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  • Building Legs?

    I'm female, 20 years old, have been strictly primal for about a month now, am 5'9" 143lbs. I strength train 6 days a week and am now actively running about 1-2 miles 6 days a week. I have a wide shoulder width, but narrow hips and skinny legs. I have put on quite a bit of muscle, more on the upper body than the lower legs and glutes. I NEED to build bigger legs in order to look and feel proportionate. I tend to hold fat in my abdominal region, which is the reason for the cardio nearly everyday. I can't eat more to build the muscle in my legs because it tends to go straight to my abs. The only thing that gives me a flatter stomach is by eating way less, and as a result, my legs get smaller and I have no ass! So frustrating! Can anyone help, or has anyone had a similar problem?

    This may be irrelevant, but there are several girls I know on track teams, and their legs are very built and their stomachs tight with almost no fat, so I have a hard time believing I could be doing chronic cardio.
    && It's not just about living well, it's about dying well.

  • #2
    Oh snap, but higher cortisol levels from stress leads to more fat around the ab region. Drop the chronic running and try real strength training.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by m e g a n foxy View Post
      have been strictly primal for about a month now
      I strength train 6 days a week and am now actively running about 1-2 miles 6 days a week [...] cardio nearly everyday.
      Sorry to tell you this, but that's not exactly in the spirit of Primal.

      You don't have big legs or a developed ass because of two reasons: 1. You aren't resting enough to properly build new muscle; 2. You are training for endurance, not strong legs. You don't need strong legs to run a lot. You need strong legs to run fast. Do sprint training. I imagine those girls on the track team do.
      You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by m e g a n foxy View Post
        ...am now actively running about 1-2 miles 6 days a week... narrow hips and skinny legs.
        There may be a cause and effect there.

        Originally posted by m e g a n foxy View Post
        I have put on quite a bit of muscle, more on the upper body than the lower legs and glutes. I NEED to build bigger legs in order to look and feel proportionate.
        I don't know what your strength training consists of, but if you're doing it 6 days a week, you're probably not working them out hard enough.

        Originally posted by m e g a n foxy View Post
        I tend to hold fat in my abdominal region, which is the reason for the cardio nearly everyday.
        "Cardio" doesn't burn fat.

        That's where a lot of people get into trouble. They think of exercise as something that is burning calories and fat, so when they're trying to lose weight, they ratchet up their activity levels at the same time that they're dieting. They produce too many stressors for the adaptive capabilities available and become overstressed. As a consequence, their metabolism slows, and cortisol levels spike, ultimately creating a condition in which the body becomes reluctant to let go of stored body fat. --John Little/Doug McGuff
        Think of the time involved. How much time do you spend doing "cardio" vs not. My guess is most people spend a significantly more time in the not-doing-cardio state than otherwise.. If cardio is what it takes to burn off excess fat, you're never going to make it. You want to be burning fat all the time.

        Originally posted by m e g a n foxy View Post
        I can't eat more to build the muscle in my legs because it tends to go straight to my abs.
        That's probably because you're eating more of the wrong things.


        Originally posted by m e g a n foxy View Post
        I have no ass! So frustrating!
        You'll have to blame your parents for that one.

        Originally posted by m e g a n foxy View Post
        This may be irrelevant, but there are several girls I know on track teams, and their legs are very built and their stomachs tight with almost no fat,
        Nassim Taleb... The Black Swan... The Evolution of the Swimmer's Body...

        Originally posted by m e g a n foxy View Post
        so I have a hard time believing I could be doing chronic cardio.
        Believe it, you probably are...

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        • #6
          Originally posted by paleo_rob View Post
          Squats.
          +1. And if you are strength training properly than 3 days a week ought to leave you feeling like thats enough or esle you aren't lifting heavy enough.

          Also, do HIIT for cardio, if you insist on doing cardio.
          A steak a day keeps the doctor away

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          • #7
            Squats, deadlifts and hill sprints build sweet legs and butt.

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            • #8
              Originally posted by Grumpy Caveman View Post
              You are training for endurance, not strong legs. You don't need strong legs to run a lot. You need strong legs to run fast. Do sprint training. I imagine those girls on the track team do.
              +1

              Originally posted by paleo_rob View Post
              Squats.
              +1

              Originally posted by Bushrat View Post
              If you are strength training properly than 3 days a week ought to leave you feeling like thats enough or esle you aren't lifting heavy enough.

              Also, do HIIT for cardio, if you insist on doing cardio.
              +1

              I also suggest you do some lunges, step-ups and deadlifts.
              "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

              "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

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              • #9
                Agreed with all of the above. +1000

                Megan, if you're going to run -- run fast and hard. Go outside, jog a little to warm-up, and then sprint hard for a good 10-15 seconds. Your heart will be pounding out of your chest after that. Jog around (or walk) for a minute or two and then do another sprint. Just 5 or 6 of these is enough to consider a full workout -- and you'll be done in under 15 minutes. Sprinting will do a lot more for you in terms of building/shaping your legs/butt than long slower-speed running will.

                If I was you, with your goals I might consider something like this:

                Day 1:
                Squats (heavy weight, but one you can handle safely for about 12 reps) -- 2 or 3 sets
                Lunges (^^^ same deal) -- 2 or 3 sets

                Day 2: rest

                Day 3:
                Sprint (as outlined above)

                Day 4: rest

                Day 5:
                Deadlifts ("heavy but safe" again of course) -- 2 or 3 sets
                Step-ups (^^^ same deal) -- 2 or 3 sets

                Days 6 & 7: rest/recover -- enjoy the weekend!

                Something like that would be plenty for building/strengthening your legs and butt, and there's even room left to add in some extra lifts/sets (or any upper body stuff you'd like to continue doing). Don't overtrain, don't do chronic cardio, do take plenty of rest! Have fun, don't stress!

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                • #10
                  Lol, I can't believe I wrote all that. See what happens when I sip my morning tea in front of the computer.

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                  • #11
                    Primal Fist suggested doing a few heavy sets of squats followed by several lighter sets in this thread. I'm going to try it out.

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                    • #12
                      Take up horseback riding.

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                      • #13
                        In addition to all the above, you can also try tuck jumps. You could do these instead of sprints BUT SPRINTS ARE INFINITELY BETTER THAN TUCK JUMPS. This is just an option if for some reason you can’t get outside to sprint.

                        I was looking for a video but they all sucked. Get in a squat position, explode up into a jump and bring your knees to your chest, as you come down absorb the impact by going back into a squat, then repeat.

                        All the videos I saw had guys landing hard as hell and not squatting down thus not absorbing any of the impact and letting it go straight to their knees. I suggest doing this barefoot, learn to land!
                        I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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                        • #14
                          Originally posted by handgallop View Post
                          Take up horseback riding.

                          And learn to post bareback.
                          Chief cook & bottle washer for one kid, a dog, 6 hens, 2 surprise! roosters, two horses, and a random 'herd' of quail.

                          ~The ultimate ignorance is the rejection of something one knows nothing about and refuses to investigate~

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                          • #15
                            I like doing plyometrics too (preface, I'm into Crossfit, so box-jumps are just something that gets worked in).

                            On the weekends, when I typically do my more conventional lifting, I'll do a set of squats, immediately followed by a set of box jumps. Repeat.

                            You may need to have someone help you walk out of the gym. If not, train harder.

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