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I have big legs. This stems from a bad habit I had as a child, that carried on until my late teens, where I would constantly be walking on my toes, essentially always flexing my calves. Combine this with 12+ years of football(soccer) and you get massive legs. Or, well, I did. Both calves and thighs. This has become an issue economically, and to a degree socially. It is impossible to find trousers that fit in the waist, but are wide enough around the legs. It is especially difficult to find trousers that aren't sweatpants, forcing me to have to go to the tailor every time I need trousers for work/social events.

To help with this, I'm looking for a safe and healthy way of losing leg muscle. Is there such a way? Is it possible through specialised training, rather than abstaining? I did try no leg related workout(only daily walking) for a couple of years(!), to no effect. Is this something that's accomplishable by stretching?

In before 'lose fat, not muscle'. Yes, I've done that. According to my BMI I'm morbidly obese, but I have a relatively low body fat.

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    "According to my BMI I'm morbidly obese, but I have a relatively low body fat" Yeah, gonna go ahead and not believe that. Morbid obesity is at least 35-40 BMI. Unless you are some godlike bodybuilder, you are probably just overweight. – user2861 Feb 4 '15 at 0:14
  • I've actually considered doing this on purpose to work on my calves. Seems like I had a good idea. – Tyler Feb 4 '15 at 2:06
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    You may be fighting a losing battle against genetics. Some of us have one or two body parts that will grow with the least amount of stimulation. – rrirower Feb 4 '15 at 13:32
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    @LegoStormtroopr I am not even remotely close to what you would call a bodybuilder, but going off the nhlbi.nih index I am a 35 BMI. If I actually ate over my TDEE I would easily be 40 BMI (extreme obesity). For reference I hover around 10-12% BF. Being classified as morbidly obese on BMI is certainly not unthinkable. – Moses Feb 4 '15 at 19:20
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    What a shame to intentionally throw away muscular development! Just shop a little harder - look online if necessary. There are clothes tailored for just about every body shape (and alteration is really not too expensive if it comes to that) – G__ Feb 4 '15 at 21:56
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Reality check: If you are "morbidly obese" in BMI you are definitely NOT at 10% body-fat. It's impossible to prove without a photo but I suspect you still have a lot of weight you can lose.

As someone who has big legs myself I can recommend a few options:

  • Eat Less: Go on a hard diet and cut calories. You legs have a large surface area and so losing fat around them takes a while.

  • Move More: Run: Long distance running helped me a lot in fitting into my clothes. Again, this takes a while to have any effect.

  • Accept it: I worked for 2 years trying to make my legs smaller but in the end I gave up because it doesn't matter what other people think, I look awesome and strong. I found that boot-cut/loose-fit jeans work really well and everyone should have a tailored suit anyway. I worked (and still do) hard on my upper body to bring it up to scratch and the amount of compliments I get increased 1000%.

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I personally love big calves, screw pants and wear shorts and show them off. But if you really want to lose them, then i'll try to help.

Following these steps will not only burn some of your leg muscles tho, but from everywhere, so you may need to counter it by working upper body more.

Basically what you need to do is lower your caloric intake, so your body would need to zap into something, like the muscle, to get the energy it needs. Mainly protein intake should be reduced.

Do hard cardio, in the mornings, with an empty stomach. Many say that doing heavy cardio in the morning actually reduces muscle mass, people avoid it, but it may help you.

In the gym do high reps, low weight to tone the muscle you want to reduce.

I hope these tips will help you. Best of luck losing your awesome calves.

  • Many say that doing heavy cardio in the morning actually reduces muscle mass - I'm curious, do you have references to this? I'd like to learn more. – rrirower Feb 4 '15 at 13:31
  • I could not find the article i read back then, but here is a quick google search mensfitness.com/training/build-muscle/… I researched this, because i wanted to start doing cardio in the mornings with an empty stomach. – s3v3ns Feb 4 '15 at 13:36
  • Thanks. Took a brief scan through that article and one thing that stuck out is... With all this said, I recommend that you DO NOT train on an empty stomach. – rrirower Feb 4 '15 at 13:41
  • Well i am going to argue with that. I trained for a year in a fasted state. Actually i was in a fasted state for 16-20 hours, and built a lot of muscle. It is the cardio part that is bad. This is the article i had in mind bodybuilding.com/fun/… – s3v3ns Feb 4 '15 at 13:42
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    There is so much wrong with this answer. "Toning" is a myth. Daily timing of exercises and nutrition is barely relevant in the long run. – Gunge Apr 18 '17 at 7:18

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