When starting to exercise, everyone will have advice and opinions at the gym. One of the hot topics that are sure to come up is leg day.
Leg day is good for weight loss. It helps build calorie-burning large muscles and improves endurance and strength for better workouts. Some initial weight gain as the muscles grow is normal and healthy and helps with later fat loss.
If you want to have a more effective and satisfying leg day, it’s a good idea to get the facts. Keep reading below to learn how leg day can help with your weight loss journey!
Leg Day is Good for Weight Loss
Anyone aiming to lose weight should remember that leg day is good for weight loss. In fact, you could easily say that it’s one of the best things you can do for real, sustainable, lifelong weight loss!
Leg Day Makes Your Largest Muscles Stronger and Hungrier
While “bigger” might not be the word you want to hear when talking about weight loss, it’s an essential part of sustainable and healthy weight loss. You need your muscles to grow, particularly those in your legs, so you stay strong and avoid injury.
Don’t worry about looking too bulky early on, though! Muscles are smaller than fat deposits of the same weight, and muscles help your body look fit and toned. Even muscle covered by fat helps you look and feel better pretty quickly.
Muscles burn fat and calories. Larger muscles are hungry for even more calories, devouring fat and helping you get in longer stronger, and more satisfying workouts. Since your largest muscles are in your legs, it makes sense that strong muscles there will speed up your weight loss and make workout sessions more effective.
Leg Day Helps You Have More Enjoyable Workouts
On your weight loss journey, have you ever pictured effortlessly running up to a friend? What about playing with your kids, throwing a ball at the park for your dog, or going on an adventure through Paris? Do you want to walk for hours on the beach? Explore Disneyland?
A lot of enjoyable activities in life are directly connected to strong leg muscles. Weight loss is great for our health, but not at the expense of our mobility. Strong leg muscles let you have more enjoyable workouts, as well as more effective weight loss.
If you’re working out your legs, you can incorporate hiking, amusement park trips, shopping excursions, and more fun adventures into your workout routine. If you’ve ever been to Paris, after all, you know just how many stairs there are.
How Many Calories Should I Burn on Leg Day for Weight Loss
This question can’t be safely quantified with a number, since everyone’s needs will be different, so here are some guidelines instead.
In the beginning, your focus should be on strengthening the muscles, not losing weight. Weight loss will come naturally as your body gets strong enough to sustain your workouts without injury or pain. Work out as long as you can, focusing on good technique and building up all the muscles in your legs.
Some great leg day exercises include:
- Treadmill Walking
- Elliptical Walking
- Stair Climbing
- Weight Machines For Legs
- Walking a track
- Running on a track
- Stationary Biking
- Recumbent Biking
Remember that strengthening your legs helps support sustainable change, meaning you’re more likely to stick to your weight loss goals instead of getting discouraged.
How Many Calories Do Those Exercises Burn?
The number of calories each of those exercises will burn depends on a few factors.
First, how much do you weigh? How much muscle do you already have? Your body decides how many calories you’ll actually be burning, and everything else is a little bit of an estimate. Look up the exact exercise you’ll be doing if you want more details.
Second, how much of your body does it engage? A full-body workout like dancing or hiking is going to burn more energy than a stationary bike, and it’s going to engage more muscles. If you have a limited amount of time for a workout, those full-body workouts will help you burn more calories than the bike will.
Third, how hard are you exercising? This matters when you’re counting calories. An hour of mild exercise, like a casual walk, is going to burn fewer calories than a half hour of intense dancing.
How Many Calories Should I Be Burning?
Each pound of fat contains about 3,500 calories.
This means that to lose a point of fat, you should burn 3,500 more calories than you consume.
This is an impossible number to lose in a single workout for the average person, but leg day helps by spreading that calorie consumption throughout the entire day. Walking faster, taking more stairs, and having more effective workouts will burn more fat.
In summary, we cannot safely tell you how many calories you personally should burn in a session, but this information should give you a good guideline. Getting a fitness tracker to watch your heart rate can help you see how many calories you’re burning according to your own body, which would be more helpful than any stranger’s guess.
Does Leg Day Make Your Legs Skinnier?
Leg day might make your legs skinnier, but that depends on your eventual goals and what you want to accomplish. If you started out with “skinny-fat” legs, legs that have little muscle and more fat but have the appearance of being smaller, your legs might actually end up a little bigger! What’s important, though, is that they will be much, much healthier.
Remember that muscle is smaller than fat, more toned than fat, and generally just looks better than fat. Strong, muscular legs look good, and they feel good. Even if your backside gets a little bigger, you’ll feel more confident in how it looks and feels when you’re feeling healthier overall.
If you’re on the bigger end of things, leg day will make your legs skinnier by burning fat. It will also help you look more fit and toned, which makes your legs look better.
Can Leg Workouts Reduce Belly Fat?
Leg workouts reduce belly fat in the same way they reduce all fat. By increasing the size and strength of your largest muscle, you’re increasing your body’s fat-burning capabilities so it can devour belly fat, arm fat, and double chins.
If you’re looking for a targeted workout to tone up your belly while you’re waiting for the fat to come off, leg day is still your friend. Many leg workouts, such as stair climbing or kickboxing, also engage your abdominal and back muscles. This helps tone up your core at the same time as you’re strengthening your legs.
Since exercise should be about healthy and sustainable changes, leg workouts can lead to long-term reductions in belly fat with less stress than hundreds of crunches. Building muscle and strength leads to better workouts, after all.