Have you ever joked about how everything you eat goes straight to your thighs? If you have, you’re certainly not alone. Plenty of people complain about the excess fat around their thighs. Thick thighs aren’t necessarily a bad thing. However, thigh fat can be challenging to slim down if you do want to get rid of them.
Still, just like with any other part of the body, it is possible to reduce thigh fat and tone your upper legs. You just need to go about it the right way! Here are four practical ways to get rid of thigh fat and tone your legs.
1. Do The Right Exercises
Fat is stored energy. So the easiest way to shed it is to burn it via exercise simply. It becomes a positive cycle that builds on itself – the more muscle you make, the more fat it burns for fuel, and the more toned your thighs and legs become! That said, some types of exercises are more beneficial than others in the pursuit of this specific goal. Here are a few to consider:
· Do Some Strength Training
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to bulk up to be toned – science shows us that lean muscles offer similar benefits to bigger muscles. This fact means that you don’t have to worry about replacing thigh fat with bulky muscles. On the contrary, spot-training will help define and tone the muscles underneath the fat layer – which in turn makes them look better!
To do this, do exercises that target the muscles all over your thighs – both the inner and outer thighs and the hamstrings. There’s a large variety of muscle training exercises you can do, but good examples include sumo squats, goblet squats, curtsy lunges, and lateral lunges. Just make sure to mix and match both targeted exercises with exercises that utilize multiple muscle groups in your leg workouts.
· Do HIIT
AKA high-intensity interval training, HIIT is a type of aerobic exercise that is scientifically known to be an amazingly effective way to increase one’s oxygen consumption temporarily. Here’s the thing – an increase in oxygen consumption has been linked to increased metabolism. Combine this with strength training and weight lifting, and it means you net the positives of a high-calorie burn, a better performance, and a higher resting metabolism rate – all in a shorter amount of time! While this doesn’t exactly help with spot-reducing fat, it can reduce your overall body fat content – and in the process, trim the fat off your thighs and legs.
· Do Cardio Exercises
Similar to HIIT, cardio exercises also fall under the general category of aerobic exercises. As such, they offer the same scientifically-proven positive benefits that aerobic exercises offer, like increased metabolism rates and higher calorie burn. This outcome means you’re going to create a more significant calorie deficit, and in turn, burn the fat off your body – including your thighs and legs!
To maximize this effect, though, make sure you’re properly hydrated. Up your electrolyte intake in your diet, and drink 16 to 20 ounces of water for every hour of intense exercise. (The former is especially important if your workouts are going to last for more than an hour.)
2. Get Enough Sleep
Surely getting enough exercise is all you need to drop the pounds off your thighs and legs, right? Unfortunately for all of us, this is baseless positive thinking. There’s plenty of other things you still have to take into account to trim and shape your lower body – and if you don’t keep those factors in mind, you might find yourself stubbornly staying the same shape despite all of your hard work!
One of those core factors is your sleep. Here are a few research-backed reasons behind why it’s so crucial in your quest towards shapelier legs:
· It Increases Hunger
A lack of sleep makes your body increase the production of ghrelin, a hormone responsible for stimulating appetite. It reduces the production of leptin, itself a hormone that’s responsible for telling your brain when you feel full. Thus, you might find yourself eating more often – which would completely nullify any fat-burning, and body-toning benefits exercise would’ve otherwise conferred to you!
· It Takes Longer To Feel Full
On the flip side, the reduction of leptin means that it takes much longer for you to feel full after each meal. This means you might end up overeating unintentionally, and pack on more calories than you would’ve otherwise wanted.
· You Get Cravings
Cravings can be hard enough to resist as it is – and it only gets worse when you lack sleep. Your body starts wanting to eat calorie-dense foods packed full of carbohydrates, which just makes it harder to lose the weight you need for sculpted thighs and legs!
3. Watch What You Eat
No matter how intense your exercise, you will ultimately have to keep an eye on your food intake. Unhealthy meals that are full of calories and carbohydrates will all translate into more body fat for your thighs and legs – no amount of hard work will save that. So keep these tips in mind if you find yourself struggling to slough off the fat:
· Reduce Carb Consumption
Positive thinking dictates that you should be able to work off any carbs you may have simply. The truth, however, is a little bit more complex than that. Your body will turn carbs into glycogen – a substance that must be stored with water. This means that if you’re running a high-carb diet, a lot of weight your body is carrying is water weight. So while eating whole grains and complicated carbohydrates is still vital for your health, consider reducing the amount if you find yourself struggling to sculpt your thighs and legs.
· Eat More Protein and Fiber
Studies prove that high-protein diets may be more effective at weight loss than low-carb diets. Fiber is excellent for making you feel full and is low in calories, while protein is an essential ingredient for building lean muscle – which is what you want for shapely thighs and legs.
· Get Enough Electrolytes
Our bodies need all sorts of trace minerals and electrolytes to function – so it’s essential to include them on your menu, as well. It’s crucial to mention salt isn’t an electrolyte. Instead, it’s minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium – and all of them will compete with salt. This means less water retention, as your body is unable to retain as much salt – and by extension, as much water!
· Reduce Salt Intake
Salt itself may carry no calories, but research tells us that it makes your body retain water. Thus, it causes bloating. This results in body parts like your thighs, hips, and legs to appear larger and less defined – regardless of your actual body fat or muscle tone. Try cutting back on sodium-rich meals like canned sauces, soups, and other various processed foods to avoid this from happening.
· Track Meals
Keeping an eye on both your diet and your meals have been scientifically shown to help you lose weight – and in turn, it enables you to shed thigh and leg fat. Plus, it helps you maintain awareness of just how much you’re eating and when. This information is crucial to have if you’re trying to maintain any kind of healthy diet that works for you!
4. Watch What You Drink
What’s the big deal about staying hydrated? As it turns out, it’s pretty important. Water helps keep a lot of our bodily functions ongoing and is a crucial element in burning off fat. So if you find yourself stumped trying to define your thighs and legs, here are a few tips to consider: