What You Need to Know to Get Slimmer Thighs
Expert-Recommended Tips to Tone Your Thighs
Tighten Up Your Nutrition
When you’re looking to tone and shape an area of your body, the first step you need to take is to banish the layer of fat lying above the muscle. To help trim fat, make sure you’re getting lots of lean protein (grilled fish, white meat poultry, low fat yogurt) and veggies—at least five a day. Don’t forget to get enough healthy fats, and stay away from sugary carbs and processed foods (we’re looking at you, cupcake).
Get Your Heart Racing
By now it probably seems like worn-out advice, but cardio really is your best friend when it comes to toning up those thunder thighs (or any part of your body, for that matter). When you pair it with a clean, healthy diet, cardio is going to help you shed the fat hiding your thigh muscles.
Switching up your exercise routine helps challenge your body—and keeps you from getting bored. Registered dietitian Anita Mirchandani recommends high intensity interval training (alternate between moderate and high-paced intervals throughout your workout), which she explains is highly effective in metabolizing fat. Running or dancing-based workouts are also great options.
When you’re not hitting the gym, incorporate healthy behaviors into your daily routine. Take the stairs, try working from your computer standing up, and park in those spots farthest from the door. Small changes can make a big impact in the long run.
Feel the Burn
The third element of the slim and shapely thigh trifecta is strength training. Katie Humphrey, certified personal trainer and health and empowerment coach recommends a thigh-tailored workout of lunges, squats, plies and deadlifts. The best part of Katie's workout? These exercises can all be done at home. Each one should be performed for 15+ repetitions; do at least three sets and use little or no weight. If you want to be an overachiever, Humphrey recommends increasing the number of reps you do while lowering the resistance.
1. Lunges: Start with both feet together, then slowly step one leg forward allowing both knees to bend so that the forward leg is parallel to the floor and the knee of the rear leg almost touches the floor. Next, slowly push off with your forward leg,using the glutes and hamstrings to step back together. Be sure you are steppingout far enough so that your leg muscles, like the quads, hamstrings, glutes and inner thighs, are doing most of the work (not your knees).
2. Squats: Stand with legs hip-width apart, then lower your glutes toward the floor. When lowering yourself, be sure to really "sit back" so your knees don't come over your ankles. Once you are in a low, seated position, lift up to return to your original standing position.
3. Plies: Perform these just like squats, but start with your legs further apart and with your toes turned out about 45 degrees. Be sure that when you "squat," your knees face the same direction as your toes.
4. Dead lifts: Hold weights with palms facing your legs, feet about hip-width apart and bend over with your legs straight and back flat. Lower as far as you can and return to starting position while squeezing your gluteal muscles.
Don’t Believe the Rumors
It’s a common misconception that if you strength train, your muscles will only get bigger and bulkier as they gain muscle mass. It’s not true—don’t be afraid to work those thighs. “Women have to work pretty hard to increase muscle size,” said Xin-min Lai, certified personal trainer. “What will happen with strength training is the muscle you do have will be stronger and shapelier.”
Trust us, you won’t be hulking out anytime soon. You will, however, soon be prancing around in those cute shorts you've been eyeing for months.
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