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  1. #1
    Registered User razzyree's Avatar
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    Exclamation Will running make your thighs and legs smaller or bigger?

    I have been jogging and running for the past few days and I noticed my legs and thighs have gotten rock hard and thicker. But the reason I want to run is to lose the fat from my legs and thighs. Don't get me wrong, gaining muscles was awesome but I also want to lose the fat around my legs and thighs and make them look toned, not bulky. What should I do? Should I continue running or do some other workout?
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  2. #2
    Plain Jane Who Lifts **** kimm4's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Registered User morninglory81's Avatar
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    If you just started running any additional size you are seeing is just water weight in the muscle to help facilitate repair and recovery. You should see this decrease as your body adjusts to the running and becomes more efficient at recovering.
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  4. #4
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    There is no such thing as spot reducing. You have to reduce overall body fat. Throw in some HIIT workouts
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  5. #5
    Registered User oxcaroline's Avatar
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    Losing fat overall will help with smaller legs. Although sprinting will give you some muscle and long distance will give you long muscle because of the twitch fibers in your muscles. This is why sprinters typically have "bulky" legs. You need to lose body fat to have smaller legs. They will look bigger because the muscles are inflammed and holding water to heal.
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  6. #6
    Registered User oregonchick76's Avatar
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    Running *can* make legs appear larger, if you are new to it, as it causes additional glycogen and water storage in the leg muscles, coupled with (in my understanding) the inflammation response that comes with tearing up a muscle with an unfamiliar exercise.

    It won't affect fat loss, unless by running you are putting yourself into a calorie deficit. But running is not a muscle-building kind of exercise. Muscle growth requires a progressive resistance (increasing weights) and a calorie SURPLUS.
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  7. #7
    sadly, life is a marathon shesprints's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by razzyree View Post
    I have been jogging and running for the past few days
    LOL what?

    Bluntly, you aren't going to gain or lose much muscle anywhere in a few days. Especially not from running. It's an aerobic exercise, it isn't appreciably anabolic.

    You shouldn't rely only on running to change your physique. Certainly not to spot-reduce fat. Fat loss is diet and a varied program that includes at least 2 days of lifting to avoid muscle loss. Running can certainly help you get leaner, but the good runners you see are not lean because they run. Many of them are actually good runners because they are lean (either genetically or because they were always active and have a good diet).

    I'm a runner and have always had BIG legs--not fat, but large quads and hamstrings. I don't think that I got those from running, though sprinting has helped to develop them; I think I like to run (/sprint) because I have strong legs with lots of fast-twitch muscle. I didn't get them from running. Oh, and they didn't shrink down to distance-runner sticks when I was running distance, either. That's genetics for you.
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  8. #8
    Registered User srb04e's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by razzyree View Post
    I have been jogging and running for the past few days and I noticed my legs and thighs have gotten rock hard and thicker. But the reason I want to run is to lose the fat from my legs and thighs. Don't get me wrong, gaining muscles was awesome but I also want to lose the fat around my legs and thighs and make them look toned, not bulky. What should I do? Should I continue running or do some other workout?
    I promise you your legs did not get bigger from running for a couple days... I will reiterate that losing bodyfat is the key to reducing the size of your legs. With that said if you look at sprinters they have big strong legs... Distance runners have thinner legs
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  9. #9
    Registered User michealemorgan's Avatar
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    Too much running or cardio can cause you to actually hold on to your body fat as a female. But too much means a crazy amount of weekly mileage that a new runner wouldn't be able to do regardless. The best way to burn fat is to do intervals. Run hard for a while and then slow down. And just do that over and over. You will gain muscel just from doing something that you haven't done before but you will lose fat.
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  10. #10
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    I have big legs like shesprints (large quads particularly)]

    At a lower overall body fat they would look smaller perhaps even slightly bulky because of the increased definition. I have never been able to spot-lose body fat from my legs. I had the same idea as you when I was younger.

    I DID build a decent amount of muscle and strength from walking everywhere (I don't drive) and only doing cardio/running not weights as well as being on my feet working. Running up and down hills and flights of 200 stairs every day trying just to lose the fat on my legs in an attempt to tone up made them appear bigger but not toned/nicer. The muscle bulked up but the fatty layer stayed put.

    I did years of cardio, not days... and hardly an improvement. I've lifted less than a year with not a lot of cardio and have had better results with this. I wish I had trained the way I do now, then. And now I am cutting the body fat from my whole body. Do weights, use your fat strength to train hard, then cut.
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  11. #11
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    Originally Posted by morninglory81 View Post
    If you just started running any additional size you are seeing is just water weight in the muscle to help facilitate repair and recovery. You should see this decrease as your body adjusts to the running and becomes more efficient at recovering.
    Smartest answer I've heard.

    I experienced this after running because I was very new to it and I was like holy **** why are my thighs huge all of a sudden? I later realized that it was just water weight and not a sudden burst of muscle growth: the size of my legs went down after several days of low carb and calories which allowed me to drop a lot of water weight from all over my body.

    Whenever I have a carb refeed btw, all the muscles in my entire body expand, not just one part. So depending on what you trained the hardest (the most glycogen depleted muscle group) is where you will store the most water for a short period of time.

    But correct me if I'm wrong. Your body is a complicated organism..
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  12. #12
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    You can't spot reduce but running with incline will make your calves a lot more muscular.
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    i jog and i have lost bf, in them, yet i also hit the gym and work my legs, plus have a good diet. that will help you to lose the bf around your legs and build the muscle you want, yet it takes time.

    now, i have to agree with some of the other folks here. your do not grow and make your legs bigger on a few days by joggin'. even i can say that.

    what happen to your legs is that your muscle get tight and water got in them to make them look bigger and tighter, yet that is not it.

    when i started jogging, the same thing happened to me, but i knew, my muscle was not use to me joggin'. so i just keep doin' what i am doin' now andnit's been 2yrs. and my legs are much leaner then their was from '12. yet i still a alot of fat on the side and back of my legs i need to get rid of, yet i just have to jog harder, train harder and stya on my diet and it will come
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  14. #14
    Registered User desi12's Avatar
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    Your thighs probably appear bigger because of temporary fluid retention due to elevated cortisol levels - because you have increased your cardio workout which is a stressor on your systems.

    In the long term, distance running will make your thighs look smaller because you train the slow-twitch muscle fibers, which will become smaller and more efficient with time.

    Very simplified,
    Strength training = fast-twitch muscles = muscle bulk, faster calorie burn.
    Cardio = slow-twitch = smaller muscles, slower and lower calorie burn.

    If you want slim legs, then long-distance running will make your thighs become smaller, but it will take some time.
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  15. #15
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    I have tried having similar conversations with my wife. There are obviously differences between men and women, but some things remain the same.

    There is no such thing as spot reduction. Your body doesn't give two craps about what part of your body you are exercising in regards to where you lose fat.

    The best way to lose fat through exercise is to gain muscle, which just so happens to look better than being skinny without muscle anyways. Unless you are trying to cut to ridiculously low levels of body fat %, you are not going to look masculine. Very few women have the genetics to gain significant amounts of muscle mass that look manly, without the use of supplements.

    To lose fat you must be eating at a caloric deficit, which means you consume less calories than you burn during the day/week. If you do exercise, you can eat more food and still be at a caloric deficit simply because you are burning more calories. You can also lose fat without exercising at ALL, by eating at a caloric deficit. Everyone is different and you will have to play around with your diet to see what "maintenance calories" is for you.
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  16. #16
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    Not sure what everyone is saying, but it depends on what kind of running you do. Google image search "marathon runners vs sprinters"
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  17. #17
    sadly, life is a marathon shesprints's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MarineBrah View Post
    Not sure what everyone is saying, but it depends on what kind of running you do. Google image search "marathon runners vs sprinters"

    Some of that's genetic, but some of that's because sprinters are a) often doping and b) doing a LOT of weight lifting. About half of the training time a sprinter undergoes is in the weight room.

    Also, if you look at female vs. male sprinters and distance runners... um, pretty much all female track athletes (lacking male hormones--well, most of them) look similar, from hurdler Lolo Jones (5'9'' and only 133 as a sprinter! obviously as a bobsledder she gaine weight...) to middle distance runner Kim Conley (5'3'', 110lb as a distance runner). Obviously more distance runners (certainly marathon runners) tend to be not just very thin but very short. And sprinters are naturally selected for power output so they are obviously somewhat larger (actually the average is about 5'6'' and 120-135lb, whereas an elite distance runner of that height MIGHT be as low as 110 or as high as 125 lb).

    Your body type is what it is, is my point. Even elites training for performance may not grow if they are sprinting, or become very stringy and lean if they are running distance.

    I mean, I was definitely bigger and especially my arms were more muscular when I trained purely to sprint. I also carried more bodyfat because I didn't have the constant calorie suck of long distance training. So it's hard to compare the two.
    Last edited by shesprints; 11-14-2014 at 04:10 PM.
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    Originally Posted by shesprints View Post
    Some of that's genetic, but some of that's because sprinters are a) often doping and b) doing a LOT of weight lifting. About half of the training time a sprinter undergoes is in the weight room.

    Also, if you look at female vs. male sprinters and distance runners... um, pretty much all female track athletes (lacking male hormones--well, most of them) look similar, from hurdler Lolo Jones (5'9'' and only 133 as a sprinter! obviously as a bobsledder she gaine weight...) to middle distance runner Kim Conley (5'3'', 110lb as a distance runner). Obviously more distance runners (certainly marathon runners) tend to be not just very thin but very short. And sprinters are naturally selected for power output so they are obviously somewhat larger (actually the average is about 5'6'' and 120-135lb, whereas an elite distance runner of that height MIGHT be as low as 110 or as high as 125 lb).

    Your body type is what it is, is my point. Even elites training for performance may not grow if they are sprinting, or become very stringy and lean if they are running distance.

    I mean, I was definitely bigger and especially my arms were more muscular when I trained purely to sprint. I also carried more bodyfat because I didn't have the constant calorie suck of long distance training. So it's hard to compare the two.

    I think it is also important to remember that sprint is power and they only carry their weight for a few seconds and a few hundred feet so they can afford and need to carry more muscle. While long distance is endurance and they need to be lower in weight and mass to make them more effiecient with the distances. It just makes sense when you look at the goal vs the end result. You cant expect a marathoner to look like a sprinter because the goals and needs are just different. Its the same with any sport or event. The goals are on the opposite ends of the spectrum so of course the are going to look different.

    I would also argue that it depends on the type of muscle fibers a person has, which goes to the genetics portion. And a person usually is not going to do an event that they are bad at. most people do things they are good at so endurance tends to attract those that have the genetics to do well naturally. I would guess it would be like a "natural selection" issue as well, those that can just do, those that cant find something else.

    Also, this thread was made a year ago. hope op figured it out.
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    Let me unload my balls Paintballchick's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by michealemorgan View Post
    Too much running or cardio can cause you to actually hold on to your body fat as a female. But too much means a crazy amount of weekly mileage that a new runner wouldn't be able to do regardless. The best way to burn fat is to do intervals. Run hard for a while and then slow down. And just do that over and over. You will gain muscel just from doing something that you haven't done before but you will lose fat.
    I am curious to why this is? Surely if I was in a deficit and doing cardio I would lose? Or is it muscle I am losing instead of fat? Just curious as now that winter is here in Arizona I am picking up running again
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    Originally Posted by Paintballchick View Post
    I am curious to why this is? Surely if I was in a deficit and doing cardio I would lose? Or is it muscle I am losing instead of fat? Just curious as now that winter is here in Arizona I am picking up running again
    IIRC something to do with our bodies not liking to give up fat for reproductive reasons. Which is why the competitors who do crazy amounts of cardio and eat bird diets can often rebound badly post-show since their hormones are so out of wack (this happens to competitors of both genders, but that added biological imperative to make babies can really fck sht up). I think it also has to do with why, even controlled for cardiovascular fitness and whatnot, women tend to burn less calories per mile than men.

    For regular Janes though, who aren't logging crazy mileages every week, a lot of it comes down to lazy tracking. People who start running think they're now burning all these calories and think they can eat whatever they want and still lose weight; a lot of people sign up for 10k and half marathons for this purpose. But even if you go from 0 cardio/week to 3hrs cardio/week, if you don't track it's very very easy to eat those calories back. We're not Michael Phelps, here, lol.
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