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Want to lose a few pounds and than down my thighs

Hi everyone. I was a long distance runner but last year i gt back into weight lifting with doing a few miles here and there some days just to have some cardio in there. Long story short is i suffer multiple auto immune diseases and in the last 2 yrs have gotten a lot worse with my conditions. I had a flare up over the Summer and i would go hiking once a week, and other days as long as i wasn't too exhausted I would take fast paced walks through my neighborhood and ride my bike other days. This was nothing compared to my usual fitness regime. My question is because of my situation i have to be extra careful not to over exert myself but the past few wks i have been taking HIIT classes 3 days a week 1 hr long! In the beginning i was really a mess but now i am slowly getting better. I have lost tremendous strength and i am desperate to lose the weight i gained but the scale is not budging. I cannot exercise everyday because the HIIT is draining me to the point i hav to take the following day off to recover. I feel like i will never drop weight or slim down these legs! I used to squat 100 lbs reps 6 months ago and i think from many months of this my legs got bigger. Any help is much appreciated!

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Regardless of whether one suffers from health conditions or not, when performing HIIT exercise, the body will require 36-48 hours to fully recover from it, hence the recommendation that it should only be performed 2-3 times per week.

As such, you shouldn’t feel disappointed about not being able to exercise on back-to-back days.

Furthermore, the activity continues to burn calories for a long time afterwards, largely due to the after-burn effect (also known as EPOC), where the body needs to re-balance its oxygen levels, while also removing lactic acid at the same time.

The amount of calories burned through EPOC is directly linked to the intensity and duration of the hard intervals.

Additionally, by considering the fact that glycogen and fat are primarily used to provide energy during anaerobic exercise, you can hopefully begin to appreciate why body weight can be reduced far more dramatically through its inclusion in your exercise schedule.

However, to take maximum benefit from its inclusion, HIIT shouldn’t be performed for longer than 25-30 minutes, since continuing beyond can begin to have a catabolic effect upon existing muscle mass. Given your health conditions, by reducing the length of your sessions, you’ll hopefully recover far quicker than you currently do.

Following HIIT, the consumption of protein and carbohydrate should be an immediate consideration, to begin replenishing depleted glycogen (carbohydrate) in the muscles and to begin repairing the fibres (protein). As such, sports recovery powders that contain a blend of protein and carbohydrate are a good option.

As for slimming your legs, the best piece of equipment you could use in the gym would be the StairMaster, since it provides a great cardiovascular workout, while also helping to sculpt the glutes, quads and calves in a similar fashion to that of running, meaning that you won’t need to rely so heavily upon resistance exercises for the legs.

Moreover, the StairMaster is what I use when performing HIIT cardio, due to its low impact upon the joints. As such, ensure that one of your HIIT sessions is performed upon it alongside two 30 minute classes.

Lastly, to weight loss. To ascertain energy requirements, you need to obtain the number of daily calories required to satisfy BMR and TDEE.

Having obtained both, you should seek to introduce a daily deficit (preferably 500Kcal) from TDEE, ensuring that the deficit introduced doesn’t take you beneath BMR. Don’t ever attempt to introduce a deficit from BMR, since its figure represents how many calories need to be consumed through food each day to maintain existence and keep metabolism firing.

By introducing a daily deficit of 500Kcal, for example, you could expect to lose a lb a week through calorie reduction alone (taking into consideration that a lb of fat roughly contains 3500Kcal).

The fact you already include HIIT will certainly ensure that calories are burned from existing body fat, which could increase your level of weekly weight loss to 3lbs, for example.

As for diet, the reduction of refined carbohydrate to a minimum (in favour of complex sources) is possibly the most important thing you can do to improve your chances of weight loss, since its reduction will begin to improve levels of insulin sensitivity, meaning that less needs to be secreted when unlocking the door, to allow glucose to enter the body’s cells.

HIIT is also something that helps to improve insulin sensitivity, due to the reasons explained above.

When considering macronutrients, adopt a 35/40/25 split between protein, carbohydrate and fat, with each calculated as a percentage of daily intake (the figure presented after deduction of calories from TDEE).

Another consideration for recovery days is to participate in a yoga class, since the movements and poses will work to lengthen and stretch the muscles, while also gently improving overall levels of flexibility – something that may be of benefit, depending upon the auto-immune conditions possessed.

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What does TDEE stand for and BMR??? I alternate speed walking or slow biking on my off days from HIIT. I like to run a few miles on HIIT days depending on how my body is that day. Luckily before my conditions came into play i have been physical my whole life so i have a leg up I suppose. I do not count macro/micros, i have children and that takes a lot of time (sigh) and i do do yoga mostly every day. I will surely take all of the above and run with it. Much appreciated!


Hello HASHISmom34.

BMR refers to one’s basal metabolic rate. It’s roughly how many calories ought to be consumed on a daily basis, based upon measurements (age/weight/height), to ensure that metabolism continues to fire, in addition to providing sufficient energy to keep vital organs functioning as they should.

Begin to consume fewer calories than is needed to meet BMR and metabolism will begin to slow, making it difficult to lose weight, in addition to adversely affecting energy levels, leaving you less inclined to exercise.

To ascertain your BMR, use the following equation (Miflin St. Jeor Method):

10 x weight (in KG) + 6.25 x Height (in cm) – 5 x age – 161 = BMR.

Bear in mind that as weight begins to be lost, since the body will weigh less it’ll require fewer calories to satisfy BMR, so the above equation should be re-performed with each 7lb reduction, chiefly, to avoid a plateau.

To demonstrate, calculate BMR at current weight and then calculate it at 6kg (14lbs) less; you’ll find there’s a calorie difference of around 70-100Kcal.

Moreover, it’ll hopefully allow you to appreciate how over-eating by 70-100Kcal every day (when the body doesn’t need the excess calories) can prevent continued weight loss, or even lead to weight gain.

TDEE refers to one’s total daily energy expenditure. It’s roughly how many calories ought to be consumed if you wished to maintain current weight, based upon level of activity.

To ascertain TDEE, you’d multiply BMR by one of the following:

Sedentary = 1.2, Lightly Active = 1.375, Moderately Active = 1.55; Heavy Activity = 1.75; Athlete 2.

Based upon your level of activity, I’d multiply BMR by 1.55 (Exercises 4-5 times per week).

Having obtained your TDEE, seek to implement a daily calorie deficit from the figure presented (preferably 500Kcal), as explained earlier.

Equally, the more active you happen to be, the greater the figure between BMR and TDEE.

As such, if the figures allow, you could introduce a larger daily deficit than 500Kcal, but bear in mind that your level of activity will also expend calories, so you don’t want to introduce a deficit that’s so severe, since the calories expended through exercise may push you below BMR as weight is lost, leading to a reduction in energy and loss of muscular strength/mass.

On that note, depending upon your current figures, you may not be able to introduce a 500Kcal deficit.

If that happens to be the case, don’t worry; just aim to consume somewhere in between the figures presented, providing the body with sufficient energy while still ensuring that a deficit continues to be maintained from TDEE.

This will also apply as you grow nearer towards goal weight. Since you’ll no longer possess the level of fat that you once did, calorie intake will need to increase closer towards your TDEE (whilst still maintaining a daily deficit of (100-150Kcal).

In doing so, you’ll be eating sufficient calories to meet energy demands while allowing weight to reduce, albeit a little slower than in the beginning (since the daily calorie deficit won’t be as large).

The above is also a particularly important consideration when performing HIIT as you grow closer towards goal weight, due to the fact the activity burns calories both during and after the activity (again, research EPOC).

While I appreciate that having young children may make it difficult to adopt strict adherence to macros, provided that lean protein, complex carbohydrates (in favour of refined alternatives) and healthy fats are included in your daily diet, there’s no reason why weight shouldn’t be lost through daily calorie reduction and exercise.

While you may not strictly adhere to macros, on the assumption it won't exacerbate current conditions, aim to ensure that whey protein is included before and after exercise, to reduce the breakdown of muscle mass during and its growth and development afterwards.

If you can't take whey powder, consider supplementing with BCAAs both pre and post workout, since they'll perform the same role.