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Why skipping leg-day is a bigger mistake than you thought

- Dr. Andrew St. Bernard

You’ve heard it before.

I know you have! It’s all over social media with memes and blog posts: “Don’t skip leg day!” followed with a picture of a buff dude with little pencil legs. “Don’t be ‘that’ guy!” is the warning broadcast from virtually any exercise enthusiasts soundboard. But why? What’s wrong with skipping the exercises that are the cause of such grief and misery?

Well aside from the obvious aesthetics and skeletal muscle gains one would experience had they devoted the necessary energy, skipping leg day has other implications for your life and health.

It effects your hormones.

Physically speaking, it was shown in a study by Kraemer & Ratamess (2005) that working large muscle groups can “produce the greatest acute hormonal elevations”. Hormones like testosterone and growth hormone are critical for muscular development, so if that’s your goal, you are doing yourself a major disservice by skipping leg day as these major hormones will fail to be maximized. That testosterone and HGH boost is released in the blood stream, and as a result, is going to affect all other muscle groups as well. Skipping leg day can be the reason why your chest and arms have hit a growth plateau too.

It impacts your life.

If that wasn’t enough to convince you not to skip leg day, consider this. We can all agree that legs exercises can be some of the most brutal and taxing on the body (which is why so many of my friends and colleagues keep a barf bag within arm’s reach when doing squats). Is it because of a lack of mental toughness that one fails to show up on leg day? Ask yourself this question honestly. Depending on how you answer, this may have implications for how you live life in general. You may have heard the saying, “how you do anything is how you do everything”. Are there other areas in life that you apply the same thought process? Do you avoid pain in your job, your relationships, and/or your interactions with others? Perhaps that might explain why you may not be growing in those areas of your life either.

Get moving!

So what steps can you take to get growing? Take action! Take a piece of paper and write down just ONE thing that you are going to do today to avoid skipping leg day. Writing it down is your commitment to yourself to take charge of your life. It’s a powerful statement that says you aren’t going to have skinny legs anymore! Not just physically, but in your work or relationships too. Be the powerhouse God created you to be, and do it now! Life is too short to skip leg day.

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