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I hope you’ve been enjoying my how to get skinny legs blog series. I have given you the foundations of nutrition and exercise to help you achieve lean and toned legs. Now I’m going to provide you with some information about common mistakes that you might be making.

1. HEAVY SQUATS 

will my legs get bigger before they get smaller?

Through my experience and that of others, I have learned that heavy squats don’t work for most body types. It results in overly muscular legs (but does amazing things for the rest of your body!). While squatting is still good for you and can really help tone up your legs, I would avoid squatting heavy (I’m sure most personal trainer’s are hating me right now). 

2. TARGETING INNER THIGHS

There is a common misconception that if you do exercises to target your inner thighs, your inner thighs will get smaller. This comes from the idea that you can spot reduce fat from specific areas of your body. This is not really true, except for doing cardio (particularly running and walking) to reduce body fat on your legs (read more here).

In fact, by doing exercises to target your inner thighs you are actually making the muscle bigger, which may make your inner thighs look bigger. To reduce the size of your thighs you need to do cardio to reduce the fat (plus eat healthy)!

3. NOT EATING ENOUGH 

Yes in order to lose weight you need to be in a calorie deficit, which means eating less food than your body needs. BUT many people underestimate the amount of food they need and severely restrict their calorie intake.

I know I have mentioned this time and time again, but not eating enough food slows down your metabolism and causes your body to go into “starvation” mode. This means that when you do eat more food or have a naughty meal, your body will store it as fat.

If you starve yourself for a long period of time (more than 6 months eating less than 1200 calories), you will do long term damage to your metabolism.

The other bad side effect that can be caused by severely cutting calories is binge eating. Binge eating will DEFINITELY cause you to gain weight and causes inflammation within the body.

So please please don’t do any crash diets or juice cleanses or try to starve yourself, as I PROMISE it will backfire in the long run!

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.

30 Responses

    1. Hi lovely,

      Power walking 5-6x a week can definitely help slim down your legs but we highly recommend that you incorporate the right resistance workouts for your body type and adjust your diet for weight loss in order to get the best and fastest results. The right resistance workouts will help build lean muscle and tone your legs. It will also help you avoid the ‘skinny fat’ look. I hope this helps. xx

  1. I can’t slim down my legs
    My trainer is all about heavy squats
    And i want the model legs look
    I don’t know what type of exercises to do

    1. Hi lovely,

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

      It will definitely help! :)

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

      If you have more questions, feel free to email us at info@rachaelatard.com

      Love,
      Len

    1. Hi lovely,

      thanks for reaching out!

      Swimming definitely helps get slim legs. It’s a great form of cardio which helps lose overall body weight :)

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

      Love,
      Sanja

  2. Hello I’m a teen ballet dancer and I’ve noticed that my legs have really have started gaining a lot of muscle after puberty will your program still work to give me skinny legs even if I’m still in ballet I was thinking of quitting and doing ganother sport if ballet is going to keep my legs muscular is there any oher sports that would be good for me? Oh and by the way in my family everyone also has a tendency to put on a lot of leg muscle especially in the calf’s and we have sort of a wider(not fat or “big boned”) bone structure will your program still help considering that?

    1. Hi lovely,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      Since you are still a teenager (you’re still growing and developing), I wouldn’t advise our Program – it just hasn’t been tailored for girls who are so young. I also don’t want to discourage you from doing ballet if that’s something you genuinely enjoy! :)

      But yeah, ballet is obviously pretty leg focused so if you gain muscle easily, it will most likely affect you.

      If I were to recommend another sport, I would recommend swimming – it’s a great cardio workout :)

      Love,
      Marina

  3. Hello, Rachael! Your blog is so helpful to me! Thank you very much for the tips?I was wondering, I’m 17 years old and I want to get skinny legs and a small waist. Should I follow an adult diet and exercise plan or try one for teens? I’m at that awkward stage of life where I’m not sure what age group I’m in anymore. Thank you!??

  4. Hello,

    If you’ve eaten at a calorie deficient for over 6 months, is it possible to re-boost your metabolism? It says that you would have done long term damage, however I’m wondering if this is able to be reversed?

    Thank you x

  5. Hi,

    Thank you for this blog! I just have a quick question, when I started a new diet about 3 weeks ago, I eat around 1000 – 1100 calories per day. I’ve realised it is too less, so I’ve been trying to add the calories back. However, as you mentioned when you go too low and suddenly add in more calories the body tends to store them as fat more easily. Do you have any suggestions? I’ve slowly moved up to 1200 then 1300. However I feel like I’m gaining back those fat, is it just in my head or I am really gaining back those fat I loss?

    Thanks!

  6. Hi Rachael!
    I want to start by saying I’m obsessed with you and your blog! I have gotten amazing information and inspiration from you and your posts! But, I am in a similar situation as one of the women above. I had an eating disorder around 3 years ago, but now want to lean out my legs a little. I have recovered from my disorder, but am still unhappy with how I look. I build muscle very easily, and want to slim down the muscle and fat on my legs. I don’t really want to lose weight because that is not the goal, and I don’t want to trigger anything. I know you probably don’t have much experience in this area, but is there any advice you could give me? Thank you so much!

  7. Hi Rachael!

    I have really enjoyed reading all your posts they’ve been super helpful and I’m taking all the advice on board. However, I am in a bit of a predicament. I have been recovering from an eating disorder for 2 years now and was very scared to increase my calories over 1000/day, until recently. About 6 months ago, no matter how little I was eating and how much walking/running I was doing I wasn’t losing any weight, in fact I was gaining weight quite gradually. I decided to start eating more food, in a healthy manner, as you said 100-200 calories per day. But I was just wondering if you knew anything about increasing metabolism after it’s been damaged for so long? Is there anything else I can do? Will it ever go back to normal and will I ever stop gradually gaining weight? I often get days where I get scared to eat more because I ate the recommended amount in the previous days. I’m just feeling very scared and I’m running out of options. Any advice would be appreciated!!

    Lots of Love!!

    1. Hi lovely, I’m really sorry to hear your troubles. Yes you can definitely recover and your metabolism will go back to normal :) Please have a read of this blog post on how to recover from a damaged metabolism. If you’ve been trying to recover on your own for 2 years without much luck, it could be a good idea to get help from a sports nutritionist or dietician who will be able to guide you. You will recover quicker like this and they will be able to tell you exactly what to do during your recovery, instead of guessing for yourself. I hope that helps. And I really wish you all the best! xx

  8. Hi rachael.! Recently I went for hiking to lose some fats on my legs and also back fat. But to my disappointment, my legs still look the same and the back fat was still there. What i got was just muscle pain. So for now, I will just follow your advice to walk a LOT without any heavy exercise.

  9. Hey Rachael!
    I just came across your blog and I’m loving all the info you’re putting out here, thanks :)
    I was just wondering what are your thoughts on “weight lifting”, I read somewhere that by lifting up to 70% of your body weight you can achieve the “lean/toned look” most girls are aiming for. What do you think?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Chantelle, to get skinny arms, diet plays a big part. When girls lose weight, the first place it usually drops off is the top half of your body, from about your belly button up. So my biggest piece of advice is to work on your diet. To tone up your arms, you will need to do weights and/or body weight exercises. I will look into writing a blog series on this, similar to my how to get skinny legs series. I hope that helps! x

      1. Hi, over the past year I’ve lost 3.5stone and my arms just haven’t gone down much at all, is there anything I can do to help that? Also I’d like to tone my stomach more but everyone says do crunches but I find them too painful on my back and bump as I don’t have much to cover those areas and lifting my chest is hard enough being an F cup. Any advice? Thank you.

        1. Hi lovely, good on you! That’s a really great achievement – you should be very proud of yourself :) You don’t necessarily need to do crunches to tone up your stomach. Other ab exercises such as planks, side planks, mountain climbers, etc are also amazing. But full body resistance exercises also help to tone up your stomach as they require you to engage your core. Also, full body resistance training will help you lose weight quicker and help you lose weight and tone up your arms too. Your arms will go down as you continue to lose weight, but doing exercises such as boxing, swimming and resistance training will also help, so I would give those a go! xx

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