out there!

  23. Hy Rachael. I’ve been doing exercises for almost a year now. I mostly used to do HIIT and cardio workouts. I’ve definitely seen positive results on my weight like my upper body is comparatively small but my legs! Ugh! (They are bulky) I don’t know why I am not seeing any better or visible results in my thighs (like thigh gap and stuff) even after cutting every extra food from my diet plan. I am thinking of doing cardio twice a week and do full body especially leg pilates on the rest days. Will that help me leaning my legs? Thank you.

    1. Hi lovely,

      If your goal is to slim down your legs there are 3 steps you should follow – do the right type of cardio, do bodyweight resistance training, and adjust your diet for weight loss.
      I have a very detailed blog post that will help you learn how to slim down your legs so please go give it a read

      It will definitely help! :)

      If you need more help or tips, you can email us at info@rachaelattard.com xx

  24. OMG – Finalllllly someone who understands my concern over bulking up!! So glad I found your blog! ♥️ Question: How do you feel about yoga as well? I have a history of neck and shoulder injuries but am almost back to feeling normal. I am really not 5 feet tall and I am an endomorph! (Bad combo).

    1. Hi lovely,

      Thanks for reaching out! <3

      If your goal is to slim down your legs there are 3 steps you should follow - do the right type of cardio, do bodyweight resistance training, and adjust your diet for weight loss.

      Feel free to check out our 3 Steps to Lean Legs Program. It was designed specifically for girls who are struggling to slim down their legs. :)

      If you have any other questions, feel free to email us at info@rachaelattard.com

  25. Hi Rachael, I’m currently doing 3 days of resistance training and 3 days of dance cardio. I’m thinking of incorporating yoga to complement my workout. Should I pair yoga with resistance training or cardio? I’m the Mesomorph body type.

    1. Hey lovely,

      Thanks for reaching out! :)

      It would be better to practice yoga on the days where you do cardio. :) xx

      Love,
      Ana

    1. Hi lovely,

      thanks for reaching out! <3

      Sounds great! If you have any questions, please feel free to write to us! xx

      Love,
      Sanja

  26. Hi. Im a mesomorph who is already kind of skinny and i dont have hips but i would love to have a tigth gap, and thats why i actually found you page, so i wanted to know if i could get a Tight gap. Thanks

    1. Hi lovely,

      Rachael doesn’t think that women should strive to have a thigh gap but rather feel comfortable and healthy in their bodies. We can certainly assist you with some exercise tips that can help you establish a healthy workout routine, so feel free to reach out to info@rachaelattard.com

      Lots of love,
      Sandra

  27. Hi team,

    Since August, I’ve been alternating between Chloe Ting, Lilly Sabri, Rachael’s workouts, other Fusion Pilates/Barre/Vinyasa 30/45 minute classes online, weekly runs & as best as I can 30mn lunchtime walks 5 times/week. Though I reckon my vegan/GF diet has kept me off from seeing results (I’m a snackaholic), I now better understand that Lilly’s HiiT’s are probably something I should do less of. In the meantime, what are your thoughts about Barre? Do the plies cause bulk like squats?
    Also, in a response below you mention it’s preferable to do both 20mn power-walks after each work out and, on top of that, 45 minute power-walks. Is that correct?
    Having seen so few results, I’m considering making the move to a full-on program with Rachael. Could you help me better understand the difference between the premium and the original package please? Ultimately, I’m a short mesomorph and have always struggled with muffin tops & thigh fat.

    Thank you so, so much for your help!

    1. Hi lovely,

      Thanks for reaching out! :)

      Barre classes can be great, but it depends on the teacher and the style of barre they do. Rachael has been to a barre class which did have some exercises standing at the bar, but also had lots and lots of squat jumps, squat holds, and burpees. This type of barre will make your legs bigger. But if your teacher sticks more to floor-based workouts and exercises at the bar, then I think that’s great. It could be worth trying a few different classes/teachers to find a style that you really like. As for your other question, yes I think plies will cause bulkiness since it engages your quads a lot hun. :)

      The 20 min run is also additional cardio on top of your daily power walks. :)

      Regarding the products, let me share more details with you so that you will know what’s best for you ;)

      Rachael actually has 3 Products: 3 Steps to Lean Legs Program, Lean Legs Video Course, and Premium Package (Program + Video Course). :)

      The 3 Steps to Lean Legs Program is an 8-week plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking. It consists of a cardio plan, body-weight resistance exercises in the form of short demonstration videos (that you can watch through the link provided in the ebook), full meal plans (regular and vegan), separate recipe eBooks.

      The Lean Legs Video Course consists of those same exercises from the Program but in the form of full-length follow-along videos, but there are no meal plans, cardio plan or recipe books.

      https://www.rachaelattard.com/lean-legs-video-course/?utm_source=direct&utm_medium=direct&utm_campaign=discountpromo_readershelp

      And the Premium Package is a bundle of both products that can be purchased at a discounted price. :)

      I hope this helps, let me know if you have other questions. xx

      Love,
      Len

  28. Hello, I’ve been doing 10 mins of walking every weekday, as well as alternating between HIIT and Rachael’s lean leg exercises. However, where I did cut down on snacking, I cannot choose my lunch/dinner (living with parents). Are there some exercises I can do to negate the calories? Thank you :)

  29. My legs are long and tone fairly fast. But I’m finding it hard to get a long lean upper body. I reduced weights to 5lbs because my shoulders seem to get broader. short waisted as well. Any tips on getting upper body to where I want. I have your programme and I love all the info you are providing.

    1. Hi lovely,

      Rachael wrote this blog post that will help you to lean down your upper body. Feel free to give it a read. You’ll find out which exercises to avoid and which to focus on more! <3

      I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any questions! xx

      Love,
      Len

  30. Hi Rachael, I’m a personal trainer & really interested in trying your program for myself. I came across your website recently as I was looking into how I personally could slim my legs down & not look so bulky. I’m one of those personal trainers that have always included squats, lunges, deadlifts into both mine & my clients workouts. I did your body test & think I’m somewhere in the middle of mesomorph and endomorph. Can you tell me which body type I should follow for your exercise program. Thanks

    1. Hey lovely <3

      If you are not sure about your body type, it would be best you send us pics of your body in sports clothes (e.g. leggings, a top…) to info@rachaelattard.com so we can help you determine your body type and find you a program which suits you best. And we can also answer any additional questions that you may have, it’s more practical via email :)

      Love,
      Sandra

  31. Hi Rachel

    Thank you for all the info… I feel heaviest i have ever been but also fittest i have ever been. I have gained alot of muscle and fat and the same time and this gives me body image issues esp when i cant fit clothes etc- esp during this lockdown. I want to lean down but without getting overly stressed and obsessed about the food and exercise.. Any thought

    1. Hi lovely,

      thanks for reaching out! <3

      Rachael's 3 Steps To Lean Legs Program would be great for you. It's designed based on body type and it's really more of a lifestyle. It contains resistance training, cardio and meal plans (regular and vegan) with recipe ebooks. Also, you don't have to follow Rachael's meal plan to get results :) You can just eat a healthy diet on a slight calorie deficit. You can read more about Rachael's Program here.

      I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any questions! xx

      Love,
      Sanja

  32. The endomorph section states that these body types should avoid HIIT and weights. I was doing much more cardio walking/light running (1hr) with less/lighter weights for about a month or two. I’m a former elite athlete (D1) for nine years and have a muscular build (endormorph type). I realized that more cellulite had appeared and I was slightly slimmer but not as strong as I was. I’m used to heavy lifting vs light weights. I’m contemplating on getting a gym membership to reduce the amount of cellulite or fat in my legs and body overall but don’t want to get bulky (as I know I have in the past). I will read your articles and track my progress. As you stated, patience is everything and adjusting workouts/eating/lifestyle is a process!

    1. Hi lovely,

      For endomorphs Rachael recommends the following:
      Resistance training 3 times per week.
      At least 20 minutes of power walking after every resistance training session (to burn more fat)
      2-3 days of high-intensity cardio only (preferably running)
      Power walking at least 5 days per week (for at least 45 minutes each)
      One rest (or active) recovery day

      Here is a guideline that Rachael wrote for endomorphs that I think you’ll find super helpful :)

      Also, Rachael has an awesome blog post for cellulate that I think you’ll find useful :) Give these blogs a read and please let us know if you have any questions <3

      Love,
      Sanja

  33. Thank you for acknowledging that women can in fact get bulky. When women bring up this concern we’re made fun of, dismissed and told it just can’t happen that easily. I remember once reading an article–it was from a man of course–condescending to women about this concern and the most ironic part about it is that the women he included in the article were really bulky. I started hiking two weeks ago and I already have calf muscles and it made me concerned about getting bulky because I want a lean ballerina body, not a muscly curvy fit chick body. I’m very thin but its mostly skinny fat and I want a toned look. Still making mistakes as I’m new to this but what do you suggest to engage my glutes and thighs when walking instead of my calves?

    1. Hey lovely <3

      I suggest that you walk on a flat surface so your calves don't get bulky. :)
      Here is Rachael’s blog post on this subject.

      Also, here is a blog post on some booty workouts! :)

      Hope I helped! xx

      Love,
      Ana

  34. Hello there,

    I’m also a mesomorph who tends to build a lot of muscle around the thighs and legs! I will be starting a new job as a spinning instructor where each class would be about 45 minutes long and will involve both high and moderate intensity spinning and some exercises on the bike (light weight lifting and crunches). Do you have any suggestions as to how to prevent my thigh muscles from getting even bigger? Thanks a lot in advance! :)

    1. Hi lovely <3

      Unfortunately, cycling is not something that Rachael would recommend: it does shed a lot of calories but since that activity activates the quads heavily and it may give you the bulked-up appearance. As a mesomorph, you would be probably able to get away with cycling/spinning to some extent but in general, it's not the best activity if you want a leaner look to be honest. Since this will be your new job, my recommendation is to monitor your legs for the signs of change and then take it from there :)

      I hope this helps a bit! And good luck with your new job! xx

      Love,
      Tina

  35. Hey,
    So I’m confused because I’m in the middle of mesomorph and endomorph. I have been doing 10 mins of running a day for like 2 weeks but can’t see a change. My legs are so bulky no matter what I do and I eat healthy I guess. What should I do.

    1. Hi lovely <3

      If you are shorter and if you lean a bit more on the endomorph side, it might be that the running can additionally bulk you up. I suggest you substitute the running with more power walking and in general, to walk as much as possible (at least 5 times a week!). Please give this article a read, you will find it informative.

      I hope this helps! xx

      Love,
      Tina

  36. I have been looking to slim down my thighs as well as tone my whole body overall.
    I am a mesomorph (I think) & my goal is to have that toned but slim supermodel body.
    Will the Lean Legs Program transform my whole body ?
    Or do I need to add other exercises to tone core and upper body ?
    I want my whole body to be toned & thin.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi lovely,
      Thank you for reaching out! :)
      Rachael’s program is actually a full-body program and will help you slim down your legs and upper body, lose belly fat and tone your whole body without adding any unwanted bulkiness.
      It lasts for 8 weeks and it includes:
      • Cardio plan
      • Resistance training with short demonstration videos
      • 2 meal plans with recipe ebooks (vegan and regular one).
      All the workouts can be done from home so you don’t need gym access :)
      With the program, you can use ankle weights and gliding discs. However, you can do the exercises without the ankle weights and you can use paper plates or towels instead of the gliding discs.
      If you need more info, you can also write to info@rachaelattard.com. xx
      Love,
      Tina

  37. I love this, thank you. I use to do weight lifting but heavy weights and fewer sets causing my neck to get muscles and my shoulders broad, arms and thighs bigger. I haven’t worked out in years and have looked into barre and pilates as a means to get toned and lean. I have flabby arms and hate the size of my legs, and want everything in general to be smaller and not muscular looking. You mentioned bicycling workouts are good, what about an elliptical? I wasn’t sure if it mimicked running and would be good for slimming down or if it mimicked squats and lunges more. So lighter weights, more reps. Thanks a million for sharing your advice, knowledge and tips.

    1. Hi lovely!
      Since you already have muscular legs (or they are prone to bulking up easily), I would avoid cycling, squats, and lunges and instead turn to power walking. I know that might be a huge change for someone who is used to lifting weights but the benefits of walking as low-intensity cardio are numerous. As for the elliptical, I don’t think this machine will cause bulkiness, but it won’t slim down your legs like running and walking will. The pushing down motion means you engage your quads more so it will build more muscle here which is what we want to avoid. Here’s another blog post that explains in detail how to slim down muscular thighs.
      If you have more questions, feel free to write to info@rachaelattard.com <3
      Love,
      Tina

  38. Hello! how can I do boxing for arm tone? I don’t have access to a boxing class/equipment – can I “air box”?

  39. Dear Rachael,

    You have several videos of Victoria Secret workouts. I am a Mesomorph who seem to build leg muscle pretty quick. I know that most of these models are naturally slim. Should I be doing these particular workouts or not. I’m asking about all of them (legs, abs, butt).

  40. This programme sounds like it’s just what i‘m looking for. I do a mixture of HIIT and pilates and whilst my legs are not flabby, they are getting bigger and i don’t want to waste all my energy to get bigger! Can you tell me how often are the workouts and for how long?

    1. Hi lovely,
      The Lean Legs Program has been designed to include the perfect type of resistance training and cardio to give you a lean and toned look, without making you bulky.

      It’s an 8 week workout and nutrition plan that will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body). The workouts are 5-6 days per week and take about 20-40 minutes, plus walking.

      The program also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe ebook and demonstration videos.

      If this is what you’re looking for, I would definitely recommend giving our program a go. :) You can find out more about it here:

      Lean Legs Program

      Love,
      Diana
      xx

  41. Hello! Would the Lean Legs Program be good for me? I am very thin but have no strength or muscle tone to my body (skinny fat lol…). I am interested in getting toned and stronger but I don’t want to bulk up, which has happened to me in the past! I also don’t necessarily want to loose weight or get smaller since I am already thin, I just want to look strong and healthy. Thank you!

    1. Hi lovely,
      The Lean Legs Program has been designed to include the perfect type of resistance training and cardio to give you a lean and toned look, without making you bulky.

      It’s an 8 week workout and nutrition plan that will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).
      It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe ebook and demonstration videos.

      If this is what you’re looking for, I would definitely recommend giving our program a go. :) You can find out more about it here:

      Lean Legs Program

      Our program is completely tailored to your body type, so it will be suitable for you even if you’re skinny fat.
      You will be able to maintain your weight if you eat as many calories as you burn (a bit more than what the meal plan in the program suggests).
      Another option would be to cut out the running and just do the walking and circuits. That way you won’t lose weight! xx

      Love,
      Diana

  42. Hello,
    Thank you so much for posting this! I too am tired of hearing that women “can’t get bulky” because well im a women and I was very bulky from CrossFit style workouts. So bulky in fact that I almost weighed more than my boyfriend…not cool! I’m definitely a mesomorph and I have a huge problem with my upper body…it bulks EXTREMELY quickly. I’ve recently gotten into surfing and while I love it, my upper body really doesn’t. Surfing is the only thing I do for my upper body at the moment and I recently got told that my arms are “big for a girl” and that “they’re almost as big as my boyfriend’s.” I’m not a particularly big girl so again this was mortifying for me. I’m wondering if you have any suggestions for how to keep the bulk down on my upper body without giving up surfing? Or just in general what to suggest for maintaining lean arms?

    Thanks again for sharing!

    1. Hi lovely,
      I know that reaching your fitness goals can be hard and that you probably have lots of questions on how to get that lean and toned body.
      We would love to help you as much as we can :) So that’s why we have created the Lean Legs Program!

      Our Lean Legs Program is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking.
      It will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).

      It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.

      You can find out more about the program here:

      Lean Legs Program

      For more helpful info on how to slim down your arms please have a read of these blog posts:

      https://www.rachaelattard.com/slim-muscular-upper-body/

      https://www.rachaelattard.com/217-lean-arms-workout/

      Love,
      Diana
      xx

  43. Reading this was so liberating. I’ve thought I was getting too bulky, and my trainers response has been less than helpful. She full-heartedly believes in lifting, and lifting heavy. I’ve been lifting for a year and a half now and just not getting the results I want. My legs keep growing, and I’ve outgrown all my clothes. It is so discouraging. It felt good to read this and feel validated that I am not alone in feeling this way.

    1. Hi lovely,
      I know that reaching your fitness goals can be hard. We would love to help you as much as we can :) So that’s why we have created the Lean Legs Program.

      Our Lean Legs Program has been designed to include the perfect type of resistance training and cardio to give you a lean and toned look, without making you bulky.

      It’s an 8 week workout and nutrition plan that will help you slim down your entire legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).
      It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe ebook and demonstration videos.

      If this is what you’re looking for I would definitely recommend giving our program a go. :) You can find out more about it here:

      Lean Legs Program

      Hopefully you’ll be able to achieve your goals in no time. All the best! :) xx

      Love,
      Diana

  44. Hi!

    I love working out and can’t seem to stop (I am a mesomorph, by the way). My upper body looks great, but, as a result of all the training, my legs have become very bulky. Over the past few months, I have completely stopped doing leg workouts, but my legs are still bulky so I have come to the conclusion that it must be all the HIIT I’m doing (and the fact that I need to lower my body fat percentage a bit). I love HIIT as it burns fat extremely fast, so I don’t want to stop, but I really need to slim down my legs. Can you help me as to what step to take towards slimming down my legs?

    BTW I love all you’re doing! This website has helped me so much (I got taken in with all the junk that to get lean legs do loads of squats):)

    1. Hi lovely,
      We would love to help you as much as we can :) So that’s why we have created the Lean Legs Program!

      The program has been designed to include the perfect type of resistance training and cardio to give you a lean and toned look, without making you bulky.
      It’s an 8 week workout and nutrition plan that will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).

      It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe ebook and demonstration videos.

      If this is what you’re looking for I would definitely recommend giving our program a go. :) You can find out more about it here:

      Lean Legs Program

      Here’s an example of a great HIIT workout that won’t make you bulky! xx

      Love,
      Diana

  45. Hi Rachael, when I was younger I was always very athletic, and my main sport was soccer. I stopped playing soccer many years ago, but continued to exercise, mostly running. My legs are still bulkier than my liking from soccer, and I can’t seem to slim them down. Any tips?? Thank you!

    1. Hi lovely,
      I know that reaching your fitness goals can be hard, and that you probably have lots of questions about how to adjust your fitness routine to get that lean and toned body.

      We would love to help you as much as we can :) So that’s why we have created the Lean Legs Program!

      The Lean Legs Program is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking.
      It will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).

      It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.

      You can find out more about the program here:

      Lean Legs Program

      Love,
      Diana
      xx

  46. Hi!
    I just started getting back to the gym and I have been doing spin, anywhere from 20-45 minute classes. I don’t want to get bulky – will riding the bike, whether it be a Soul Cycle Class or a Peloton make me bulky? Also, I don’t want my body to get used to spinning and it no longer become a good workout – is this a possibility?

    1. Hi lovely,
      If you are an endomorph, then yes cycling will most likely make your legs bigger so I would avoid it completely.

      If you are a mesomorph, you may or may not be able to get away with cycling. Some mesomorphs are OK with it, while others aren’t. Either way, I would still only do it 1-2 times per week maximum because overdoing it with cycling will most likely make your legs bigger.

      If you don’t know your body type, please take our free body type quiz to find out! :) xx

      Love,
      Diana

  47. Hi Rachel,
    What’s your thoughts on using the Elliptical trainer? I want to keep my thighs as slim as possible (thigh gap and all). I have it on low resistance but my legs get exhausted very quickly and my muscles burn. Would it be a bad choice for maintaining slim legs?

    1. Hi lovely,
      I don’t think using this machine will cause bulkiness, but it won’t slim down your legs like running and walking will.
      The pushing down motion means you engage your quads more so it will build more muscle here, but it’s not the style of workout that will necessarily cause bulkiness. If you can’t walk or run for some reason, the elliptical trainer is the next best thing! xx

      Love,
      Diana

  48. Hey Rachael,
    Its been my 6 weeks in gym. And my trainer says girls can not be bulky.
    My body type is straight i.e 35 27.5 35. But he ask me to do shoulder shrugs, leg press, leg extension, squats; all with weights. And i m sick of saying i do not want to gain my thigh muscles.
    But i have seen so many fitness models out there who lift quite heavy weights but are not bulky or muscline looking.
    What should i do? I am confused on this now.
    Thanks

    1. Hi lovely,
      The majority of fitness models are either ectomorph body type or between ectomorph and mesomorph. They are naturally thin and find it hard to gain muscle, therefore they can do more HIIT and weightlifting without getting bulky.
      Unlike them, mesomorph, endomorph and women who are between these two types can gain weight easily and develop a lot of muscle on the same workout routine.

      We would love to help you as much as we can :) So that’s why we have created the Lean Legs Program!
      The program has been designed to include the perfect type of resistance training and cardio to give you a lean and toned look, without making you bulky.

      It’s an 8 week workout and nutrition plan that will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).

      It’s completely tailored to your body type and it also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe ebook and demonstration videos.

      If this is what you’re looking for I would definitely recommend giving our program a go. :) You can find out more about it here:

      Lean Legs Program

      Love,
      Diana
      xx

  49. Thank you very much for this article.
    I started cross fit 2 months ago. I lost 14 pounds so far and look a little more toned and lean. My husband went yesterday to my gym and saw lots of women there with bulky look and told me to get out of there because that’s how I’m going to lose if I stay there. Now, I am not a very gym incline person. Cross fit gives me motivation, it’s fun. I can’t work out on my own, it gets boring and I quit. I have naturally thin thighs and arms. My area problem is my abdomen. How can I avoid getting bulky doing cross fit or is defenitely a NO NO?

    1. You’re very welcome lovely!
      Perhaps you could workout with your husband or find a workout buddy? I recommend avoiding cross fit and heavy weight lifting. You could do some HIIT and lightweight resistance training with higher reps.

      We have designed the Lean Legs Program to include the perfect type of resistance training and cardio to give you a lean and toned look, without making you bulky.
      It will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).
      If this is something you’re looking for, then I would definitely recommend giving our program a go :)

      You can find out more about the program here:

      Lean Legs Program

      Love,
      Diana
      xx

    2. Hi! So my legs get muscular very easily and they are big. The exercises I love to do are actually all the ones you mentioned has being prone to increasing size. So that said, is there a way to decrease muscle size in my legs without losing fat? I have struggled with hormone issues from being too lean and losing weight all over is not an option. I took your body type quiz and it said mesomorph. I resignated with the description except for one thing because for me, gaining weight is really hard. Losing weight is easy. Gaining is hard.

      1. Hi lovely,
        Once you start working out, it’s impossible to spot reduce. If you start getting leaner, you would probably lose fat all over, not only from your legs. You can make your legs leaner and more toned by doing light cardio and resistance workouts. If you’d like to maintain your weight, you should eat about as many calories as you burn. xx

        Love,
        Diana

  50. THANKYOU!!! I’m personally so tired of reading/hearing that ‘women can’t get bulky’. I spent a year working really hard at weight and HIIT classes only to end up with a body I was very unhappy with it. Some of my jeans wouldn’t go over my thighs and tops didn’t fit over my upper arms. In my opinion I looked chubby and bulky and in no way toned. Thanks so much for the great advice here!

    1. I get tire of hearing women can’t bulk up either. I have had the same issues, I have been exercising and all the sudden my clothes are too tight and my weight is the highest it’s ever been. I was only exercising a few times a week and using weights just on my arms. I was mostly doing aerobics and dance cardio but I think the squats made my legs bigger. I love exercising but feel I need to stop until the muscle goes down. Can I just walk and still lose the muscle in my legs?

      1. Hi lovely,
        I would definitely stop doing the squats and lunges if you’re unhappy with your legs getting bigger. Instead you could continue power walking and running to slim down.
        We would love to help you as much as we can :) So that’s why we have created the Lean Legs Program.

        The program has been designed to include the perfect type of resistance training and cardio to give you a lean and toned look, without making you bulky.
        It’s an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).
        It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.

        You can find out more about the Lean Legs Program here:

        Lean Legs Program

        For more helpful info please have a read of this blog post:

        https://www.rachaelattard.com/slim-muscular-thighs-skinny-legs/

        Love,
        Diana
        xx

    2. Thank god someone gets it!! I too am so tired of hearing women don’t bulk .. ridiculous .. we can and I did .. my legs in back are bulging it is gross !! I love working out however I did time it down .. how dare people keep saying women don’t bulk !!!

  51. Hi. Thank you for the article. I have been working out consistently for more than a year now. I used to be very thin and as a dancer my coaches reccomended I build some muscle. This was years ago-Now I have become bulky & muscular, but im not happy with how I look. ( my arms, legs & chest seem much too large to what I would prefer) Id rather look lean with some muscle ( arms & abs) Like the other ballerinas in my dance school. I dont use heavy weights only light ones and resistance bands. I excersise daily with running, tennis and mostly ballet and contemporary dance.
    Do you have any tips as to how I can work the muscle down? And How long will it take?
    Thanks again.

    1. Hi lovely,
      You’re doing a great job using light weights and resistance bands! It may take around 6 months to slim down the muscle you’ve gained.
      We would love to help you as much as we can :) So that’s why we have created the Lean Legs Program!

      The Program is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking.
      It will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).

      It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.
      You can find out more about the Lean Legs Program here:

      Lean Legs Program

      For more helpful info please have a read of these blog posts:

      https://www.rachaelattard.com/slim-muscular-thighs-skinny-legs/

      https://www.rachaelattard.com/slim-muscular-upper-body/

      Love,
      Diana
      xx

  52. Hi,

    Thanks for the post. What/ how would you suggest eating while trying to get more slim/toned? I’m having a hard time figuring it out because you would think you want a calorie defficit when trying to get slimmer but you need extra calories to build muscle? Thanks!!

    1. Hi lovely,
      If you wish to get slimmer and more toned you can be in a caloric deficit. You only need to be in a caloric surplus if you want to build muscle.

      We would love to help you as much as we can :) So that’s why we have created the Lean Legs Program!
      The Program is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking.
      It will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).
      It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.
      You can find out more about the Lean Legs Program here:
      Lean Legs Program

      Love,
      Diana
      xx

  53. I’m following your Slim Legs E-Book and have a plan to go boxing with a friend this week. Would you say boxing in the evening is a good substitute for the days you have scheduled to run in the afternoon or do HIIT?

  54. Hi Rachael, I recently got into heavy weights lifting. I’ve only been doing this for a week but I know from experience that nothing that I’ve tried has made my thighs thinner. I am trying to lean out my thighs (which are both fatty/muscular.) I was wondering, I’m a mesomorph; do i have to eat a low carb diet to lean out my legs and prevent them from getting bulky again? One more thing, I have heard many of my friends who lift and some experts say that weight lifting is the perfect solution because although you get even bulkier at first, you eventually lean out and lose the fat and lean muscle takes its place . This is one of the things that drew me to weight lifting. But then I found your blog and I am starring to rethink weight lifting as part of my weekly workouts. Can you please tell me if this is a myth or true. Thank you so much!!

    1. Hi lovely,
      It’s a myth – you don’t need any weights in order to slim down your legs :)

      We’d love to help as much as we can :) that’s why we have created our Lean Legs Program and the Lean Legs Training Club.

      The program in the eBook is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking. It will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body). It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.

      You can find out more about the Lean Legs program here:

      https://www.rachaelattard.com/lean-legs-program/

      For more helpful info please have a read of this blog post, it may answer your question in greater detail.

      Love, Lean Legs Club support xx

  55. Hi Rachel, I recently came across your website. Great info! I have tried many different workouts over the years and just as of last week started doing the megaformer. I have a mesomorph type body and do put on muscle (especially my legs) easily. In the past I was lifting heavy weights for my arms but realize that this may not be the best option for me due to risk of bulking up. Now I am re-organizing my workout routine. I actually find that running on the treatmill (even flat) works my legs pretty hard, which is frustrating because it is an easy cardio to do. What I was wondering is since starting the megaformer, how many times a week do you recommend doing the megaformer? Also what should I do on the other days? How many rest days should I have per week?
    Thank you so much for your help!

    1. Hi lovely,

      We know that reaching your fitness goals can be hard and that you probably have a lot of questions about how to get that lean and toned body.
      We’d love to help as much as we can :) that’s why we have created our Lean Legs Program and the Lean Legs Training Club.

      The program in the eBook is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking. It will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body). It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.

      You can find out more about the Lean Legs program here:

      https://www.rachaelattard.com/lean-legs-program/

      If you need any extra support, please join our Lean Legs Training Club where you can ask Rachael any questions you want and how to modify the program to suit your needs. Being a member of the Club while doing the Lean Legs program will ensure that you get the best possible results as you get a more personalized fitness and nutrition advice.
      And you also have access to a community of like-minded and supportive women to help you too!
      Here’s the link to the Club:

      https://www.rachaelattard.com/lean-legs-training-club-up/

      For more helpful tips please have a read of these blog posts:

      https://www.rachaelattard.com/how-to-get-skinny-legs-cardio-for-lean-legs/

      https://www.rachaelattard.com/cardio-qa/

      Love, Lean Legs Club support xx

  56. Hi Rachael,

    Thank you so much for your blog! You mentioned a few times that walking can help slim down bulky legs that tend to accumulate muscle. I was wondering if leisurely walking also counts or you mean only speed walking? Thank you!!

  57. Hi, I recently started working out and by working out I mean just jogging on a treadmill and then getting on an elliptical. I’ve been wanting to do more weight training, but I’m worried that my thighs and butt will get bigger. They’re both already big but its mostly fat, I just want them to be more toned without adding a lot of muscle resulting them to be or seem bigger, any advice?

    1. Hi lovely,
      I know that reaching your fitness goals can be hard and that you probably have lots of questions about how to get that lean and toned body.
      Rachael would love to help you as much as she can :) that’s why she has created her Lean Legs program and Lean Legs Training Club.
      The program in the eBook is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking. It will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body). It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.

      You can find out more about the Lean Legs program here:
      https://www.rachaelattard.com/lean-legs-program/

      Love, Lean Legs Club support
      xx

  58. Hi, I recently started doing Crossfit and I did notice that mostly everybody there was bulky and I certainly don’t want to get to that point but I was wondering if I could do it until I burned most of my fat, I weigh 215 right now and my goal weight according to my doctor is 130-135. Would I lose weight and end up looking bulky at the same time?

    Thank you :)

    1. Hi lovely,
      Yes, it’s possible to have an optimal weight and be bulky at the same time.
      Rachael would love to help you as much as she can :) that’s why she has created her Lean Legs program and Lean Legs Training Club.
      The program in the eBook is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking. It will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body). It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.

      You can check out the Lean Legs program here

      Love, Lean Legs Club support
      xx

  59. I wanna be a wrester, which includes having enough muscle but I don’t want to be bulky… I have a curvy body shape so what do I do?

    1. Hi lovely,

      Rachael would love to help you further along your journey :) that’s why she has created the Lean Legs program and Lean Legs Training Club.
      The program she created in the eBook is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking.
      It will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).
      It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.

      You can check out the Lean Legs program here

      You’ll be able to reach your fitness goals and you’ll get to choose the program according to your body type :)

      Love, Lean Legs Club support
      xx

  60. Hi, I recently purchased The 3 Steps Lean Leg Programme. I am mesomorph body type.

    1. I am wondering whether can I add on/repeat more lean legs or booty circuits into the current schedule?

    2. Would the additional resistance training cause my legs to be bulky? Is there a limit to frequency or duration of resistance training?

    3. If I have any more questions regarding the programme, where can I direct my questions?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi lovely,

      Rachael’s program is a full workout plan so you don’t need to add any extra workouts. You’re more than welcome to modify it, but you’ll get best results if you follow as is. If you need any extra support, please join our Lean Legs Training Club where you can ask Rachael any questions you want (and about how to modify the plan).
      The Lean Legs Training Club is a support group for women doing the Lean Legs Program. Girls in the group get unlimited access to Rachael to ask as many questions as they want – this helps them get the best possible results.
      And they also have access to a community of like-minded and supportive women to help them too! There are also full-length videos while the book has only demonstration videos.

      Excessive resistance training can cause bulkiness, that’s why I advise you to stick to the program as much as you can. Check out the Club here :)

      Love, Lean Legs Club support
      xx

  61. I recently started walk/ run intervals 3 miles a day with a 12lb vest. I also do about 3 days of Hiit with weights and cardio. Im pretty bulky in my glutes and legs. Should i stop running with a weighted vest to slim down?

    1. Hi lovely,

      You don’t need any weights while running, but HIIT with heavy weights can make your legs bulky. Rachael would love to help you reach your fitness goals, that’s why she created her eBook for girls who want to slim down their muscles or lose fat and look more feminine. Check it out here!

      For more useful info on workouts for slimming down your legs check out this blog post :)

      Love, Lean Legs Club support
      xx

  62. Cause I keep hearing that doing things that build muscle will burn fat (im trying to get skinnier legs) like spinning and doing weights

    1. Hi lovely,
      Yes, building muscle does burn fat, but in the long run it can make your legs look bulky and masculine .
      I know that reaching your fitness goals is hard! And that you probably have lots of questions about how to get that lean and toned body (especially legs :) )
      Rachael would love to help you :) So that’s why she has created her eBook and the Lean Legs Club, where she’s available to answer ALL of your questions.

      If you’re interested in joining, she will be happy to answer all your questions and give a personalized advice regarding your nutrition.

      Here is the link!

      To join the Lean Legs Club click here

      Love,
      Lean Legs Club support
      xx

      PS. Please have a read of this blog post for more tips on thigh workouts!

  63. Hi Rachael :)

    First off thank you so much for all the detailed info! :)

    I just had a couple of questions. I am an endomorph body type and after going through a particularly hard time in my life I’ve slowly gained quite a lot of weight. I easily gain muscle on my legs, but I want an intense system that will help me lose weight/fat fast (but healthily) without getting bulky! I plan to incorporate your circuits with lots of walking but I’m just concerned what I can do in the long run, I’ve heard that if you follow the same workouts for a long period your body can get used to it and you need to change it up, what is the best way to do this with your workouts? :) I have quite a bit to lose and I’m worried that once I’ve lost enough to maybe start looking toned my body will be used to it!

    I purchased PIIT28 a while back from Cassey (a mix of pilates and HIIT) and just wondered if this would contribute to bulking? :( It is quite intensive at 5-6 times a week, and I noticed the plan has quite a lot of leg workouts you mentioned to avoid! Although it says its for building lean muscle and toning :) Maybe after a while I could incorporate 1 or 2 of the days of this(maybe not the leg days!) along with your non bulking workouts? :) Or, at this stage in the beginning does it really matter what I use for fat loss? as I have a lot of weight to loss first!

    I have also been trying to follow my macronutrient guide, but the protein in grams I find is really hard fo r me to fit in! (Im quite picky with food, I always choose healthy but I cant incorporate foods I don’t like or i set myself up to fail :( ) So I was wondering If I could substitute it with a lean low calorie whey powder? maybe just having one shake a day. Again, I don’t know if this contributes to unwanted muscle gain in the long run!

    Sorry it’s so long(and I sound a bit nooby!) Thank you so much again!

    1. Hi lovely,
      If you need more tips on your workout routine, check out some other useful blog posts here.
      Depending on your goal – lean legs :) you can try out the 3 Steps To Lean Legs program to lose excess fat and sculpt your legs without getting bulky even if you workout 7 days a week. There is also a detailed healthy meal plan with recipes so check it out and let us know of your progress!
      Xx

  64. Hi Rachael! Thank you so much for all the detailed information. Just wanted to stop by and say I appreciate all the effort and time you have put into this and helping others. I have always had an issue with my thighs so I will definitely try out your advice.

  65. Hi Rachel
    Love the blog. Fab info! Just what I’ve been searching for : )
    I’ve tried to take the body type quiz but won’t let me click for some reason?!
    I’m 37 with 2 young kids, am very petite at 5ft 3 and weight 108lb. I babe no body tone though whatsoever, particularly bum, legs and arms, and have avoided exercise as I have a 2 finger diastasis recti. Can you advise if your programs are suitable or how could be altered to suit my condition as I’m so keen to get in shape again now!
    Many thanks

    1. Hi lovely, oh you are right! The body type quiz link wasn’t working – thanks for letting me know. I have fixed it now :) I would probably say you are the mesomorph body type (but this is just an educated guess). I haven’t designed the workout program to suit injuries sorry :( So I’m sure there would be exercises you could do and exercises you couldn’t. You could definitely modify it but it would probably be best to get some one on one guidance to help you with the diastasis recti. Wishing you all the best hun! xx

  66. I have a question, Im back at the gym after 5 months and I want to bulk and grow a booty as I used to have BUT I dont want to bulk my arms. Right now Im doing a high protein diet and weighlifting with glute isolation exercises but I dont know what to do to tone my arms without buling them. Can you help me?

    1. Hi lovely, the best thing for toning your arms without bulking is boxing (my fav!!!) and lighter weights, higher rep. You can do traditional weight lifting, but I would avoid the overhead pushing and pulling exercises (such as pull ups, lat pull downs, shoulder press) as these are the ones that typically cause bulk xx

  67. Hi , I just read your blog today and I am very concern about how do I look I am 20yrs old and I am a active person to. I am bulkier from my thies and from 15Jan I started working out my thies are coming in shape and getting tighter but they are becoming muscular so what should I do to make them look slimmer and longer because I am sick of.my thies as they rub against each other and I always fear not to wear jeans or shots as it is my dream and people bully me that uh have large thies and butts so can’t wear them. So I want to prove them 15th april is may birthday and I want to look slimmer then before my stomach is flat only my thies n butts are heavier plz help me!! What type of exercise I should do and avoid eating. On my birthday I want to see a new me.

    1. Hi lovely, I would add in more cardio so slim down your thighs and try some of the free workouts I post on my blog as this will help you tone up and lose weight without being too muscular. Also don’t forget that diet is super important when trying to lose weight so eat healthy and watch your portion sizes. You can do it babe! xx

  68. What are your thoughts on the elliptical for slimming down? I want to avoid getting bulky and find that I gain muscle in my thighs very quickly- and in pants you can’t tell if the size of my thighs are muscle or fat!

  69. hey, so I just read your blog post and I have questions about my current workout habits. I just started college, and I just also recently (within the past 6 months) started regularly working out. In the past, I had been on track and swim teams throughout the year but I was never that intense about them. I was also very lenient when it came to my eating habits. I ate a lot and I ate pretty unhealthy. However, I was very skinny with a pretty decent amount of muscle. Now that I’m on my own, I’ve started eating significantly better and less as well as exercise. I typically work out in the morning with 20 min of running, 20 min of light strength training or just 30 min of power yoga and another 20 min run in the evenings. I work out 5 days out of the week. I find myself getting bulkier but also just bigger in general. How do I go back to the skinny & slim muscle that I had before?

    1. Hi lovely! Well it sounds like maybe the more intense workouts such as swimming and track suited your body better. So I would perhaps try to add some swimming, and do more intense style of running like you were before :) I would also keep up with some of the light resistance training and/or yoga. Just make sure the resistance training is not the thing making you bulkier (i.e. avoid some of the exercises that can bulk you up such as squats, lunges, etc). Good luck! xx

  70. Hi Rachael, I’m quite confused about what you have said on your blog in terms of muscle and fat.
    You say doing more cardio burns the fat but it also burns a lot of muscle as well. I’ve mostly focused on building muscle than losing fat as muscle burns fat plus I have been carb cycling for my diet with 5-6 meals a day. I’m not worried about my diet because I love eating healthy and hate having bad foods and don’t crave for them.
    I have a skinny and muscular upper body unfortunately I have a major problem with storing fat in the lower body (lower abdomen, thighs, calves) however I also store quite an amount muscle as well.
    I’m always worried about how big my legs look in comparison to my upper body, espicially my calves.
    My calves make my legs look fatter as they have a mix of muscle and fat and I want my lower legs to have defined muscle and lower fat. The calves are my number one priority at the moment until it is solved. In addition I try to avoid too Much cardio because if I do too much I will lose more fat and my upper body will look super skinny which I have regretfully experienced late last year. My height is 156cm and weight is 47kg.
    Personally I do cardio twice a week and Pilates 4 times a week.
    I hope you will help me with some advice as I have been fighting this problem for years and I want to put all my effort into solving it. Thank you for making the time to read it if you did. Xx.
    Kat

    1. Hi lovely, walking mostly gets rid of fat on your lower body, not necessarily muscle, unless you do LOTS AND eat low calorie/low carb. Long distance high intensity cardio can get rid of the muscle. I think for your calves, if you just up the walking, you will reduce the fat and your calves will look slimmer and toned which is what you are after :) The walking will help you slim down your thighs too. I would suggest continuing with a heavier lifting style for your upper body to keep it in proportion. Good luck! xx

  71. I haven’t been able to workout due to medical issues the past 2 years, but just restarted with Barre classes and 6 weeks in my clothes don’t fit. My butt looks great but otherwise I’m miserable – my thighs are enormous and my chest/back grew too (and I’m big busted so adding muscle here is terrible)… I see your info on how to deal with the thighs, but what can I do about bulk in the chest /shoulders ? I really prefer yoga / dance based workouts so I’m looking for something in this genre to switch to. Any advice is appreciated!

    1. Hi lovely, I’m so sorry to hear that :( I have written a blog post on how to slim down a muscular upper body, so have a read of that one :) But the best thing to do would be to stop Barre class and give your muscles a chance to reduce in size. Doing yoga and dance would be totally fine too! Your muscles will reduce, you just need to give it time, and stop working them with Barre class :) xx

  72. I just started doing “boot camp” HITT program 3 days week in addition my dreading practice of yoga about 4-5 days week (slower classes where you hold poses and some vinyasa or ashtanga). I have noticed that I do tend to bulk up in doing circuit programs, where I am more lean when doing only yoga. I am about 50 lbs overweight and I really struggle at losing since I am now 42.
    I am hoping that the combination of HITT and yoga will even out my bulking problem. What are your thoughts on that? Should I add in regular cardio to assist with losing weight?

    1. Hi lovely, wouldn’t boot camp HIIT be a circuit style program? I would definitely give it a go but just take notice of how it affects your body, and if you bulk up or get results that you don’t like, I would stop. Also, yoga is great, but only if you enjoy it :) If you don’t like it, perhaps you could try some different style of classes instead? Just a thought! I would definitely add in some regular cardio. All the best! xx

  73. Hey I just read in one of your blogs that said walking is the BEST way to loose inner thigh fat…..but unfortunately i don’t have the space to walk long distance as I do all my workouts at home….so could you suggest what else I can do to reduce this inner thigh fat (I do cardio thrice a week; jump rope, butt kicks, running on da spot, mountain climbers,knee to elbow. I do three sets of these)……

  74. Hey Rachael!

    Will spinning at very low resistance but for prolonged periods of time and at a fast pace help slim down muscular calves and banish cellulite? I absolutely hate bulky legs too and I walk long distances every day in an effort to slim down.

    Love your blog btw! I appreciate how understanding you are of the subjective way women feel about their bodies, really shows in your posts!

    Emily xx

    1. Hi Emily, thanks so much! I probably still wouldn’t spin at a low resistance – you won’t get the full benefit of spinning if you’re not adding resistance. It would be better to try a different high intensity cardio such as running or swimming :) xx

  75. Hey Rachael!
    I’m 15 years old and I’ve very recently started exercising, mainly coz I wanna reduce my thigh fat and hips. And i DONT want a bulky body. I had a proper workout plan which included 3 days cardio, 2 days core, then upper and lower workout one day each. I was happy until I read some articles that proved my workout plan as one for muscle building than fat loss. What do you say? I don use any weights. My Cardio includes jumping jack, mountain climbers, running on the spot, high knees and repeating that circuit for half an hour with breaks in between. Lower body includes a variety of hamstring,quads,glute muscle exercises, (for 30 min) I included to slim down my legs….so am I slimming it down or making it even bigger? (I think I have more fat in my thighs than muscles)……should I first focus on my cardio exercises, completely avoiding the rest of my workouts until I loose some fat? Or can I continue with the current plan of mine? See I don wanna a big body, just a strong, slim and tone one. And one more thing, I read somewhere that even some cardio exercises makes ur muscles bigger and preventing a lean look. Am I doing one of that or something? Since I’m very new to these stuff, I haven’t seen any changes in my body.Its just a week since i started.I want to make sure I’m doing the right thing in the right way…….(not making any muscle big, especially the legs) pls clear all my doubts and questions….

    1. Hi lovely, I would add in some running and walking so you’re doing some steady state cardio. The other cardio you’re doing is more like HIIT workouts and these are great! I’m not too sure what workouts you are doing for your lower body, but perhaps try the free ones I post on my blog. Also, it will take a few weeks before you see results so keep on doing what you’re doing! :) Good luck xx

      1. My lower body exercises includes: planks, mountain climbers, standing dead lifts, jumping jacks, side to side lunges and repeat this for 30 mins. Would these make my legs look bigger by building muscles? If so could u tell me som other lower body workouts that’ll not build much muscle but reduce fat?
        (I do HIIT cardio and I don use any weights)

  76. Hi Rachel! Love your blog!
    Quick Question,
    With weight lifting, how many reps do you recommend and with how much weight?? THANK YOU!

    1. Hi lovely, that’s almost impossible to answer because it depends on the exercise… I would try to do body weight only and anywhere from 12-20 reps if you’re wanting a leaner look xx

    1. Hi lovely, I’m sorry to hear that! I assume your body gains muscle really quickly (everyone is different). With pilates, you will build some muscle but it’s not usually the bulky kind. Anyway if you have built muscle but haven’t reduced any fat, your legs will appear bigger. I would add in cardio to slim down the fat and hopefully it will make them look nice and toned rather than bigger! xx

  77. hi
    I’m trying to get a longer/leaner look, i see my shoulders are very rounded and I almost have a square look overall! I was lifting weights at home but recently I have returned more often to a kickboxing class which i love, I’m going to add a barre class, what do you think? do you have any other recommendations?

  78. Hi, I have done very strenuous strength training for a couple of years and while at first it was making me lose weight and look better all of the sudden I became super bulky. I have now switched to a more cardio based workout with body weight strength training and some yoga but I’m wondering how long it will take to slim back down and get rid of some of the bulkiness?

  79. Iv been on a low carb diet for about 8 months now and this have really helped me lose weight and tone up however I’m currently 9 stone 1 and I’m 5’7″ but but I feel my legs are more muscular and I want them more leaner and slim I jog nearly every day and after wards do some other leg exercises however I feel this isn’t helping I can’t muscle really quickly and can tone really quick but i would like to lose more weight on my legs but I’m not sure how to get this any other way I did think of power walking instead of jogging?? I would just love if my legs were more leaner and slim then average and more on the toned muscular side.

    I hope you can help.
    Kind Regards

    1. Hi Summer, yes I would definitely walk instead of jog, especially if you haven’t been getting the results you want with jogging. Also, working your legs every day might also be preventing them from slimming down. I would do full body workouts (instead of just legs). Good luck! xx

  80. Hi – great site! Ive recently started F45 and in that time have gain 2.5kgs- 2.1 k is lean muscle mass and 400g was fat – this was in 4 weeks. Admittedly my diet was a bit all over the show and not as healthy as I would have liked. I scared I’m going to bulk – I already think my thighs look bigger. What are your thoughts on F45? I’m doing it 5-6 times a week, plus a yoga session, 1 swim and 2 power walks. Any ideas on what I can change in the mix to get a leaner look? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Alice, F45 classes are all very high intensity so they definitely have the possibility to bulk you up. If you have already noticed your thighs are getting bigger, then I think you need to modify your workout routine. I would try do to F45 classes that are more based on cardio and perhaps drop it to 3-4 classes per week instead of 5-6. Good luck! xx

  81. Hello! I happened to run across your blog and I am so glad I did! I really enjoyed reading it but I had a few [personal] questions. My top half of my body is so long and then my legs are so short ;-; so sad
    1. I’m 5″2 and 110 lbs, is that pretty normal? Or like what. But I have a lot of fat..I’m not like fat but not toned or skinny :/
    2. Like I said, I’m not fat nor skinny, but I want to go onto the skinny side. What’s the fastest way to do it? How do a lot of people have like stick skinny legs? Do most of them get calf/thigh reduction surger or are there exercises that can acheive those kinds of legs
    (like ulzzang legs?)Or do you just have to be born with them…
    3. Will doing cardio on a tredmill be okay to acheive those types of legs?
    4. I read on your other post and it said jump ropes will make your legs more bulky, but I also heard that it helps you grow taller? So idk…
    5. Any workout plan or diet will work so please help me! I am desperate to lose weight right now and I’m fine with strict and harsh diets/workouts

    1. Hi Kaitlyn, to answer your questions:
      1. Yes I think your weight is normal for your height
      2. I think people with stick skinny legs are born with them but you can definitely make improvements to your legs. Read this blog post for more advice.
      3. Yes you can definitely do cardio on the treadmill :)
      4. Jump rope won’t make you grow taller. Nothing will influence your height, especially if you are already in your late teens.
      5. Please have a look at my eBook for a good workout and nutrition plan xx
      Good luck! Love Rachael

  82. Hi Rachel! I recently just discovered this blog and I am obsessed! I was just wondering, does squats get your thighs/legs skinnier?

  83. Hi Rachael!

    Thank you so much for posting this, it is exactly what I needed! I have big bones and my shoulders are wider than my hips, so it makes my figure a bit “manly”. I don’t consider myself big in terms of size, but my broad shoulders are making me look bigger, or should I say bulkier, than I really am. I have larger bones (thanks genes!) so that contributes to my problem too. Whenever I do workouts (I am currently following workout programs on Nike Training), I can see noticeable changes pretty quickly – but it’s not the changes I want to see.

    1) I want to make my arms look smaller, but my workouts are building my biceps so they actually look bigger in the end. Should I just switch over to focusing on my triceps instead? Will it get rid of the flabbiness?
    2) I have slight scoliosis so I have unequal curves, my left curve is deeper from the one on the right. What should I do make them appear more equal? – They do not look flattering in dresses sometimes :(
    3) I’ve wanted to grow some booty bc I was unfortunately not blessed in that department! I’ve been doing squats and I felt like it made my legs look more muscular. I want my butt to get bigger, at the same time my legs to appear smaller. So what exercises should I do and avoid?
    4) Sometimes when I do workouts, I worry that it might make my back and shoulders wider, therefore making me look bulkier. What should I do?

    I personally love exercising, and that feeling afterwards is just so worth it! But I don’t want to be doing the wrong workouts for my body.

    I really love your page and this post has been bookmarked! Much love all the way from Indonesia <3

    1. Hi lovely, happy to help! :) To answer your questions:
      1. Focusing on triceps won’t get rid of the flabbiness – it will just tone up this area. Have a read of this blog post as it covers how to slim down your arms (and other problem areas).
      2. I’m not 100% sure on this one and might be best to see a physio (if you haven’t already). But I would concentrate on doing core exercises such as planks to strengthen this area and help with posture.
      3. Have a look at all the booty workouts on my blog as they are designed to help you grow your butt without making your legs bigger :)
      4. Also have a read of this blog post as it covers what exercises to do and avoid to get a slimmer and toned upper body (not bigger).
      Good luck! I hope that helps xxx

  84. Hey! Thank you so much for posting this! I just discovered your blog & I am super inspired – I cannot wait to start training! But quick question – do you have any tips for thinning out bulky arms?? & do you have any tips for a tighter and leaner stomach??

    1. Hi Emma! Sorry for my very late reply. I do have a blog post on how to slim down a muscular upper body have a read of that for some detailed advice! My best advice for a tighter and leaner stomach is focusing on diet (particularly removing sugar and eating low carb – that’s what works best for me), and doing a combination of high intensity cardio and resistance training (plus some HIIT). Good luck! xx

  85. Thank you so much for posting this! I am an endomorph and did crossfit for many months without losing much fat, but I gained a lot of muscle. I didn’t like how my body was bulking up, but my CF coach refused to admit that heavy weights isn’t always best. I finally parted ways with him, started running more and lost fat immediately

    1. Hi Erica, you’re welcome! Bulking up is definitely something that a lot of trainers don’t even consider. If someone thinks they’re bulking up, then clearly they are and aren’t happy with the changes in their body. I’m glad to hear that you did what was best for you and are now getting results that you’re happy with! Good for you :) xx

  86. Hi Rachael,
    I’ve been doing boxing 3 times a week (1.5hrs each session) since January.
    We do a mix of cardio (skipping, running, etc), body weight exercises (lots of push-ups, lunges, and core work) as well as learning the various boxing techniques.

    I’ve noticed this past few weeks that I’m bulking up more than I’d like to.
    My arms are barely fitting my sleeves now and I can’t get my jeans past my mid thighs.
    I’ve always been slim and tone up quite easily (I think my body type is mesomorph, or a combination of meso/ecto) even soon after my pregnancies would be back into my normal 8-10 clothes.

    I guess my question is, can I continue boxing without bulking up?
    If so how?
    I really enjoy boxing, but don’t want to continue bulking up…

    1. Hi Sissy, oh I’m so sorry to hear this! That sounds like a very intense and long boxing class! It sounds like you’re maybe doing a bit much.. Do they have any shorter classes or ones that just do boxing without the full body circuits? If so, it could be a good idea to try these. Otherwise, you could get some gloves and use the bags on your own, or use some gloves / pads with a friend, or even do one on one boxing with a trainer :) xx

  87. Hi Rachael!I’ve recently started to read through all your blogs on how to get skinny legs, and they’re amazing!You’re basically my role model! Unfortunately, I’m not able to buy your eBook because I’m a bit young for credit cards.Could you please recommend some good workouts I could do in order to reach my goal?Thank you so much! <3

    1. Hi Jennifer, aww thank you! If you go to my blog and then type in workout into the search bar, all my workouts will come up. I would try doing any of these circuits 3 times per week, and also add in some power walking if you can. Good luck! xx

  88. Hi Rachael! I just discovered your blog as well! Interested in purchasing your material! A few questions. Can you give an example of a weekly workout schedule? What are your thoughts on barre? I am so thankful someone is addressing this!

    1. Hi Eleanor! Everyone is different, but if you’re really dedicated, I would recommend doing 3 resistance training sessions per week, 2-3 runs and as much walking as you can. Also barre can be really great! I’ve only been to 2 barre classes because there was a LOT of squats, squat jumps, burpees, etc which I didn’t like as they make my legs bigger. But I think it depends on the teacher and the exercises you do. If it doesn’t have much of these exercises, then it should be good :) xx

  89. Hi, Rachael! Your blog is so inspiring! I actually had a quick question: I recently got on track for short distance sprints and we sprint about an hour each day. How do I make sure I don’t bulk up in my quads, yet still get more toned? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Sarah, this is a tough one.. Sprinting for an hour each day will probably bulk up your quads, but if you can’t change your training, there’s not too much you could do. If you can change it up, I would recommend sprinting for 1-2 minutes, rather than really short bursts of say 20-30 seconds xx

  90. Hi Racheal. I’m currently doing bbg, actually i’ve been on and off it for a while but right now i’m on my 13th week. I love how toned my arms are compared to week one, however i’ve always had trouble with my legs. I gain muscle pretty easily and my calves right now are huge compared to my upper body. Should i stop the program since there is alot of jumping and squats? Or should i keep going? Would it be better for me to do yoga and cardio?

  91. Hi Rachael! I just came across this website tonight and I’m already in love! So… I have been modeling for four years now and I just started a new workout program. It’s 5 weeks in and I notice my thighs getting more bulky.. this is NOT what I want! I have been trying to get my butt and thigh gap more tone, but my legs are just getting bulkier. Any suggestions on butt workouts that help lift and tone without getting my legs bulky! Thank you so much! – Brooke

  92. Hi Rachael,

    Thank you so much for all your tips, your blog is amazing and it really helped me change the way I think about working out and getting fit.
    I hope it’s ok to ask some questions. I think I am a mix of endomorph and mesomorph, meaning that I am a bit on the curvy side and I have big and strong quads but I also find it easy to lose weight and in some parts of my body I respond quickly to exercises. In the past 3 months I went through a big life change, started cycling to work, eating healthy and working out 5-6 times a day. I have been following a program designed by a personal trainer, but I feel like I need a change. I found all your articles very interesting and I will make some changes based on your recommendations, e.g. adding more cardio to lean my bulky legs. I was wondering if you could help me with my daily/weekly routine? I cycle to work 5 times a week which comes up to around 1h a day (I want to continue doing this as it saves me lots of money!). I also want to add 3 cardio sessions per week, approximately 30min of running. Despite having bulky quads, my butt and hamstrings need toning so I am trying to incorporate a good glute and hamstring exercises twice a week, a whole body HIIT and some of your resistance circuits for arms and abs. Do you think that would be enough? Or shall I add/change anything? Also, sometimes I have pretty long days, waking up at 6.30am and going to bed around 12am, and I find it difficult to stick to my eating plan as I always get hungry and add one more snack, and I go over my calorie count. Is that at all avoidable?

    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Zula, congrats on turning your life and health around! Good for you :) All of that does sound like quite a lot of exercise, but if you can fit it in and your body doesn’t fatigue, then that’s OK. I would keep your cycling and the 3 runs per week. Then I would do perhaps a full body circuit and a HIIT circuit. For the full body circuit, I would incorporate some glute and hamstring exercises into that (and you can put some into your HIIT circuit too). If you already have bulky legs I would be wary of doing too many exercises such as squats and burpees in your HIIT, and also overdoing it on the cycling :( Just monitor it and see how you go. With the food, that’s tough as you are doing really long days. I would try to eat lots of vegetables which will fill you up with minimal calories and just try to avoid typical bad foods. Good luck! xx

  93. Hi Rachel,

    Great post! Would doing 3 days of steady state cardio and 2 HIIT sessions a week be good for cardio? Also, how long do you recommend to do the steady state cardio for? Ex. 30 min? I really enjoy the info on your blog :) Thank you!!

    1. Hi Tammy, thank you! Yes that sounds good. Do you mean 2 HIIT cardio or HIIT weights? Either would be fine, but if you’re doing HIIT cardio, I would recommend maybe doing it once per week and adding in some other resistance training. With the steady state cardio, it depends what you do. If you’re walking, then I would recommend 60 minutes. If it’s running, then 30 minutes is plenty :) xx

  94. thank you so much for this blog post. I have a question though: what can i do if i alredy have bulky legs from doing too much heavy lifting and hiit? Should i do more cardio and less resistance training (like pilates and bodyweight stuff) in the beginning?

  95. The best blog ever, so glad we can finally talk about the elephant in the room (that is, many common workout prescriptions cause bulking). Oh, just a note, for super bulkers, pilates may cause bulking, especially through the core. When I was doing intense pilates I was getting quite thick through the core. Again, thank you for allowing women to talk about this!

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