How do I get rid of the fat on my thighs?

So you might not like the shape or size of your body. However, if you eat whole foods ...mostly veggies and you combine the healthy foods with a strong exercise program; the transformed shape of your body will be more pleasing to you!  But give yourself credit. Remember the saying “what gets measured gets attended to”… take measurements of your target area before you begin your transformation and check back periodically to confirm the results! NO DOUBT the results will be favorable!  

We all store fat in areas that are not always ideal.  Some store this in our thighs, other our stomach, hips, arms, etc.  Everyone is different but everyone must work hard in order to achieve the results you are hoping to achieve.  In order to lose fat, you must burn more calories than what you consume.  You will not be able to focus on one specific area; you must focus on your body as a whole.  Be sure to incorporate some high intensity training to help burn more calories and benefit your body.

If you are to work on lower body then complete bridging to strength your core, complete some lateral lunges to help focus on your inner thighs, and complete some single-leg squats.  These exercises along with many more will help strengthen the areas you are focusing on.  Balance these with sound nutrition and plenty of exercise and you will get rid of that unwanted fat!

Spot reduction of fat is a common fitness myth. Fat loss generally happens over time throughout your entire body. To lose fat you need to create a caloric deficit, which means you are burning more calories than you are consuming on a daily basis. A combination of resistance and cardiorespiratory training, along with a sensible eating plan will help you create a caloric deficit to burn fat.

Weight training will help tone the muscle groups around the thighs and actually increase your metabolism, which allows your body to burn more calories each day. Some great beginner leg exercises include: step- ups, stability ball squats, tube walks and hip bridges. Also, it is important to do total body workouts, not just exercises targeting the lower body. If you are an experienced exerciser then circuit training may be another option.

Cardiorespiratory training helps to burn additional calories, but you don’t necessarily have to climb up on a treadmill, elliptical or bike every day. Just make sure that you are more active.

Potential Calorie Burners:

  • Do some yard work
  • Run around with your kids,
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Walk to the local convenience store
  • Invest in a pedometer to track daily steps
  • Grab a buddy and go for a quick walk during your lunch hour

A well balanced diet complete with lean protein, plenty of fruits & vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats will give you the nutrients your body needs. Additionally, try to limit unhealthy high- calorie and high-fat foods.

Over time, you will eventually see a difference in your whole body. Be patient, eat right, exercise regularly and you will reach your goals. You will love your new thighs!

Picture of weight scale
Dr. Mike Clark, DPT
Losing fat in one area of your body (spot reducing) is not possible.  However, by eating less calories and moving more you will lose weight and fat throughout your entire body.  You can then target your hip and thighs by doing squats, step ups, lunges, bridges, tube walking, and single leg squats to strengthen and tone your thighs.  The combination of less calories and targeted exercise will create the results that you are looking for.
Wendy Batts
Since we can’t spot reduce, burning the fat off your thighs comes down to participating in a progressive, varying intensity resistance training routine, toning the muscles of the thighs with a variety of different exercises, and monitoring your calorie intake to ensure that you are eating less calories than you are burning.  By eating fewer calories than you burn, the body will be forced to use stored body fat for energy, including the fat from around your thighs.  Once your body fat levels drop significantly, the muscles in your thighs should begin to show, leading to the lean look that you desire.
A few great leg exercises to begin your program that focus on all the muscles of your thighs without adding too much muscle are the single leg squat and the lunge to balance.  Perform these two exercises for 2-3 sets, 12-20 repetitions using body weight to start.  Incorporate these exercises 2-3 times per week to start seeing more tone in your inner and outer thighs. 
OK, but you have to eat healthy. Let's burn by doing SIDE ANGLED KICKS. Lie down on your left side and relax your left ear on your left hand. With your knees bent at a 45-degree angle so that your heels are in line with your spine, lift your right leg, flex your foot, and tap your knee lightly on the ground in front of you. Lift the leg back up, straighten it and kick it in the air above your left foot, get it has high as you can. Do 50x in a row and then switch sides.
The problem here is that you may have fat on your thighs because of your parents. That is to say that there may be a genetic component of where you store fat. Some people store fat on the thighs and buttocks area. Some people store it in the abdominal area, and the love handles. So, where you store fat may be very much a part of your genetics. However, how much fat you maintain or get rid of you may have a little more control over. Taking the steps to eat better foods, to eat higher quality foods, decrease how much you consume, and to increase your caloric expenditure by doing cardio and resistance training exercises can definitely decrease fat, regardless of where your body likes to put it down.

Losing fat from just one area of our body is not possible. When it comes to fat loss the body will lose fat from the entire body. You just may notice it more in certain places than others. Fat loss will occur when we burn more calories than we consume. Engaging in regular cardio and strength training along with improving your nutritional habits will help you create a daily caloric deficit and result in fat loss. Cardiovascular exercises such as walking, running, cycling, swimming and jumping rope will help burn calories and trim your whole body as well as your thighs. Strength training can then help strengthen and tone your thighs. Exercising such as squats, lunges, walking lunges, bench step ups, stability ball hamstring curls are all great exercises that will help build muscle and tighten your lower body. Perform each exercise using a range of three to four sets of 8 to 12 repetitions and choose a weight that is challenging for you to lift. Combining a healthy well balanced diet along with a good exercise program will also help improve the look of your thighs over time.

The same principles apply here as to trying to lose abdominal fat.  Combining diet and exercise is the best way to solve this problem.  Keep in mind we do not have a way to target weight loss to a certain area.  To lose weight in your thighs you will need to lose weight all over, and then use strength training to improve the size, shape and look of your thighs.

Focus on weight-baring exercises that involve your legs.  For your cardio, running is a weight-baring exercise; swimming is not. These will make your legs look sleeker and stronger.  Jumping rope is another weight-bearing cardio activity that packs a significant training effect in minimal time.

Your strength training program should use plenty of total body movements.  Use combination lifts such as a lunge, step up or squat combined with a curl and press or maybe a deadlift combined with a calf raise and shoulder shrug.  Don’t be afraid to use a moderate weight for these exercises.  You need to overload the muscle enough to cause an adaptation so that as you decrease body fat, your developed muscles will show.

In addition to exercising for at least 30 minutes daily, maintain a diet high in lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and low in refined sugars and flour to help you to reach your weight loss goals.  Fiber keeps your body lean and healthy, while protein helps to boost up the effects of your exercise.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.