How many of you can honestly say you exercise your leg muscles at least once a week? I admit that it is possibly one of the hardest sessions you will put yourself through, but I also think it is the best session you can put your body through. Lots of us want to look great on top and we focus our sessions on building defined chest, shoulder and back muscles. But what about our bottom half? If you are trying to lose weight, build a muscular physique or generally want to keep fit? The benefits of training your legs out weigh not training them and here are some further reasons why...
Firstly when you train your legs it will help stimulate the whole body. Look at your legs as a base similar to a tree, everything stems from the bottom and will grow from here. When you think of an oak tree, it will have a huge base, a big trunk and tough branches growing from it. Well, we can continue to use your body as an example of the oak tree. You should have a solid base too and for this to happen you need to train your legs. You can then have a big trunk which will represent your torso and finally the branches of the tree will represent your arms. But in order to be as strong as the tree, or be functionally fit, you need to start at the bottom and exercise your legs.
Did you know that when you exercise your legs your body will release endorphins that will make you feel GREAT? So even though the session you put yourself through might be very gruelling, tough and unpleasant, the rewards at the end of the session are so good I would recommend you start training them. Ever heard the phrase, 'Don't skip leg day'? Well, it is true. You should never not make this session a priority but most of you do. Most of you will train your upper body a couple of times in the week before training your lower part? Why? Because its tough? Because it's your legs and you maybe feel like no one will see them? Whatever the reason, it is time to break this mentality and start training them.
Above all else, if weight loss is a goal of yours then you need to include leg training into your workouts at least once a week. The rate at which your body burns calories during a leg session is far greater than a chest or arm workout. Why is this? When you perform an arm curl and you isolate your bicep muscle you only be working your bicep muscle, therefore the energy expediture is low which will result in minimal calories being burned. If on the other hand we look at a squat and compare the difference, you will burn many more calories because you are working more muscles and therefore the energy expenditure is higher. When this happens more calories will be burned as fuel to support your training needs. Make sense right? So if you are looking to lose weight, training legs helps massively. And it doesn't just stop with a squat either. Lunges, hack squats, front squats, stiff leg deadlifts and other leg exercises all put a big demand on the body which means you will lose more weight. So what is your next step...
My advice to you is simple. When you write your plan on what workouts you are going to perform on your given days, make leg training your number one priority. Once it is written down there is no going back on it, so forget chest Mondays and welcome Leg Mondays.
Exercises I would recommend you doing to effectively working your legs to their maximum and seeing your body grow include squats, lunges, box squats, jump squats, running, cycling, spin classes, sprinting, hill running and so on. The beauty is you don't just have to perform gym based exercises to notice a difference. A 30 minute high intensity interval training session will also work towards your goals of losing weight and work your leg muscles to failure.
To maximise results and to give you some extra tips so that you get the most out of your sessions, don't forget to eat the right nutrients ready for your session. I recommend eating carbohydrates on the day of your training session as you will be putting a bigger demand on your body compared to training your chest muscles. Also don't forget the importance of protein and having a protein shake after your workouts. As soon as you have finished your session be sure to re fuel with protein so that you will be stronger for your next session and you will recover quicker in between workouts.
All the best with your training and don't forget to leave a comment below :)