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250 responses

  1. Sydney
    July 13, 2012

    Hi Rusty,
    I am an amateur thai boxer trying to cut some weight and well my thighs are huge. So huge that I can’t walk in a pair of straight jeans (2 waist sizes bigger). However I do not believe in eliminating my leg workouts completely. I usually do 5×5 squats or heavy single dead lifts on lifting days and a long run or interval runs with calisthenics on cardio days. So, what I’m trying to say is will more explosive work like heavy singles, burpees, and body weight lunges continue to increase my leg mass? If not, then what is your take in box squats?
    PS I also have a huge chest (dumb bodybuilder back in the day). I am trying to increase so shoulder and back mass, but what should I do to lean my chest out?
    Thanks again

  2. hayley
    July 17, 2012

    I have extremely large muscles in my calves, theighs, and arms. Its great to have when i need to lift something heavy, but its extremely embarassing and too much. I am 5’1 with a weight of 194 pounds an majority of it is muscle. I never really worked out, but i jumped rope all the time and ran around with my dogs and played soccer quite often. Its slowing me down and i decided to start looking for ways to decrease so much of this. I tried dieting and working out but got none of the results i was looking for. This article has helped me out immensely. Thank you so much. :)

  3. Carlos
    July 18, 2012

    I like it! I just joined a gym and they are having a competition and so I joined. Now I realized that I might not have started heavy enough to compete with a 300 pounder who could lose 100 lbs. or more!
    I started at 207 at only 5’8 so, my goal is to drop 65 pounds. 3 years ago I was ripped at 173 pound so I guess I would have to drop 30+ lbs of pure muscle. I don’t know if this is even possible in 3 months. I have also reduced my calorie intake to about 1200 calories a day. I’m not sure if this is too low and unhealthy but honestly I don’t feel hungry.

    I will give the cardio machine more love than usual and not life anything from here on out.

  4. Jeremy
    July 28, 2012

    I love your articles. I too struggle going to upper-body only training. What about burpees? Generally when I am pressed for time I will do 100-150 to get in quick HIIT wkout. Will those cause maintaining leg size?


  5. Lilu
    August 5, 2012

    This is awesome. All the women in my family, including me, have disproportionately huge arms. They’re great for lifting things but look terrible. I have always dreamed of having tiny slender girl arms. I never thought of cutting protein but that totally makes sense. I’m going to increase my running speed and duration and decrease protein and calories. Should I avoid any push-ups or light weights as well?

  6. Jennifer
    August 6, 2012

    Hi, I’m Jennifer and I am completely in a funk. I was a gymnast from 3-15 years old and loved my body other than a bit too much excess arm muscle. I wasn’t so self conscious about it because i was simply sleek and toned. My arms were definitely out of proportion but it wasn’t anything too bad. Then i did pole vaulting from 16-18 and we were required to lift weights and i got massive arm muscles that just expanded beyond anything any girl wants. So now I’m 18 and have these huge arms with a nice toned and curvy body everywhere else. How do I lose muscle mass in my arms but maintain it everywhere else? Not working out my arms doesn’t help. i use my arms everyday with simple tasks and the muscle is still maintained. if i do marathon cardio i lose muscle and curves all over. I’m so confused. thank you for everything!

  7. Aki
    August 14, 2012

    Thank you for the article, very specific.
    I’m 14 and I actually have extremely muscular thighs. Being thin, 177cm tall, it doesn’t suit… But I needed to lose this muscle otherwise, it would be too difficult to continue being a contortionist [I do gymnastics, yoga etc.] and I was wondering, the excersises that I frequently do in gymnastics (every morning and evening) do you think that that could be a reason behind my large thighs?
    I sort of didn’t understand what you meant by a “pump” action though. But thanks again!

  8. Mike
    August 16, 2012

    This article was very helpful. I am a 21 year old who has been playing rugby and training for a position that requires me to be quite heavy and muscular. I am 6’1” and 225lbs. Recently I have sustained a back injury that has made me rethink my training and sport. I have decided to go the route of triathalons as a new direction that has less contact and more control over my own body. Triathletes are not huge and I will definetly need to lose muscle massive in order to compete. This information will be very helpful. Thank you I will keep all of this in mind. I also wanna say that your segement about marathon cardio really made me feel like there is some hope to dropping some much needed mass from my rugby legs.

  9. Al
    August 29, 2012

    Rusty –
    Great post and I have always used running to slim down my legs. However, changing your routine from basic cardio workouts to 45 minutes of hard running is dangerous without ample adjustment time. While someone who is in shape can adjust more quickly, running more than 20-30 minutes at a fast pace without prior experience/miles can cause serious and debilitating injury. This is especially true in people who are fit, but are heavier than they want to be due to muscle mass. The kinetic force experienced by the knee while running is exponentially greater than walking or other low-impact workouts that most people engage in – especially weight lifters. Here is also the statement that will cause controversy: running that much does not a runner make and wearing barefoot shoes doesn’t fix inherent problems with gait. Most people are not natural runners (people who are not prone to running injuries) and therefore do not run properly. Consequently, the risk of injury to knees, feet, ankles, hips, and back increases dramatically. Barefoot shoes only exacerbate this situation. Furthermore, individuals with large legs (specifically calves) tend to be even more prone to injury. Consequently, running the suggested amount of time too quickly will almost assuredly land someone in the medical tent. I think your instructions for losing weight mass via running are a good start, however, long, slow, distance (greater than 60 minutes) tends to break down large muscle fibers and change their make-up. Your body also depletes glycogen stores at that point and starts burning whatever is available and with an empty stomach, muscle and fat stores are hit first. Regardless of whether one decides to run quickly or slowly, the 10% rule MUST be followed to avoid injury – but most importantly with high-intensity training. That is, never increase your weekly time/mileage by more than 10% in successive weeks until you have at least 3-6 months under your belt of consistent running, and to begin with, running no more than 3 times a week at no more than 30 minutes with at least one day of non-running (walking is very helpful) is advised. To take your suggestion one step further, fast walking is incredibly useful for weight and muscle loss and is very easy on the joints. The key is to walk quickly and with purpose. Many world-class coaches and world-class Ironman distance triathletes use fast walking during long training sets as both recovery and a training aid. It allows the heart rate to increase, resulting in increased metabolic rate, but without the muscle engorgement and heavy pounding associated with running at high intensity. Thus, a mix of both walking and running would prove the safer way to help reduce leg size. And, you are absolutely correct, high-intensity cycling blows up legs faster than just about anything, this is something I constantly struggle with as a triathlete. Calorie reduction and protein reduction (or increased activity with static caloric intake) will result in weight loss everywhere and size in the legs can be reduced as well. Sorry for the length of this post, but I think that with careful and consistent training, people can lose the LLS (Large leg syndrome) and get a wonderful cardio and endorphin-filled workout.

  10. Analize
    September 6, 2012

    Like most people here, I have the problem of muscular thighs. I’m a 23 yr old female and I’m 5’3″. when I lose weight following conventional rules about cardio amd weight resistance training I would lose fat but I’d be left with a muscular curve on the front of my thighs and a bulky side view, especially in jeans. Im sure it’s genetic but I HATE IT ! Lately I’ve been trying to shift some fat I’ve Gained but I’m taking a new approach, focussing on cardio;brisk walking, jogging and interval training on the treadmill at my gym. I’m avoiding any resistance leg work but I have been doing leg raises while lying on my side because I want to target some stubborn fat deposits between my thighs which have been problematic for me even when I was thinner (I never targeted these deposits in my previous weight loss programs, but this time I’d like a more feminine, streamline result, less bulky muscles and I’m really hoping to get at least hint of that elusive “thigh gap”) . Given I’m not using any weights with these raises, do I risk adding bulk to my thighs with this activity ?

  11. Angela
    September 7, 2012

    Al- I don’t believe protein reduction is the way to go, in fact eating more carbs is known to increase muscle mass. The reccomendation for ectomorphs (people with naturally muscly bodies) is to only eat enough carbs to fuel workouts in order to reduce muscle mass, simultaneously avoiding lower body resistance training. I may be wrong , perhaps someone else here can shed light on the necessary diet regiment to achieve muscle loss.

  12. T shah
    September 7, 2012

    Dear Rusty ,
    Very good honest info”
    I’m from uk and have bulky thighs (legs) which
    Are muscular and want to lose muscle and fat
    Also a big back side ! I made a mistake in past
    In taking steroids for larger arms (only once in life)
    But ended up with bigger legs an butt as I was
    Squeezing my buttock and bending legs with
    Upper body exercises of course my legs just get
    Big by slight training ,and a few squats ?
    I’m sure I’ll find info in your books , but not sure which
    One to buy ! Which will cover this topic visual
    Impact for women or visual impact cardio?
    Iam male ? The women one seems to cover these
    Issues the problem of big thighs is common
    To women , maybe can apply to myself ? Plz
    Advise which book ?oh and my wife has
    Have big thighs and very small feet ,
    Regards look forward mr shah

  13. Tommiedoll
    September 25, 2012

    You are my hero. Finally someone who has the answer to my question. I am a softball player and my coach really emphasizes lifting heavy, which is making me really muscular. But I am going to try this because I hate being this bulky. However controversial this article may be, it is absolutely great! Thanks so much.

  14. Anonymous
    October 1, 2012

    You’re telling me that jogging, an exercise that moves the legs more than any other body part, will reduce muscle mass in the legs? I find that pretty hard to believe.

  15. Lindsay
    October 19, 2012

    What do you recommend for a woman who is naturally inclined to gain muscle? I was living in Russia for a year and while there I used to jog about 5 miles 4 or 5 times a week and I walked regularly. When I got back to the States, I gained a bit of weight and so I started cycling outdoors and swimming laps, in addition to jogging, to try new exercises. While I’ve burned most of the fat I’d gained, I feel as though I am now just getting buff. I want to get back down to the lean size I was in Russia, but it seems no matter how much I exercise (and I never lift weights), I just get buffer, not leaner. Any suggestions? I’m a vegetarian, so my proteins come mostly from nuts and legumes.

  16. gemma smith
    October 22, 2012

    I am 5ft and weigh 7st6, i am happy with my upper body but i hate my legs! They are big and bulky and where i am so short this makes me look stumpy! my calves in particular are very muscly which i hate so much that i have even considered calf reduction surgery! i do alot of dance and have tried everything to make them smaller. when i look at pictures of myself as a child i never had over developed muscles in my calves so what is it that has made them like this over the years and what can i do to reverse it?

    Any help would be appreciated thanks :)

  17. sara
    November 3, 2012

    Hey gemma smith :) I think that has to do with how limber your aquilles tendon are. If you cannot jump very high (which requires bending the knees in order to give impulse, so if you cannot bend with your heel on the ground so much you won’t jump so high) the body tends to compensate building up big calf muscles. That’s what I think at least, aquilles tendon elasticity related.

  18. Carlos
    November 7, 2012

    Hello there, Interesting site and interesting info.
    I am 5.5, weight 170 pounds and I am 25 years old. I was fat most of my life and when I was around 18 I decided to drop weight going from 210 pounds to 150 in 6 months. Since than i have been going to the gym just to not get weight on. I easily gain weight so I am always going to the gym for 3 months and than taking a brake. The problem is that I play Volleyball and i currently weight 170 and feel a bit heavy. The most I have been able to drop is to 165 in the past 6 years, and no matter what diet I do or how much I run, i dont seem to lose weight. People that dont know me think that I weight around 140-145 max, I look very skinny when I drop some weight, and the problem that i cant drop much I think is because during all these years I have added too much muscle mass. Idk, one thing I do know is that when I go to 160-165, my body doesnt feel like it belongs to me, it feels too energetic, too crazy, it wants to run, it wants to do things, if feels weird.. I have no Idea if you could understand. I have always wanted to go to 145-150 but never been there. I already look extremely skinny when i go down to 160, do you think there is a problem??.. Is my bone mass very high, or why cant I drop lower than 160. Any help is welcome.

  19. AMT
    November 14, 2012

    Hi Rusty
    Thanks for your work. I recently purchased Visual Impact for Women and have found it very helpful so far. Hope you can help me with a few questions I have upon reading it. I am trying to slim down my muscular legs. I take spinning classes at the gym twice a week, and I like the high intensity cardio workout it gives. But after reading, I am starting to think that it is not helping me slim down? The other 2-3 days a week that I work out I have started incorporating your “marathon cardio”. I am wondering if I should replace spinning with more running until I’ve slimmed the legs down? And if so, can I go back to spinning afterwards without bulking up again?
    Thanks again.

  20. Dennis Trombly
    December 4, 2012

    Thank you for some hints. After three doctor’s visits about my weight, he concluded I have too much muscle. I’m 5’7, 192 lbs, I’m a Black Belt in TKD and go to class two or three times a week. I eat yogurt and a banana every day, soup or salad for lunch and a nice healty dinner every day….having a nurse for a wife sure helps with my diet. But my body type is an odd one. My muscle has one hell of a memory from my body building day’s in high school. Now it’s a curse. Again, after a few visits and numerious tests, he actaully suggests I take in less calaries so my body eats up the muscle. Good times.

  21. David
    December 11, 2012

    that was a great article, my legs are definitely over developed, and i used to bike all the the time to try and slim them down, good to know i should change that

  22. Diana
    December 15, 2012

    I loved your article; it was exactly what I am looking for. I used to be a sprinter so now I can’t wear anything short without looking bulky in my legs.
    Just a couple questions: Can I still do pilates and yoga while losing muscle?
    Can I do insanity workouts?
    Can I do jumprope and burpees?
    much appreciated, thanks

  23. Ripped Muscle Extreme
    December 23, 2012

    Very great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to mention that I’ve really loved browsing your weblog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing for your rss feed and I’m hoping you write once more soon!

  24. Dan
    January 28, 2013

    Exactly what I’ve been looking for. I’ll be foregoing leg workout today in favor or marathon cardio.

  25. Tracy
    February 25, 2013

    I’m happy to find this site!

    I’m 5′ and around 110 lbs. I have a lot of leg muscle and upper body. I despise my big legs. I’ve been lifting heavy thinking that would help reduce the fat in my thighs.

    I used to run, but I’ve got a bum knee. I’ve been using the stationary bike, treadmill for walking and stairmaster. How much time do I need to spend in order to drop some muscle in my legs?

    Any help would be aprreciated.

  26. Trev
    February 26, 2013

    I’ve been having problems losing muscle for about 5 years now. The problem is I can’t lose it. I’m 6’1″ 200lbs with just over 10% fat. I have worked out a handful of times in my life, but I’m an avid rock climber. I climb 4-5 times a week for several hours at a time. The more I watch what I eat, the more muscle I gain.

    My question is what would be the best way to lose weight? Is marathon training the best way even though it will just be adding a work out rather than replacing my leg work out with running.

    I know this is a weird thing to do, but it really has a tole on my body with the sports I do. Is it something that I’m just going to have to deal with?

  27. simona
    March 30, 2013

    Hay this website is great. I’m a girl and muscular legs and arms never look good.? The problem is that I play tennis. Tennis is a constant workout every where in your body. I’m really seriouse about it because I am close to getting a scholarship. But I hate the way I look. Not saying I want to loose every bit of muscle but, I want to loose a lot. I can’t stand the way my body looks and I can’t wear all the small clothes i want to. The only answer I can find is unhealthy; anorexia. Do u have any other advise

  28. Stephanie
    June 30, 2013


    Thanks for the great info.
    You mentioned the best way to lose muscle is treadmill, unfortunately I really don’t like it. I’m wondering if I can replace running with skipping? Actually I suspect skipping actually builds up calve muscle ( I used to be on skipping team and have always have muscular calves and shoulders) but I can not be sure.
    Also, to lose arm muscle, I should do heavy resistance training but 2-3 sets only and low reps ( 5-6) ? Just want to make sure.
    Thanks very much.

  29. ree
    July 5, 2013

    That was some great advise! i m a small girl 5’4 but have big muscular arms….i painted my house a few months and that didnt help either, can you suggest to me how i can lose some of this, its just the arms. I started swimming but im worried now that will make them even bigger.

  30. tiff ferl
    November 13, 2013

    here is my problem… I was born with muscular legs very large claves… in my 20 ‘s all I did was walk my legs were fine… then I started the elliptical, Jillian michaels and eventually running… now my leg muscles are huge. I am 34 have had two kids and consider myself to be in pretty good shape… but not where I want to be. I quit running because I blame that for most of my bulk in my legs (when I started that is when I really noticed my bulky legs) I can barley touch pointer finger to pointer finger while wrapping both hands around my calves. I am 5’2″ and now weigh 138lbs (I delivered my daughter at 140 lbs) so I am a bit confused on what I should be doing to lose this muscle since running is what I think started this mess. Plus the weight gain started I wonder if its the bulky muscles in my legs.. I eat pretty healthy and am always conscious of what I bite into.

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