Want to know the secret to how to lose weight from your thighs? Let's start with the facts… you can't spot-reduce fat from your body. If you're a woman reading this, you're also at a bit of a disadvantage too, because the way our hormones work means that we carry weight most around the pelvis, bum and thighs (great for child-bearing, not so great for slim thighs!).
But there are certain tricks for toning and sculpting the thighs and it's actually easier than you might think. From the bargain thigh toner you can't live without, to swapping your post-workout protein bar for a fat blasting orange to getting more sleep, we reveal the seven ways to lose weight on your thighs.
- Working on toning your legs? Here's some advice on how to lose weight from your hips
- Or tackle how to lose weight on arms with these targeted tips
- Building a home gym? These are the best exercise machines to lose weight
1. Hit the trail
Trail walking and running is basically like nature's Stairmaster. Climbing is a great lower-body workout for your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves, but it's actually hiking downhill that will tone your muscles and thighs the most, explains trail-running world champion Ragna Debats. "As you descend, your glutes and quads have to work non-stop to stabilise your knees and hips. As these muscles resist the force of gravity against your body weight, the toning effects go into overdrive. Best of all, trail walking and running are free!"
2. Grab an orange
If you want to know how to lose weight from your thighs, try eating oranges! A 2011 study found that a diet rich in polyphenols (found in citrus fruits) might interact with the bacteria in the intestines to help weight loss, especially when combined with a diet low in probiotics. Considering that oranges are also packed with antioxidants and inflammation-fighting vitamin C, they are an easy and tasty way to blast thigh fat. Not a fan of oranges? Great news – polyphenols can also be found in red wine and dark chocolate!
3. Ditch diets
If you have some extra weight on your thighs, the key to losing body fat is not dieting but rather adopting a long-term, healthy lifestyle. We all know there's no such thing as a quick fix. Let's face it, diets don't work - but eating a balanced mix of nutrient-rich, colourful foods will help to lose weight from your thighs (and everywhere else) – and keep it off. Refined sugar, too much salt and saturated fats are no friends of slim thighs, nor is eating processed foods, which scientists found can lead to weight gain in as little as two weeks.
4. Squat it like it's hot
As we know, you can't spot-reduce thigh fat, but you can spot-train your muscles so they're toned and strong. Squats are a great way to do this, and you can do them anywhere, anytime (even while waiting for the kettle to boil or binge-watching a Netflix box set).
Personal trainer Angie Bell recommends starting with 40 squats a day, aim to do them three times a week. Each week increase by 20 so by week 4 you're doing 100 squats. "Then you can try another squat variation to keep the results coming," says Angie. "Try adding weight, tempo or doing a curtsy or wide Sumo squat. It won't take long to feel the difference in your thighs, and to inspire you further – squats don't just work that area, this functional leg-building exercise will also sculpt your core, calves, glutes and hamstrings."
Ready to up the ante? Try this 'Beat the Body Coach' 200 Rep Challenge (50 squats, 50 press ups, 50 thrusters and 50 burpees as fast as you can).
5. Invest in ankle weights
If you don't have time to go to the gym, ankle weights are a great investment for a quick home workout to blast the inner thighs (notoriously difficult to target). We love these Sport EQ ones from Amazon.
"Wearing weights means your muscles have to work harder to move the extra load, so you'll gain strength as well as tone in your legs," explains PT Angie Bell.
Next step: bent-leg raises. "Start with 1lb ankle weights and sit in a chair with your knees bent, feet on the floor," says Angie. "Extend one leg straight and hold for 60 seconds. Then bend the knee 45 degrees and hold for 30 seconds. Lower your foot back to the floor. Change legs and repeat. As you get stronger, increase your ankle weights to 1/2lbs at a time."
NB. Don't use ankle weights for aerobic workouts as you could put unnecessary stress on your joints.
6. Sleep yourself slim
If you're trying to lose weight, getting around eight hours a night in bed is key. Lack of sleep means you're producing more of the stress hormone cortisol and less leptin (which makes you feel hungry) – both love to hold onto fat reserves to give us more energy. "If you're having trouble falling or staying asleep, avoid refined sugar and processed carb snacks after 3pm," recommends health and mindfulness coach Louise Murray. "These foods disrupt your steady-state down-time metabolism, creating blood sugar and insulin fluctuations that can wake you up at odd times of the night."
7. Join the Magic Circle
The Pilates ring is not called the 'magic circle' for nothing. This inexpensive bit of kit (we like this CuleedTec one from Amazon) adds resistance that works your inner thighs when placed between your legs, and blasts fat fast from the outer thighs when placed outside the legs. Try this quick 10-minute Pilates ring workout with The Balanced Life Pilates teacher Robin Long.