With Memorial Day just past us, summer is now unofficially here (though the calendar tells us we still have a few more weeks)! With the warm weather comes shorter hemlines, bare legs, and, of course, the dreaded swimsuits. Many women put a strong emphasis on toning their middle section to make their bodies bikini ready, sometimes ignoring the equally-if not more so-important legs. A toned, flat stomach looks great at the beach, of course, but great legs get noticed every day. Chances are, you won’t be flaunting a midriff-baring top at the office, but it’s quite likely that you’ll choose to wear a dress or skirt on these warmer days.
With that in mind, it only makes sense to focus as much effort on your lower half as you do on your midsection. As an added bonus, working your legs burns more calories than working your abs, so as you tone those gams, you’re actually helping shed the fat hiding that six-pack! On his website AskTheTrainer.com, certified personal trainer Mike Behnken says, “Resistance training for the legs not only builds and tones the leg muscles but is responsible for a greater metabolism increase than any other body part.” Put simply, boosting your metabolism means boosting your ability to burn calories more effectively, helping you to shed fat from all over your body. Even after the warm days of summer have passed us by, the benefits from your leg training will stay with you, since making your legs stronger means also increasing their ability to support your joints, thereby preventing injury and pain.
Resistance training and weight training are both crucial to strengthening your leg muscles. Cardio such as running, walking, biking and kickboxing are all necessary to keep the muscles active and toned as well as burn calories to aid in shedding fat. Pilates and yoga are also excellent ways to strengthen and stretch the all-important leg muscles. Your local gym probably offers a running club, strengthening classes, kickboxing, yoga, and Pilates, so check your gym’s schedule, grab a friend, and try it out! If you don’t belong to a gym, see the list compiled below of a few places offering these beneficial groups or classes. Start today to look and feel better both in the short and long run!
IM=X: IMX, which stands for "Integrated Movement Xercize" takes all of the traditional benefits of Pilates, including core strengthening and muscle lengthening, and combines them with cardio and additional strength training. Compared to a regular Pilates class, you'll increase the calories you burn while working your muscles even more intensely. Not only will you be increasing muscle tone, but you'll also be lengthening muscles to achieve those long, lean summer legs!
Physix: Offering group fitness and personal training, Physix will help you meet your goals! Instructors are involved every step of the way from the time you join the program, so you will have no excuses not to pursue your training. With this supportive group, you'll undoubtedly work your way to swimsuit legs in no time.
Underground Fitness: With all of its conditioning classes capped at 16 participants, you'll be sure to get the personal attention of the trainers at Underground Fitness. This intimate fitness setting is a unique opportunity to get all of the help you need to ensure that you're working your body in the right way. Classes such as Total Body Conditioning, Pilates, and yoga will all help you to work those legs, too.
Try out some of these classes and not only will your legs look great, but you will finally be able to make that hike up Camelback Mountain to experience one of Arizona's most beautiful landmarks firsthand!