In the era when we spend hour after hour sitting in front of the computer working, chatting or simply browsing, staying fit and healthy has become one of the major concerns. Therefore, one of the biggest dilemmas nowadays is which fitness program to enrol, or more precisely how to pick one from a wide offer.
Key criteria in choosing the right exercising regime is what exactly would you like to accomplish. Not every fitness program offers you the same results. You should decide on the one that suits your abilities and strength but also leaves you space for progress.
When it comes to gaining body mass, both for men and for women, the most important things are proper nutrition and doing specific exercises for body parts you would like to gain mass on. Legs exercises are often skipped and marked as less important than upper-body exercises and that is a common misconception because muscles will not appear on their own on your legs. So, if you don’t want to look like a balloon, you should pay equal attention on both.
Apart from those exercising programs often marked as girly, such as yoga, Pilates, aerobics and similar, women have option to enrol those more difficult ones, stereotypically reserved for men, like gym, and new upcoming trend-crossfit. Each of them will show results, but not every one of them will show the same results, so you should choose depending on how much body mass you would like to gain on your legs. In further text, we will discuss some of the options and their pros and cons.
Yoga and Pilates
Yoga is a set of exercises both for body and for mind. Its main goal is moksha, which means liberation, but the exact definition of it varies from philosophy to philosophy. It is an ancient eastern tradition, and the West encountered it in 19th century. It is said to improve mood, cut down insomnia and depression and it has even proofed helpful in some chronic diseases such as asthma, some heart diseases and schizophrenia. These exercises massage your internal organs and it can be somewhat of a detoxification of your body.
Pilates is exercising system developed in 20th century, and it is known as method in which you learn to control your movements and breathing.
Yoga and Pilates exercise activate the whole body and therefore leg muscles and long-term practicing of it grants musculoskeletal improvements. It will help you better your flexibility and strength and lose body weight. Muscles on your legs will certainly appear after regular practicing, but you can’t expect body-building-like results. So, for the ones that want muscular but still feminine legs, they are the perfect choice.
Some yoga trainers do not recommend particular exercises for women during their periods, pregnancy or while thry are nursing. Over exercise can result in causing some medical conditions, such as arthritis and spinal stenosis, and the same goes for Pilates. These classes can often be a little more over your budget, but you can always make an investment, buy the necessary equipment, and find some tutorials online and workout from your home.
Aerobics and Water Aerobics
Aerobics is often said to be the fun way to exercise, it can be practiced in groups and with music in the background, so it sometimes gives the impression that you’re in a dance class, rather than in a gym burning calories. It consists of more strength and cardio-vascular exercises than yoga and Pilates, but as an after-effect of constant movement and jumping up and down, you can actually loose body mass instead of gaining it, so for your legs to become more muscular you will have to have proper nutrition. If so, and with a little bit of effort you will have perfectly shaped, strong legs.
Water aerobics does not burn so many calories as the standard aerobics and it is practiced in water, usually in the swimming pool. Exercising in water will help you tighten skin on your legs, especially thighs. Other benefits of water aerobics is that it reduces blood pressure and it is often used as a therapy for some injuries. It is perfect for hot, summer days, when the thought of going to the gym and getting all sweaty makes you sick. Its biggest disadvantage is that it can be fairly expensive, simply because it has to be done in the water.
Gym and Cross Fit
All of the exercises listed above will help you tighten skin on your legs, shape them and gain some muscles, but for the more visible outcomes you will need to make an effort in the gym on treadmills and using weights. It is very important to warm up properly before training in order to avoid getting injured and to stretch out after it so as not to have big inflammations. Warming up and stretching out usually lasts for half an hour. A trainer should oversee beginners at all times, because some exercises can result with some serious injuries if not properly done.
Crossfit is a new trend that overruled the world. It is a combination of cardio-vascular exercises, gymnastics, power lifting, Olympic lifting, and calisthenics; in short everything that you can think of. It is more of a military training than a relaxing day at a gym, but it shows tremendous results. In just a few months, your legs will be flawlessly sculpted as if you have been exercising for years. And although some of the exercises are very similar to those you would do in a regular gym, crossfit is more dynamic and boosts your adrenalin. The combination of workouts makes it possible for you to put an accent both on your legs and the upper-body parts at the same training, which is perfect for those who tend to skip leg days. Also, you workout in groups, so you often give your best just to keep up with the rest of people you are exercising with, which is additional motivation.
Challenging techniques and difficult exercises may often have serious injuries as an outcome, and this is the most quoted con of crossfit. Bear in mind your limits and should not try to go beyond them for you will probably end up badly hurt and injured. That is why there are different levels of crossfit; they consist of the same exercises but with different weights.
For those who prefer working-out alone to working out in groups and still want to have significant results regarding their legs body mass, regular gym is an optimal choice. The most important exercises for legs are squat fronts, squat lunges, calves leg curls, leg presses, leg extensions, etc. You should consult with a trainer if you plead for this option. He should make you day plans, so you will exercise different groups of leg muscles equally.
Do it at Home
Not everyone has enough money or time to visit gyms on regular basis. Luckily, modern age and internet have made it possible for you to have perfect legs too. There are plenty of websites full of tutorials for having the perfect calves and dream thighs, and you can always find half an hour before bedtime to invest in your future leg muscles. There are programs for a couple of days, so you will not burden the same group of muscles every day. Some of them may require from you some kind of a small investment, like buying some weights, or a yoga mat, but in the end it all pays off. You should also go jogging and running whenever you can fit it in your schedule. Ask a friend to go for a bike ride or roller skating. Go for a walk a on a sunny day instead of taking a bus or a taxi. You will be surprised how much little changes in your everyday routine benefit the shape of your legs.
Nutrition and Diet
Whichever type of exercising you choose, you will have to pay special attention on what you eat and when you eat, or more precisely how much you eat and how often. It is important to have regular but not extensive meals.
You should measure your weight and the percentage of fat and muscle mass in your body before you start any program. That way you can set a specified goal you would like to obtain by exercising. It can also be a great motivation to check it again after some time and see how much have you improved.
How strict will your nutrition be, depends on what is your aim. For our case of gaining body mass, it is important to consume more calories than you can spend exercising, and this is called calorie surplus.
This does not mean you can simply eat more, because that will only lead you to gaining body fat. Hence, there are specific things you should and should not consume. To figure out how many calories do you have to take, you should calculate how many calories you burn on daily-basis. How does this work?
When you work out you burn the calories, and when the muscle is overburden, your body uses calories from calorie surplus to build it. Remember that calorie surplus without workout means gaining weight and not gaining muscles. But also be aware of the fact that if you want to gain muscle mass, you will have to gain some fat too.
You should consume more protein food such as eggs, milk, seafood, white meat, fish and beans, and you should avoid food with high percentage of carbohydrates like candies, potatoes and dried fruit. Consumption of healthy fats is also important, like omega 3 fish oil. So I guess you will have to forget about chocolate cakes, macaroons and pies if you want those dream legs.
A visit to a nutritionist is recommended, as he can give you a specific diet according to your weight and fat and muscle percentage. Those diets are safe and will not have harmful effects on health.
There are also a lot of applications which count how many calories something consists of, so you can keep track on how many of them you consume daily, you can enter what you have eaten that day and find out how many kilos will you gain or lose if you keep up like that.
Sufficient consumption of water and fluids with small amount of sugar is also very important, so as not to get dehydrated.
It is important to eat before your training as equal as it is to have some time passed between the last meal and the exercising.
Using bodybuilding supplements can help you obtain your goal in a short-time period, but they are not without downsides. Before putting to use any kind of supplements, a medical specialist should be consulted. It is always better to keep it natural as much as you can, so you should bear in mind that a proper meal is always better and far more healthier than a supplement that is allegedly a replacement for it. But although they can be harmful, an occasional protein shake after an exhausting workout can’t be that bad.
Bearing everything that has been said in mind, you can now choose the exercising regime that suits your expectation’s of your legs best. It goes without saying that you would like to see the results in a New York minute, but that just can’t happen. Remember to make breaks, it will bring you no good if you overburden yourself – you will neither be able to walk properly from inflammation, nor will you have those perfect muscles to be proud of straight away. There will probably be more than one moment when you will regret the day you started exercising. But you have to be determined and prepared to leave your tears, sweat and heart in the gym, but be persistent and do not let the pain waver you. You know what they say: “After a leg day, every step is a mission.”