Wondering what is the best way to lose weight on thighs?
It’s a common question among people who want to achieve a more toned and leaner appearance in this area.
Thighs tend to store fat more easily than other parts of the body. However, with the right approach and a bit of patience, it is possible to achieve a slimmer, more toned appearance.
The best way to lose weight on the thighs involves a combination of healthy eating, regular exercise, and lifestyle changes. This may include incorporating different exercises and reducing overall calorie intake through a balanced diet.
Thigh Fat: What Causes It?
Thigh fat can be caused by a combination of factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and hormonal imbalances. People who are genetically predisposed to carry more fat in their thighs may find it more challenging to lose fat in this area. Hormonal imbalances, such as those that occur during pregnancy or menopause, can also lead to an accumulation of fat in the thighs.
According to a study, women typically carry more fat than men. Most women’s excess body fat accumulates in the thighs, hips, and butt1.
Additionally, a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits can contribute to excess fat in the thighs. Eating a diet high in processed foods, refined sugars, and saturated fats can cause weight gain in the thighs and other areas of the body.
Lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle can also lead to decreased muscle mass, which can contribute to an accumulation of fat in the thigh area.
It’s crucial to note that though thigh fat can be frustrating for some people, it is a natural and normal part of the body’s fat distribution. It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and not focus too much on achieving a certain body shape or size.
With that said, the amount of body fat you have is something you can control. It’s fortunate that in today’s time there are many options and resources available to make losing fat and achieving a healthy weight easier.
Weight Loss On The Thighs
There isn’t a specific way to lose weight on thighs as spot reduction, which means losing fat from a specific area of the body, is not possible. When you lose weight, it happens throughout your body and not just in one specific area.
You can remedy this by focusing on specific exercises for your thigh muscles through targeted exercises and incorporating other exercises that help to burn calories and reduce overall body fat.
Best Way To Lose Weight On Thighs
You can take specific steps to tone your legs and minimize bloating and inflammation while reducing weight overall, even if there are no quick fixes for targeting just thigh fat. These steps are:
1. Eating a healthy and balanced diet.
Although it can be challenging to lose weight, your objective should be to burn more calories than you consume.
Nutritious meals like fruits and vegetables typically contain fewer calories.
A nutritious diet can also provide your body with the proper fuel so you can exercise to tone your legs.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), eat a healthy diet with a focus on ingesting the majority of:
- Whole grains: Such as whole-wheat pasta, bread, and brown rice.
- Vegetables and fruits: These are calorie-efficient and high in fiber, causing you to feel filled for longer and eat less calories overall.
- Lean protein sources: Lean meats, beans, eggs, and chicken breast can aid satiety and increase lean muscle mass.
- Dairy products with less fat: You can consume low-fat dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and milk.
- Healthy oils: Examples are avocado oil, nut oil, and olive oil.
To help boost weight loss results, include protein and fiber in every meal. These two macronutrients help you feel full while consuming fewer calories.
Protein, in particular, is necessary for developing lean muscle that will give your legs a beautiful appearance.
You can also try low-carb diets, which emphasize foods that are low in carbohydrates and high in protein and healthy fats.
One study discovered that participants who followed a low-carb diet lost weight more significantly than those who followed a low-fat diet2.
While there are many different diets and eating plans that can be effective for weight loss, there is no single diet that works best for losing fat specifically in the inner and outer thighs.
2. Cut back your alcohol intake.
Alcohol consumption can induce weight gain since it frequently contains large amounts of calories with no nutritional benefit.
Even choosing light beer or a mixed drink can quickly build up to at least 100 to 110 calories per beverage.
Choosing foods while intoxicated is generally not a good idea, either. Research indicated moderate drinkers were 24% more likely to order something savory like salty fries after drinking3.
Drinking alcohol can lower inhibitions and increase appetite, leading to overconsumption of food and excess calorie intake. Alcohol can affect your body’s ability to metabolize and burn fat, as the body prioritizes metabolizing alcohol over fat. This can slow down the rate of fat loss, including in the thighs.
By reducing alcohol intake or avoiding alcohol altogether, you can help to avoid overeating and support a calorie deficit, which is necessary for weight loss.
3. Manage your stress level.
High-stress levels can negatively impact health, including altering appetite, overeating, and excess weight gain.
In a 2017 study, it was discovered that participants with higher baseline stress levels over six months acquired more weight than those with lower stress levels4.
Managing your stress levels can be important for avoiding weight gain because high levels of stress can increase the production of the hormone cortisol, which can lead to increased appetite and overeating, as well as the storage of excess fat in the body. Taking steps to manage stress, such as exercise, meditation, or talking with a mental health professional, can help to reduce cortisol levels and support weight management efforts.
4. Get enough sleep.
Gaining weight may be more likely if you don’t get enough sleep5.
This may impact your health, mood, and ability for daily tasks.
Lack of sleep affects the production of leptin, a hormone that typically curbs hunger, and increases the hormone ghrelin, which increases appetite.
5. Monitor your body fat percentage closely.
The ideal body composition is higher in lean muscle and lower in fat. Your body fat percentage measures how much fat you have in relation to your total body mass.
By tracking changes in body fat over time, you can assess the effectiveness of your diet and exercise plan and make adjustments as needed. However, it’s important to note that body fat percentage alone is not a perfect measure of overall health, and it’s important to take into account other factors such as muscle mass, bone density, and overall body composition.
6. Include thigh-focused exercises in your routine.
Squats, lunges, and deadlifts work the tiny muscles in your inner thighs and other leg muscles.
Be mindful not to just recklessly add a leg day every now and then. Have a routine and a plan before you start.
Choose your preferred exercises from each group and then aim for two leg workouts times a week, alternating multi-muscle compound movements with more focused exercises.
Exercises To Lose Thigh Fat
When it comes to losing thigh fat, targeted exercises can be a helpful addition to a healthy and balanced diet, helping to tone and strengthen the muscles in the legs while also promoting overall weight loss and improved fitness. Just remember that exercise alone will not help you lose thigh fat; improving your diet should be incorporated too.
With consistency and dedication, these exercises can help you achieve slimmer, more toned thighs:
Salt causes your body to retain too much water, which results in bloating that can impact your entire body, including your hips and thighs.
Aside from cutting back on processed foods, you can also incorporate aerobic exercise like cardio to flush out excess fluids and salt.
Furthermore, your best hope for burning calories and body fat, notably on your hips and thighs, is any activity that increases your heart rate.
You can build a more significant calorie deficit and are more likely to lose weight and reduce body fat if your calorie burn is higher.
Exercises under moderate aerobic activity include brisk walking, biking, swimming, and lawn mowing.
Running, strenuous yard labor, and aerobic dancing qualify as vigorous aerobic exercise.
Inner Thigh Exercises
- Lateral Lunge
Lunges to the side, also known as lateral lunges, are one of the best workouts for adductor muscles. It is a great exercise for strengthening your legs and hips, as well as improving your balance and stability. To engage the inner thigh muscles, maintain a straight leg when not lunging.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing forward.
- Take a big step to the right with your right foot, keeping your left foot in place.
- Bend your right knee and lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep your left leg straight.
- Keep your back straight, chest up, and core engaged.
- Push off with your right foot and return to the starting position.
- Repeat the movement on the other side by stepping to the left with your left foot and bending your left knee while keeping your right leg straight.
- Curtsy Lunge
Curtsy lunges are a fantastic substitute for the standard lunge, which targets the inner thigh fat.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Step your left foot back and to the right so that it crosses behind your right foot, bending both knees as if you were curtsying.
- Lower your hips towards the ground, keeping your back straight and your core engaged, and then push off with your left foot to return to standing.
- Repeat on the other side, alternating legs for the desired number of repetitions or sets.
Outer Thigh Exercises
- Goblet Squats
Goblet squats are a terrific exercise because you can scale the movement to your fitness level by holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in front of your body.
- With your feet slightly wider than your hips, hold the dumbbell or kettlebell in front of you with both hands.
- In a squat stance, bend your knees and drop your body as far as possible.
- Return to your standing position.
- Repeat with desired number of sets.
- Lateral Leg Lift (Weighted Hip Abduction)
Another excellent exercise to your thighs is the weighted hip abduction. This exercise helps to target and tone the muscles in the outer thigh and hip area.
- Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Shift your weight onto your right leg and lift your left leg out to the side, keeping it straight and engaging the muscles in your outer thigh.
- Slowly lower the leg back down and repeat for the desired number of repetitions before switching sides.
- You can increase the difficulty of this exercise by adding ankle weights or having weight held in your hand.
While also losing weight, concentrate on burning fat and developing muscle to tone up your thighs.
Lean body mass can be increased, and body fat may be reduced by strength training.
Strengthening your legs can also help them appear more toned and slim.
At least twice a week, perform strength-training activities for all the major muscle groups.
Use of weight machines, just your body weight, heavy bags, resistance tubing or paddles in the water, or exercises like rock climbing can all be considered forms of strength training.
To give your muscles enough time to heal, perform a leg-focused strength training three to four times per week, with a 48 to 72-hour break between sessions.
You may burn more calories, reduce your body fat percentage, and strengthen your thighs by engaging in total-body muscle-building activities at least two days each week6.
Add lower-body exercises using only your weight, such as lunges, wall sits, inner/outer thigh lifts, and step-ups.
To increase your total fitness, you can combine lower-body and upper-body exercises.
Keep your reps high to build your legs without getting bulky.
Indoor Cycling Class
Indoor cycling is a great option for improving cardiovascular health, weight loss, and leg toning.
One study found that 24 indoor cycling sessions reduced overweight and inactive women’s body weight and fat mass7.
This kind of exercise works well for your thighs. Cycling involves continuous pedaling and engages the muscles in the legs, including the quads, hamstrings, and calves.
By increasing the resistance on the bike, riders can further challenge their muscles and work towards toning and slimming the thighs. Additionally, indoor cycling classes provide a structured and motivating workout environment that can help individuals to stay committed to their fitness goals.
More Tips On Weight Loss
While diet and exercise are the most effective and healthy ways to lose weight, there are other methods that also need to be considered.
Staying hydrated is important for weight loss and overall health. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help to regulate appetite and support metabolism.
Joining group fitness classes can also be a great way to stay motivated and focused on your weight loss and fitness goals. Working out with others can provide a sense of accountability and support, making it easier to stay on track and committed to your health and fitness journey.
It’s important to note that spot reduction, or losing weight in just one specific area of the body like the thighs, is not possible. However, a comprehensive approach that includes strength training, cardiovascular exercise, dietary changes, and other adjustments can help to reduce overall body fat, including in the thighs.
Depending on factors such as your starting point, fitness level, and diet, it may take time to see results in the appearance and strength of your thighs. But by consistently following a balanced and sustainable approach, you will typically begin to see a difference within one to three months. It’s important to avoid rushing the process and instead focus on making long-term lifestyle changes that support your overall health and wellness goals.
1 Karastergiou K, Smith SR, Greenberg AS, Fried SK. Sex differences in human adipose tissues – the biology of pear shape. Biol Sex Differ. 2012 May 31;3(1):13. doi: 10.1186/2042-6410-3-13. PMID: 22651247; PMCID: PMC3411490.
2 Bazzano L, Hu T, Reynolds K, Yao L, Bunol C, Liu Y, Chen CH, Klag M, Whelton P, & He J. (2014, September 2). Effects of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets. Annals of Internal Medicine. Retrieved February 19, 2023, from https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M14-0180.
3 Schrieks I, Stafleu A, Griffioen-Roose S, De Graaf C, Witkamp R, Boerrigter-Rijneveld R, Hendriks H, Moderate alcohol consumption stimulates food intake and food reward of savoury foods, Appetite, Volume 89,2015, Pages 77-83, ISSN 0195-6663, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2015.01.021.
4 Chao A, Jastreboff A, White M, Grilo C, Sinha R. Stress, cortisol, and other appetite-related hormones: Prospective prediction of 6-month changes in food cravings and weight. 28 March 2017. https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.21790.
5 H., Kim, T. W., Jeong, J. H., & Hong, S. C. (2015, March 11). The Impact of Sleep and Circadian Disturbance on Hormones and Metabolism. The Impact of Sleep and Circadian Disturbance on Hormones and Metabolism. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/591729.
6 Miller T, Mull S, Aragon AA, Krieger J, Schoenfeld BJ. Resistance Training Combined With Diet Decreases Body Fat While Preserving Lean Mass Independent of Resting Metabolic Rate: A Randomized Trial. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2018 Jan 1;28(1):46-54. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2017-0221. Epub 2018 Jan 24. PMID: 28871849.
7 Bianco A, Bellafiore M, Battaglia G, Paoli A, Caramazza G, Farina F, Palma A. The effects of indoor cycling training in sedentary overweight women. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2010 Jun;50(2):159-65. PMID: 20585293.