The thighs are an area that is commonly used as a storage space for fat on the body, which can lead to weight gain that makes people feel self-conscious. Weight gain on the legs can also cause chafing that can be uncomfortable. While it is not possible to do exercises that will only cause you to lose weight in one specific area of the body, you can apply overall weight loss and exercise tips to the thighs to make them slimmer and more attractive. Performing exercises specifically intended to tone muscles in the legs can also give the thighs a more sculpted look over time.
Exercise to Lose Weight on Thighs
The first step in slimming the thighs is determining what is making them bulky. Both excessive amounts of muscle and fat can make the thighs look larger. If you pinch the thighs and it is easy to get your fingers around a great deal of tissue, than the thighs are larger because they are holding excess fat. If it is hard to pinch the thighs and hold onto a portion of tissue when the muscles are tightened, then the muscles in the thighs are large, which is what is making them look disproportionate.
One of the best ways to shed excess fat from any part of the body is to perform cardiovascular exercises. Exercises such as bicycling, using cardio equipment, dancing and others can lead to weight loss in this area. To avoid "bulking up" and adding muscle to the thighs which can make them look larger, keep the resistance setting low on any machines that you are using, including any incline settings that might be applied. Instead, focus on measuring your heart rate and make a point of keeping it high for at least 30 minutes each time you exercise.
The key to cardio workouts that will burn fat in the thighs as well as the rest of the body is working out for a long time period. You want to focus on building endurance and strength without adding bulk to help lose weight in the thighs without replacing the fat with additional pounds of muscle. Long distance running is one of the easiest exercises to help accomplish this goal. Runners are often slimmer because the body will shed excess weight to build a lean frame that is ideal for this type of exercise.
If you want to cut bulk from the legs it is important to avoid exercises that specifically encourage muscle growth in this area. Squats, deadlifting, leg extensions or calf raises are examples of this. Using machines such as a stair stepping machine can also add bulk to the legs which will make them look bigger. Start adding these kinds of exercises into your routine after you have lost the weight you were looking to burn so you can tone your legs to a level that makes you feel comfortable.
Once you are ready to start toning the thighs, squatting with an exercise ball, "sumo" squats, step ups on a bench or lunges can be ideal choices to help tone this specific area. You can also perform jumping exercises or bar exercises that keep you up on your toes to help tone the legs. The key is to follow a schedule where you perform 30-45 minutes of this exercise up to four times a week, taking a day off in between to let your body rest and heal. Start off with 12-15 per set and work your way up as the legs become stronger.
Food to Lose Weight on Thighs
No matter what exercise routine you choose to follow it will not be effective if you do not cut calories from your diet. It is important to leave enough calories to support your active lifestyle, but not taking in more than you can burn. Cutting between 250-500 calories per day will allow you to lose approximately 1 pound of fat per week, which is considered a safe weight loss routine. This is accomplished by eating small meals throughout the day instead of three large meals and reducing liquid intake to avoid bloating. Try to take in more water instead of soda, tea or sugary drinks that add extra calories without hydrating.
Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables can also help you lose weight and cut the amount of weight stored in the thighs. Vegetables and fruits tend to be lower in calories, but high in nutrients and fiber that are healthy. It is recommended that you take 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables each day to maintain a healthy weight. Using vegetables as a substitute for snacks like bread or junk food can also help keep you feeling full without adding empty calories.
When you do eat carbohydrates, try to stick to options that are whole grain. Whole grains keep you fuller and contain more nutrients than their bleached counterparts. Whole grains also contain fiber that can help maintain digestive health to help you lose weight. Combine these carbs with lean proteins such as poultry, beans or fish with your meals. Lean proteins are easier to break down so they will put less strain on the digestive system, but still contain enough iron and other nutrients to help build muscle while you exercise.