You’ve seen them performed in aerobics classes. You raise your leg out from your side while standing, while on all fours, or while lying on your side. This is done repeated with one leg and then the other. All the different permutations of sets of legs lifts are performed at least once and sometimes later in the class the raises are repeated. At least that was the drill in a popular aerobic class at the health club where I once worked.
One woman never missed a class; some days she did two classes a day. She was always there for the deluxe long class on Saturdays. It was such a long class that they would break half way through. Some used that time to reapply makeup in the restroom. They did a lot of leg lifts. I liked to watch, and I did the math. I figured 60 to 70 leg raises were performed a minute. There were 6 to 10 minutes of leg lifts per class. If you went to several classes in a week and showed up 50 weeks a year you would be doing close to a quarter million leg lifts.
What did she have to show for it? Fat deposits on her outer thighs. In fact it was the only place she had noticeable fat on her body.
Around this same time period I occasionally worked out a friend of mine. His main exercise appeared to be drinking beer. He was overweight, on the upside of 30% body fat. I was the leanest I ever was in my life at 8.8% body fat. When we each did the leg extension exercise you could clearly see the four muscle of each of our quadriceps, but his legs were more defined. He would nod toward his quadriceps and say, “Look at those Snakes”. I would look at his defined legs and at the same time see that he had a considerable beer belly.
This woman did 250,000 leg lifts a year and he drank beer. Why the different results? Maybe he was secretly doing leg lifts in the privacy of his own home. I have had people actually suggest this as an explanation. Perhaps it is because you cannot spot reduce with aerobic exercise, strength training exercise, or any type of exercise. We ought to tattoo it on people’s forehead so they don’t forget. Spot reduction just cannot be done.
You cannot “tighten things up” either; well at least not the fat. You can make the underlying muscle more tone by strength training, but that wonderful tone will not become evident until the fat comes off. The fat will remain there until there is a caloric deficit achieved through diet and exercise, and then it will come off in a way that is genetically pre-determined. You cannot do a thing about it EXCEPT change your genetic code or change your biological parents.
Rather than spending endless hours raising your leg you could follow a sound eating and exercise regime. Following such a program you might lose 30 pounds and lose a cup size that you did not want to lose. You might lose 30 pounds and not have the definition for certain body parts that someone else has. You will lose fat where your genetics decide, and you cannot do a thing about it.
What can you do? Look as good as you possibly can. Be as health and fit as you possible can. Accept that you cannot sculpt fat away from you body in specific “problem” area through any type of exercise. Accept that if you eat well and exercise properly you will look better, and you will be a world better off. Accept that you cannot have genetic-defying body changes that are not in accord with what we learned about genetics in 10th grade biology class.
At Kelly's Austin Personal Training and at New Orleans Ultimate Fitness Trainers the personal training sessions are designed to increase metabolism, create the caloric deficit necessary to lose the fat, and increase your muscle tone so that you look and feel better.