A Personal Trainer’s Guide to Stronger, Fitter Legs
I developed cellulite at a young age, and when I put on too much weight, too quickly, in college, it got even worse. When I lost more than 50 pounds, I was happy with how I looked (and even happier with how I felt), but the cellulite didn’t magically go away. I really wasn’t happy with the appearance of my legs in shorts or short skirts.
However, the worst part was the amount of time and money I wasted worrying about it and trying ineffective treatments that didn’t address the real solution. I truly believed that there was some magical cure that would solve this problem area. I tried caffeine creams, homemade scrubs, “spot-fixing” exercises, and a variety of dry brushing and massage techniques. But you know how it is – all of these remedies promise an “improvement in the appearance,” not a complete elimination.
And if there were ever results that weren’t just in my imagination, they were short-lived.
Now, I’m a personal trainer and a fitness nutrition specialist, and I have a much better idea of how to address the legs and thighs effectively, both physically and mentally, for myself and my clients. Here is the real “secret” that I use:
Most women, even very fit women, have cellulite (or otherwise consider their legs/butt their “problem area”), and losing scale weight isn’t always the solution. I would even take it a step further and say that eradicating cellulite isn’t even the real goal.
When women say that they want to “get rid of their cellulite,” I understand that their real goal is to feel confident about the appearance of their legs.
As a personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist, I want you to trust me: don’t buy any more voodoo devices, pricey magic creams, or suffocating wraps. Just do these three simple strategies consistently to see long-term improvement in the appearance of your butt and thighs, and to wear all of your favorite clothes with confidence!
Strategy 1: Tone Up
The first thing I recommend is to build muscle in the butt and thighs by doing strength training exercises 3-4 times a week. This is essential for both health and aesthetics.
These six exercises are my favorite moves for building and lifting the muscles of the backside:
- Bridges (on one or two legs)
- Bulgarian Split Squats
- Kettlebell Swings
Think of them as a prescription – they must be administered consistently, week after week, in order to get the results you want.
Start at the appropriate level of difficulty, but don’t be afraid to use heavier weights. I reassure women all the time: you will not get bulky from basic weightlifting. Strength training is how you’re going to achieve the definition you want to see.
This is my client Chelsea, who lifts more than her own bodyweight. I think she is a great example of what dedicated strength training can produce – lifted, pronounced, noticeable glutes.
At the end of this blog post, I have a resource you can download (“The Better Booty Toolkit”), that will include some video so that you can achieve the best form possible on your own. Read on!
Strategy 2: Burn, Baby, Burn
Secondly, you need to increase your overall level of activity in order to rev up your fat-burning metabolism. This will, over time, tackle any extra fat that your body is carrying, that you don’t need for health.
Keep in mind you will never zap all fat – women need a certain amount of fat on their bodies to function well. There is no 0%. Having the “right” amount of fat will keep your hormones healthier, help you think more clearly, and perform better in life.
While your level of activity can (and should) include some kind of conditioning cardio exercise like running, biking, or incline walking several times a week, you will see the best results if you also crank up your step count every single day.
Track your daily steps and try to beat your own personal best! If you are new to exercise, you could start with 5,000 steps a day and gradually work your way up to 10,000. If you are already quite active, you may want to aim even higher, for 10,000-20,000 a day.
Take more frequent breaks at work to stand up and walk around, and try to incorporate more walking into your day by taking the stairs, or even walking or biking to and from work (if possible).
Steps are important because they get your overall metabolism cooking, which translates into calorie burn, which translates into fat loss.
And don’t forget – low-intensity cardio (like walking) is good for your mental health, too!
Strategy 3: Eat and Drink Smart
It’s the biggest mistake that I see women make when they tackle aesthetic goals: they go all-out at the gym, but don’t embrace the synergy that moderate exercise and moderate nutrition can offer when applied in tandem.
The most important things you can do include:
- Staying hydrated as much as possible
- Eating fresh fruit every day (no, fruit doesn’t make you fat)
- Eating a green/colorful, non-starchy vegetable (or two) with every meal
- Eating lean protein at every meal
- Minimizing snacking
- Drinking less alcohol (or abstaining)
- Cutting refined sugar as much as you can
Plus, your doctor would be thrilled with your blood work!
If I had a fourth strategy, it would be this: Most importantly, in your efforts to build your sexiest legs ever, keep your focus on the positive, and remember that there is no such thing as “perfect.”
This is something I tell my clients all the time: when we focus exclusively on our perceived flaws, we lose sight of the real progress that we can make. Instead of micromanaging every imperfection, do the work that gets your legs into the best shape of your life.
My clients have tremendous success with their “problem areas” when they focus on one day at a time, and build sustainable practices for long-term results. Doing something for six months sounds like a really long time at the beginning of the process, but trust me – that amount of time will pass anyway. It will go by in the blink of an eye.
Six months from now, you’ll have either used that time actually building your better booty… or you’ll have spent that time chasing after short-term fixes or miracle cures.
Which path do you want to take?
So keep your attitude sunny, focus on what you can do, and give your habits a makeover ASAP!
Want exclusive access to a workout that I often use with my clients to build a better butt?
Get my free guide, “The Better Booty Toolkit,” which includes:
- my six favorite butt exercises on video
- mindset tips
- a few of my favorite recipes
This will be sent instantly to your inbox, totally free. And while I may not be showing up to your living room to make sure that you do the workout (that is for clients only), I do include tips for how to build habits that lead to results! You’ll love it!