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I have fat legs.

by (70)
Updated about 15 hours ago
Created July 02, 2012 at 12:26 PM

I have only around 15% bodyfat, but still "chubby" legs, I can literally grab fat into handfull and I have not very well shaped butt. It's flat and I have a lot of cellulite. I exercise enough (dancing, yoga, occasionaly running, I used to do a lot of hiit, but not anymore). My queston is WHY?? Would be weight training benefficial? After a professional messurement I get a suggestion, that I should be eating at least 1688 kcal per day , what's only just to survive. Can I believe that? I think I am eating around 1200-1500 the most days. I am female, 22 years old.

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1667 · April 27, 2013 at 3:10 PM

Oh and never PAY for advise from an un accredited 20 year old (especially one who profits from selling books and accessories relating to your exact problem). Have anxiety? Buy my anxiety e book and Ill show you the one true way to overcome it. Going through a painful breakup? Buy my e book on the TRUE way to to overcome the pain of a breakup, the first 300 buyers get my overcoming the breakup handbag. I get it lady, I really do, you've got to make a living but your advise is extremely non specific. "Lose body fat" why didnt I think of that?

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1277 · July 03, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Huh???? I'm not following you.

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2799 · July 03, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Righteous indignation and a subject change? Lets assume that squats are indeed the answer. How many years of squatting would be required to gain that much visible muscle (she has to fill those gaps of yours) on a 22 year old female?

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1277 · July 03, 2012 at 1:08 PM

The cellulite she is referring to is the dimpling/rippling of the skin on the butt and back of her thighs which she has already stated is present at 15% BF. You've suggested that she reduce BF which is INSANE! What level would you suggest she go to? 12%, 10%, sub-10%? Do you know the health consequences of a female dropping or even worse maintaining that low? What she is referring to is caused by gaps in the connective tissue of the fat. The best thing for her to do is to fill or streatch those gaps with lean muscle mass and the best way to do it is to squat.

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24538 · July 03, 2012 at 12:19 AM

Even when my brother was competing semi-professionally in mountain biking, he still had very thick legs just like mine in spite of training for hours every day. I've just decided to come to terms with my "sturdy peasant" frame, and try to work with it instead of against it.

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 8:44 PM

No, I am definitely not hydrated very well. It developed recently into renal issues. Thanks for good point. And my mother HAS thick legs...

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2799 · July 02, 2012 at 8:18 PM

So cellulite has nothing to do with fat?

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1277 · July 02, 2012 at 7:03 PM

If I were a bettin' man I'd bet your "huge bulging man" legs look a lot better than skinny fat legs. The OP needs to squat not because is magically makes fat disappear. And sure some/most women will store fat in the lower body. She needs to squat because she is describing a complete lack of muscle. She should be 24% with thick thighs and a big ass. Squat and milk (coconut) is the best way to get there.

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1277 · July 02, 2012 at 6:59 PM

If you think a female with 15% BF should "lose fat" you should be disqualified from answering this question. She needs to squat. Why does she need to squat? well, first because that "cellulite" she is referring to is actually skin in complete absence of muscle. no muscle was almost certainly caused by a lifetime of undereating and avoiding heavy weights. Assuming the eating part is being treated by paleo she need to start moving heavy stuff. Her health and ass will benefit.

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 6:43 PM

I think, I have this 15% on my legs. Should I accept it and do nothing with? I would love to be satisfied with my body..

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 6:41 PM

I have really big quadriceps muscles. Really big. And a fat on it. I don't want to bigger muscles and bigger legs! Omg, i really don't know what to do! Lol

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2799 · July 02, 2012 at 6:23 PM

She mentioned cellulite.

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24271 · July 02, 2012 at 6:11 PM

She's 15% body fat. She does NOT need to lose fat.

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24271 · July 02, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Yep, great answer.

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 6:07 PM

It was meassured professionaly with bioimpedance. I hate how my body stores fat. Omg, why couldn't i have all this fat in my bra!!:)))

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4266 · July 02, 2012 at 5:56 PM

I do squats but it just gives me huge bulging man muscles in my legs. I suppose that is okay, but it doesn't make my legs any more slender.

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4266 · July 02, 2012 at 5:54 PM

I'm 47 and have been sprinting for about a month now, once a week. It's absolutely amazing. I feel so great afterwards and I'm getting more defined in my core and legs. However, I hurt myself last time. :(

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Beautifull answer, thank you so much!!

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 5:09 PM

I dance and my coach says that i have incredibly strong legs...so i don't think, that i have to make my thights stronger..actually, my butt realy is a problem and i think some squats will be very beneficial.

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3217 · July 02, 2012 at 5:06 PM

Totally agree about the purpose of the fat, MikeD. A good book about women and fat is Why Women Need Fat: http://whywomenneedfat.com/. The subtitle is typical sensational "let me sell a diet book," but a lot of it is about what kind of fat we carry, where we carry it, *why* we carry it, and what can be changed and what can't. It also gives recommendations based on your age. At this point in your life, your biology is building up baby-making stores whether you like it or not.

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 5:04 PM

ok, so definitely squats, thanks for answer:)

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 5:03 PM

Beautifull answer, thank you so much!!

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645 · July 02, 2012 at 3:36 PM

haha hopefully not a prolonged one. Didn't think of that side effect. Then again I've never trained women on a consistent basis. There's only one way to find out if she's willing to experiment.

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1277 · July 02, 2012 at 3:20 PM

This is a girl that is very lean that has a flat ass and can grab a handfull of skin on her thigh. This isn't a "Too much, fat" problem this is clearly a "too little muscle" problem. She needs to squat. I don't care if it is a goblet, or single leg, or highbar, or box, or zercher, or anything else you can think of. As for the possiblity she has poor levers for squatting, sure it is possible but highly unlikely.

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2799 · July 02, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Rob wars! I'm all for weight lifting. But if she only lifts and doesn't modify her diet she might end up with bigger muscles under the fat deposits that annoy her.

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645 · July 02, 2012 at 2:40 PM

I'm not completely disagreeing with you here, but her problem could be that she doesn't have much muscle in her legs, and they need tightening up. It's worth a shot in my opinion. Otherwise...genetics...

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2799 · July 02, 2012 at 2:31 PM

Sure, if they're built right for squatting and they have good form. But not everyone is built right, and one day your form will slip for some reason.

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2799 · July 02, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Saying something critical of squatting is one of the fastest ways to get downvoted around here...

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78422 · July 02, 2012 at 2:21 PM

Mark is quite right - warming up is essential for sprint workouts.

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1320 · July 02, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Sprinting is great (as is prowler work). I just find that many people won't maintain a sprint work out (it is difficult) and in older populations (the 30+ groups) there is a high chance of pulling a hamstring.

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4181 · July 02, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Won't squats make them bigger?

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1320 · July 02, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Leg press is not a bad exercise. It has it's place. The squat, in terms of efficacy, is the best exercise. It works the entire posterior chain (leg press does not), engages your core (leg press does not), and works on your balance. The leg press does not eliminate injury risk. In fact, it places your lower back in compression (BAD). If you are a healthy adult wanting to improve overall health, the squat is a much better choice then the leg press. I agree if you want to build 'bigger' legs (notice not stronger!), then the leg press is great for body builders.

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2799 · July 02, 2012 at 1:50 PM

Squating is a religion for some people.

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24271 · July 02, 2012 at 1:38 PM

I agree Renee. Adam I would agree with you if your answer was more like "Learn to squat properly. Squat heavy twice a week" You'll get the best legs you are able to get on YOUR body.

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11683 · July 02, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Answers like this make me mad. Some women just carry more of their fat on their lower halves, and no amount of squats is going to change that.

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1277 · July 02, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Yep. It ain't rocket surgery.

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 12:35 PM

thanks for answer, btw!

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Really? So simple?:)

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14 Answers

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240 · July 02, 2012 at 3:18 PM

While I think squats/leg workouts can be helpful for improving your body composition, I would actually consider looking a little closer at your diet/stress level. 15% body fat is extremely low for a woman, and consuming 1200-1500 calories for extended periods of time can be quite stressful for the body. It sounds like you may be dealing with some hormonal imbalance-- the fat distribution that you described sounds like possible estrogen dominance/low progesterone. This imbalance (which you may have had for a long time) can be perpetuated by stressful activities like staying in a caloric deficit for extended periods of time or going too low-carb for too long. Are you sleeping well? Recovering quickly from workouts? Is your digestion regular? How are your periods? These are good questions to ask yourself while dieting to make sure that your stress hormones are not spiraling out of control.

I wanted to respond because I dealt with very similar body composition issues while on strict paleo and doing a lot of physical activity. Adding more carbs/calories, doing only low-stress exercise (hiking, yoga), making sure I was getting adequate sleep really helped improve my hormonal balance and subsequently, my fat distribution. Also, I know it gets old to hear, but women really are designed to hold onto more fat than men. I do think that you should evaluate your stress level, but it is also important to consider that you might just be a lady with shapely thighs! Speaking from experience, obsessing about the circumference of your thighs is generally a self fulfilling prophecy. Relax about your gams and go do something nice for yourself!

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 5:03 PM

Beautifull answer, thank you so much!!

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Beautifull answer, thank you so much!!

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24271 · July 02, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Yep, great answer.

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20908 · July 02, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Couple of points:

Fat in the legs in women is good. That's usually EPA and it's kept there so that you can make good milk for a baby's brain.

If you're estrogen dominant, you will store fat in your legs. The fat cells there have more estrogen receptors, so they preferentially accumulate fat. Robb Wolf has a segment on this in a recent podcast. He's done some work with nicotine gum because it blunts the estrogen receptors, pretty cool stuff, check out that podcast

Squats, squats, squats. I've never seen a woman who can execute a proper heavy squat who didn't have an awesome posterior chain.

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3217 · July 02, 2012 at 5:06 PM

Totally agree about the purpose of the fat, MikeD. A good book about women and fat is Why Women Need Fat: http://whywomenneedfat.com/. The subtitle is typical sensational "let me sell a diet book," but a lot of it is about what kind of fat we carry, where we carry it, *why* we carry it, and what can be changed and what can't. It also gives recommendations based on your age. At this point in your life, your biology is building up baby-making stores whether you like it or not.

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 5:04 PM

ok, so definitely squats, thanks for answer:)

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78422 · July 02, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Consider sprinting rather than squats.

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1320 · July 02, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Sprinting is great (as is prowler work). I just find that many people won't maintain a sprint work out (it is difficult) and in older populations (the 30+ groups) there is a high chance of pulling a hamstring.

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4266 · July 02, 2012 at 5:54 PM

I'm 47 and have been sprinting for about a month now, once a week. It's absolutely amazing. I feel so great afterwards and I'm getting more defined in my core and legs. However, I hurt myself last time. :(

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78422 · July 02, 2012 at 2:21 PM

Mark is quite right - warming up is essential for sprint workouts.

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30 · February 06, 2013 at 8:15 PM

Ugh, annoying answers! FIRST THINGS FIRST: Don't take advice about getting the body you want from men. They typically don't store fat in their legs and thighs and most aren't trying to get thinner thighs, but gain more mass there. Clearly, they don't understand!

I do though - you want to get rid of the jiggly parts and don't want STRONG legs, whatever the hell that means. You realize, just as I have, that squatting with heavy weights and all that leg work only increases the mass of your thighs because you've experienced it for yourself! Don't worry, you weren't imagining things - squatting and lifting heavy and all that crap won't get you any closer to your goals.

Second, most men will tell you how great strong legs are on a woman yet when you see the women they routinely call hot and are attracted to, you'll notice they're not the ones with the bulging quads and huge hamstring, but instead the thin, streamlined limbs that you are asking about achieving here.

ANYWAY, on to actually answering your question. Yes, you can do something about your fat legs if you want to. You need to lose body fat by coming up with a diet and exercise plan that is tailored to you. Cardio that gets your heart rate up and keeps it up for at least an hour multiple times per week, intermittent fasting, calorie cycling, hiit, stretching, targeted inner and outer thigh exercises... cutting out sugar, drinking a lot of water and green tea, making sure your meals are high in nutrients but low in calories as well as satiating, plus a lot of other things I can't cover here without writing a book (which I actually have done - google 'The Thigh Gap Hack')

Lastly, I would question if you actually are really at 15% body fat. That dude who claimed he was lean but couldn't see his abs - obvious town he isn't lean. A lean person with low body fat WILL HAVE defined abs because there will be little fat covering them.

People tend to have this misconception about themselves being leaner than they actually are. Everyone in their mind is lean or eats clean or follows a strict diet and can't understand why (fill in the blank about not achieving their body aesthetic goals).

I feel your pain and I can tell you that you can have the thin thighs you want with a bit more work (of course doing the right work and not counterproductive things like squatting heavy).

Feel free to email me if you have any questions. I'm here to help

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1667 · April 27, 2013 at 3:10 PM

Oh and never PAY for advise from an un accredited 20 year old (especially one who profits from selling books and accessories relating to your exact problem). Have anxiety? Buy my anxiety e book and Ill show you the one true way to overcome it. Going through a painful breakup? Buy my e book on the TRUE way to to overcome the pain of a breakup, the first 300 buyers get my overcoming the breakup handbag. I get it lady, I really do, you've got to make a living but your advise is extremely non specific. "Lose body fat" why didnt I think of that?

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 5:10 PM

Thank u all for your time and for your answers!!

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1320 · July 02, 2012 at 2:05 PM

I don't know about the fat on your legs. You describe being able to grab a handful of fat. How are you measuring your BF%? I believe a commenter pointed out that you may simply store your fat in your lower body.

Squats may or may not solve the disproportionate amount of fat on your legs. Squats will improve over all body make up and your 'flat' butt problem. Heavy squat 3x5 2-3 times per week. Start with a 25 pound or 45 pound bar and add weight in small increments each time you work out to work up to your working weight. Flat butt comes from long distance running and too much cardio. You need to build up your muscle in your posterior chain. Heavy squats are the best way to do this.

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 6:07 PM

It was meassured professionaly with bioimpedance. I hate how my body stores fat. Omg, why couldn't i have all this fat in my bra!!:)))

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3 · July 12, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Hello,

I know that this is an old post, but for whoever is checking this because of fatty legs ( even after acheiving a very lean upper body ), you might want to look into lipedema or lipoedema

and if this is the disproportionate body type that you have you might want to give your lymphatic system some special care, and avoid certain foods that might irritate your lymph vessels and affects their permeability

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0 · June 02, 2013 at 12:05 AM

I look a lot younger than i am, eat relatively healthily but snack too much and do no excercise. At times i've been the gym 4/5 times per week and was seriously underweight after my last child. Through all this i have had huge legs for my size and have never gotten rid of them except when i was underweight. I find it very difficult to find clothes that fit a small waist and big legs and NEVER wear shorts or short skirts, i would love to know how to get rid of fat legs but to be honest i don't think we can.The best i ever looked was when i was going the gym, i did an hr to hr and half 3/4 times per wk and the legs were more defined and shapely with less cellulite, at the moment i just hide them but the gym and a tan is looking like the best option. I feel your pain because other people are just fat and lazy but have fit legs, seems so unfair, i've been like this since my teens, just keep in shape an stay (safely) tanned, best we fatty legs can do i'm afraid. Chin up though, you could be an ugly person inside instead x

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144 · July 02, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Run long distance, sprint, squat and do not neglect your core!

But seriously, genetics should never be the main problem. Watch your diet and be patient!

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24538 · July 02, 2012 at 6:47 PM

Body composition is largely genetic, what shape is your mother, your mother's mother, and her mother? We have both thick calves and thick thighs in my family, no matter the level of fitness, we just have more circumference in the legs than your average Joe. If it is genetic you can try fighting against it, but you'll probably just make yourself miserable in the process.

Something else to think about can you still grab a handful when you tense up your leg? I have a considerably higher body fat content than you, but don't get much when the muscles in my legs are activated. Building muscle won't make them smaller, but it'll make them more firm.

As for the cellulite, I'm by no means an expert, but I've heard that it is largely influenced by hydration levels, with dehydration making it worse. Are you getting sufficient water and sufficient electrolytes?

As for building a nice butt, mine was never better than when I practically lived on my bicycle.

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 8:44 PM

No, I am definitely not hydrated very well. It developed recently into renal issues. Thanks for good point. And my mother HAS thick legs...

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24538 · July 03, 2012 at 12:19 AM

Even when my brother was competing semi-professionally in mountain biking, he still had very thick legs just like mine in spite of training for hours every day. I've just decided to come to terms with my "sturdy peasant" frame, and try to work with it instead of against it.

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2799 · July 02, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Not sure I follow...you want to get rid of some fat, the other things you mention didn't work, and you want to know why weight lifting would work?

It won't. Losing fat is about diet. Weight lifting is there so that you don't lose muscle while you're dieting.

And beware the cult of squatting.

http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/muscle-gain/squat-versus-leg-press-for-big-legs.html

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1320 · July 02, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Leg press is not a bad exercise. It has it's place. The squat, in terms of efficacy, is the best exercise. It works the entire posterior chain (leg press does not), engages your core (leg press does not), and works on your balance. The leg press does not eliminate injury risk. In fact, it places your lower back in compression (BAD). If you are a healthy adult wanting to improve overall health, the squat is a much better choice then the leg press. I agree if you want to build 'bigger' legs (notice not stronger!), then the leg press is great for body builders.

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2799 · July 02, 2012 at 8:18 PM

So cellulite has nothing to do with fat?

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2799 · July 02, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Rob wars! I'm all for weight lifting. But if she only lifts and doesn't modify her diet she might end up with bigger muscles under the fat deposits that annoy her.

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 5:09 PM

I dance and my coach says that i have incredibly strong legs...so i don't think, that i have to make my thights stronger..actually, my butt realy is a problem and i think some squats will be very beneficial.

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 6:41 PM

I have really big quadriceps muscles. Really big. And a fat on it. I don't want to bigger muscles and bigger legs! Omg, i really don't know what to do! Lol

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1277 · July 02, 2012 at 6:59 PM

If you think a female with 15% BF should "lose fat" you should be disqualified from answering this question. She needs to squat. Why does she need to squat? well, first because that "cellulite" she is referring to is actually skin in complete absence of muscle. no muscle was almost certainly caused by a lifetime of undereating and avoiding heavy weights. Assuming the eating part is being treated by paleo she need to start moving heavy stuff. Her health and ass will benefit.

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2799 · July 02, 2012 at 6:23 PM

She mentioned cellulite.

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2799 · July 03, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Righteous indignation and a subject change? Lets assume that squats are indeed the answer. How many years of squatting would be required to gain that much visible muscle (she has to fill those gaps of yours) on a 22 year old female?

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645 · July 02, 2012 at 3:36 PM

haha hopefully not a prolonged one. Didn't think of that side effect. Then again I've never trained women on a consistent basis. There's only one way to find out if she's willing to experiment.

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 6:43 PM

I think, I have this 15% on my legs. Should I accept it and do nothing with? I would love to be satisfied with my body..

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24271 · July 02, 2012 at 6:11 PM

She's 15% body fat. She does NOT need to lose fat.

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645 · July 02, 2012 at 2:40 PM

I'm not completely disagreeing with you here, but her problem could be that she doesn't have much muscle in her legs, and they need tightening up. It's worth a shot in my opinion. Otherwise...genetics...

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1277 · July 03, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Huh???? I'm not following you.

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2799 · July 02, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Saying something critical of squatting is one of the fastest ways to get downvoted around here...

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1277 · July 03, 2012 at 1:08 PM

The cellulite she is referring to is the dimpling/rippling of the skin on the butt and back of her thighs which she has already stated is present at 15% BF. You've suggested that she reduce BF which is INSANE! What level would you suggest she go to? 12%, 10%, sub-10%? Do you know the health consequences of a female dropping or even worse maintaining that low? What she is referring to is caused by gaps in the connective tissue of the fat. The best thing for her to do is to fill or streatch those gaps with lean muscle mass and the best way to do it is to squat.

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778 · July 02, 2012 at 1:44 PM

-better to store it their than on the belly -thigh fat could make your waist to hip ratio look better -you sound like the lady from the gary taubes slideshow who was morbidly obese below the waist and underweight over it lulz. but ur not.

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1241 · July 02, 2012 at 1:43 PM

I suggest getting some kind of skin pinch test done for your legs and see how they compare to the norm in regards to your body type. If it's normal, then I suggest you question your judgement as to whether or not you are exaggerating the size of your legs. If it's not normal, then it's possible that just how your body stores fat. Going any lower in body fat percentage is likely not healthy.

Sorry to be so pessimistic. I'm in similar situation: I'm quite lean but don't have a six-pack. I have come to accept it.

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1277 · July 02, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Learn to squat properly. Squat heavy twice per week. Problem solved.

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2799 · July 02, 2012 at 2:31 PM

Sure, if they're built right for squatting and they have good form. But not everyone is built right, and one day your form will slip for some reason.

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11683 · July 02, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Answers like this make me mad. Some women just carry more of their fat on their lower halves, and no amount of squats is going to change that.

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4266 · July 02, 2012 at 5:56 PM

I do squats but it just gives me huge bulging man muscles in my legs. I suppose that is okay, but it doesn't make my legs any more slender.

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24271 · July 02, 2012 at 1:38 PM

I agree Renee. Adam I would agree with you if your answer was more like "Learn to squat properly. Squat heavy twice a week" You'll get the best legs you are able to get on YOUR body.

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2799 · July 02, 2012 at 1:50 PM

Squating is a religion for some people.

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1277 · July 02, 2012 at 3:20 PM

This is a girl that is very lean that has a flat ass and can grab a handfull of skin on her thigh. This isn't a "Too much, fat" problem this is clearly a "too little muscle" problem. She needs to squat. I don't care if it is a goblet, or single leg, or highbar, or box, or zercher, or anything else you can think of. As for the possiblity she has poor levers for squatting, sure it is possible but highly unlikely.

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4181 · July 02, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Won't squats make them bigger?

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Really? So simple?:)

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1277 · July 02, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Yep. It ain't rocket surgery.

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70 · July 02, 2012 at 12:35 PM

thanks for answer, btw!

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1277 · July 02, 2012 at 7:03 PM

If I were a bettin' man I'd bet your "huge bulging man" legs look a lot better than skinny fat legs. The OP needs to squat not because is magically makes fat disappear. And sure some/most women will store fat in the lower body. She needs to squat because she is describing a complete lack of muscle. She should be 24% with thick thighs and a big ass. Squat and milk (coconut) is the best way to get there.

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