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female body types how to get skinny legs

Last Updated December 11, 2019 10:11 AM

Ever wondered why some girls can eat and train in the same way as you but end up with very different results?

Yes – genetics, hormones and different health issues play a big role. But there is an additional factor that we all seem to forget – your body type.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I am a big proponent for women not training like men and adjusting their diet and fitness to their own body type (and individual fitness and physique preferences).

A lot of women (myself included) particularly struggle with their legs and thighs! Unfortunately, for most, thighs are one of the last places where we tend to store fat.

In this blog post, I will focus on sharing my best tips on how to get lean legs according to your specific body type.

You’ll learn how to get rid of the stubborn fat from your thighs, without the fear of getting bulky, and slim down your whole body. So, let’s dive in.

WHY IT IS SO HARD SLIM DOWN LEGS WITHOUT BULKING UP (FOR SOME WOMEN)?

different body types need to train differently

Before I realized how important it was to know your body type, I used to spend a lot of time in the gym asking myself, “what am I doing wrong?”

I wanted to get lean legs, so I joined the gym with a group of girls. We all had the same fitness goals (to get lean and to slim our legs) and we were put on the same workout program.

We started lifting heavy weights and doing lots of squats (because that’s what you’re supposed to do when you want to lose thigh fat and get skinny legs, right?).

But, instead of slimming down, my thighs kept getting bigger and bigger! My shorts became too tight and my thighs just kept growing. I started to lose my confidence and my motivation to continue working out.

And I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me. I thought I was doing everything right!

But then I noticed that some of the girls who worked out with me were getting completely different results, even though we were pretty much following the same diet!

So, it got me thinking: If two people are doing the exact same workouts and getting different results, it must mean that not all of us can be put on the same exercise and diet regime.

Someone who has a larger frame with naturally muscular legs is going to need a different workout and nutrition program than someone who is naturally thin and finds it hard to build muscles.

And that’s when I learned about different body types!

If you really want to get skinny legs, you first need to learn your body type and adjust your diet and exercise accordingly.

HOW TO FIND OUT YOUR BODY TYPE

It’s actually very simple. Just take my 2-minute, free body type quiz that will tell you if you’re an ectomorph, mesomorph or endomorph.

After that, I’d recommend reading your particular body type’s diet and fitness tips (below).

1. ECTOMORPH BODY TYPE: EXERCISE AND DIET TIPS

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Ectomorphs are naturally thin and often quite tall. A lot of Victoria’s Secret models are ectomorphs.

These girls usually have a lower body fat percentage without needing to exercise or diet. And they usually find it difficult to gain weight.

But they also find it hard to build muscle, which means it’s harder for them to get that nice toned look.

Famous ectomorphs include: Kendall JennerElsa Hosk, Keira Knightley, Kate Moss, Paris Hilton, and Karlie Kloss.

CAN ECTOMORPHS BECOME OVERWEIGHT?

Well, it would be very hard for a true ectomorph to become overweight.

However, one of the biggest misconceptions about ectomorphs is that they can eat whatever they want.

Yes, they tend to be quite naturally slim, and they have a fast metabolism…but that doesn’t mean they can constantly eat junk food.

If they ate a lot of junk food, they would most likely gain fat.

So, whilst they can be a bit more relaxed with their diet, they still need to make sure they’re consuming healthy foods so that they don’t start to look skinny fat.

Skinny fat is a term used to describe people who appear skinny when wearing clothes but actually have a higher body fat percentage.

If you want to avoid the skinny fat look (especially as an ectomorph), I would advise you to follow a healthy diet and to do resistance training.

CAN ECTOMORPHS GAIN MUSCLE AND BECOME BIG AND BULKY?

If you are a true ectomorph, you’ll find it hard to build muscle tone, so it’s highly unlikely that you’ll bulk up, even if you do a lot of weights and squat.

But, as I mentioned, if you avoid any type of resistance training, you will start to look skinny fat, and your legs won’t look toned.

So, what should you do to get lean and toned legs if you are an ectomorph?

FEMALE ECTOMORPH WORKOUT TIPS

workout plan ectomorph women

If you want to get skinny legs as an ectomorph, here’s what you should do:

1. DO 2-3 CARDIO SESSION PER WEEK

Well, if you don’t have extra body fat, you could get away with doing minimal to no cardio. However, cardio will help your body stay lean.

Aim to do 2-3 cardio sessions per week so you can stay fit and healthy.

And if you need to lose some body fat, I would stick with low to moderate intensity cardio. This type of cardio works best for fat loss.

2. DO 3 (OR MORE) RESISTANCE WORKOUTS PER WEEK

If you want to look really fit and toned, you should use moderate weights and keep your number of reps moderate to high (8-12).

And if you don’t want to lift weights because you prefer a leaner look, you should stick to bodyweight workouts, similar to those that the Victoria’s Secret models do.

Aim to do resistance training 3 times per week (or more if you feel this is not enough).

ECTOMORPH WOMEN DIET TIPS

best diet tips for ectomorph women

As I mentioned, you could get away with eating junk food without becoming overweight. But you could still have a high percentage of body fat.

THE BEST DIET FOR ECTOMORPH GIRLS

Ectomorphs do best on a diet that’s relatively high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in fats.

Just make sure that you don’t eat a lot of processed foods. Stick to whole grains, fresh fruit and veggies and lean protein.

This is a good macronutrient split for ectomorphs:

  • 40-50% carbohydrates
  • 30-35% protein
  • 20-25% fat

If you want to get more info, read my blog post on how to get lean and toned legs if you are an ectomorph body type.

RELATED POST: HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR MACRONUTRIENTS

2. FEMALE MESOMORPH BODY TYPE

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OK, so mesomorphs are usually average size – not thin like ectomorphs, but also not naturally large, like endomorphs.

If you are a mesomorph (like me), you’re very likely to have an athletic body, respond quickly to exercise and can have great muscle definition.

So, if you’re a mesomorph, and you want to become a fitness model, then you’re in luck – because you’ve got the genetics!

Famous mesomorphs include Gigi HadidMargot Robbie, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, and Jennifer Lawrence.

CAN MESOMORPHS BE OVERWEIGHT?

When it comes to weight, you find it easy to lose and gain weight, so it’s not unusual if your weight fluctuates.

As I mentioned, your body has great potential, but if you have a very sedentary lifestyle and eat a lot of junk food, you can gain weight and fat.

In mesomorphs, fat should be quite evenly distributed. But a lot of you have told me that even though you can lose weight quickly, you find it difficult to lose inner thigh fat.

I also noticed that I tend to store most fat in my inner thighs and that’s usually the last place where I lose weight.

Here is what you should do to get skinny legs as a mesomorph.

FEMALE MESOMORPH WORKOUT TIPS

workout tips for mesomorph girls

For best results, you should incorporate both cardio and resistance training into your routine.

1. DO A MIX OF LOW-INTENSITY AND HIGH- INTENSITY CARDIO

If you need to lose body fat, do high-intensity cardio (running) 3 times per week and power walking 5 times a week.

Running will help you burn lots of calories and stay in the fat burning zone for longer. And walking is great because it actually burns fat!

For more info on cardio and how it works, read my blog post on why you need to do cardio to lose fat.

2. DO BODYWEIGHT RESISTANCE TRAINING 3 TIMES PER WEEK

Mesomorphs react to training quite quickly, but you can bulk up quite easily, especially if you do weights.

If you prefer to have more muscle, weights might be a great option for you.

But if you’d like a leaner look, and you don’t want to bulk up your thighs, I would advise you to skip weights and stick to bodyweight training.

Here are some of my favorite bodyweight workouts that won’t cause your legs to bulk up:

Aim to do resistance training 3 times per week. You can also try my FREE Train Like a Model videos for a lean and toned body without bulk.

MESOMORPH DIET TIPS

best diet for mesomorph girls

Your body type does best on a well-balanced diet. This means you should be eating a combination of healthy fats, protein, and carbs. 

WHAT SHOULD MESOMORPHS EAT?

Your body type does best on a well-balanced diet. This means you should be eating a combination of healthy fats, protein and carbs.

You don’t have to follow a low carb diet, but make sure your carbs are coming from healthy and low GI carb sources, such as fruit, vegetables, wholegrain bread, quinoa, oats and brown rice.

Try to avoid white sugar and processed carbs.

A good macronutrient breakdown for mesomorphs looks like this:

  • 35-40% carbohydrates
  • 30-35% protein
  • 30% fat

If you are a mesomorph, and you want to learn more, read my blog post on how to exercise and eat for mesomorphs.

3. FEMALE ENDOMORPH BODY TYPE

Endomorphs have a naturally larger, solid frame and are generally curvy, with a higher level of body fat.

This body type gains muscle and fat very easily and findS it difficult to lose weight, especially through diet alone.

Endomorphs have strong muscles (especially their legs). And losing body fat for the endomorph will probably take a bit longer compared to the other body types.

But it’s not impossible! Endomorphs can lean out their legs with the right diet and workout routine! :)

Famous endomorphs include Sofia Vergara, Kim KardashianBeyonce and Jennifer Lopez.

ENDOMORPH WORKOUT TIPS

endomorph woman workout plan

As I said, getting lean legs if you are an endomorph can be a bit tricky.

Endomorphs naturally have muscular legs, and they tend to store most of their body fat in their thigh area.

So, if you want to lean your legs out, you need to reduce your leg muscle. And you also need to lose overall body fat to lose that stubborn thigh fat.

I’m going to share what EXACTLY you should do to finally get those lean legs you’ve always wanted.

1. STOP DOING EXERCISES THAT MAKE YOUR LEGS BULKY

Weighs, squats, CrossFit – these are all great exercise options, but they will work your quads and make your thighs grow.

So, if you notice that a certain type of training is making your thighs bigger, stop doing it.

2. FOCUS MORE ON LOW-INTENSITY CARDIO

Low-intensity cardio (which is basically power walking) will help you slim down muscular thighs and lose overall body fat.

You should aim to do it 5 times a week for at least 45mins. Also, after every resistance training session, do at least 20mins of power walking. This will help with fat loss.

3. FOCUS ON BODYWEIGHT WORKOUTS ONLY

I know you may be tempted to skip resistance training altogether because you’re afraid it will only make your legs bigger.

But if you avoid resistance training completely, your legs will not be toned.

Resistance training will help you get muscle tone and it will speed up your metabolism which will help with weight loss.

You should do bodyweight training 3 times per week.

ENDOMORPH DIET TIPS

endomorph woman diet plan

When it comes to your diet, the most important thing is do not eat too many (or too little) calories.

If you want to lose weight, you should be in a slight calorie deficit. But if your calorie deficit is too severe, you’ll just slow down your metabolism, and you won’t lose weight.

If you don’t know how many calories you should eat, read my blog post on how to calculate your ideal calorie intake.

WHAT IS THE BEST DIET FOR ENDOMORPHS?

Endomorphs will get the best results on a low-carb diet. Here’s how their macros intake should look:

  • 20-25% carbohydrates
  • 45-50% fats
  • 30% protein

So, my lovely endomorphs, protein and fats will be your new best friends! Make sure you’re eating a diet that is high in protein and healthy fats.

When it comes to protein, you should eat lean meat (especially turkey, chicken and fish), eggs, protein powder, yogurt and soybeans.

And when it comes to healthy fats, you should stick to avocado, nuts, seeds, nut butter, olives and coconut oil.

WHAT FOODS SHOULD ENDOMORPHS AVOID?

Unfortunately, you don’t do well when eating lots of carbs. If you want to lose weight and lean out your legs, your body type cannot get away with a high carb diet.

However, you shouldn’t avoid carbs completely, as they are absolutely essential for your body to function.

Good sources of carbs include fruit, green vegetables, whole meal bread, brown rice and oats. But your main source of carbs should be veggies.

The time of your carb intake is also super important. Make sure to eat your carbs first thing in the morning or within one-hour post-workout.

I’ve written a more detailed blog post on how to get skinny legs if you are an endomorph body type, so be sure to check it out.

CAN AN ECTOMORPH BECOME MESOMORPH?

You can, in fact, be a combination of two body types. 

If you are an ectomorph/mesomorph, it is best for you to follow the mesomorph guidelines.

If you are a mesomorph/endomorph, it is best for you to follow the endomorph guidelines.

No matter what your body type, you CAN lose body fat, gain muscle and make an improvement to your legs. But you CAN’T change your body type.

If, for example, you are an endomorph, you will never have the physique of an ectomorph, and this should not be something to aim for.

Your goal should be something that is attainable for your body type and that will make you look and feel your absolute best!

3 STEPS TO LEAN LEGS PROGRAM FOR DIFFERENT BODY TYPES

I know that getting rid of thigh fat and reducing muscular legs can seem impossible. But I promise you – you can get amazing results if you know your body type and how to eat and train accordingly.

That’s why I designed my 3 Steps to Lean Legs Program to help you get skinny legs according to your body type (without adding any extra muscle bulk).

There are 3 different versions of my program, one for each body type.

Each version combines the right type of cardio and resistance training for a particular body type, so you can be sure you’re going to get the best possible results. 

And of course, since you cannot train and be on a crappy diet, I included a complete 8-week meal plan in my program. You can find more information here.

And if you prefer to follow FULL-LENGTH videos, now you can. Check out my Lean Legs Video Course and get those lean legs you’ve always wanted!

Picture of Rachael

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.

188 comments on “How To Get Skinny Legs: Why You Need to Know Your Body Type – Ectomorph, Mesomorph, Endomorph.”

    Rachel Horner says:

    Hi – I am an Endomorph, as my top half is quite thin and the extra weight I carry is in my thighs (I’m like a body of two halves!!). The exercise I do (4-6 sessions a week) includes ballet, yoga, Lotte Berk (a bit like pilates/ballet) and also Jump (cardio rebounder on a small trampoline). I have just stumbled across your site and am considering starting your leaner legs programme, but I was wondering whether you thought Jump was the kind of exercise that was good for leaner thighs or muscle building (which I try to avoid). Thanks.

      Diana - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely,
      Those are great cardio workouts and will most likely help you lose weight, but they won’t slim down your legs. Jumping does burn a lot of calories which is great, but the jumping motion uses your calves heavily and will most likely contribute to bigger calves (especially if you gain muscle easily).

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

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

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

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

      Lean Legs Program

      Love,
      Diana
      xx

    im sarah says:

    im 5’3 and i am 130 pounds i gain muscle very easily and i can lose weight but once i lose what i gained i cant lose no more weight i have large muscular thighs and big hips and my arms are a bit big and muscular but i have a small wait and no butt. (i think i am a pear shaped) please help me xx

      Diana - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely,
      If you’d like to find out your body type, you could take the free body type quiz here!

      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

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

      https://www.rachaelattard.com/6-unexpected-reasons-you-cant-lose-weight/

      https://www.rachaelattard.com/how-to-get-skinny-legs-series-summary/

      Love, Lean Legs Club support
      xx

    Rita says:

    Hey, I am both a mesomorph and endomorph, yet my legs are very muscular. Is there any way I can reduce it in size without making them weaker? I’m 5’2 and 103 pounds, I don’t have much visible cellulite unless I pinch the skin, but is there still a way to lose some more fat and a bit of muscle? Thanks.

    Magda says:

    Hi!

    I think I might be a mesomorph because when i do cardio it’s easy for me to lose the fat, but it’s also easy for me to gain it again. Also I have pretty muscly thighs and they for some reason started to stick out and i think they are a bit larger than my hips and i honestly hate that. I have a friend whose outer thighs go inside while she’s standing straight while my go outside and i am not sure what i am supposed to do… I want to try different exercises for outer thighs but i’m scared that it will make my thighs look bigger. I honestly feel like an elephant sometimes when i walk..

    i am 20 years old, i am 166 cm tall

      Rachael Attard says:

      Hi lovely,

      I know that reaching your fitness goals is hard! And that you probably have lots of questions about how to get that lean and toned body.

      I would love to help :) So that’s why I have created 3 Steps to Lean Legs program which you can find here.

      Love Rachael xx

    Maria says:

    Hey I was just wondering if you have any tips on how to thin legs?
    I am about 1.56cm tall, 51kg and hourglass type figure. My legs gain muscle veryyy easily but they aren’t fat.im not sure what body type I am, but pretty sure I’m not endomorph. Btw my background is Latina if that helps? xx

      Rachael Attard says:

      Hi lovely, you might be mesomorph or combined endo / meso. Please have a read of this blog post and this one for some tips! xx

    Tayler says:

    Hi Rachael,

    I am 5’4 and weigh 110-115 lbs. I have a long, thin torso and short legs. I don’t really have trouble maintaining my weight and I can usually loose weight by diet control. Most of my weight is in my thighs however I do not think I have big legs. I wear a size 2. My legs aren’t exactly muscular but they aren’t skinny either. They are short. I’m guessing I’m a mesomorph?? Is this correct?? I have also always avoided squats to avoid bulking up in my legs and butt. Is this necessary? Any advice would be helpful. If it helps I can send a picture via Email. I want to work out I’m just terrified of bulking up. Thanks!

      Tayler says:

      Also if it helps to get a better picture, I have an hourglass figure

      Rachael Attard says:

      Hi lovely, yes I would say you are a mesomorph. And if your legs are on the shorter side, it would be best to continue avoiding heavy leg exercises like squats. I would try out the workouts that I post and some cardio (otherwise I have my eBook for a full plan). Good luck! xx

    Marilyn says:

    Hi Rachel, I’m 29 with a super thin upper body up to the waist and my torso is quite long that made me look like a piece of stick. I have a short and bulky legs that makes my lower body non proportion to my upper. Im weighing 50.5 and height of 167 cm. Im obviously underweight so i increased my calorie intake to gain but it seems like it’s only my legs that gain and become more bulky looking. How would i addressed to gain weight and make my body looked proportion. Your advise would be of great help.

      Rachael Attard says:

      Hi lovely, I would do cardio for your lower body and to lean out it. I would also do resistance training for your upper body and core to make it look more toned and not thin, and help with proportioning out your body. Good luck! xx

    Laura ali says:

    Hello.
    I’m probably an endodorph . I’m 162 and I weigh 185 pounds and I go to the gym and do cardio and eating somewhat low carb put I don’t lose weight and I have a lot of weight in my thighs and buttocks I’m basically heavy even though I don’t look overweight. I also have a lot of muscle. Please help I would like to be lighter and have thinner thighs . Thanks

      Rachael Attard says:

      Hi lovely, I’m sorry for my late reply. It does take a while so I would give it at least a good 3 months of diet and exercise! I would also try to include some light resistance training as this will help you burn more calories and drop body fat. Although you don’t want to do heavy lifting if you already have a lot of muscle. So I would have a look at the free workouts on my blog for ideas. Also, it’s great that you’re eating low carb as this will help! But make sure you’re reducing your calories too so you’re eating a little bit less than you need each day. This will help with losing weight. And lastly, if you are still having a lot of trouble losing weight through diet and exercise, there could be other issues such as hormones, insulin resistance, gut issues, etc. So I would recommend seeing a naturopath :) Good luck! xx

    Aidriana says:

    I am a really self obnoxious person and I feel like my legs are too big and my arms are too. Any tips? I have a gym near me.

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