Whether you're competing in a bodybuilding contest, or just want to look your best on vacation, having ripped legs can dramatically improve your physique. To get ripped fast, you need to already have low levels of body fat and a degree of muscular definition. While losing a couple of pounds of excess fat may only require some light exercise and a few small dietary tweaks, getting ripped calls for hard training, and a more aggressive approach to dieting.
Reduce your daily calorie intake by 500, advises MayoClinic.com. To shred fat and get ripped you need to consume fewer calories than you burn. A 500-calorie reduction should enable you to lose leg fat without sacrificing muscle mass. Sports nutritionist Dr. John Berardi advises increasing your protein intake to around 2 grams per pound of body weight. This is higher than the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recommended daily intake of 46 to 56 grams per day, but according to Berardi, a higher protein intake helps support muscle retention, and increases metabolic rate to speed up fat loss.
Train your legs twice per week. Spot reduction of fat is impossible, says the American Council on Exercise, so training your legs won't contribute directly to getting them ripped. However, working the muscles will make them bigger and stronger, and increase definition. Start each workout with five sets of five repetitions on squats or deadlifts, then do three sets of 10 reps on the leg press and leg curl machines, and finish your session with two sets of 20 calf raises.
Run, swim, cycle or perform cardio in the gym twice per week. Cardiovascular training burns extra calories and elevates your metabolic rate slightly, which speeds up fat burning. One of your sessions should be lower-intensity steady state for 45 to 60 minutes, and the other should be a shorter interval session, where you perform short maximum intensity bursts for 15 seconds, interspersed with 45 seconds of low-intensity steady-state work. Repeat this process 12 to 15 times. According to Lyle McDonald, author of "The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook," steady-state cardio burns more calories than interval training, but is less time efficient. Intervals, on the other hand, stimulate great fat loss, but are very draining, so incorporating both is the best approach.
Monitor your progress by weighing yourself once per week on an empty stomach, and take progress photos and leg measurements. If you're not losing leg fat, reduce your calories by another 150 per day, and add five minutes to each of your cardio sessions. If you're losing fat quickly, but sacrificing muscle mass, increase your calories by 150 per day.