Giddy Up: Tackling those Saddle Bags

How your body stores fat is usually predetermined by a number of factors such as age, heredity, genetics and inactivity.

Giddy Up, Saddle Down: Targeting and Toning Your Thighs, Rear and HipsAll these variables can play a role in the development of saddlebags and for women, it is not uncommon to carry excess fat in the rear.

Saddle bags – those heinous lumps of excess body fat that sit on your glutes, hips and outer thighs. They are strategically located right below the muffin top. They are what help define many women as pear-shaped or hippy. Nice or not, there is nothing appealing about these bags and it is time to banish them once and for all.

Many women chalk up their misfortunes to genetics, and accept the pear-shaped title, but you know what? Genetically, I am a chubby Italian with a pasta belly. I was told at the beginning of my training that I simply did not have the genetics to build a stage-worthy physique. Not being a science major, this statement did not cause a significantly negative impact on me. In fact, it motivated me to prove this individual wrong –  “I’ll show you genetics [insert inappropriate name calling here]!”

Yes, genetics do play a part on how your body stores fat. But chances are, you were not born with saddle bags and therefore, a lack of attention to physical activity and nutrition has allowed you to store that fat in the first place. So, if you too are feeling some extra motivation and you’re ready and willing to wage war on your genetics and every other excuse in the book, then you’re ready to giddy up.

So, first things first: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Spot reduction is close to impossible. As such, the solution here is not endless hours on the treadmill. Excessive cardio, in fact, will not help develop shapely toned legs. This type of training, if you are not careful, is actually very catabolic and counterproductive to burning fat.

To eliminate the fat on your lower body, you must be willing to work through a full-body fat-burning program that combines cardiovascular training with high intensity resistance training, resulting in a boost to your basil metabolic rate (BMR). This has been shown to increase as you build lean muscle and also revs up your metabolism. Consider that for every percentage of lean muscle you build, your body will burn an extra 50 calories.

Are you with me now? 

When I want to lean out my legs, I plan for two leg workouts a week. Day one focuses on weight resistant lifts such as squats and dead lifts. Day two is based on bodyweight plyometrics that help to attack muscle fibers that are not necessarily trained in standard lifting. Plyometrics are also one of the best forms of training for fat burning simply because it forces you to use your entire body, even when you are just focusing on your legs.

Once you have your training in check, it’s time to control your hormones. For women, it has been scientifically proven that our hormones run amok when we attempt to lose body fat. In a study that investigated exercise in relation to energy balance, intake, and expenditure, it was found that exercise had a positive fat-burning impact in males but a far lower impact in females. This difference has been attributed to circulating hormones, specifically ghrelin, insulin and leptin that regulate energy balance and promote fat loss in women.

When these hormones are out of whack, fat loss can seem almost impossible. Gender (along with genetics) should not be an excuse. That is why ALLMAX took the female hormone balance into account when designing a fat burner specifically for women. Rapidcuts Femme works with these hormones, helping to control cravings, appetite and stress – all contributors to fat storage. Additionally, it is formulated to attack, release and burn pesky fat stores. Vitamins B6 and 12 are present to help your body maintain energy production.

So while RapidCuts Femme can help your hormones stay on track, the following two leg training days will help your goals do the same.

Begin both workouts with 20 minutes of high intensity intervals on the treadmill or elliptical and finish with a 10-minute cool down on the bike.

Rest for only 45 seconds between sets and rest for 10 seconds between the box jump sets.

Good luck!

Leg Training Day 1

  • Squats – 4 sets of 15 reps.
  • Reverse Lunge with Knee Lifts (I do this off a step) – 3 sets of 15 reps each side.
  • Superset to Lateral Bench Step Up – 3 sets of 15 reps each side.
  • Decline Dumbbell Leg Curls – 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps.
  • Superset to Plié Squat – 3 sets of 25 reps.
  • Leg Press – 4 sets of 20 reps.

Leg Training Day 2

  • Bodyweight Sissy Squat – 4 sets of 20 to 25 reps.
  • Switch Squats on BOSU (begin in a squat position with one foot on the BOSU, the other on the ground. Pop up and over the BOSU to the other side and land with the opposite foot on the BOSU) – 3 sets of 20 reps total.
  • Superset to Bench Step Up with Knee Lifts – 3 sets of 15 each side.
  • Walking Lunges – 3 sets of 30 steps.
  • Superset to One Legged Deadlifts (begin with bodyweight, hands on hips, and progress to dumbbells or a barbell) – 3 sets of 15 each side.
  • Box Jumps – 10 sets of 10 reps.
Valeria Fazio

Valeria Fazio holds a B.A. Honors degree in history from Carleton University and a diploma in professional writing from Algonquin College. She has been competing in amateur fitness and figure competitions for three years, and has recently qualified for the 2011 Ontario Provincial Figure Championships. As a certified personal trainer and nutritional coach, Valeria helps others in her free time to achieve their fitness goals.

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