5 moves for sculpted, toned legs

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5 moves for sculpted, toned legs

by: Jeff Libengood | .
The Fitness Doctor | .
published: September 04, 2013

Legs are one of the most common problem areas that clients complain about. Can you relate? Do you avoid wearing shorts and hate the thought of a bathing suit? If your thighs rub together, buns jiggle and dimples appear, it’s time to step up your leg routine.

Whatever you’d like to improve about your legs, it isn’t going to fix itself. The best strategy for getting killer legs is to include strength training for your lower body in your regular exercise routine.

To tone and sculpt your legs, incorporate the following five exercises a few times a week and see the difference they make. Stick with it and you’ll be showing off those legs in no time.

Tone your legs move No. 1: Squat
A properly done squat is a powerhouse of an exercise. In one movement you work your glutes, hips and thighs. Talk about hitting all the problem areas!

Here’s how to do a proper squat. Position your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight, core tight, and chest up, squat down like you’re going to sit in a chair. Bend at the knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping your knees from extending past your toes. Hold this position, and then exhale as you stand back up. Repeat for 20 repetitions without resting. As your endurance builds, feel free to add resistance by holding weights at your sides. 

Tone your legs move No. 2: Carving curtsy
This move is a little more complicated but worth the effort. It works your abs, buttocks, and legs—including your inner thighs.

To do the carving curtsy, first stand up straight with your arms bent and hands by your chest. Lunge back and to the right with your left leg so your left foot lands behind your right foot, to the right of your body. Bend both knees to a 90-degree angle, as if you’re performing a curtsy. Swing your left arm forward and up and your right arm back by your right side. Then stand up straight, lifting your left knee out to the side and tap your left knee with your left hand. Do 20 reps on each leg then repeat on the other side.

Tone your legs move No. 3: Mountain climber
This rocking leg exercise mimics the movement of climbing a steep mountain. The faster you move your legs, the more of a cardio workout you’ll get as well.

Get into a push-up position: hands and toes on the floor holding up your body. Holding in your abs, lift your right foot, and bring your right knee toward your chest. Tap the floor with your right foot, and then extend your leg back to starting position. Repeat with your left leg, bringing your left knee up toward your chest and tap the floor. Return to start position. Repeat with both legs for 20 repetitions.

Tone your legs move No. 4: Lunge
The lunge is arguably the best leg exercise, as it works pretty much every leg muscle as well as your buttocks. There are quite a few variations to the simple lunge, but to do the basic lunge, stand up straight and tighten your core.

Step forward several feet with your right foot, lightly landing heel first. Bend both legs down until bent at 90 degrees (never more) and your left knee is about an inch above the floor. Your knee shouldn’t extend further than your toes. Keep your body upright, tighten your core and work to keep your balance by not wobbling from side to side. Lift your body up and bring your hips forward until you’re standing straight. Repeat on the other side, lunging forward with your left foot. Complete 20 lunges per leg.

Tone your legs move No. 5: Step-up
Step-ups are great because they mimic movements you perform in daily life. This exercise works your legs and also gets your heart pumping. When you step-ups you can hold a dumbbell in each hand to increase resistance. In addition, you’ll need some sort of step such as a bottom stair, sturdy box, or low stable chair.

Step up with your right foot and then bring your left foot up. Step back down, so both feet are on the floor. Repeat, stepping up first with your left foot. Continue doing this 20 times with each leg.

Incorporate these moves into your routine to tone your legs, lift your buns, strengthen your core and to encourage healthy weight loss.

Why stop at just toning and sculpting your legs? I’m here to help you transform your entire body! Call or email today to get started on a specialized fitness plan that’s designed to quickly shape your body.

What are you waiting for? Begin your body transformation today!.

Jeff Libengood, aka The Fitness Doctor, is a personal trainer to pro and Olympic athletes, business VIPS, celebrities and performers in Tokyo. He founded Total Postural Reprogramming in Japan and is a leading lower-back-pain expert and an author, lecturer and educator. Email him at: jeff@thefitnessdoctor.jp

Diet matters too

Don’t forget how much your diet matters when it comes to getting your legs into amazing shape. In addition to the exercises outlined above, incorporate these diet tips into your routine: Eliminate processed snack items from your diet.
Cut down on the amount of grains you eat each day. Include lean protein with each meal. Fill your plate with colorful, nutrient-dense veggies. Enjoy fresh fruit as dessert, instead of sugar-filled items.

Grain-free zucchini muffins

Most muffin recipes use white flour, sugar, canola oil and dairy—but not these healthy muffins. Each of these Grain-Free Zucchini Muffins is packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It's the perfect way to turn fresh, organic zucchini into a delicious treat. Serving: 12

Here's what you need:

  • 11/2 cups almond flour
  • 11/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup grated zucchini, water squeezed out
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Here’s what you do

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin pan with coconut oil, or one large loaf pan.
  2. Combine the almond flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine the eggs, honey, vanilla, banana and oil in another bowl. Mix well and add the dry ingredients. Mix until fully combined
  4. Fold in the zucchini, raisins and pecans. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling each tin 1/4 full.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and set (for a loaf bake for 30 minutes). Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

Nutritional Analysis: One muffin equals: 182 calories, 12g fat, 13g carbohydrate, 166mg sodium, 3g fiber, and 6g protein

Caramel apple upside down cake
Here’s a slice of cake that won’t mess with your brain chemistry. The wholesome and lightly sweet flavor will satisfy your sweet tooth and power your day with real energy. Servings: 20 

Here’s what you need:

Caramel Topping:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut crystals
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 organic apples, thinly sliced and chopped

Apple Cake:

  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup blanched almond flour           
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder               
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg              
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract                 
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, grade B
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 5 organic eggs
  • 1/4 cup organic, full fat coconut milk
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 pan with coconut oil.
  2. Caramel Topping: In a small bowl combine the melted coconut oil, coconut crystals and cinnamon. Pour into the prepared pan. Evenly sprinkle the chopped apples over the caramel.
  3. In a medium bowl combine the coconut flour, almond flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. In another medium bowl combine the eggs, vanilla, syrup, and coconut milk. Blend well.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, and then slowly mix in the melted coconut oil.
  6. Carefully spread the cake batter over the apples and caramel in the pan.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes.
  8. Loosen the edges of the cake with a knife. Invert the cake by placing a plate over the top of the pan and then flipping it over.
  9. Slice, serve and enjoy!

Nutritional Analysis: One muffin equals: 182 calories, 12g fat, 13g carbohydrate, 166mg sodium, 3g fiber, and 6g protein

– Jeff Libengood

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