- Toning Exercises and Tips to Help You Lose Inner Thigh Fat
- 7 Workouts to Tone Your Inner Thighs
- How To Lose Inner Thigh Fat (Plus What Not To Do)
- WHAT CAUSES INNER THIGH FAT?
- WHY IS INNER THIGH FAT SO HARD TO LOSE
- ADJUST YOUR DIET FOR MAXIMUM FAT LOSS
- EXERCISES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT TO GET RID OF THE INNER THIGH FAT
- BEST EXERCISE TO GET RID OF THE INNER THIGH FAT FAST
- THE ULTIMATE PROGRAM FOR SLIMMING DOWN YOUR LEGS & GETTING RID OF THE INNER THIGH FAT
- More Articles
- 1. Side-Lying Abductor Scissor
- 3. Side-Lying Adductor Scissor
- 4. Criss-Cross
- 5. Up and Over
- Criss Cross
- Top Leg Press
- Bottom Leg Press
- Bridge with Squeeze
- 1. Watch your salt intake.
- 2. Add more electrolytes into your diet.
- 3. Cut back on carbs.
- 4. Start your morning with a cup of coffee.
- 5. Carry a water bottle around with you.
- 6. Add some cardio into your schedule.
- 7. Try tracking your meals.
- 8. Eat more fiber and protein.
- 9. Train and strengthen your thighs.
- 10. Do squats one day and lunges the next.
- 11. Don’t forget about HIIT exercises.
Toning Exercises and Tips to Help You Lose Inner Thigh Fat
You can do the following routine two or three times a week to help tone your inner thigh muscles. Toned muscles can help reduce the appearance of fat.
When you do the routine, work through the entire thing, and then repeat it two or three more times.
- If you’re short on time, consider doing the curtsy lunge or the pile squat while brushing your teeth. You could also do lunges without dumbbells.
1. Curtsy lunge
Reps: 10–15 on each leg
Equipment needed: none
- Begin standing with your feet in a wide stance.
- Keeping your chest upright and shoulders down, cross your left leg behind the right and squat down into a curtsy position.
- From the lowered position, push your body back upright, bringing your left leg back to the starting position.
- Next, repeat with the right leg.
- Alternate legs for 15–30 seconds, or perform 10–15 repetitions on each leg.
For an extra challenge, you can hold dumbbells in each hand as you do this exercise. Dumbbells can increase the resistance.
2. Lunges with dumbbell
Reps: 30 seconds per leg
Equipment needed: 5- or 8-pound dumbbell (optional)
- Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand. The weights should be steady at your sides. If you’re a beginner, you can also do this with no dumbbells.
- Step forward with your left leg and lunge forward. Don’t let your knee go beyond your toes. You want to keep your leg perpendicular. Your right knee should be about an inch off the ground.
- Keep holding dumbbells steady and straight in each hand, or perform a bicep curl while you lunge for an additional challenge. Your torso should remain upright the entire time.
- Keeping your weight mainly in your heels, push your left leg back to the starting position.
- Repeat this movement with the left leg for 30 seconds. Then, switch legs and lunge with the right.
3. Pile squats
Reps: perform for 30 seconds total
Equipment needed: none
- Stand with feet in a wide stance, with your toes and knees pointed outward.
- Slowly lower into a squat position. You can keep your hands on your hips to help with balance. Keep your spine and torso upright.
- Slowly rise back up, squeezing your glutes at the top.
- Continue for 30 seconds total.
Reps: 20 repetitions
Equipment needed: none
- Start in a curtsy lunge position (see above) with your left leg behind the right and both knees bent.
- Press sideways off of your left leg and land on the right, with the left foot behind you in a curtsy lunge position on the other side. Switch off between legs.
- You can either hop or step, depending on your fitness level. You can also keep your back leg off the ground for more of a challenge.
- Repeat 20 times (10 per side). Rest and perform another set, if desired.
5. Medicine ball side lunge
Reps: 10–15 reps or 30 seconds per leg
Equipment needed: medicine ball (optional)
- Start standing with your feet wider than hips-width distance. Hold a medicine ball at your chest level with both hands. If you’re a beginner, try this move without the medicine ball.
- Take a step to the left. Squat down on the left leg by bending your knee and lowering your body until the left thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep your toes pointed forward and your left knee in line with your left ankle.
- Keep the medicine ball at your chest. It should align with your left hip, elbow, and shoulder when you are in the squat.
- Push off with your left leg to power back to the starting position.
- Repeat 10–15 times, or for 30 seconds. Switch legs.
6. Supine inner thigh lift
Reps: 15 on each leg
Equipment needed: none
- Begin lying flat on your back, abs engaged. Extend your hands out to the sides on the ground. Lift both legs to the ceiling with your feet flexed.
- Keep the left leg elevated in position, and lower the right leg out to the side as far as you can go without lifting your left hip off the ground. Keep your foot flexed the entire time.
- Bring the right leg back to the starting position and squeeze both legs together at the top.
- Repeat 15 times on the right leg and then switch to 15 reps with the left.
In addition to the above exercises, you can also increase the intensity of your walk or run by adding an incline. You can do an incline workout indoors on the treadmill or outside on some hills. Running and walking uphill helps engage the thigh muscles.
On the treadmill, gradually increase the incline to 5, 10, or 15 percent. Outside, look for a small hill or steep driveway to start.
Aim to do hill training two to three times a week, to start. You could even start with hill training and do the above exercises afterward, or do the exercise routine first, followed by hill training.
7 Workouts to Tone Your Inner Thighs
Author: Shannon Beineke
The ideal inner-thigh workout — one that blasts fat while building muscle — is hard to come by. Luckily for you, we’ve done the research! Do these seven exercises three days a week and you’ll start seeing toned thighs in no time.
1. Extended leg lift
- Lie on your side on the floor or using a workout mat like our Gaiam Fitness Mat and use a small pillow for neck support.
- Move your top leg forward so it’s resting on the floor.
- Keep your bottom leg extended and point your toes.
- Lift it approximately six inches off the ground, hold it for three seconds and lower it back down.
- Don’t let your bottom leg rest on the floor until you’ve finished your set.
Remember to move slowly for an effective thigh workout. Do two sets of ten repetitions with each leg.
2. Ballet raise
Begin by standing with one foot flat on the floor.
- Place your opposite foot directly in front of the flat one with your foot pointed and your toes touching the floor.
- Slowly lift that foot as high as possible, keeping it both pointed and close to your leg.
- Lower it back down to the starting position.
You should be able to bring your toes just above your knee. Stand near a wall if you need help balancing. Start with two sets of 15.
3. Thrust and squeeze
- Lie down with your arms at your sides and your knees bent.
- Place your feet about 12 inches apart, flat on the floor.
- Pull your abs in toward your spine, and, throughout your set, don’t lift your lower back from the floor.
- Squeeze your bottom and slowly lift it off the floor, pushing up with your feet.
- Press your knees together before lowering your bottom back down.
Start with two sets of 15.
4. Inner-thigh press
- Lie down with your legs about two feet apart, extended straight in the air.
- Your body should be bent at a 45-degree angle.
- Cross your arms and hold each leg just below the knee.
- Exhale while you push your legs inward, simultaneously pressing them outward with your hands for at least five seconds.
Start with sets of 10 and move up from there.
5. Standing thigh press
- Stand with your feet together and your back straight, wearing ankle weights if possible.
- Tighten your abs and flex your thighs.
- Lift one leg and slowly press one thigh against the other for at least five seconds.
- Move it outward and press again, but don’t swing your leg.
Start with a set of 10 for each leg. You can hold on to the back of a chair or the wall for balance, if needed.
All you need for cross-stepping is a staircase and motivation.
- Face the railing and hold onto it for balance. From the bottom of the staircase, cross one leg over the other onto the first step.
- Then cross the opposite leg onto the next step.
- Keep doing this until you reach the top.
Want to up the intensity? Ankle weights will help you get toned thighs faster when you’re cross-stepping.
7. Deep squat
Begin by finding two weights like our staff recommended Neoprene Hand Weights, or you can make them out of aluminum water bottles.
- Hold one in each hand.
- Now spread your legs slightly more than shoulder-width apart with your feet flat and your toes pointed slightly outward.
- Squat down slowly and hold the position for three seconds before moving back to the starting position.
Start with one set of 15. If you need help balancing, you can do deep squats with your back against a wall.
How To Lose Inner Thigh Fat (Plus What Not To Do)
Last Updated November 17, 2019, 10:01 AM
How do you get rid of the inner thigh fat – that stubborn little area that seems to stick no matter what you do?
I know that the inner thighs are a problem area for many women (myself included) and a very challenging part to slim down, which is why I’ve decided to do a separate post on it.
A lot of you have told me that workouts that you’ve previously done only made things worse and caused your thighs to grow instead of making them smaller.
The truth is, there is a lot of misinformation about the right way to lose inner thigh fat, including doing gym machine exercises, as “the best workouts for inner thighs.” Unfortunately, those exercises do not really work, as you cannot spot reduce fat.
It took me a couple of years to figure out the best ways to slim down legs and get rid of inner thigh fat.
In this blog post, I’ll explain how to lose inner thigh fat and get leaner legs and what are the most common mistakes you should avoid.
WHAT CAUSES INNER THIGH FAT?
When you consume more calories than you burn, your body starts storing those excess calories in the form of fat.
And we cannot really choose where our body is going to store that fat; that’s mainly determined by genetics, gender and body type.
Most women store excess body fat in their inner thigh, hips and lower belly and that’s closely related to their body type.
DIFFERENT BODY TYPES STORE FAT DIFFERENTLY
Some women naturally have less body fat and find it easier to lose weight.
Others may find it quite challenging, especially if they train in a way that’s not suitable for their body type.
And I see that a LOT. Personal trainers often disregard these differences and train everyone the same way , and that’s not effective.
There are three main body types (ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph), and if you want to reach your fitness goals and get the best possible results, you need to learn yours.
You may be an endomorph like Kim and Khloe Kardashian or a mesomorph like Gigi Hadid and Margot Robbie, or perhaps you’re an ectomorph like Kendall Jenner and Elsa Hosk.
You can take my Free Body Type Quiz here that will help you determine yours in just a few minutes.
WHY IS INNER THIGH FAT SO HARD TO LOSE
As I mentioned previously, the inner thigh area is one of the most stubborn areas for women when it comes to fat loss.
Even ectomorphs, who are naturally lean and slim, may not know how to lose fat in this area or know how to do it properly.
One of the most common mistakes I see is women trying to spot reduce inner thigh fat, which is impossible.
But, what does ‘‘spot reducing fat’‘ exactly mean?
Let’s say I want to lose belly fat. So, I start doing 1000 crunches a day, focusing all my energy on this body part. Will I lose belly fat and get those abs? Sadly, no. We cannot choose where we lose fat.
And most women usually find it easier to lose upper body fat than thigh or belly fat.
So, if you want to lose inner thigh fat, you’ll have to lose body fat all over.
What’s the best and quickest way to reduce body fat? Eating a healthy diet at a calorie deficit, followed by cardio and resistance training that will help you slim down inner thighs without adding extra muscle bulk.
We’ll cover each part, below.
ADJUST YOUR DIET FOR MAXIMUM FAT LOSS
If you exercise, but constantly eat crappy food, you’re not very likely to get great results.
Your body needs a well-balanced diet with lots of fruits and veggies, lean protein, good fats and fiber.
You should avoid alcohol, sugar (in any form), processed food, baked goods, deep-fried foods, etc.
If you want to lose inner thigh fat fast and get leaner, you really need to change your diet and stick to it.
WHAT’S THE BEST DIET FOR LOSING INNER THIGH FAT?
I would advise you to eat at a slight calorie deficit and to follow a low carb diet for the quickest results.
When we need energy, our body starts burning carbs first, followed by protein and fat. So, if you eat a low carb diet and there are not enough carbs, your body will start to burn more fat and protein.
This essentially means you’ll burn more fat on a low carb diet, using it as a primary source of energy.
Also, if you want to lose weight and reduce body fat, you should be in a slight calorie deficit. And I mean slight: 200-500 calories.
But, keep in mind that any form of dieting and calorie restriction can potentially slow down your metabolism, so start with a small calorie deficit.
If you starve yourself and eat too little, you’ll just slow down your metabolism too much, and you won’t lose weight.
So, if you don’t know how to calculate your daily calorie intake, I have a blog post that will help you learn exactly how many calories you need here.
And if you’re not sure where to start, you can download my 7 Day Meal Plan for free and that will help you kick start your weight loss.
EXERCISES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT TO GET RID OF THE INNER THIGH FAT
1. SKIP CERTAIN TYPES OF RESISTANCE TRAINING THAT CAN MAKE YOUR THIGHS BIGGER
I see a lot of women targeting their inner thighs with resistance training (i.e. that weird inner thigh machine at the gym, sumo squats, etc.). Unfortunately, this won’t slim down your inner thigh area.
It will focus on working that inner thigh muscle and may make it bigger in size, but it won’t get rid of the fat.
In fact, it could just make this area end up looking bigger. If you add some muscle – but don’t really lose fat – then you’ll end up wondering why your legs are getting bigger from working out.
In addition, unless you want to make your thighs bigger, I would avoid workouts that heavily target your quads, such as the following:
RELATED: HOW TO SLIM DOWN MUSCULAR THIGHS
RELATED: HOW TO SLIM DOWN MUSCULAR THIGHS
EXERCISES THAT WILL MAKE YOUR (INNER) THIGHS BIGGER:
- Squats and all squat variations
- Weighted leg machines
- HIIT routines that heavily target your legs
Don’t get me wrong – these are awesome workouts – but I know that a lot of women actually have issues with muscular thighs and that is what we are trying to avoid here.
2. AVOID SOME TYPES OF CARDIO THAT CAN BULK UP YOUR THIGHS
Cycling, the elliptical, stair master, stair or uphill running, etc. are all great cardio workouts. They increase your cardiovascular fitness and burn lots of calories.
But they don’t slim down your legs as walking or running, and they won’t necessarily help you get rid of inner thigh fat.
A lot of these types of cardio will actually build muscle (especially if you’re an endomorph) so your legs may get bigger, rather than slimmer.
BEST EXERCISE TO GET RID OF THE INNER THIGH FAT FAST
If you want to burn inner thigh fat fast, you need to combine effective cardio with the right type of resistance training.
1. DO MORE LOW-INTENSITY CARDIO
In all my experience, the best exercise for getting rid of inner thigh fat and getting lean legs, in general, is WALKING. Not running, swimming, cycling, elliptical, dancing, etc.
I know – it sounds too simple, right? But do not underestimate its power. Walking is the absolute best exercise for getting rid of overall excess fat, including your inner thighs.
However, you do need to do a lot of walking. By a lot, I mean 10,000 steps per day (or 10kms, if you can!) at least.
I know this sounds time-consuming, but the 10,000 steps don’t need to be done all at once. You can accumulate these steps during the day. And remember – it’s just walking!
My advice is to start each morning with a 5km walk so a lot of your walking is already done for the day. Then try to do as much walking as you can throughout the day.
Get up from your desk and walk around the office, go outside for lunch, meet with friends for a walk, walk home from work or walk to the bus/train – do everything you can to get in those extra steps!
Bonus tip: In addition to walking, swimming is actually a great form of cardio that can help with slimming your legs. It won’t target inner thigh fat as well as walking, but it can be a great alternative.
RELATED POST: HOW TO GET LEAN LEGS: WHY YOU NEED CARDIO FOR FAT LOSS
IS RUNNING GOOD FOR GETTING RID OF THIGH FAT?
Running is a great workout and will help you slim down all over as it burns LOTS of calories. But it doesn’t really get the same results as walking, especially for some body types.
Some endomorph women can get bigger legs from running because running actually builds leg muscle.
Generally speaking, long-distance running will not bulk up your legs as much as sprinting, for sure. But again, it is very individual, so pay attention to how your body responds to running.
If you know this applies to you and growing thigh muscle is not one of your fitness goals, it might be best to avoid running and stick to power walking instead.
2. FOCUS ON RESISTANCE TRAINING (THAT WON’T MAKE YOUR INNER THIGHS BIGGER)
Resistance training doesn’t exactly get rid of inner thigh fat. Resistance training will tone up your body, and it will help you lose weight faster.
Doing the right kind of resistance training will keep you lean and toned without adding too much muscle bulk, so you won’t end up skinny fat after losing weight.
Any type of resistance training is great. BUT, if you are worried about your legs getting bigger with resistance training, or you are trying to reduce the size of your legs, you need to be careful with the type of exercises that you do.
Doing the type of workouts on my blog is a great start as I have designed them all to tone up without making you bulky.
RELATED POST: HOW TO LIFT WEIGHTS WITHOUT GETTING BULKY
THE ULTIMATE PROGRAM FOR SLIMMING DOWN YOUR LEGS & GETTING RID OF THE INNER THIGH FAT
I have designed my 3 Steps to Lean Legs Program to help you get rid of the inner thigh fat without building too much muscle.
These exercises are especially focused on slimming your thighs, losing inner thigh fat and getting leaner legs.
They will also help you tone up your entire body without getting bulky – through carefully planned resistance training. Check out the results 🙂
My program has 3 different versions, one for each body type. That way, you can be sure you’ll get the best possible results.
It combines cardio with resistance training, and it has a complete 8-week meal plan.
Also, the resistance training part of my program now has FULL-LENGTH videos that you can follow from warm up to cool down.
To find out more about my 3 Steps to Lean Legs program, click the link below:
To find out more about my FULL-LENGTH VIDEOS, follow this link:
Written by Rachael Attard
Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.
After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.
Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.
Inner thigh flab, the infamous “saddlebags,” the elusive thigh gap — almost every woman can come up with some complaint about her inner or outer thighs.
A consistent cardio routine and exercises like squats and lunges will do a world of good when it comes to getting tight, toned thighs. But sometimes you need a little extra TLC for those problem areas, and leg scissor exercises can help.
1. Side-Lying Abductor Scissor
Tame those saddlebags with this move that targets the abductor muscles on the outside of the thighs.
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your right side on an exercise mat. Prop yourself up on your elbow. Straighten both legs, or bend the bottom knee and keep the top leg straight for a little added stability. Ensure your hips and shoulders are stacked on top of each other. Lift your top leg up as high as it will go, then bring it back down. Repeat, then switch sides.
Add weight by strapping on an ankle weight or wrapping an exercises mini-band around your thighs just above your knee, or around your shins.
Try these variations to spice things up:
- Do side-lying scissors with your foot externally rotated (pointing up toward the ceiling) or internally rotated (pointing down toward the floor).
- Instead of moving vertically, extend your top leg out in front of you, then make a big arc bringing your leg up and over and tapping your toe behind you.
3. Side-Lying Adductor Scissor
Basically the same exercise as the abductor scissors but in reverse, this version targets the adductor muscles of the inner thighs. It’s harder than you think!
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your right side and rest your right ear on your right upper arm. Bend your left knee and place the left foot on the floor behind your right leg. Keep your shoulders and hips stacked and your right (bottom) leg straight. Using the adductor muscles of the inner thigh, lift your lower leg up as high as you can, then lower it back down. Repeat, then switch sides.
Target your inner and outer thighs with this scissor variation that also gives your abs a great workout. Bonus!
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on the floor on your back with your arms extended alongside you, palms facing down. Contract your abs and press your lower back into the floor. Lift your legs off the floor and extend them straight out.
Open your legs out to the side, then bring them toward each other crossing your right leg over your left leg. Open your legs out to the side, then bring them together again, this time crossing your left leg over your right leg. Repeat, alternating the cross of your legs each time.
If your back hurts or your lower back comes off the floor, place your hands palms down underneath your buttocks for support. The higher your legs are, the easier the move; the lower they are the more challenging.
5. Up and Over
This more advanced scissor variation targets the outer thighs and challenges your balance, big time. You’ll need a cone, chair or other narrow object to use as a guide.
HOW TO DO IT: Position your guide object to your right side a couple feet away. Extend your right leg out to the side, in front of the object. Lift the leg up and over the object, hovering your foot above the ground on the other side. Then, bring the foot back up and over hovering the foot on the front side. Repeat, then switch legs.
For this workout, you will need an inflatable 12-inch ball (like this CanDo Inflatable Exercise Ball, $14, amazon.com). If you don’t have one this size, use whichever size you have on hand, or you can even borrow your child’s kickball! You just want to be able to squeeze and resist into the ball for the best toning results.
(Sculpt your arms and tighten your tummy with the fun, fat-blasting routines in Flat Belly Barre!)
Perform each of the five exercises below for one minute, then repeat the whole sequence three times to make this a 15-minute workout. If you don’t have time to complete all three sets at once, just finish them throughout your day when you have minutes to spare. Now grab that ball and get ready to fire up your inner thighs!
- Lie on your back and place the ball in between your ankles. Reach your legs out long in front of you and use your core to raise and hold them out. The lower the legs go to the floor, the harder this will be. For an added challenge, peel your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor as well.
- Cross the left leg over the right and then right over the left, making sure not to lose your ball. To engage your inner thighs, keep the legs straight so the “cross” comes from the inner thighs and hips and not your knees. (Tight hips? Do these 3 stretches regularly.)
Top Leg Press
- Keeping the ball between your ankles, roll onto one side.
- Press down on the ball with your top leg, and stabilize with resistance from your bottom leg so the ball doesn’t roll back and forth. Keep your feet flexed and legs long, and squeeze using as much resistance as you can without losing control of the ball. Hold here for 30 seconds.
- Switch sides and hold for 30 seconds.
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Bottom Leg Press
- Still on one side with the ball between your ankles, lift your legs and squeeze in on the ball like in the above exercise, but this time really press up on the ball with your bottom leg. Don’t let the ball roll. To stabilize you need to keep downward pressure from the top leg and feet flexed. Hold here for 30 seconds.
- Switch sides and hold for 30 seconds. (Psst! This barre workout sculpts your butt and thighs in less than 10 minutes.)
Prevent knee pain and stay flexible with this stretch:
Bridge with Squeeze
- Return to your back and move the ball between your inner thighs.
- Lift your backside up and off the mat, making sure not to lift into your neck. Hold here, actively resisting the ball to keep it tight between your thighs. Pulse in on the ball, always trying to bring the legs closer together and not farther apart.
- After a minute of pulsing, lower your backside back down onto the mat.
MORE: The Quick Booty Workout You Can Do While You Wait For Your Coffee To Brew
- Keeping the ball where it is, lift your legs into tabletop and bring your feet into a frog position by squeezing your heels together and turning your toes out.
- Push the legs out in front of you as far as you can without letting those heels pop apart, then bend the legs back in to start position. Repeat for the one-minute interval, and squeeze in on the ball the whole time. For added core work, lift the head, neck, and shoulders up.
Let’s get something out of the way first: There’s nothing you can do to spot-reduce fat on your thighs—or anywhere on your body, TBH.
That’s because losing fat is kind of an all or nothing approach. “You can reduce your overall body fat by eating healthy and exercising, but your body doesn’t know where it’s burning fat,” says Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., CEO of NY Nutrition Group. “Wherever there’s fat on your body, it will come off. And we have fat all over our bodies.”
I know, not exactly what you want to hear. But there are a few steps you can take to de-bloat and tone your legs while losing weight all over.
1. Watch your salt intake.
Salt makes your body retain excess water, and that causes bloat that can affect your whole body, hips and thighs included. “Water follows salt, so the more you eat, the more water gets stored instead of being filtered out by your kidneys,” says Moskovitz. “By cutting back, you’ll notice almost an immediate change in how you feel and how your clothes fit.”
Per the American Heart Association’s recommendations, most people need 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day (the upper limit is 2,300 milligrams)—but many of us are getting way more than that. Cut back by limiting processed foods, like sauces, canned veggies, and soups, which are often loaded with sodium.
2. Add more electrolytes into your diet.
You’ve seen them in sports drinks, but electrolytes like calcium, magnesium, and potassium are plentiful in many healthy foods that might already be in your diet.
All of them—and potassium, in particular—compete with salt. “The more that you have, the less salt your body will retain,” says Moskovitz. “It helps keep the fluid balance stable, so your body flushes out water retention,”
Dark leafy greens, yogurt, and bananas are excellent sources of various types of electrolytes. Moskovitz says everyone should aim for nine servings of fruits and veggies every day: two to three half-cup servings of fruit, and the rest veggies (one cup raw or one-half cup cooked).
3. Cut back on carbs.
When your body transforms carbs into glycogen, they’re stored along with water in your liver and muscle. That means the more carbs you eat, the more water your body stores. “That’s why a lot of people find they lose a few pounds immediately on low-carb diet. A lot of that is water weight,” says Moskovitz.
She suggests getting a minimum of 75 to 100 grams of carbs per day, although some people might need quite a bit more depending on their height, weight, and activity level.
Just don’t skip whole grains altogether, since they’re an excellent source of filling, heart-healthy fiber as well as folate, iron, magnesium, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. If you’re not sure of your carb sweet spot, check with a nutritionist.
4. Start your morning with a cup of coffee.
Coffee has a very mild diuretic effect and may stimulate your metabolism, your body’s fat-burning ability, and your workouts. That said, there is such a thing as too much coffee. “It can lead to crashes that contribute to overeating at night and generally not feeling great,” says Moskovitz. She suggests sticking to two cups per day max.
5. Carry a water bottle around with you.
It seems counterintuitive, but the less water you drink, the more your body holds onto it. Drinking plenty of water flushes out the excess salt and fluids your body doesn’t need, reducing bloating.
It also helps curb your appetite, since dehydration mimics hunger. Moskovitz suggests aiming for two to three liters per day—on the higher end if you’re exercising or it’s hot outside.
6. Add some cardio into your schedule.
Aerobic exercise is another way to flush out excess salt and fluids, says Moskowitz. What’s more, any activity that gets your heart rate up is also your best bet to spend calories and burn body fat—including on your hips and thighs. The higher your calorie burn, the bigger calorie deficit you can create and the more likely you are to lose weight—and drop fat all over.
Just remember: You have to stay hydrated. Aim to drink 16 to 20 ounces more water per hour of intense exercise and eat extra foods with electrolytes if you’re crushing it at the gym for more than an hour.
7. Try tracking your meals.
Keeping a daily record of every single food you put in your mouth helps you stay on track and accountable when you’re trying to shed body fat. Moskovitz likes the app MyFitnessPal, since it’s easy to use and has estimates for most foods (but plain old pen-and-paper works fine, too).
Keeping tabs on your diet also means planning your meals ahead of time as often as possible. “Life gets in the way and it’s hard to stay on track, so having your meals planned out helps for sure,” says Moskovitz.
8. Eat more fiber and protein.
Pack every meal with fiber and protein to boost weight loss, since both macronutrients help keep you fuller on fewer calories.
Protein, in particular, is essential for building the lean muscle that will make your legs look great. Moskovitz suggests trying for a total of 25 to 35 grams of fiber and 75 to 100 grams of protein per day from veggies, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats.
9. Train and strengthen your thighs.
While you can’t spot-reduce thigh fat, you can spot-train your muscles so they’re toned and strong.
Target your thighs all over by doing curtsy lunges, sumo squats, and goblet squats. Focus on your inner and outer thighs with lateral lunges and band leg side raises; and hit your hamstrings with deadlifts, reverse leg curls, and bridges with hamstring curls.
Choose your favorite exercises from each group and complete each for eight to 12 reps at your maximum weight for a total of three to four sets. Ideally, try for two days of leg workouts each week, mixing multi-muscle compound movements (think squats and lunges) with more targeted exercises (like bridges and hamstring curls).
10. Do squats one day and lunges the next.
Yes, you can work your thighs to build muscle and strength, but you don’t want to do the same exercises all. the. time.
Ben Lauder-Dykes, C.P.T., strength and conditioning coach and trainer at Fhitting Room, a high-intensity training studio in NYC, says the most important thing to do is switch up your moves. “Different exercises can challenge a muscle group in a different way,” he says.
Some examples: Add front squats to your routine and you target your quads, while back squats work your glutes and hamstrings more. Focus on single-leg movements (like lunges and split squats) and your stability muscles, including your inner and outer thighs, will fire up to keep you steady, Lauder-Dykes says.
11. Don’t forget about HIIT exercises.
To get more bang for your buck in a shorter amount of time, combine strength training and weight lifting with HIIT, says Lauder-Dykes—it’ll help you burn extra calories and create a calorie deficit, which is required to lose fat, he adds.
“This also helps to increase energy burned at rest and better performance, so you can go at higher efforts and intensities, and be able to sustain it for a longer period of time.” That blend of strength and interval work leads to an even higher calorie burn—without actually having to work out more.
Colleen de Bellefonds Colleen de Bellefonds is an American freelance journalist living in Paris, France, with her husband and dog, Mochi.