How to Lose Muscle Mass on Purpose?

July 29, 2008

Why do I always tackle the hard subjects? Seriously, I know this is going to be a big-time controversial post. It is beyond the realm of imagination on most fitness sites to ever talk about losing muscle on purpose.

I know I have disrupted the bodybuilding gods by even typing this phrase! Lets talk about this subject. What did I get myself into?

losing muscle
[In the UFC you have to be functionally fit and quick or you get knocked on your butt! Most of these guys display a natural amount of muscle without getting too big and bulky.]

I’m Convinced it is Politically Incorrect to Say “Lose Muscle”

I’m actually convinced of this. People like to say “slim down”. I’m as guilty as anyone. It just seems like a subject that many people dance around. The fact is that it does make sense for some people to lose muscle on purpose. There I said it again! Here are a few posts where I didn’t use those exact words.

Will Smith Slims Down For the Movie “I Am Legend”.
Duane Johnson, AKA The Rock, Looks Better Slim Instead of Bulky.
Kobe Bryant Loses 20 Pounds For Upcoming NBA Season

“Aren’t We All Suppose To Gain as Much Muscle as Possible?”

I hear people talking about losing fat, or losing weight, but rarely about losing muscle. If the term “lose muscle” is used…it is always used as a negative.

In fact, if you listen to all the main stream info…more muscle is always better than less muscle. The main reason for this is that you often times will hear that “muscle burns more calories all day long and helps you stay lean”.

This is an overused statement that is seriously exaggerated. Here is my post on that one:Gaining Muscle Doesn’t Increase the Metabolic Rate a Significant Amount

How Did I Get the Idea for This Post

A reader named Michael asked this question:

“I am currently studying for the bar. This is keeping me out of the gym and out of my normal suits. Follow me here. I am wearing jeans again, which I never have time for in general. Wearing the jeans caused me to realize that I violated one of my number one gym rules: thou shalt not deadlift of squat.”

“You see, I have these powerful short-ish legs (6’2 with a 32 inch inseam), and while I have focused for 15 years on building shoulders and back to not much avail, all I have to do is think hard about my legs, and they grow. And every few years, I make this same mistake…I decide that a couple heavy singles a week will not do anything. Wrong.”

“Well, new firm, gym in the firm, and sometimes for kicks I would go and rack a couple hundred pounds and just do A squat. Or three heavy singles. Twice a week. Thats it. Well, my legs look like pile drivers again.”

“So, here is the question…how can one use a limited gym availability period to allow muscles to shrink/catabolize? Further, I have read people talking about “muscle shifting” by not lifting the target group, lifting other areas, and not eating sufficient protein. What do you think of this? Whats the best way to get my old legs back? If you tell me, I will promise to never give in to the squat itch again…”
[Commercial break…A hot model named “Cindy” and “GQ” looking guy. Just trying to fill the site with attractive role models…No need for the typical flexing and ‘Hardcore’ vibe here.]

I Also Found a Funny Advice on A Few Forums

A female soccer player explained that she had tree-trunk legs and wanted to slim down. Half of the people replied and said to get a bigger upper body to even things out!

Not the answer she was looking for. Another gentleman said his legs were too large from squatting and he want to lighten up for mountain climbing.

Almost every single last reply told the guy that strong legs would help with mountain climbing and to keep doing squats. Sorry, but this is terrible advice. Climbers have strong but slim legs for a reason. They have to easily pull their own body weight up steep cliffs.

I Decided it Was Time for a Detailed “Lose Muscle” Plan

I certainly don’t think most people need to go out of their way to lose muscle, but some do. In fact a huge complaint that many women have is that lifting makes their legs too bulky.

I’ll address that. I also know many guys are sick of lugging around a large amount of muscle. I have been there and it slows you down, plus it isn’t the best look in the world.

More often than not it is the legs that get too bulky, but I have seen guys and girls with overly developed traps, pecs, shoulders, obliques, etc.

I Dropped 25+ Pounds of Muscle Nine Years Ago

My story is that I spent the first 12+ years of working out to try to get as big as possible. It made me feel slow, it was hard to find clothes that fit well, and I was sick of lugging all of that weight around.

I also realized that it wasn’t an attractive look and being that large made it look like I was trying too hard. It took me close to a year to slim down.

I’ve been carrying around much less muscle these past nine years and I look and feel better than ever. Here was my strategy…

My Legs Were Outrageously Large and Bulky

I used to be a monster at squats and deadlifts. I could easily do 3-4 sets of 405 for 5-6 reps with squats. Yes…I know to the hardcore lifters this doesn’t sound like much, but I am 6’3″ and I have a long way to travel on each rep…plus I did this at low body fat levels while having a ripped six pack. I wasn’t a fat slob with his gut sticking out doing squats.

I enjoyed doing squats back then because my legs pumped up like balloons. Plus I got all kinds of compliments from the guys in the free weight rooms, who were impressed with how deep I could squat with that type of weight.

I Dropped All Direct Resistance Training on Legs

This was a hard one for me to decide to do, since I used to make fun of guys that just trained their upper body. The problem is that if your legs are big, almost any resistance style exercise is going to help you maintain that size.

I tried light weights or just doing things like lunges. I also tried low rep training. Typically low rep training doesn’t dramatically increase the size of a muscle, but you just have to be more careful when it comes to legs.

The Number One Rule of Thumb to Lose Muscle in Your Legs

Avoid anything that creates a “pump” in the legs. Even things like riding an exercise bike will pump up your legs and cause them to stay the same size.

My sister is a workout machine and she refuses to do cardio on an exercise bike, because it increases the size of her thighs.

The exercise bike can really create a large pump in the legs. Jogging on a treadmill is the best way to slim your legs down (lose muscle on your legs). Once your legs are a smaller size, feel free to give the exercise bike a shot again.

The Type of Cardio for Those Who Want to Maintain Muscle

For the most part on this site, I recommend doing High Intensity Interval Training followed by Low Intensity Steady State Cardio. This is an amazing method to get extremely lean without losing muscle.

Note: This method works if you want to maintain muscle mass. This is ideal for most of the readers, but Not for those people who need to lose muscle.

Marathon Cardio is the Best Way to Lose Muscle

If you are trying to lose a bit of muscle mass, you need to do what I call “Marathon Cardio”.

Jump on a treadmill and do a medium to high intensity steady state cardio for an extended period of time. Aim for 45-60 minutes at as fast as rate as you can handle for that period of time. Marathon cardio is used by boxers to “make weight”.

They basically call it “road work”, but it involves long periods of running at a pretty high intensity level.

A Calorie Deficit Will Speed Up the Process

Don’t go too extreme here, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to go low-cal during this period of time. Heck, I like to go low-cal a few times a year just to give my digestive system a break and detox a bit.

Make sure you go into your workout with an empty stomach and don’t eat a meal right after exercising…wait at least 1-2 hours before eating anything.

How to Lose Muscle on Other Parts of the Body

It is quite a bit easier to slim down other muscle groups. You still want to work those muscle groups, but dramatically cut down the sets and reps.

Lift heavy for low reps and don’t go to failure. Also, just like your legs…you are going to want to avoid the pump on this body part.

This is going to allow you to keep that area strong and dense without having the excess mass. In fact, I recommend that you train your entire body like this anyway. This builds a strong, functional body that winds up holding a “natural” amount of muscle.

Many People Would Benefit from Dropping Direct Leg Work

I’m going to go ahead and point out my most controversial fitness view.

I believe that 9 out of 10 people would have better looking physiques if they dropped all of their leg exercises and replaced it with High Intensity Interval Training combined with Steady State Cardio.

This just seems to create the ideal sized leg that is functional as well. Not only that, the extra time available for cardio will help you keep a lower body fat level year round. Also…your legs and butt greater definition from sprinting than they will from lifting.

The nice thing is that they will remain a normal size while firming up.

Note: Michael…I hope that answers your question at least partially. I haven’t heard much about “muscle shifting”, so I can’t comment on that. Bottom line is that you need to get a good pair of running shoes and hit the pavement (or treadmill).

The side benefit is that it is going to help you lean down and lighten up…which will make you more athletic, give you more energy, makes your face look better, etc.

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

William March 22, 2012 at 6:23 pm

What if jogging for 41 min made me feel the “pump” in my legs
And they were bigger the next day and how can I fix this

Nat March 27, 2012 at 5:59 pm

I’m female, black, played soccer all my life, and can’t bring my hips under 44inches for the LIFE of me. I’m 5’8 and 196lbs but you wouldn’t know it by looking at me. My legs are pretty much solid muscle. Everyone would look at me like I was nuts when I said I wanted to cut muscle.
I’m going to try the marathon cardio…
Much appreciated!

DD April 26, 2012 at 11:22 am

I love this article! finally someone with answer to this question. I 5’1 weigh 138 pounds but my arms are ridiculously muscular, like man arms and its so embarrassing. Mainly my Biceps, triceps and trapezius. (The muscle between the neck and shoulder). So if I focus on upper body cardio for my arms and decrease my protein and calorie intake then my muscle will rapidly slim down? I hope this works because I Hate my arms. I cant even wear dresses in the summer time.

Jane May 4, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Rusty, do you know if jumping rope can create a “pump” like biking? Would you recommend it for decreasing muscle (like running)?

Joanne Butler May 9, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Absolutely fantastic post. Many, many of my clients have this problem and this is exactly what we do to fix it. Thank you

laura May 11, 2012 at 8:44 am

hi Rusty,
Great article! do you know if the step mill – revlolving staircase will bulk up your thghs & butt? i do it 5-6 days a week for 60 mins. I am pear shape and wondering how to slim my legs (saddlebags & inner thighs) and decrease the width of my butt- it does perk up b/c of the stepping but i feel to wide…any ideas?
also, is IF the best way to lose weight? or just eating mini types of protein/fats when hungry?

Zenaida Lemmon May 20, 2012 at 12:47 am

Wonderful goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely magnificent. I really like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it wise. I can’t wait to read much more from you. This is actually a terrific website.

Samantha May 31, 2012 at 3:11 pm

So now the question is…. how does an elite athlete who is prone to building mass, but cannot lose speed and needs to be as strong as possible in order to do their sport, still reduce muscle mass? Cardio and less lifting are not always an option. As a skeleton athlete this is a constant problem that I am yet to find an answer for.

Mauri June 1, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Thank you! I have been way over weight for some time so my LBM is apx 154 lbs. I’m only a 5’3″ female & I’m thinking that is just gonna be way to big even if my body fat is on target. I was only 113 lbs out of Marine Corp bootcamp. I am currently preparing to prepare for a marathon & I was wondering if I should weight train but don’t want to get even more muscle mass but I do want to be stronger. Your artical is a great help. Thanks again, Mauri

Veronica June 2, 2012 at 7:22 am

My son had a 56″ chest (he was a shotputter), but had L3/L4, L4/L5 & L5/S1 bulging disks after a car accident just after college graduation. L4/L5 got so bad that he needed part of it removed so he could walk. The doctors said he has to lose a massive amount of muscle…basically go from 315 to 200. How does an overmuscled man debulk that much? Any help, recommendations would be appreciated.

Callie June 4, 2012 at 9:16 pm

For the marathon cardio what would you say is medium to high intensity level on a treadmill? Like a 6, 7, 8 ?? I want to make sure I am doing my cardio at a high enough intensity to make a difference!

Thanks Rusty! Love your stuff!!


DD June 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Lately Ive been doing high intensity cardio 1 hour a day for my arms (swimming, running, rowing motions) to shrink my muscles. I decreased my calories and eliminated all protein from my diet, But it seems like my muscles are getting bigger instead of smaller. I know that if a certain muscle group is overworked that it will go into catabolic state and burn muscle. What am I doing wrong? Plz answer Thanks

Madison June 17, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Very helpful, thank you. I’ve been trying to lose fat from my thighs for months due to modelling. Unfortunately, it really isn’t happening, thanks to the fact that I’ve got very little fat to lose. It’s mostly muscle from five years of gymnastics and biking to school every day. Thank you!

Melanie June 18, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Rusty, thank you for this article. It was exactly what I was looking for a long time.

I’m female, in my early thirties and with weight training during the last four years my legs definitely bulked up through heavy-weighted squatting and lunging. First I wondered if I could have added fat to my thighs and glutes again, but when I flex the lower body, everything is almost hard like rock.

I must lose some muscle again, not in the upper body but in the thighs and glutes.

I will follow your advice to ditch all the weighted leg resistance training. Besides from that, do you think I could get the same effect from running by using an elliptical/cross trainer machine?

Thanks in advance!

Margaret M. June 26, 2012 at 7:33 am

This is just exactly what I’m looking for. I’ve been wanting to lose some muscles in my lower leg, I just don’t know how it will be done. Thank you for this article Rusty!

Semi L. June 26, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Hey Rusty, real new to your website, but I’ve been trying to find quick ways to lose my muscle mass. I’ve been playing football and rugby for years since I was 7 and now i am 19. I am trying lose my muscle mass, like you, I have powerhouse legs and I’m just trying to really cut down to be slim so I can begin my dream to be a dancer man. I haven’t tried your intensive cardio workout and low-cal plan, but I will start tomorrow. I feel it will work, it’s not easy being Polynesian, we are naturally big. haha. Much love bro.

Colleen Close July 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Hi, I’m Colleen a transgender girl. Thank you so much for answering a question I had in such a straight forward way. I’ve started running 10kms 3 times a week and have noticed my leg muscles reducing which is good. I would like to lose muscle mass around my shoulders. Do you have a solution to this also?


Colleen (ps. hope you dont mind that I am transgender and on your blog)

Vic July 4, 2012 at 7:47 pm

The best rule is: You want to lose it, don’t use it. Lay on the bed and watch TV all weekend, don’t even walk. You will see the difference.

Sydney July 13, 2012 at 7:43 pm

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

hayley July 17, 2012 at 7:58 am

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. 🙂

Carlos July 18, 2012 at 11:55 am

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.

Jeremy July 28, 2012 at 7:00 pm

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?


Lilu August 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm

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?

Jennifer August 6, 2012 at 10:40 am

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!

Aki August 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm

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!

Mike August 16, 2012 at 6:09 am

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.

Al August 29, 2012 at 8:09 am

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.

Analize September 6, 2012 at 11:20 pm

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 ?

Angela September 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm

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.

T shah September 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm

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

Tommiedoll September 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm

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.

Anonymous October 1, 2012 at 3:07 am

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.

Lindsay October 19, 2012 at 8:38 am

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.

gemma smith October 22, 2012 at 2:35 am

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 🙂

sara November 3, 2012 at 9:04 am

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.

Carlos November 7, 2012 at 8:43 pm

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.

AMT November 14, 2012 at 6:58 am

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.

Dennis Trombly December 4, 2012 at 11:59 am

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.

David December 11, 2012 at 2:12 pm

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

Diana December 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm

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

Ripped Muscle Extreme December 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm

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!

Dan January 28, 2013 at 6:52 am

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

Tracy February 25, 2013 at 5:05 pm

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.

Trev February 26, 2013 at 11:19 pm

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?

simona March 30, 2013 at 5:31 pm

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

Stephanie June 30, 2013 at 4:47 am


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.

ree July 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm

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.

tiff ferl November 13, 2013 at 11:24 am

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.

gini September 9, 2014 at 1:36 pm

thank goodness i have found some sane information! i work out 6 days a it and wouldn’t change it for the world and dropped alot of much needed weight as a result. my routine is mad for some and worked well for a long time. After looking at some photos this time last year i realised i had got too thin. So felt i needed to build muscle and it was fab and everyone said how good i looked but despite eating clean and training hard my legs graually got bigger and bigger and I found i needed to suddenly buy a new wardrobe one size up! I asked everyone and the pts advice at my gym and had allsorts of advice including reducing my carbs, i only eat 150g a day and certainly with running 20miles in addition to my gym training I definatly couldnt do that and sustain energy, also i was told to just work harder on my legs/more squats etc, and also high reps and low weights.I am now going to cut half of my spinning classes (currently x6) and give your idea a go and see if that will help. I have read other posts and tbh running will still strengthen and tone the legs anyway.

charlie October 24, 2014 at 9:04 am

Great article, I am currently trying to lose approx 20kg total to turn my weightlifting body into a rockclimbing body and so far my own interpretation of what is needed has almost shadowed this information. 2 years ago I used the same tactics in losing weight and “slimming down” to practise kickboxing and bjj and it worked perfectly, and turning and squatting quad into a roundhouse is not an easy task. This has made me feel more confident about my own training methods, thanks

commercial shop awnings sydney October 29, 2014 at 7:26 am

Hello mates, good post and ɡood urging commented Һere, I
am really enjoying Ƅy theѕе.

Per February 25, 2015 at 11:50 am

Just what I needed to hear. Got massive logs for legs, naturally anf even moreso from powerlifting. I’ve decided to run a marathon and worried about if I could loose muscle while using my legs for running. But now I just need to go out and mix intervals with long long distance. Love it. Thanks!

Rita March 1, 2015 at 5:41 pm

I was born with muscular legs and that makes me feel out of place whenever I am outside my home.please help me out with a quick solution..Thanks

Ash March 4, 2015 at 11:43 am

I’m 5’2″ and I weigh 118 pounds. While my waist is not all that big (28) I have gigantic thighs and calves. I’ve tried everything from squats to cycling. It just makes my calves and thighs even bigger. I was told that my legs aren’t huge because of fat…it’s because of muscle and in order to slim them down a bit, I have to lose the muscle. I’ve been jogging for an hour daily for about a month. I’m not getting results. Any advice?

Sierra Dell March 8, 2015 at 1:43 pm

Hi, My name is Sierra Dell,

I am a Hockey player and we just finished our season. Hockey definitely requires strong legs which I have and I don;t mind them during the season but now that the season is over and summer is coming up I need a little help slimming them down. I took you pointers but I have a couple other questions about slimming my legs.

1. Is doing the elliptical for 45-60 minutes good for slimming them down like the treadmill or is it more like the bike?
2. If the treadmill is good for slimming down legs what types of setting would you suggest(like resistance and vertical)?
3. Is yoga good for slimming legs or does that isolate muscle groups?
4. Lastly would you say swimming is good for slimming down as well?

Thanks so much for the help it is going to really help with my body confidence !

Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: