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Last Updated May 26th, 2020 02:05 PM

You’re exercising regularly, pushing yourself to your maximum, adding more weight each time for one more round of heavy squats, lunges and/or HIIT.

But, it seems like your legs are just getting bulkier and bigger instead of smaller.

You’re finding it difficult to fit into your skinny jeans and shorts.

What is going on? Why are you getting bigger, instead of slimming down?

First of all – I understand this frustration. A couple of years ago, I was in this exact same situation and struggled with adding too much muscle for my liking.

But, there is a way around it.

This is why I decided to give some advice on how to lift weights without getting bulky – especially in your legs.

WILL I GET BULKY IF I LIFT WEIGHTS?

how to lift weights without bulking up

Most personal trainers will tell you that women cannot really get bulky.

If you have already tried talking to someone about your fears of getting bulky, there’s a good chance that you were told you’re just imagining things, or have a wrong mindset.

Or, that you should stick with lifting heavy because you will get a lot bigger before you get smaller. Well, not really.

While working out with personal trainers, I was a bit conflicted, ’cause every trainer always pushed me to lift heavy (especially more heavy weighted squats and lunges), but I didn’t like what it was doing to my body.

It wasn’t just my legs that were getting bigger, either.

My upper back was really broad and my crop tops and gym singlets didn’t fit anymore.

Overall, I felt like a bigger, bulkier version of myself. I just didn’t look slim and lean like I used to.

how to lift weights without bulking transformation photo
On the left is a photo of me while I was lifting heavy and on the right is my result after I’ve changed my workout regime (now known as ”Lean Legs Program 1”)

And no matter how many times I tried explaining that to my trainer, I just ended up getting frustrated or feeling guilty, because I am not happy with my ”strength gains.”

I couldn’t understand why some of my friends got amazing results from lifting weights, while I almost ended up hating heavy weights because they made me too bulky.

But then I started learning about different body types.

DIFFERENT BODY TYPES RESPOND TO WEIGHT TRAINING DIFFERENTLY

can women bulk up from lifting weights

There are 3 main body types – ectomorph (Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss), mesomorph (Jessica Alba, Gigi Hadid) and endomorph (Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez).

And, actually, 2 out of 3 female body types can get too bulky.

You must understand your body type to know how to build muscle without getting bulky.

If you are not sure about your body type, I have created a special Body Type Quiz that is completely free.

It will help you determine your body type in just 2 minutes. This is your starting point.

ECTOMORPHS

Ectomorphs are naturally very slim (think Victoria’s Secret models) and find it difficult to gain weight (both muscle and fat).

This body type can lift very heavy weights without getting bulky and often get amazing results from heavier weight lifting.

However, a lot of models do not lift very heavy because of the fear of getting too muscular.

Everyone’s body is different, and some models may be a combined ectomorph/mesomorph body type, and do have the ability to get too muscular.

Having big legs is something that no model wants, so they are very careful about this.

If you are a true ectomorph, heavy weight lifting will make you toned, and it’s very unlikely that it will make you bulky.

If you are a combined ectomorph/mesomorph body type, you still have the ability to get bulky if you do the wrong type of exercise.

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)

MESOMORPHS

Mesomorph girls can be slim or overweight, but they have the ability to lose and gain weight (both muscle and fat) very easily.

I am a mesomorph.

Mesomorphs need to be careful not to do too much weight lifting and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) because this can make them too bulky for their liking.

RELATED: FULL BODY HIIT WORKOUT THAT WILL NOT BULK YOU UP

ENDOMORPHS

Endomorphs have a curvier body type, with shorter arms and legs.

This body type has a much harder time trying to lose weight, and they find it very easy to gain muscle, especially in their legs.

I would suggest that endomorphs avoid any HIIT and heavy weight lifting because this will just make them bigger and focus instead on doing more cardio with lighter circuit training (that doesn’t focus on building up too much of the leg muscle).

I know a lot of personal trainers say that lifting heavy weights is the key to slimming down, but for endomorphs, this isn’t really true.

RELATED: FEMALE GUIDE TO GETTING LEAN AND TONED (NOT BULKY)

IF LIFTING WEIGHTS MAKES ME TOO BULKY, WHY DO I STILL NEED TO DO IT?

muscle toning vs bulking up how to do weights

I know you might think that you should just avoid any type of weight and resistance training and only do cardio, right?

Well, I’ve done that before, too!

I only did cardio, and yes, I’ve drastically slimmed down. But, I still always had fat around my hips and belly that I found hard to get rid of.

I ended up being more skinny fat than lean.

It wasn’t until I started lifting weights and building some muscle again that the fat really disappeared and I finally had abs!

1. LIFTING WEIGHTS (I.E. RESISTANCE TRAINING) WILL GIVE YOUR BODY MUSCLE DEFINITION (TONE)

Any type of resistance training will build muscle – even if you’re lifting low weight and high rep, doing bodyweight or endurance-based workouts, Pilates, or even yoga – these will all build muscle.

But the thing is, you need muscle to give your body tone and definition.

There is a certain way of exercising, including lifting weights and building muscle without bulking up, which I will talk about, below.

2. LIFTING WEIGHTS WILL HELP YOU LOSE FAT & PREVENT THE “SKINNY FAT” LOOK 

Having muscle also helps with keeping your body fat levels down.

A lot of women (and men) who only do cardio and avoid lifting weights will end up looking “skinny fat.”

Skinny fat is a term used to describe people who appear slim or skinny (in their clothes), but actually have quite a high percentage of body fat.

I used to be skinny fat, and whenever I avoid resistance training, I go back to being skinny fat.

3. WEIGHT/STRENGTH TRAINING HAS A LOT OF OTHER BENEFITS

There are SO many other benefits of strength training such as improved sleep, reduced stress, and anxiety, improved mood, lowered risk of heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis, plus lots more.

It really does benefit you both on the inside and out!

HOW TO LIFT WEIGHTS WITHOUT GETTING BULKY

how to do weights without getting too muscular

As you can see, lifting weights does provide a lot of health benefits, and if you know how to do it according to your body type, it can have great results.

The key to being able to lift weights and build muscle without getting bulky is:

1. LEARN WHICH BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES TO DO AND WHICH ONES TO AVOID

Most bodyweight exercises will help you get lean and toned.

But there are some that are known to cause bulkiness, especially in 2 out of 3 female body types (these are discussed, below).

2. LIFT LIGHTER WEIGHTS FOR HIGHER REPETITIONS

By lighter weights, I mean 1-2 kgs dumbbells, a resistance band, ankle weights or just your own body weight.

Lifting lighter weights with higher repetition (15-20) will not bulk you up.

BEST BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES THAT WON’T MAKE YOU BULKY

Below you have my FREE Train Like a Model video course. These are full-length videos that will help you get toned without becoming too muscular.

Also, on my blog, you can find a lot more workouts that are designed especially for women who want to be able to lift weight without bulking up.

Here’s one example, below. :)

OTHER TYPES OF WORKOUTS YOU CAN TRY

1. PILATES

Pilates is exactly what I have been talking about. It’s often done using your own body weight, ankle weights or lighter weights that you can lift without bulking up.

I’ve also been to a few reformer Pilates classes, and these are great for toning up and slimming down!

The reformer machine uses resistance bands and a moving platform – it’s fantastic for your core.

In these classes, you will sometimes also use very light dumbbells for your upper body.

2. SWIMMING

Swimming is great for toning your arms and doubles as cardio!

When I used to do cardio only, I also did some swimming. My arms were really toned, and I didn’t do any weights or boxing.

Yes, professional swimmers have bigger arms and shoulders, but they train twice a day, 6 days per week, and that is why this happens.

Swimming 1-2 times per week won’t cause you to become bulky.

3. BOXING

Boxing is amazing for toning your arms really quickly, but not making them bigger. It’s also great for your core, too! And I know that a lot of Victoria’s Secret models do boxing.

I always notice a significant difference after just a few weeks of boxing. But just be careful about what type of boxing class you attend.

I’ve been to a few classes that do more of a boxing circuit, which includes a lot of squats, wall sits, burpees, etc. So, try to attend a boxing class that mainly focuses on boxing.

AVOID EXERCISES THAT WILL MAKE YOU BULKY 

how to lift weights exercises that will bulk you up

I know a lot of personal trainers won’t like to hear this.

The following exercises are great for your body (and mind), but they do build a lot of muscle and can make you bulky.

Also, I am mostly recommending this for mesomorphs and endomorphs. Most ectomorphs can lift heavy weights without getting bulky. But for the other two body types, these exercises should be avoided

1. DON’T DO ANY HEAVY WEIGHT LIFTING 

Any time you lift heavy weights to failure, you will most likely build muscle (granted your protein intake is also high to moderate).

If you want to lift weights without getting bulky, avoid “training to failure” strength workouts.

2. SKIP (HEAVY) SQUATS AND CHIN UPS 

I can see all personal trainers cringing here.

Yes, these exercises are great for your body and use LOTS of different muscles. But for me – and most of my clients that want to get lean and toned – squats just made legs bigger and chin-ups made their back broader.

Theses build SO much muscle and really change the shape of the body, in a way that I do not like. These 2 exercises will most likely make you bulky.

Other exercises that will most likely contribute to bulkiness include overhead pressing, deadlifts, lunges and burpees.

3. STAY AWAY FROM CROSSFIT

If CrossFit is your go-to-workout, and you enjoy lifting heavy, by all means, go for it. 

But be aware that this type of training includes LOTS of squats and squat variations, burpees, deadlifts, chin-ups, and overhead pressing exercises. And if you are a mesomorph or an endomorph body type, these workouts will defiinitely make our legs and upper body bigger.

These are all exercises that I suggest you avoid if you don’t want to increase your muscle size (and not to mention that I’ve yet to meet someone doing CrossFit that hasn’t had an injury or badly messed up their spine). 

4. AVOID SPRINTS

Any short bursts of energy using your legs will make them bulkier and bigger, because of the muscle fibers it recruits and the energy system your body uses.

By short bursts I mean around 30 seconds. A lot of people do their sprints by running as hard as they can for 30 seconds, resting for 30-60 seconds and then repeating.

Unfortunately, this type of sprinting will make you bulky.

I do some sprinting (but only when I am already very fit). I prefer to do my sprinting as more of a fast-paced run.

I run faster than normal (but not at my maximum) for 2 minutes, and then rest for 1 minute. By the end of the 2 minutes, you should be so winded that you need to stop.

This type of running will still get you fit really quickly, and won’t make your legs bulky.

5. AVOID HILL SPRINTS 

Any type of hill sprinting will make you bulky, especially your quadriceps (the muscles at the front of your thighs).

Avoid doing these and always option for a flat surface when doing cardio.

6. DON’T ADD INCLINE ON TREADMILL 

Walking on an incline on the treadmill will use your quadriceps and may make your legs bigger.

Walking is amazing for slimming down your legs, but it’s best done on a flat surface.

7. PASS ON THE STEP MACHINE

I’m sure you’re getting the theme here – anything uphill will bulk up your legs. The same goes for the step machine.

EXERCISES THAT MAY CAUSE YOU TO BULK UP (PROCEED WITH CAUTION)

how to lift weights exercises that could bulk you up

These are exercises that I am always questioned about. Results from doing workouts, below, vary, depending on the person’s nutrition, body type, genetics and all other factors.

But, I will try to provide some general advice.

1. SPIN CLASSES / CYCLING 

If you are an endomorph, I would avoid spinning/cycling because it will make your legs bigger and more muscular.

You probably already have shorter and muscular legs, so there’s no need to increase the muscle size.

Mesomorphs can do it, but just monitor the changes in your legs and see if it makes them bigger.

For me, I can do a spin class once per week without getting bulky. But a lot of mesomorphs can’t (especially if you are a combined mesomorph/endomorph).

I would keep spin classes to once per week – maximum.

2. HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT) 

This is a tough one, because it’s such a great workout. But if you overdo it on leg exercises (jump squats, jump lunges, burpees, box jumps, etc), you will get bigger legs.

You can still do HIIT, but it’s all about the exercise selection. I still enjoy doing HIIT workouts, but the exercises I do are different.

I have written a blog series of HIIT workouts that won’t make you bulky, so you can use this for some ideas.

3. SKIPPING 

This is another tough one, because it is great cardio, especially if you can’t go outside.

Skipping will help you lose weight overall, but won’t necessarily slim down your legs. Skipping will also probably make your calves bigger, as skipping really focuses on your calf muscles.

If you want to slim your calves, it is best to avoid skipping. I personally don’t do any skipping.

4. CROSS TRAINER / ELLIPTICAL 

I know a lot of women use the cross trainer in place of the treadmill, especially if they have knee injuries.

The cross trainer is a good alternative if you can’t walk, but for slimming your legs, it is not as effective as walking.

The cross trainer will build muscle in your quads because of the pushing down motion, but it will not build as much muscle as cycling or weightlifting.

Also, it won’t help reduce thigh fat as effectively as walking.

5. BARRE

I have done a barre class and was surprised at how leg-focused it was.

We did lots of squats, squat jumps, squat holds, etc. It wasn’t really what I was expecting.

I’m sure different teachers have their own different barre routines, but the class I went to would definitely make my legs bigger.

Many women have also told me that they have developed big legs since doing barre.

I don’t think this is the case for all barre classes, or all body types, but just be cautiou

6. RUNNING

A lot of models don’t do any running because running actually builds muscle. It doesn’t build the same amount of muscle as cycling or weight lifting, but it will still build muscle.

Endomorphs in particular need to be careful with running.

Running is an amazing exercise for slimming all over – especially your legs – but if you build muscle really easily (like an endomorph), I would run with caution.

When you are running, monitor the changes in your legs and see if it makes them bigger.

If it does, I would avoid running. But if not, keep doing it!

HOW TO GET SMALLER THIGHS 

how to get smaller thighs lift weights without bulking up

Resistance training alone will not make your legs thinner, it will just make them more toned.

If you want to get thinner thighs, you need to do cardio!

I have written a really detailed blog post on how to do the right type of cardio to get skinny legs, so have a read for more information.

Also, you’ll find it very useful to read my blog post on how to slim down muscular thighs.

SUMMARY: HOW TO LIFT WEIGHTS WITHOUT GETTING TOO MUSCULAR

  • There are 3 main body types, and each has different exercise requirements.
  • Your body type will determine how bulky you get and what type of exercise you can and can’t do.
  • To lift weights without getting bulky, you need to lift lighter weights (i.e. 1-2 kgs dumbbells, a resistance band or just your bodyweight) and higher reps, PLUS you need to choose the correct exercises.
  • Exercises that are great for toning without getting bulky include the workouts in my Lean Legs Program 1, Pilates, reformer Pilates, boxing and swimming.
  • Certain exercises will cause bulkiness, including squats, lunges, deadlifts, chin-ups and overhead pressing. Other exercises that make you bulky include heavy weight lifting, CrossFit, sprints, hill sprints, and the step machine.
  • Exercises that may make you bulky and should be done with caution include cycling, HIIT, skipping, cross trainer, barre and running.

START WITH MY LEAN LEGS PROGRAM 1 NOW

My Lean Legs Program 1 will help you slim your legs and tone your body without getting bulky in the process. I know from my own experience how frustrating it is to train hard and end up with results that you didn’t want. I used to work with a PT who trained me in such a way that caused my body to become too bulky for my own liking.

That’s why I created this program – to help women who prefer a more lean and slim look to get toned without having to worry about getting unwanted muscles. :)

LEAN LEGS PROGRAM BEFORE & AFTER

lean legs program before after

”I trained with a personal trainer 3 times a week and while traveling, I used to do Kayla Itsines’ SWEAT program.

However, my thighs continued to be a problem despite exercising like a machine (in fact, I started measuring them and the more SWEAT I was doing, the bigger they became).

With [Rachael’s] program, I started seeing the results almost immediately. I measured my thighs, butt and muffin top and I lost inches after first week!

Read Jeanne-Mare’s Full Review Of The Program Here

lean legs program transformation
@audprater

Here’s my 6-month transformation <3 I never thought I’d be able to lean out my muscles!! I have never felt happier & more confident with my body! Eternally grateful to you and your program!

lean legs program results

@AlexBGamez

This is only my 5-week progress, I was too eager to share the results with you. After years of trying other programs and even when I entered fitness competitions, I have never seen my legs this lean! I can’t wait to see my progress at the end of the 8weeks and again at the end of 16weeks after Round 2! Thank you and your lovely team. I am beyond grateful!

Lean Legs Program 1 is an 8-week workout program with the style of resistance training that I mentioned in this blog post. 

Also, the resistance training is shown in full-length videos that you can follow from warm up to cool down.

To find out more about my Lean Legs Program 1, CLICK HERE!

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.

201 Responses

  1. Hi Rachael. What do you suggest me do if I want to tone and lose weight. I do not want to become bulky from lifting weights and I have been working out at the gym doing 3 sets with low reps, going up in weight. My thighs are gaining a lot of muscle but my butt really isn’t, however I don’t want to get any bigger. Do you recommend any of your videos I can purchase or what should I do?

    1. Hey hun! I have designed my Lean Legs Program to include the perfect type of resistance training + cardio to give you lean and toned legs, without making you bulky. If this is something you’re looking for, then I would definitely recommend giving my program a go :)

    1. Hey hun! The workouts in our program are low-impact so it’s suitable for all ages and body types. I highly recommend that you give it a go. :)

  2. Hi thanks for the article it was very useful.
    I think my body type is meso/endo. I was wondering if I could do any squats without bulking. Like 3 times per week. Each time 3 sets and 15 reps. Thank you in advanced!

    1. Hey 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. :)

  3. Hello Rachel hope you are well. What diet would you suggest for me. I’m considered a endomorph with a menopausal struggle. I used to be able to watch what I ate and some exercise and I would drop a few lbs, but now nothing seems to work and I cannot take any estrogen support.. any help are suggestions would be great. Thank You! Gina

    1. Hi lovely! The ideal macros for endomorphs are 25% carbs, 45% fat and 30% protein. To get the best and fastest results, we recommend that you follow your ideal daily calorie intake and macros which will be calculated based on your fitness levels and other important factors. If you need assistance with this, feel free to reach out to us at info@rachaelattard.com

  4. I’ve just started trying to follow your free videos on resistance training and the full body workout, and I had a few questions. If I do the exercises wrong, is that harmful to my body or to my goal of getting slimmer legs? (Just wondering about the potential consequences of doing the workouts alone at home.) Also, I’m five foot three inches, and while my legs aren’t enormously bulky, they’re much larger than I’d like. Will your workouts still slim my legs despite my being so short?
    Thanks a lot!

    1. Hi lovely! Not following the exercises correctly might lead to injury so it would be best if you always double-check your form or position. :) The workouts included in our programs were designed specifically to help you slim down your legs without any unwanted bulkiness. They are also body type-specified which means that you’re going to follow the right type of workouts and diet for your body type to help you get the best and fastest results. :)

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

  5. Hi!
    Thank you so much for this article. I’ve been struggling for years with bulky thighs and my go to exercise has always been skipping, squats and walking on the treadmill on the highest incline. I see now that those were huge mistakes. Thanks for helping me out!

    1. Hi lovely,

      You’re very welcome! I’m glad to know that you were able to learn a lot from this blog. I wish you all the best in your fitness journey! xx

  6. Are these paid videos available on YouTube channel (private for only paid users)? I would like to buy but want to watch them on my tv not phone or iPad. (Then I need glasses and screen is too small to concentrate on my form).

    1. Hi lovely,

      If you’re referring to Rachael’s Lean Legs Video Course, they can only be watched through your account in our platform and you can access this as long as you’re connected to the internet and you have a mobile phone or laptop/PC. If you have a smart TV, I’m pretty sure you can mirror your screen via AirPlay and watch the videos on TV. You can also play the videos on your laptop and use an HDMI cable to connect it to your TV. :)

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

      Love,
      Len

  7. Hello, I’m unsure what my body type is, I have love handles/muffin top and I do have bigger legs (in my opinion) but I often look slim in clothing. I have tried to do the quiz but I can’t determine what body type I am. I was wondering if you could help

    1. Hi lovely,

      If you’re unsure about your body type, feel free to send us your photos in fit/sports clothing (ex. leggings, a top..) and we’ll gladly help. :) Don’t worry because the photos won’t leave the email thread. You can email it to info@rachaelattard.com and we’ll assist you.

      Love,
      Len

  8. I took your body type quiz and it says I am Mesomorph. I knew I was a mesomorph. I want to lose belly fat, love handles, reduce thighs and arm fat. I want slim legs and tone stomach and arms. What exercises should I do and what should I eat to reach my goals? I want a lean and slim figure.

  9. Hello Ms. Rachel, I read most of your blog and I was fascinated! However I have a question: I might be an endomorph or a mix of endo/meso. Anyways I am pear shaped. I want to lose my bulky thighs, lose some fat from abs and hips, tone my arms too but I’d like to maintain/gain muscle in my pectorals and tone my lats. My upper body is smaller and don’t want to lose bust size. What kind of workout would you recommend?

    1. Hi lovely,

      If you’re not sure about your body type, feel free to send us photos in fit/sports clothing through email (info@rachaelattard.com) and we will help you determine it. :)

      That way, we can provide you the guidelines when it comes to the right type of exercise and diet for you. <3

      If you need help or tips, feel free to reach out anytime hun. xx

      Love,
      Len

  10. Thank you so much, Marina! This really helps! And especially seeing those results from the girls whose before bodies look more like mine. I am so impressed and very convinced! :) I will be buying the program

    1. Thank you, lovely! I’m glad I could help :)
      If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact me here or Rachael on Instagram :)

  11. Hi Rachel,
    I came across your website while googling “how to slim down thick legs” :) I am intrigued but also really doubtful about your program. I know you reply to pretty much everyone with “we have a 8-week program” but I am hoping for a more substantive reply as I am considering buying the program, which isn’t exactly cheap. I am an endomorph, size 10-12 (US), so medium (L on the bottom for pants, M for skirts) but definitely heavier on the bottom and have a body more like Beyonce’s. I am just not convinced that walking 10 kms a day will slim down my legs.. How is that going to happen? I don’t feel that will do anything in terms of making me sweat or burn that many calories. How will my legs get slimmer? I already have a lot of muscle, a smart scale tells me my muscle mass is about 100 lbs (!) So I definitely do not have your physique or the physique of all the ladies who left testimonials on your web – you and these ladies appear to be pretty thin and healthy TO BEGIN WITH with their legs looking not at all “bulky” to me. I would like to see a bigger variety of body types that used your program to be convinced. And trust me – I really do want to be convinced – I have tried so many things and from everything I know stopping to do resistance with weights will make me just get all the fat back on my endomorph’s legs. How can you be sure you didn’t just find something for your body physique and those pretty skinny looking testimonial girls? I would like to see examples of someone who looks like Kim K, Beyonce – those type of bodies – true endomorphs on your website. Thank you for reading all this and hoping for a substantive response. Thank you for replying!

    1. Hi lovely,

      Thanks for reaching out! :)

      First, please let me show you some lovely Endomorph girls who did Rachael’s program and then I’ll explain how Rachael’s program works. It will be a bit longer so I apologise in advance :)

      Some of our lovely Endomorphs who did Rachael’s program and shared their results:

      https://www.instagram.com/p/B6k2CASBRy0/

      https://www.instagram.com/p/B2JdXATBfyN/

      https://www.instagram.com/p/B6dFZIvBNbV/

      https://www.instagram.com/p/B5Xj3xIhBkh/

      https://www.instagram.com/p/B7veqashPfv/

      How Rachael’s program works :)

      Rachael’s program combines – low to moderate intensity cardio with high-intensity activities like running and resistance training. Also, it has a full low carb meal plan that’s going to ensure you’re eating at a slight calorie deficit and burning more calories than you’re eating. Let me explain how it all works :)

      Our bodies constantly burn both carbs and fat for energy. Sometimes the dominant source of energy is fat and sometimes carbs. It all depends on what’s readily available and what type of activities we’re doing.

      Our bodies convert these nutrients – carbs and fat into a usable form of chemical energy called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.

      But in order to turn fat into energy (ATP), our bodies need a lot of oxygen that’s going to oxidize that fat. So when we’re at rest and breathing normally, oxygen is readily available and we can metabolize fat at a slow and steady pace.

      And in order to turn carbs into ATP (energy), our bodies don’t always need oxygen. That’s why when we do high-intensity workouts like HIIT or lift weights – when we’re puffing and struggling to breathe normally (when there’s not enough oxygen to oxidize the fat) our bodies burn carbs first and in a larger quantity than fat.

      So for example, let’s say I just had a meal high in carbs and I go and do a quick HIIT session or some resistance training. Since those are high-intensity activities, my body needs to get energy quickly. But in order to get energy from fat, my body needs plenty of oxygen that’s going to oxsidizes the fat. However, since I’m struggling to breathe normally (remember, I’m doing intense activities) there’s not enough oxygen to burn fat. And since I just ate carbs, my body is going to burn those first. Carbs are more available and my body doesn’t need oxygen to turn them into energy.

      I will eventually burn fat too, but still, the percentage of carbs burned will be higher than the percentage of fat.

      And let’s say it’s morning and I didn’t have my breakfast. My body is low on carbs and I decide to go for a power walk (fasted cardio). I have plenty of oxygen and not a lot of carbs in my system so my body starts to use fat for energy. Fat is more abundant and is a great source of slow-burning energy which makes it perfect for the times when I’m resting or doing low to moderate intensity activities such as walking :)

      This is why Rachael recommends both high-intensity activities and low to moderate intensity ones. She knows very well that doing just one type of activity is not enough. You’ll get the best results if you do both.:)

      That’s why her program combines low to moderate intensity cardio with HIIT and resistance training. Also, Rachael’s program includes a complete meal plan – it’s low carb and it’s intended for you to be in a slight calorie deficit so that you can be sure you’re burning off more calories than you’re eating.

      So yes, I will burn more calories in a shorter amount of time with HIIT and resistance training. And yes, these activities will also raise my basal metabolic rate which will help me burn more calories even when I’m resting. But still, if I do low to moderate intensity activities, I will, in fact, burn more fat with low to moderate-intensity cardio.

      Hope this helps! :)

      Love,
      Marina

  12. Hi,

    I am mesomorph, my height is 156, I will 18 years old soon, and my weight is 52kg. I really don’t want to get bulky, I am a huge desire to get just like victoria models! I have many struggles that I can’t get lean legs and abs, always feel tiring that without supplements, I already spent days having a workout, but it’s not success and it doesn’t work! I am not happy with that. My legs are bigger and fat but not at much. Can you give me some suggestions about workout time to get lean legs and abs? (I mean, the videos which lean gets and abs without bulky, because I am so confused where to start and I can’t manage the schedule for workout time. if you have suggestions, can you give me some links?) I really want feminine body! not muscular haha…

    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 get that lean and toned body.
      I would suggest downloading our free 7 Day Slim Legs Diet for some great healthy meal ideas and dietary guidelines. We recommend power walking daily for at least 60 minutes, occasional running and resistance training 3 days per week.
      Also if some workouts are making your legs bigger, avoid them (especially squats, lunges, deadlifts, etc).

      You could also check out our YouTube channel with lots of great workout videos that will help you slim and tone your legs and upper body without making you bulky. :)

      Love,
      Diana xx

  13. What is your recommendation for how many days a week to do leg resistance training or Pilates type resistance training? And how many days of cardio would you recommend as well?

  14. Sometimes the “bulky” look is because of tight muscle groups, usually the lats/ chest and the hip flexors. Stretching these muscle groups properly will give your body a slimmer appearance because your shoulders will be back in place and your lower back will not be rounded.

  15. I’m an endomorph (bulky basketball forward kind of build) who, for the endorphins, would always rather jump into a tough long endurance or HIIT workout (like swimming or running) than hit on the floor for some Pilates, but I know this needs to change. I started OrangeTheory a few months ago, and now my legs and ass and arms are HUGE. I love the workouts but not how bulky I look. Also not a fan of being so sore all the time. Should I quit OrangeThoery and get back to my own varied training: kickboarding (my arms are so big I don’t want to swim full stroke much), walking/jogging, yoga and core workout videos? Diet advice would also be appreciated. I worry I’m eating too much protein and too much nut-based fat. Also do you eat dairy like Greek yogurt and cheese? What about fruit? Thanks so much for your guidance!

    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.

      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

      I suggest downloading our free 7 Day Slim Legs Diet to get a better idea of what the meal plan is like and what our recommendations are. The meal plan in the program is gluten, dairy and processed sugar free, but feel free to modify it to suit you! xx

      Love,
      Diana

  16. Hi! I am new to the fitness world. I was wondering, what if you maintain a calorie deficit and to squats (without any heavy weights) will they still make the thighs bigger?

    1. Hi lovely,
      Changing your diet will help you with reducing fat on your body which is great! And it will also help you reduce fat on your legs (although not as much as cardio).

      If you diet and eat better, but continue to squat, your legs won’t go down in size. You can still build muscle at a calorie deficit.
      So this might help you lose weight but won’t change the size of your thighs! xx

      Love,
      Diana

  17. Sorry, but I dont agree at all. Your muscles can only grow in one way. The only difference is that low rep training activates the bigger muscle fibers wich results in faster muscle gain, but it looks the same.

    Wether or not you will look bulky is all about proportions. For example a huge upper chest and very wide lats may look bulky. Thats why I can agree with you on the chins.

  18. What about cheerleading I used to be so much smaller now I do more cheerleading I can see everything bulk its really upsetting for me we do squats lifting team mates, squat walk and lots of conditioning is this why I am getting bulkier ?

    1. Hi lovely,
      Yes, it’s possible that you’re getting bulky by doing too many high intensity exercises, heavy lifting and squats.
      If you’d like to slim down you would have to quit that training and start doing more cardio with resistance exercises that will help you get lean and toned :) xx

      Love,
      Diana

  19. Good Morning. Is Rachel available for a video consult? I purchased her lean legs ebook a while ago but would really Like a one on one consult if at all possible. Not sure if she offers this and what the cost would be but would love to hear !
    Thanks !

    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 are doing our best to respond to every single question in a timely fashion, but lately we have been getting so many enquiries that Rachael is unable to answer all of them personally.

      Most of the answers and advice you need can be found on our blog by typing your question into the search bar.
      If there’s a specific question you can’t find an answer to, please let us know and we will write about it in one of our future posts :).

      Thank you for understanding. Your support and feedback are greatly appreciated!! xx

      Love,
      Diana

  20. Hi
    I am doing dumb bell weights 2kgs and got little bulky what exercise can I do to lose that bulkiness. Please help

    1. Hi lovely,
      You could do more cardio and bodyweight resistance workouts (without the weights) 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 these blog posts:

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

      https://www.rachaelattard.com/female-guide-how-to-get-lean-and-not-bulky-skinny-legs/

      Love,
      Diana
      xx

  21. Hi Rachael!

    I was wondering what weight I should use for my ankle weights. I am endomorph type. I am 5’2″, 126 lb. I am fit, with muscular legs. I find that too much running and HIIT definitely bulk up my legs. I stopped doing that, and now I am jus walking and doing your program. Would 5lb on each leg bulk up my legs, what is the best weight for slimming them?

    Thank you!!

  22. Hi Rachael,
    Thank you so much for providing all this information. I was so surprised (in a good way!) and relieved when I found this community of people who are struggling with the same issue, and found your useful info!
    I was wondering, can i still build some lean muscle/definition in my back, arms, and shoulders on your 7 week program? Also, I’m not sure if I’m a mesomorph or endomorph-definitely not an ectomorph, but I do have a pear shaped body (however all of my other characteristics match with a mesomorph, it’s just that I have a structure that resembles a pear shape. Could you pls help me figure out which one I am? Also, when the exercises in your video get too easy how do I make them more challenging (without ankle weights if possible?) Thank you so, so much!!!

    1. Hi lovely,
      You’re very welcome, we’re happy to help! :)

      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/

      You can take our free body type quiz to find out your body type.
      If you find you are between the mesomorph and endomorph body types, please do the endomorph program :) xx

      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/

      Love, Lean Legs Club support xx

    2. Hi Rachael-

      I wanted to know your thoughts on Les Mills body pump. I recently started doing this group exercise program, and I really like it. I have only used 3 and 5 pound weights while doing it. I have a meso-endomorph body type, and am fearful of looking/becoming bigger. I still do cardio (Zumba, walking), but have really started liking this workout. Please share your thoughts. Thanks!!

      1. Hi lovely,

        We have never tried Les Mills workouts, so I can’t comment. Doing a lot of squats and lunges is great for weight loss but may make your legs bulky.
        We’ve designed our Lean Legs Program to include the perfect type of resistance training + cardio to give you a lean and toned look, without making you bulky. If this is something you’re looking for, then I would definitely recommend giving our program a go :)
        The Program is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you slim down your legs, but it 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

        If you find you’re between the mesomorph and endomorph body types, I recommend the endomorph program :)
        For more helpful info please have a read of this blog post:

        https://www.rachaelattard.com/how-to-get-skinny-legs-endomorph-nutrition-workout-guidelines/

        Love,
        Diana

  23. HI,

    I was wondering if it’s okay to do the power walk followed by a 30-minute run? I think I am a mesomorph/endomorph body type. I’ve been an avid runner in the past and it didn’t bulk up my legs, it instead made them slimmer. That was when I was at my slimmest. Also, one more quick question. What’s your advice on using the TRX? I’m thinking I’ll use it and focus on everything except leg exercises? Thanks so much, looking forward to hearing back from you!

    1. Hi lovely,
      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

      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

      Love, Lean Legs Club support
      xx

  24. Hi Rachael,
    I am an endomorph and I have recently gained a bit of weight I am not overweight but I am unhappy with my physical condition and would like to lose some weight and tone my body. I am starting your diet plan and I am wondering if the Jillian Michaels Body Revolution would be a good fit for me. If I incorporated the Body Revolution into your VS training plan would that give me the results I am looking for.

    1. Hi lovely,
      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

      It’s a full program with workouts 6 days per week, so it would be difficult to fit in any other training. I would start the Lean Legs Program once you have finished with your training.

      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

      Love, Lean Legs Club support
      xx

  25. Hi Rachael,

    I am an endomorph, can I conclude that I am better off doing bodyweight pilates/workouts and walking/light running? I don’t have any ankle weights or dumb-bells, are these necessary or will help me to achieve my fat loss goals faster? Thank you!

    1. Hi lovely,

      Of course you don’t need to use weights for fat loss or toning.
      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

      Love, Lean Legs Club support
      xx

  26. HI Rachael,

    I love your blog! I am an endomorph, and have been jogging/running for quite some time now. My legs haven’t really changed much, but i’m a little worried that the jogging is whats keeping them from slimming down. For an endomorph, how much jogging/running would you recommend vs power walking?

    1. Hi lovely,

      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 also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.
      You can check out the Lean Legs program here

      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

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

      https://www.rachaelattard.com/how-to-get-skinny-legs-endomorph-nutrition-workout-guidelines/

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

      Love, Lean Legs Club support
      xx

  27. Hi Rachael! Ive been lifting for more than a year and i became thick, maybe because i am an endomorph and did really heavy lifting. I am really confused right now because i thought heavy lifting will make me thinner and leaner not bigger, what happened is the only part of my body that is getting thinner and thinner is my face.. i love lifting heavy and in my exhaustive research i came accross an overarching rule that said that the higher the volume and intensity of workouts, the less frequent i can do them. I would just like to ask if i were to lift at the 5rep range heavy enough but will not feel sore, isnt it the same thing as lifting at 20reps or more but will have muscle fatigue?

    1. Hi lovely,

      Rachael would love to help you further along your journey :) that’s why she’s created the eBook and the Lean Legs Training Club where she’s available to answer
      ALL of your questions and provide more guidance with the Lean Legs workout program and nutrition.
      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 advice.
      And you also have access to a community of like-minded and supportive women to help you too!

      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. Check out this link for the full program!
      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 to suit your needs). Here’s the link to the Club

      Love, Lean Legs Club support
      xx

  28. I am 52, endo/meso, 5’2″and have always had large, muscular legs…they have kept my knees healthy, but my quads also curve out in the front all the way to my knees. I hate that look. The only way to thin them down is for me to get down to 110 lbs (I am 145 now) and dieting to lose weight over 50 truly sucks and makes me hate life (can you say, basically eat nothing?!!). I used to be able to run for 20 min a day and lose weight easily. But all that running and athletics in my past has taken a toll. I recently had an artificial joint replacement in my big toe, and the left big toe is probably next. After my surgery and trying to get back in to working out, I am sure my gait had changed and now have horrible plantar fasciitis in my other foot, making walking extremely painful, even with inserts, resting, different shoes, etc. The extra weight I am carrying is not helping, either. I bought a recumbent bike and gave up my treadmill to give some relief to my foot. I like doing that for my cardio…and added a weight lifting routine which included squats and lunges and higher weights. So between those my legs are getting huge! Besides swimming in the summer, can you recommend another possibility for cardio for me? When I have done HIIT in the past my legs balloon. I do like the bike, I am not upping the resistance at all, just trying to get my heart rate around 130-137 for about an hour at a time x 5 days per week. I am going to switch my strength workout back to pilates videos again after reading your blog. I really wish I could go back to my power walking, but my feet just can’t take it. I also coach, so I am on my feet walking around a lot too, and often have 8000-10000 steps per day. My feet ache at the end of the day. Do you have any suggestions for me besides liposuction lol? So discouraged. Getting old sucks…waiting for my hips to go out next after my lifetime of workouts! My advice to youngsters: invest in high quality shoes!

    1. Hi lovely, I’m so sorry to hear of your troubles. I think doing the bike would be fine for your cardio, just keep the resistance light as you have been doing. And yes change up your HIIT to lighter exercises like pilates and the workouts on my blog. It sounds like you’re very active throughout the day and do a lot of walking anyway so I don’t think you need to add any more, especially with the issues with your foot. Also just keep in mind that there could be other things that affect your ability to lose weight other than diet and exercises (have a read of this blog post for more details). Good luck lovely! xx And thanks very much for the tip about the shoes! I agree – I wouldn’t be able to walk a lot without my orthotic inserts and the best quality shoes xx

  29. Thanks for your reply @rachael!
    I like your blog very much because you finally address this issue I had for such a long time! I mean, come on, every time I was looking for skinny legs, I was always finding results like squats, HIIT, etc etc. I have to say that with a lot of mistakes I agree with everything you say!! I did your butt workouts and sometimes I increase the difficult adding some weight to the it.. :D ! You were right, number 3 was more me thinking out loud not a question, was just a confirmation of your theories!:)
    I am sure I’ll write you again telling you about my progress; I am trying to avoid barre and stick to ballet 3 times per weeks with yoga and resistance training (abs and arms), on the other days so that I am not going to overtrain legs.
    Regarding barre (and then I’ll Stop here): I was surprised to noticed that my quads became toned, yes, but absolutely not as huge as I would have expected before starting (consider that I was working out with barre 3/4 times per week last year and was happy with my legs). So I guess that the movement of the barre is quite different from the classic squats and lunges, otherwise I would became a bodybuilder!!:DD

    thanks for your reply so much!:)

  30. Oops Rachel forgot to say I am 5”11 (weight is unknown but if not ideal, getting back to it), I am a vegan who eats fish (so eat very healthy); I think I am meso with some eso? I tend to put muscle too easily on my lower body but also lose easily if I eat clean but it depends because I have a lot of issues (thyroid disease autoimmune, celiac disease,…), so it is hard to tell, when I struggle to lose weight, if it’s because of my health issues or my body type!! Because I am tall and I think esomorph have usually a lot of fat and I am more on the muscular side I tend to think I might be more meso. Just to let you know more about myself :)

  31. Hey Rachel,
    glad to finally find someone who addresses this issue. It is very common to find personal trainers say that women can’t get too muscular or bulky, that it’s a myth blah blah blah… but as an ex pro athlete I can confirm that my quads tend always to get bulky if I don’t pay attention to the kind of workouts I do and also to the intensity and the frequency. I always study and observe my body (like you do I’d say), because I did so many experiments and errors on it I don’t wasn’t to risk anymore; so I’d like to know your thoughts. Will try to keep it short.
    1) ballet class: I am following a class called ballet beautiful (online). At the beginning it totally changed my body as it elongated my legs and toned my body. The issue is that I am like a nazi Sergeant, means I started to use just that as cardio every day for even 2 hours (Allegra jumps, lots of plies, tendus) etc.. even if the founder says you can’t bulk from her classes, I think that every activity where you use your legs so much has the potential to make your legs bigger, right? This isn’t like barre, ok, but what do you think about a classe like it? Ballerinas are always very skinny and have to be damn careful about NOT put too much muscles on their quads.
    2) trampoline: I did it as alternative of elliptical or run when I rent a house with that in the living room; I enjoyed it very much because it was very gentle on my joints and, because I have a hernia, it was a good choice. I think that the rebound could potentially reduce the bulkiness effect of the soil. What do you think? I’d like to buy one of this to change my routine!!
    3) now I can tell you what made my legs BIG LIKE HELL: Step, sprints, HIIT with jumps, plyo weights… I was kind of depressed when I started to see my body changing and you want to know the worst part? It took me more than 1 year (you read right yes), to lose all the muscle!! Also it is a great shame because when I decided I wanted to increase my butt, keeping my legs out was almost impossible, even from bridges, thrust etc my quads were always involved. And I always prefer the model look with lean thighs (even not super toned), than the muscular body builder kind.
    Of course I have always walked hours with good results, the problem is that I am so well trained now that I could walk like 4 hours with issues so I don’t even know if it walking is doing anything to me anymore (and incline isn’t an option I am learning here)…

    Ok I’ll stop here otherwise you won’t reply! Thanks so much in advance, have a lovely day !!

    Lorenza

    1. Hi lovely! OK I’ll get straight to it :) 1. I think ballet classes are fine for not bulking, but as you said, using your legs a lot and doing this type of workout 2 hours per day would probably cause your legs to bulk. I would just try to do it 1 hour, 3 times per week at the maximum :) 2. Trampoline can bulk your legs so I would choose another type of cardio such as running or swimming. 3. Not sure if you asked a question there, but I would try my butt workouts as this will help build your butt without making your legs bigger. And also, I would say that you are a mesomorph. You could be meso-endo, but it’s quite rare to be an endomorph and to be so tall (jealous of your height!) xx

  32. I’m so glad I found this website. I gained so much tricep muscle in barre classes and it’s more than my biceps and shoulders so my arms look really bulky even though there’s almost no fat on them. I seem to gain muscle in certain areas really quickly and I’m so over reading that women can’t get huge muscles without eating a ton of protein and really trying to. I naturally have a lot of muscle and gain it easily so thanks for not making me feel crazy. Also, thanks for posting help on the subject.

    1. Is there anything I can do to now decrease my tricep muscle mass? What tricep exercises don’t increase the muscle in the back part of the arm? Thanks!

    2. Hi lovely, I’m really sorry to hear that. I know it’s crazy that everyone says women can’t get bulky. If you feel bulky, no one should be able to tell you otherwise. Anyway, have a look at this blog post on how to slim down a muscular upper body. The best thing to do would be to stop the workouts that are building the muscle in your triceps, and avoid using them for now. This will give them a chance to go down in size. Good luck! xx

  33. Hello!
    I am on a dance team (we practice three days a week) and I also work out every day. I focus mostly on cardio. My workout may be rock climbing, running, or stair climbing depending on the day. I usually end my workout session with body weight ab conditioning.
    I used to be tiny, but in the last two years I have become quite muscular. The issue is it isn’t the leanest muscle in the world. My workouts haven’t really changed in the last five years except I added rock climbing in. My diet has changed because I struggled with mild anorexia, so I had to stop restricting foods. I eat more than I used to for my health.
    Do you think I should change my workout routine or just try to alter my diet a bit? I am definitely working on my diet, but I don’t know if my workout routine is working for me.
    Thank you!

    1. I forgot to mention that I am not trying to alter my diet in an unhealthy way. I am just trying to eat less sugar and processed food.

  34. Hi Rachael, Don’t know if you had a guy comment on here before :) I enjoyed your article and had a few questions. I have very bulky legs! massive calves, quads and butt. I have tried very many things like leg exercises with low weights and high reps, running on the elliptical, HIIT and constant stretching. I have even now stopped leg exercises completely because there is a rule out there that “if you don’t use it you lose it” hoping that my leg muscles will decrease just from not being used, but I am still running on the elliptical for 30 minutes. I also do not know which of the 3 body types I am. I have an unproportionate body, bulky legs/butt, small arms, love handles. I am not on a strict diet but don’t eat that unhealthy either. I go to the gym 4-5 times a week and nothing really seems to work for me.

    Please help :)

    1. Hi Adam, I think i’ve had one guy before so not many! ;) What you said about “if you don’t use it, you lose it” is generally true. By stopping the leg exercises, you will decrease the muscle size. You are still using them with the elliptical so might be why the results are taking a while. Running on a treadmill would be better (and long distance). Losing muscle is actually quite hard and takes a while (time may depend on your body type), so you just need to be patient. I would focus more on upper body and core workouts for a while to give your leg muscles a chance to reduce. Trying out yoga classes could also be beneficial! I hope that helps – good luck! xx

  35. Hi Rachael,
    I just found your site and the info you give is great, and makes me super hopeful that I can meet my goal of getting thinner legs!
    I think I’m a mesomorph, and am considering starting a rebound exercise/ trampoline workout program, because of the convenience- I think it’s something I could commit to doing regularly. Do you think if I do this at low intensity it would be ok and not cause bulkening?
    Thanks so much! xo

    1. Hi Jen! Aww thank you :) This type of workout won’t really slim your legs and the constant jumping will add some muscle. Whether that’s bulky or not, I’m not too sure. If you really enjoy it then I think it’s definitely worth a try! But I would just be wary. Good luck! xx

  36. Hi Rachel!
    I’ve been reading your blog recently and I think it is amazing and I feel like finally someone understands my fear to get bulky quads.
    But I am really confused now. You see vs models are my inspiration I adore their bodies and their hard work. But you said that heavy lifting and hiit and spinning classes and hill runs are all have a big chances to bulk up the legs. But most of them actually do all those exercises they do a lot of heavy weighted squats hiit lunges bike and many more and still their legs are not even close to be bulky. And I know that maybe they have another body type but I really want to have legs like they do. I read your posts about body types and it comes out that I am an ectomorph and a mesomorph and a year ago I have done squats and all the things you say to avoid but I don’t really remember what happened with my legs but it came out I quit with them and I had really skinny legs after that but I didn’t felt they were toned as much as their legs are. At that period I was underweight and my parents took me to a nutritionist and over the last 6 months I had a giant diet plan of 3000 calories in order to gain weight and I wasn’t allowed to do any kind of sports. Know I am good and back to my routine but steel I am allowed to do just 40 min of workout a day since I can lose weight too fast if I will do more than this right now. Now my weight is good but I want to lose a little bit weight and tone up since after 6 months of doing nothing I am totally out of shape. But I think my body builds up muscle pretty quickly and I don’t want it to happen in my legs area. And now sorry for talking too much and thank you for reading this but I really don’t know what to do. I don’t know maybe my legs won’t bulk up if I’ll do 10kg squats and lunges and kettlebell squats and sumo squats and step machine and other leg exercises that work on my quads. But I am afraid to try again cause I am afraid to get bigger legs and I don’t want to be disappointed. Another problem is that I really like lifting weights and I regularly do 3 sets of 15 reps on each exercise. And something even more confusing is that I saw in a few of your old videos that even you do many kinds of squats lunges and hiit sections that include squat jumps box jumps and so on… Please help me I am really active but I don’t know what to do and which exercises I need to avoid and which I can do without worrying about my quads. I am really inspired by the joja page on Instagram if you know it. It’s a page of the vs angels Josephine Skriver and Jasmine Tookes and in this page they share how they workout and the exercises they do and as I mentioned earlier they do a lot of things you said to avoid. I wish I could do those exercises without getting bulky quads. Maybe I should first rich to the weight and the legs look I want by doing the exercises you recommend doing and than trying to do their exercises and see how my legs change. I love you very much and thanks for reading and please answer me.

    1. Hi lovely! Well first of all, pretty much of all of the Victoria Secret models are ectomorphs so they will find it very difficult to get bulky. I also follow the joja page and love it! I know they both go very heavy with the weights and this might sound weird, but last year in the VS show, Jasmine’s legs were a lot bigger walking down the runway compared to previous years. Have a look! Josephine is absolutely tiny so that’s why she can’t really get too muscular. It sounds like you are the ectomorph body type also, so I think it would be very difficult for you to get bulky. I would try doing a combination of lighter exercise and HIIT and weighted. I think this would be good for your body. I used to do HIIT and heavy weight lifting when I first started this blog. I liked it, but eventually my legs (and entire body) got too big and muscular. You can read my story here. I hope that answers all your questions! xx

  37. Hi Rachel,

    I love this post! I currently walk 8 miles a day or more, and will run every now and then. I want to tone up but slim down. Do you think I am doing enough cardio to lift weights and not become “bulky”? I tend to be average weight with long legs and tall. I don’t see a body type fitting my description so I am confused. Thank you xx

    1. Hi Elisabeth, you definitely do lots of walking – good for you! If you do the wrong type of exercises, it doesn’t matter how much cardio you do, you’ll still build muscle. If you are a skinny body type, there is much less chance of you bulking up. I’m not sure on your body type if you have long legs and are tall (i.e. the ectomorph body type), I don’t think you need to worry too much about bulking up! xx

  38. Hi Rachel! I am trying to slim down a bit and also focusing on getting more defined abs. I bulk up really easy -even when on calorie deficit, which is fantastic for toning my arms and core, but a problem for my legs, as I hate the bulk down there. I’ve now discovered TRX and I really like how it works my core, but I am worried it will make my legs bigger because even when just doing exercises targeting the core I still can really feel the burn in my legs. Just wanted to know the effect you think TRX may have on my legs (just by doing core exercises) and whether I should avoid it or not.

    Thank u!!xxx

    1. Hi lovely, core exercises on the TRX shouldn’t work your legs too hard (you will obviously still use them though). So I don’t think it would bulk them up (unless you’re doing one legged squats and other targeted leg exercises). I think it would be OK to do but just monitor your legs and see if you experience any unwanted changes :) xx

  39. Hi rachel! Your blogs helped me alot in figuring my workout plan,but ive hit plateau now :( besides doing low cardio such as power walks three times a week, can I do the jillian micheals 30 day shred program for rest of the week? It helped me to lose weight but I found that if I overdo it, it makes my shoulders broad and legs bulky? But since it counts as resistance and strength training with short surges of energy, (its a 20 minute workout) im quite confused as to whether it will help or not? Thanks :)

    1. Hi lovely! Well if it makes your shoulder broad and legs bulky, I probably wouldn’t do it but it’s up to you! I would try the circuits on my blog or eBook (if you haven’t already) xx

  40. Hi,
    I’ve been using ankle weights when doing strength training and the workout moves are very simple; fire hydrants, donkey kicks, etc. Yet when I did a monthly measurement check, I notice that my thighs are grow slowly. Should I continue to use ankle weights and hope that it’ll slim down or stop using them? I’m wanting thinner thighs and I don’t know if I’ll have the opposite effect or why it’s happening.

    1. Hi Jules, oh I’m sorry to hear this! :( These type of workouts build a small amount of muscle so if you’re not doing any cardio or anything else to try and lose weight, you may not be reducing fat on your legs (just adding size with muscle). I would keep these resistance style workouts to 3 times per week maximum (overdoing it can cause you to build up too much muscle) and you can stop using the ankle weights for now. I would also make sure you’re doing cardio and of course eating healthy and at a calorie deficit to lose fat xx

  41. Hi Rachel :)

    I’ve read most of your posts and I find them really helpful. Two years ago I lost weight now I’m sitting at a comfortable weight of 52kg however I have a combination of both mesomorph and endomorph body types. So when I do workout it’s difficult to stick to something for too long as I’ll gain muscle then when I switch to another plan it works for a bit then I end up gaining muscle again. Is there anything you suggest I do.

    Xx
    Tamera

    1. Hi lovely, it sounds like you need to find a plan that works for YOU. Perhaps give my style of training a go if you bulk up easily. Trying different programs is the only way you’ll know which ones works for your body and your goals (and which ones don’t). Good luck! xx

  42. Hi Rachael!

    This is such an informative article and I’m definitely reading more of your writing!

    I hope you can help me clarify a few questions that I have! I have been going to the gym for almost 2 months alternating between weight and cardio exercises. Because I have naturally big thighs with what I call “baby fats” surrounding my thighs, I find it very hard to be losing those fats although my upper body looks significantly slimmer. I’ve been doing lots of squats and leg presses and my thighs have started developing muscles, but I’m afraid that it will make me look even bulkier than before. What do you recommend for losing thigh fats without bulking up?

  43. Hi Rachael,

    I’m so glad I ran across your blog. Love everything you share here. I have a few questions and hope that you could help me. I’m 5’4″ and currently 130lb and 26.5% body fat. My goal is slim down to 110lb and 20% body fat. I think I have the worst body shape that I don’t know what type I fall into. I have very small breasts, no waistline (around 29″), and big thighs (around 22″) when comparing to upper body. My bums not small too but not very very big (37″at most). My calves are also big (14.5″).

    I’ve been going to the gym for a while and seeing my lower body getting bigger :( Finally I saw your blog. So here’s the question:

    Should I avoid squat and lunges at all? Or I should still do some but just do them without weights? I’m also doing yoga (4 days/wk) and pilates (2 days/wk). Some days I go to classes back to back. Looking into barre as well but probably will only do it 1-2 times a week. I also just signed up kickboxing circut class (30 min.) and I will add power walking to my cardio (can only walk as fast as 4.2, is it enough?) Hate running though.

    Sorry if that’s too many questions. I’d really appreciate if you could help me.

    1. Hi Eva, I’m not 100% sure on body type but I would say you might be a meso / endo combination, otherwise maybe closer to the mesomorph. I’m sorry to hear that your lower body is getting bigger. Because of this, yes I would avoid squats and lunges for now. Adding in some kickboxing and cardio will be great! And walking 4.2mph is a very good speed. Good luck! xxx

  44. Hi rachael! I am also a mesomorph, standing at 5’3. I look fine overall, but would like to tone up my legs as they’re a little flubby and also trim them down a but. I used to run, sometimes interval running and sometimes steady state running but feel it’s just been building up more muscle and making my thighs bulkier which is not what I want, especially since im short. I do walk to and from campus everyday and the walk in total is about 30 min. Would you still recommend the running? Or should I focus more on my walking and resistance training for my legs? Thank’s Rachael!

  45. Hey ..i am mesomorph 5’5 I look slim overall but i do have bulky thighs and saddlebags .I run on low intensity and moderate speed for 20-30 mins followed by squats , lunges leg raises and leg circles ..I really want to tone and get lean thighs and decrease glutes and get rid off saddlebags. What type of exercises and cardio would you recommend??

    1. Hi lovely, I would recommend either walking or running faster. And I would also avoid squats and lunges if you have bulky thighs that you want to get rid of. I would do the circuits on my blog (and in my eBook!) plus the cardio I mentioned xx

  46. This endomorphs thanks you for this blog from the bottom of my heart!!

    I bulk right up from heavy lifting and trainers will look me in the eye and tell me what’s happening to my body is impossible.

    I asked one if he knew what the word ‘gaslighting’ meant. Thank you for making me feel sane.

  47. Hi Rachel, I’ve done exercise all my life, but I don’t have the results I would like to. I do trx 4 times a week and yoga twice a week, but my legs are not toned at all. What can I do to tone my thighs without gaining volume? Do I need a diet?

  48. Hello Rachael,

    I don’t do comments at all. But this was inspiring and so informative. Great job explaining all you did. I will be using your suggestions in my work out. I am small – 5′ 2″ was always between 105 and 125 now I’m 170. Gained lots of weight in my upper body because of a trainer who gave me very heavy weights. Was always trying to find a solution to reversing this weight. I was very unhappy until I found your sight.

    1. Hi Julia, thanks so much for the comment! I’m sorry to hear that this happened to you but just know that it is reversible! I hope all of the information and workouts on my blog help you get back to your best :) xx

  49. Hi Rachel,
    I just came across your site. I have been working out for over 20 years regularly, progressively increasing the complexity of my workouts, and I consider myself to be very fit. I do strength training 3 times/week and cardio (running or kickboxing) 2-3 times/week. I have observed over the years that indeed as I increased the weight, I got bulkier, although the trainers on my videos (I am a busy mom, so I workout at home) say that is not possible. I have an athletic build with thicker legs and I am 5’3″, but it is relatively easy for me to lose weight once I start dieting. I am ready to try your workouts, and would like to purchase your e-book. However, I have a question: Is this a total body workout (abs, legs, arms), with emphasis on leg slimming, or mainly a leg workout routine? Also, are the routines for the three main body types included, or do they have to be purchased separately (just double checking before I purchase). Thanks!

    1. Hi Mary, wow you sound very fit! That is great :) My workouts in my eBooks are full body so you will also work your upper body and core. And there are 3 separate eBooks. So after you buy the eBook, you’ll get an automatic email from me and you will be able to download whichever eBooks suits you best! If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask xxx

      1. Thank you for your reply Rachel! So, if I understood correctly, I need to know my body type prior to purchasing the workout because I will have access to only one of f the ebooks. However, if I am a combination of two body types (I think) because I have thicker athletic legs, but I’m not curvy at all on my upper body, and I can lose weight relatively easily when I diet, and I think I’m closer to mesomorph than endomorph, what book would you recommend to get the very best results? Also, are your workouts intense (advanced)? Or more like beginner/ intermediate (would I sweat a lot?). Thanks again!

        1. Hi Mary, if you are between the 2 body types, I suggest doing the endomorph one. But you do have the option to download both eBooks (for no additional cost). The workouts are different to normal weight lifting and HIIT so you won’t sweat in that same way and have a really high heart rate. But they are more challenging endurance wise. I still sweat doing them (but I sweat a lot haha). At first they might not look too difficult, but when you do them, they are difficult xxx

  50. Hi! So as an Endomorph I have been having a real hard time getting this weight off.. I do like the leg press machine at the gym and how strong & shapely it has made my legs, but I don’t want to overdo it.. I have been doing 100 presses at 130-150lbs. Is that too much? I am 5’2 and weigh 155lbs, gained 25 of them after the birth of my baby 4.5 years ago and ready to let them go!

    1. Hi Lisa, I’m sorry to hear that. Wow yes that is a lot, both in terms of reps and amount of weight. I’m not too sure what else you have been doing but I would mix up your workouts – you can do resistance training, but also try HIIT and high intensity cardio. I’m also not too sure if your goal is to get smaller legs or not. If you don’t want to lose your muscle, then continuing with leg weighted exercise and any type of HIIT is great! Also remember that diet is the most important thing when you’re trying to lose weight! Good luck xxx

  51. Hi Rachel,

    I’m loving this Blog and have practically been on it for the last 24 hours restructuring my work out regime. I used to do Tracy Anderson and over the years seemed to completely forget about working out to match your body type! I’m an Endomorph body type but really haven’t been training as I should! Spin hiit sessions x3 per week. 3 x body attack, weight machines for leg presses etc, and rowing, grit cardio, grit ploy, Trx and kettle bells

    So far this week I’ve walked 1 hour briskly every day (okay I know it’s only tueaday)
    And tonight I did the hiit running – run for 2 mins and walk for 1, I only managed 5 reps it’s was a killer!!

    Little bit stuck with resistance training, can I still do TRX and Kettlebells with a 10kg weight? I am presuming that’s too high?

    And can you see anything in my current regime which I can keep in there such as body attack, grit?

    I’ve got a holiday in 6 weeks and really need to shift the weight… and drop 14lbs do you think that’s possible?

    Thank you xxx

    1. Hi Bee, oh wow I’m happy to hear you like my blog! You definitely have been training very intensely which a lot of people find hard to do, so doesn’t sound like you lack motivation! Good work with the running and walking – keep it up :) I think TRX and 10kg kettlebells is fine, as long as you don’t do too many squats and lunges (if you’re trying to reduce muscle size in legs). I would probably only do grit cardio for now and body attack, maybe just once per week each. 14lbs in 6 weeks is doable but will be a challenge! Good luck and I’m sure you will look amazing for your holiday :) xxx

      1. Thank u so much, I really appreciate ur response and so sorry to ask again but just so I’m clear and can lock into this new regime what do u think of the following and have I covered everything?;
        So the grit cardio, attack, and the hiit running will cover my three times a week cardio sessions. And the daily 1 hour walks 6 days a week will help burn my leg fat.. for for my three strength work outs per week I can do 1 x 30 minute upper body TRX, 1 x 30 minute upper body 10kg kettle bells and for the other strength class could I do Pilates or yoga?
        (I did one of ur resistance workouts on YouTube today, the yoga push up one and it was awesome I sweated loads which I found fascinating as it was low impact) :-)

        If there is anything else u could think of for me to shift that 14 lbs in that tight timeframe that would be a big help. Thank you Rachel xx

        1. Hi Bee, yes if you can fit all of that in, then that will help you lose weight quickly (plus diet!). It is quite a lot though so if you can’t do it all, you can definitely scale it back. I wish you all the best! xx

  52. As a swimmer myself I can tell you that swimming twice a day 6x a week does not cause muscles to bulk up. Swimmers also incorporate weight training, high amounts of protein, and dry land (workouts before practice that are done on deck.) So don’t shy away from swimming, once a day 5x a week will get you seeing results in as little as 2 weeks depending on your build and muscle tone.

  53. Hi Rachel.
    This is really helpful!!

    However I have a few questions!

    I eat healthy and I started eating about 1500-1700 calories a day. My main goal is to basically slim down like a Victoria Secret model. The healthy way. I am not built that big but not small either. I’m like an average girl.

    I don’t want my thighs to be big and I also really want to loose fast around my thighs(inner and outer)
    I want to work towards girl abs too. I currently weigh 60kg and I’m 5’6 inches tall.
    i am scared to lift to many weights since I don’t want my muscles to get bigger. I don’t know what to do. I have 3 months to get in perfect shape and I really need some help.
    Can you please advise me!

    If I run 2.5km on a flat surface and bike 20 minutes(incline 1 for both). Will I build big muscles. At the gym they also have a curcuit with arm and leg workouts. The lowes is 2.5 kg but I feel like I do 15 of thw 15kg and I don’t feel it that much. Is that too much, how much kg should I do for the thigh exercise?
    Should I do any other cardio?

    What about extra exercises, is there anything you would recommend for me? I really want to get my stomache, legs and butt in shape(including my love handles) without building too much muscle. I do not have a personal trainer, I go to the gym on my own and I am 16 years old.

    Is the cardio I’m doing not enough?
    How long will it take to show results?

    Is it possible to perfectly slim down in 3 months?
    Or is the goal too unrealistically?
    THANK YOU

    1. Hi LeeLee! Well it sounds like you’re already doing great with your diet, so well done! I wouldn’t do any biking if you’re worried about your legs getting bigger. I would do the running and then walk afterwards – walking a lot will really help you get rid of the extra fat on your legs, so definitely do that. I’m not sure what type of thigh exercises you mean, but if they’re for inner thigh, I would avoid these. They will just make the muscle here bigger, not slim them down. I would have a look at all the workouts I have posted on my blog (and Youtube/Facebook) and gives those a go! You can definitely slim down in 3 months – that’s a good goal. Do the running, walking and workouts such as this, and this, and you will get the results! xx

  54. Hi Rachael my self Mansoor I’m fed up with my cross and bulky short legs actually I’m very short like 5.5ft so my upper body is slim and fit but my legs are heavy and shaped out I have tried my exercises like squats lounges jumping longe s etc but I can see only my legs are building and getting shaped out and my pants and shorts look ugly on me
    I have a question that by lifting weights and building upper body are there any chances that I can get skinny and slim legs

    1. Hi lovely, exercises such as squats, lunges, and jumping exercises do help with overall fat loss, but tend to bulk up your legs, especially if you are shorter. I would avoid these. Lifting weights for your upper body doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue for women, but can still bulk you up too. To slim down your legs, you really need to do cardio (read more here) and I would recommend lighter resistance training to tone up without getting bigger. Good luck! xx

  55. Hi Rachael,

    I’m still in school and I’m on the track team. In middle school I was a pretty good sprinter and now in high school this coach wants me to continue sprinting. However, I am not seeing the times that I used to have and my turnover rate just isn’t fast enough. I usually run the 100 and 200 but lately I just haven’t been able to move my feet quick enough. The worst part of all this is that my calves are extremely bulky and muscular and I don’t like that look. How am I supposed to wear a dress? I’d like to slim down my legs but in order to do that I’d have to switch to long distance running. Everyone in long distance has done it since the beginning of the school year in cross country but I’m only participating in outdoor. Also the workouts that I perform as a sprinter include lots of squats and leg presses and such. What should I do? I want lean legs but I don’t see a solution. Track is the only sport I do right now.

    Thanks :)

    1. Hi Lil, that’s a tough one! I guess only you can make this decision and decide whether you want to stick with sprinting or try long distance running. Long distance running will definitely help you achieve a slimmer look, but it is also important to do what you love. You can always work on slimming them down after you finish the season. I hope you are able to make the decision! I wish you all the best xx

  56. Hey Rachael,
    I just came across your website – good stuff! Just wanted to ask you if you could clarify this.

    I am an endomorph and having a hard time losing weight. I need to lose at least 10 kgs. I do HIIT 3 times a week, usually treadmill with running for 45 sec and 1 min rest. I do resistance training 3 times a week, doing things like squats, lunges, bicep curls, etc.

    From reading your post, am I suppose to use lighter weights and do different exercises as a part of my resistance training to avoid bulking? What excersizes would these be (not just for skinny legs)? And for HIIT, I shouldn’t be running since that could cause bulk? Then what HIIT can I do on the treadmill?

    I would really appreciate any advice you have to give. Thanks Rachael!

    1. Hi Jane, happy to help clarify these for you :) First of all, shorter endomorphs can bulk up with running, especially HIIT. If you are one of these people, I would avoid HIIT altogether and just do steady state running. If not, I would keep HIIT running to once per week maximum and stead state running twice per week. It is OK to do some squats and lunges but too many of them could bulk you up, especially being an endomorph. Here are some different types of workouts you can try (full body ones) that won’t bulk you up.
      http://www.rachaelattard.com/free-skinny-legs-ebook-workout-part-1/
      http://www.rachaelattard.com/free-skinny-legs-workout-ebook-day-2/
      http://www.rachaelattard.com/hiit-workout-wont-cause-bulk-4/
      http://www.rachaelattard.com/full-body-hiit-workout-wont-cause-bulk-3/
      http://www.rachaelattard.com/15-minute-hiit-ab-workout/
      I hope that helps! xx

  57. Hi Rachael, I think you are fabulous. I am 43 and had a total knee replacement a few years ago. I used to weight 117lbs, but because if poor diet and inactivity I gained a lot. So 3 months ago I got tired of being over weight at 170lbs, I began doing Jane Fonda low impact step aerobics. I would crash diet and lose 10 lbs then work on maintaining for a couple weeks and do it again. I have lost 25 lbs and thought I was doing good. I want to lose 25 lbs more but its not working as quick as the first 20 lbs did. I only just found you on the internet, and WOW! I never heard of the 3 body types before. I am definitely Mesomorph! When I was a girl I was a tomboy and spent most days on a dirt bike and my legs have always been extremely muscular, until my accident then the TKR that is. I look much better since I dropped 25lbs and began cardio but my stomach is still huge. I was holding off on working my stomach until I lost some weight I figured I would just make it look bigger if I built muscle behind fat??? I really don’t have much money and I need to know what my menu should look like on an extremely low budget. I also have 3 boys to feed who hate eating healthy. I am trying to put together a workout routine from all the great advise you have given. Thank you so much for all you do.

    1. Aww thank you so much! You’re already doing great – 25lbs is a lot of weight that you’ve already lost so don’t feel discouraged! Yo yo dieting and exercise definitely doesn’t help (I used to be like this too). Don’t go too hard too soon or you will continue to keep crashing after a few weeks. Start with something that you can do long term, even if it’s just 3 days per week of exercise and then you can always add on from there. Slow progress is better than fast progress then going backwards, and will also mean you’ll develop better habits. Stomach fat is hard to lose – I wrote a blog post on how to lose fat from stubborn areas so have a read of that for more information. In terms of your diet, you don’t have to cook anything fancy. Just try to focus mostly on fruit and vegetables, protein and then healthy fats (which you can incorporate into your cooking – olive oil, oily fish, etc). If you need to, you can always make something different for your boys (I know that’s a lot of effort!) and then make a few meals in advance for yourself – meal prepping is an amazing way to stay on track. Good luck with everything! I know you can do it xx

  58. This is the best blog in the whole world. I so appreciate all the advice you give. So, I’ve been following your advice about the walking and I like what I’m seeing. But I’m coming off dance cardio, which I loved more than anything. However, at the end of the day I want results, and the dance cardio was bulking. Could you string together some of your HIiT non-bulking moves with walking drills, step touching (non-impact) to make things more interesting and more like “dance”? I’m also interested in de-bulking the calf. Again, I live on the West Coast of Canada where it rains more days than not, so the challenge is to create an indoor, at-home workout. I don’t ever want to join a gym again. It’s so much easier to work out at home. Thank you for the advice. This is exciting! Thank you.

    1. Hi C, that’s great that you’re liking what you see! Hmm I’ve never thought about doing that, I guess it would be more like a class? I’ll try to put one together for you, but I can’t say I’ve ever taught a dance class before! Also have a read of this blog post on how to slim down calves xx

  59. Can you tell me will dump-bell sumo squats and dump-bell stiff leg deadlift help me to burn fat on my thighs and hips ..?

  60. Hi Rachael,
    last time I went to the gym, I had the test that measures how much fat and muscles I have. The coach told me I should not gain any more muscles and I should just work on burning the fats. Would you tell me how I can accomplish this? Will that be with only a diet or a combination of a diet and a workout? And there is a thing I don’t understand: how is it possible that I have the right amount of muscles but my metabolism level is so low?
    Thank you for your help and for this great article

    1. Hi Diana, that is a good question. If you have a lot of muscle but still a slow metabolism, there is something else going on. Have a read of this blog post that I just posted as it could have some helpful information for you. There are several things that could be causing a slow metabolism such as high cortisol levels, thyroid problems, some nutrient deficiencies, etc. Burning fat with these type of issues will be hard. If you don’t want to gain any more muscle then I would avoid resistance training for now and just focus on a good diet and cardio xx

  61. Hi Rachael! Thank you for your informative posts. :) You talk a lot about running reducing leg fat, but will this help decrease muscle as well? I recently started lifting weights and my calves and quads apparently respond VERY quickly to it. (Mesomorph). I’m backing off the weights and hoping long bouts of cardio can help slim my legs back down to how I am used to them, although I am sure reducing muscle takes time. Do I need to do anything differently to reduce muscle rather than fat? Thank you!

  62. Dear Rachel.
    First of all I want to say I love your blog, you’re great at what you’re doing! I’m 14 years, turning 15 in June (so obviously not very old and not very good at English – from Denmark – so I really wanna apologize for all my mistakes in the text:/). I’ve been working out in the gym for a little over a year now. I have always been the skinny type, not like completely completely skinny and flat, but pretty tall and slim. I always ate whatever I wanted, and how much I wanted until a little over a year ago. Then I started thinking that I needed to loose some kilos, even though people have always told me that I was skinny. And I was, I just didn’t like my body, so I thought, that I would eat all clean and workout in the gym every other day. So I dis and have been for a year now, I don’t eat neither bread, pasta, candy, chips, fast food, butter or any of that stuff, like ever. I am way more happy for my body than I have ever been, but I’m just so so scared of getting bulky. That’s is just NOT what I want, and I really don’t know, what I should do to not get bulky and get big and muscular legs. As I said, I am naturally skinny, but I just really feel like my thigh gap is getting smaller, specially when I’m walking. I don’t think it is so big as it used to be, but I don’t know what I’m doing wrong? I almost don’t do any exercises that targets the leg at all, and I eat totally clean all the time? Some weeks ago I started doing more reps and light weight, instead of heavy weight and a few reps, because people told me that that was what I should do to get lean and toned instead of bulky and muscular. I’m really chasing the Victoria Secret look, but I feel a little lost, because I feel like my legs have gotten to big. It is not much but still. I want legs like the Victoria secret models, not the bulky ones. Are there any way I can like get thinner and longer-looking legs without loosing the muscle in my butt? I also feel I have problems loosing the last piece of stomach fat, you know like my muffin top, but I eat clean and exercise, why won’t it go away? I’m so sorry for writing this much, I really hope you can help me, but I totally understand if you can’t. I hope you have a great day or evening, I don’t know when or if you will even see this, but yeah hahah
    Love Maria

    1. Hi Maria! Yes you are still very young so just remember that your body will change as you get older. With your legs, it really just depends on what exercises you’re doing. I would continue doing lighter weight and higher rep, and then focus more on exercises that tone up your butt, rather than using your legs. Here is an example of a workout that would be great. And with the lower stomach fat, the best thing to get rid of this is diet and higher intensity exercise such as running or HIIT. Good luck lovely! xx

  63. Hi I just came across your blog and I was wondering if you could help me somehow…I have a huge problem with my hips and thighs. I researched all kinds of excersizes for sliming down there, but nothing seems to work. I’m ganing a lot of muscle from the littlest excersize and even though I am on a suitable diet I just look bulky. My upper body is very slim and toned, but my hips and thighs keep driving me crazy. I have a thigh gap, but I feel like it’s getting smaller and I don’t want to lose it. Here are the excersizes I do two times a day ( early in the morning and right before I go to bed ) : 5 side step ups on each leg, 10 side planks with leg lifts, 10 lateral lunges, 15 inner thigh lifts, 5 bridge raises, 10 pile squats, 10 donkey kicks, 10 sec wall sits, 15 fire hydrant kicks and 5 side lunges. I’ve been doing those for a month… I’ve been trying to get toned legs since june 2016 (I did different excersizes and ran atleast 2-3 times a week), but what I’ve got now is nothing near my dream body. I was wondering what can I actually do to slim my hips and thigs and keep my thigh gap. I would be really thankfull for any help. ( Sorry for my english. It’s not my first language and I rarely have the confidence to write any comments :D )

    1. Hi Nataly, I can definitely help you :) If you want to slim down your hips and thighs then you need to be doing more cardio – both high intensity (running) and low intensity (walking). In terms of your workouts, I would do more full body exercises, and avoid overdoing it on lower body exercises, especially if you’ve been gaining a lot of muscle. Here are some workouts that you can try – here, here and here. Good luck! xx

  64. Hi I have just started at gym I am only 32 and have really bad wrinkles saggy knees I am a size 8 and have in the past had weight issues but have been 9 stone for past 5 years and solved diet issues I am currently leg training doing 15 sets of each leg weights but am worried I am not doing those correctly as I have no pain after working out now i am desperate as I really want to feel comfortable to take my children swimming Amy help would be really appreciated Thankyou

    1. Hi Marie, if you don’t feel sore after your workout that is OK! You would still be using your muscles and doing a proper workout, but you probably aren’t feeling sore because you didn’t go hard enough. I would perhaps have a personal trainer (or friend) show you the correct technique or I’m sure you could find the info you need for each exercise on Youtube somewhere. With the knees, it could be a bit genetic. But I do have a similar issue myself. I find that the more cardio I do (especially walking), the more they improve. So I would continue with your weights and do some cardio and I’m sure they will improve over time! xx

  65. hi racheal..u r blog is really nice…my body type is endomorph..i want to reduce my thigh fat ..jst now i started my workout …i m doing squats, lunges, ( without weights ) and donkey lift ,skipping for 3 times per week …should I add any other exercise ? I need to loose weight on hips and thighs…Please help…

        1. I think these workouts will help but it depends on your body type and the rest of your workout program. I would definitely make sure to fit in some cardio (especially walking and running) as it is great for getting rid of fat on your thighs and butt. Have a look at my butt workout too xx

  66. Hi Rachel! So glad I stumbled on to your blog! I have always struggled with my legs- leaning them out without bulking out is so tough. I’m a definite mesomorph- when you say light weights what do you suggest? Also I used to run a lot more and it was great for my thighs bit my knees bother me now after only 15 minutes- any good alternatives? Been using an elliptical but just not as effective….thank you!!

    1. Hi Heather, I have actually stumbled across your blog before! Love your work ;) Yes the elliptical isn’t as effective. Walking is really great for slimming down your legs. You don’t necessarily need to run, it will just help you slim them down quicker. So I would focus on doing lots of walking. For the resistance exercises, have a look at this blog post for some ideas on the type of workouts I suggest. Otherwise, anything that is body weight only or lighter weights / resistance bands and higher rep would be good! xx

  67. I do want to say my trainer is fabulous, noticed I needed an efficient workout so I can not stress about being away from work too long. So he has taken into consideration the 15 minute downhill walk (to the beach, the joy) and the 15 minute uphill back. I figure if I’m armed with info and concerns, he’ll take all into consideration.

  68. Rachel, you are a wonder. Thank you for your reply. Knowing how to ask for what I need is the ultimate empowerment! And you’ve provided that — the info and the empowerment.
    Thank you yet again,
    Belinda

  69. On the other hand, if I’ve gone from 30 years of waitressing and gymming to editing and sitting and using the elliptical 20 mins a day, will 6 weeks of these exercises do permanent damage, in terms of large thighs? If I say to him next time my goal is to slim down my legs and get back calf definition? Yes, true rugby legs. Beef to the ankle, as Grandma used to say.

    Sorry to keep bothering you, I’ve just found my new guru…

    Belinda

    1. Hi Belinda, no 6 weeks of this program won’t do permanent damage. You could just monitor is and see how you go – but if you do build too much muscle, it will just take longer to reduce the muscle size. If you don’t need to lose weight, changing your workout program to the one I suggested won’t make much difference – it will just help you tone up differently. Weights and HIIT are definitely great for helping keep your tummy lean, so you could always do a bit of a combination of the program he’s given you, with cardio and lighter resistance training. Perhaps ask him to make your program more full body and less focus on legs? The decision with what to do is really up to you, but if it were me, I would modify it xx

  70. Thanks Rachel — I’m wiry up top, but have the family rugby legs. With exercise and waitressing, they’d avoided the curse, and now it seems the only part of my body to build muscle are my legs! I don’t need to lose weight — 59 kgs and 175 cms tall. Will that make a diff? My tummy has tightened back. Is it possible it’s going to go and I’m over-critical, having not to worry in the past? My gut feeling (no pun intended) is that you are right, as they’ve never looked so…round.

    Much appreciated. Now to approach the trainer…

    Belinda

  71. Re my above query, FYI I was a waitress for 30 years, now I sit on my bum and edit books. I was wondering, in retrospect, if the constant walking involved in waiting tables was why my legs were leaner, and I’d seemed to escape the family curse. I was also wondering if perhaps they look worse to me because everything else is coming back to where it was (I am 54…) And if you do ever write a book…

    1. Hi Belinda. I would say that being a waitress would have definitely helped keep your legs slim. You would have been walking around and on your feet all day. That is why I recommend doing lots of walking to keep your legs slim (read blog post here). This type of workout program will build muscle in your legs. If you overall goal is weight loss, it would probably suit you. But if you already think your legs are too big, this program will make your legs even bigger. What I suggest is some walking, running and lighter resistance training (read blog post here for ideas). I actually do have an eBook for this specifically! Here is the link to my eBook :) xx

  72. Hi Rachel,
    Thanks for the great info. I’ve gone from an active job to a non-active job, and one day I discovered my jeans didn’t fit. Joined the gym and got a trainer. Now I fit my jeans again, but my thighs look huge (to me). I’m not sure what I am — tall and lean but big legs. The trainer currently has me doing SkiErg, Deadlifts and lunges 2 days a week, and squats the other 2 days (along with some upper body exercises). Is this why I’m not rocking my jeans like I used to? Or will it happen?

    Thank you,
    Belinda

  73. Hi Rachel!
    Im trying to slim my legs down but also tone my bum. I’m trying to keep up a routine of reformer pilates 2-3 times a week and I run for 30 minutes on 10km/h 5-7 times a week, do you think running at that speed and time is helping? If i include your recommended HIIT resistance training do you think this will help me with getting rid of the fat on my legs? I was also wondering what exercises you recommend that will tone my bum but not bulk my thighs? My main area of concern is the tops of my thighs (inner and outer) and was wondering what you best recommend to get rid of the fat and reduce the size? I have so many questions hahah sorry! Also any tips on reducing calf size around achilles/ankle?

    1. Hi Matisse! I like lots of questions so don’t worry :) Have a look at this blog post for some workout ideas to tone your bum and not increase the size of your legs. Pilates 2-3 times per week is great! I would reduce your running to 3 times per week and try to increase your speed a little bit each time. On the other days, I recommend power walking. Power walking will help to get rid of the fat on your inner and outer thighs. Unfortunately calf size is a little harder to change because it’s genetic and more about your body structure. But if you have excess fat here, losing weight will help reduce the size of them. Good luck! xx

  74. Hi rachael! I love ur post very much its amazing!! but can i ask you something, my upper body is very slim even everybody said i’m too skinny and need some carbs, but my CALVES is very huge but i dont know if it’s a muscle or fat, well it’s not tone so i think maybe it’s a fat. My thighs is small too only my calves is the problem. Please can you help me to slim it down with a fast way and not making it bulky? Thanks a lot:)

  75. Im hoping to lose weight on my thighs and calves have have been using the seated leg press, leg extension and lying down leg curls on minimal light weights with high reps. But im not sure if these are actually good to slim and tone down my legs? I do bulk quite easily so im not sure whether or not i should just give up weight training altogether?

    1. Hi Becca, it would be better to do other leg exercises that use your entire body such as squats, burpees etc, (rather than machines) but just keep in mind that these type of exercises do build some muscle but are also great for leaning out your entire body. I would avoid machines and do lighter exercises plus some cardio. Don’t give up on weight training because it is still important – just modify it :) xx

  76. Hi Rachael! I am interested in purchasing some of your books and learning more about your training… I have messaged you before and done some research and found that I think I am a mesomorph… I hold muscle well. I am short. 5ft 1 and weight 120. I am not FAT but hold weight mostly in my thighs yet overall i would say I am “boxy” and hold overall muscle well in arms and entire body.. so i need to focus on keeping the fat off the body to show off the muscle I actually to have… I worry about training because I do put BULK on easily and I keep hearing about weight training… and since I am short and have SHORT legs… and when i did that wrist test the thumb and and index finger touch.. lol… and i do not tend to have a big stomach or anything.. i want to really really lean out my legs but they are so prone to put on MUSCLE that i feel like its a DAUNTING task…. seems like i am not sure what “weight training to do” and what diet is best for me… i have been an NPC competitor and am not new to the diet thing.. but would love to see how you could help me… ? what e book or plan would be a good start for me?? thank you so much! I look forward to your help and hope to hear from you! LOVE YOUR SITE! – Heather

  77. Hey Rachael…im 34 mommy of 2 kids…hav been working out in the gym regularly with cardio Hiit and weight trainng…hoever..i dnt see my inner thighs toned amd upper arms…the day i do tri and biceps..they llok good but again normal…as far as my legs go..they are not shapely thought i do heavy leg workout with sqauts lunges curls n deadlift….my routine is 2 times legs in a week one day shoulder tri n bi..then chest n back..and 1 day hiit…pls help

    1. Hi Pooja, that’s great that you are getting to the gym so regularly! I would perhaps add in some cardio (both running and walking) and perhaps mix up your weight training so you are doing full body workouts rather than having 2 specific days dedicated to legs xx

  78. Hi! So just recently I’ve started a cross-fit program that I’m doing an for an hour 3 times a week. This includes weights (squats with bar, etc.) a little bit of cardio, abs. I’m looking to slim down and tone my body. Do you think this program is best suited for what I’m looking for, and if not do you have any suggestions? To add to this I run about 6 miles a week.

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Meg, crossfit is definitely an awesome form of exercise and will definitely help you tone up quickly! Whether or not it will slim you down really depends on your body type. If you are ectomorph or mesomorph, it should be great to help you slim down. If you are an endomorph it may help you slim down but also may bulk you up.. It works differently for everybody. I would give it a go and do it maximum 3 times per week and do steady state running 3 times per week to keep lean xx

  79. I really liked your blog….u really kind of provide us wid lot of knowledge about our bodybnd clear about oll d myths around….I really appreciate that. I wud appreciate if u r able to clear my query….m going to a gym since years…nd my main focus is to have lean nd thin legs. earlier I did lots of lundges sqats deadlift wid my bodyweight…bt now since 6 months I hv been engaged in weight training…wich provide me wid a strong feelng inside me. But there is a certain doubt in my mind nd u r d perfect person to clear the same…for leaner nd toned lrgs shud I lift heavy? should I engage myself in weight training? or shud I only engage myself in cardio? m really workibg hard on my body since years nd have seen lot of effects bt m nt happy wid my lower body results. ur blog recommended to do cardio bt I dnt want to let my whole body get effected by it nd leads to weight loss….since I dnt want to loose my weight.plz help me to clear such doubts nd being more fit wid apt knowledge. ..wll appreciate ur reply
    thank u

    1. Hi hun, I would suggest for you to do a combination of both weights and cardio. I would not suggest really heavy weights (unless you are naturally very slim and find it hard to build muscle). Focus more on light weights and HIIT circuits, plus cardio and walking xx

  80. Hi Rachel, I’m hoping you can offer me some advice as I really feel I’m at my wits end.
    I am trying to slim my bum and thighs as I’ve been running long distances (10-14km) about 4 times per week but I have gained 5kg over the past 2 years despite my diet being great according to my dietician.
    Consequently I’ve started with a trainer who recommended I stop running all together, keep doing my Pilates 2-3 times per week and I’m doing 2 resistance/high intensity sessions with her per week which consists of a circuit with high reps of weights & then we finish with 10-15mins of something like bike sprints, skipping & the rower going as hard as I can. I am soo frustrated as I just seem to be getting bigger in the areas I’m trying so hard to get smaller. I don’t know how this is possible as I’m so disciplined and I do what everyone says and this works for them! What do you suggest cos I can’t stand to get further from my goal….?

    1. Hi Belinda, I’m so sorry to hear that you have been having all of these problems. I don’t think you should stop with your running altogether. I would suggest doing running twice per week (perhaps 10km maximum and could even do some HIIT running). And then I would suggest maybe 2 HIIT sessions and 1-2 pilates sessions. Just talk to your trainer about your concerns and if it’s your legs that you are concerned about, I would lay off bike sprints or too many weighted leg exercises such as squats etc. It sounds like you’re already great with your diet so keep that up! :) xx

      1. Hi Rachel

        thanks for getting back to me.
        I spoke to my trainer and she is all about ‘trusting the process’. I see circuit training and weights work for so many women ESPECIALLY when they transform from doing cardio only to weights plus high intensity sessions.
        Maybe I haven’t stuck to it long enough to the point where I build that muscle and then my legs start to get smaller instead of just bigger with the layer of fat still covering them?
        Currently I’m power walking most days of the week 6-8km, two high intensity pt sessions which includes weights / cardio and 2-3 pilates sessions.

        Should I give it more time?
        The before and after pictures you have posted- what did you do or that person do to get that end result?

        thanks again, Bel

        xoxo

        1. Hi Bel, sorry for my late reply, I must have missed this comment. It sounds like you’re on the right track so I would just give it a bit more time – maybe about 4 weeks! For my before and after photo for my legs I did LOTS of power walking and some HIIT sessions. I also did a little bit of running xx

  81. Hi Rachel,
    I really want to slim my thighs down would regular walking and slow jogging help with this? I add in hills and flats but would this work on its own or should I add in other exercises as well which would definitely take an inch of them?x

  82. Hey Rachel! I was just wondering if you could help me… I play hockey a lot, I play lacrosse and I ride horses in the hunter jumpers. I have activity every night except Friday nights. Thats my break night. When I am not doing hockey, lax, or riding horses I run and do cardio. I tend to eat healthy foods ,but I can’t seem to slim down! My family tells me I need to loose weight. I just don’t know what to do! Please help

    1. Hi Caroline,

      It could be a combination of things. Perhaps you could try to vary your workouts (well those that you have control over, i.e. your cardio) and re-think your diet. Lots of people think they eat healthy when in fact they’re eating too many processed foods, carbs or fats etc. There could also be other factors such as stress, lack of sleep, hormonal imbalances or thyroid problems. If you don’t think you’ve got any serious health issues, let me know if you have any other specific questions relating to your diet and exercise. Good luck hun! xx

  83. Love this! I appreciate all of your blog posts, thanks again rachael for being so generous and providing all of us with this remarkable information!

  84. Hey Rachael I’m loving your blog! I just wanted to ask a few questions. I don’t really have access to the gym at the moment so have been doing alot of workouts at home , I use dumbells and just recently bought a barbell. Ive been doing a lot of plyometric based training like the ones you suggested and was just curious, will I get the same lean toned figure If I keep doing that (with light weights and more repetitons) rather then lifting heavy weights with less repetition? The barbell is only an 18kg set and I feel like its heavy enough for me, but when I saw that you and a lot of other girls are lifting upto 50-60kilos, I was a bit unsure if I was training correctly, do you have any suggestions? Haha thanks paige

    1. Hi Paige,
      Thank you! You will definitely get a lean and toned figure with plyometric training and weights with your barbell and dumbbells. However, you won’t see the same strength gains that someone lifting 50kg will. It depends on what your goals are. If you would like to improve strength then maybe buy a few extra plates to put on the barbell? But if your goal is just to improve muscle definition you should be able to achieve this with your current equipment. You may get to a point where you will need to increase your weights though to keep seeing improvements x

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