If you do a quick search on how to lose weight on your thighs, you’ll be bombarded with articles boasting a lot of “broscience.” This is sarcastic term for the misleading claims made by people who consider themselves more credible than scientific evidence. I’ve seen many posts that suggest exercises like cycling to help trim and tone your thighs. In fact, most leg exercises are intended to put on muscle mass and obviously increase their size. So how can you really lose weight in your thighs?
3 Reasons for having “Bulky” Thighs
- Your thighs have too much fat stored inside
- Your thighs are too muscular
- Your thighs have no distinct muscle definition
If you’re reading this article, you are most likely a victim of 1, 2, or even both. You may also be experiencing 3 but are unaware since your fat is enveloping the muscle underneath.
The good thing is that the solution to problems 1 and 2 are the same. Remember that there is no evidence for spot reduction, meaning you can’t reduce fat on a specific area of the body. Instead, emphasis needs to be placed on burning fat throughout the body, your thighs included. Although this may be discerning, the best solution to trim down and lose weight on your thighs is to choose a cardio exercise that burns the most calories. Keep it mind that the cardio exercise should not focus too much on the thighs otherwise more muscle growth will be stimulated instead.
A cardio activity that fits this requirement perfectly is running. Boxers use long distance, low intensity running to cut weight before a fight.
What pace should I run at? How long should I run for?
Whether you run slow or fast, the calories burned per mile will be around the same. This is because the faster and harder you run, the faster you fatigue and the less distance you cover.
This is where High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on a treadmill or track can come into play; high intensity running can burn twice as many calories as low intensity walking in half the amount of time. As a beginner easing into HIIT, alternate 15 seconds of sprinting at maximum speed and intensity with 45 seconds of rest and do this for 15-20 minutes.
But as a beginner to running, I would recommend jogging for a longer period of time at lower intensity– anywhere from 45-60 minutes. Why? Although high intensity running is undoubtedly the most effective method, it is also the most likely to cause injury.
Jogging at a low intensity for a longer duration is safer than jumping right into HIIT and is a good way to slowly increase your endurance, but still burn off the unwanted weight. The more miles you run, the more calories you burn off. Jog at a comfortable, steady pace and avoid going too fast; again, this will limit the distance and duration you could cover at a slower pace.
Won’t running increase my leg size?
No. Less exercise and excess calories will make your thighs fat. Lifting heavy weights will make your thighs more muscular. Running will help you lose fat and thus tone and define your legs.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at any long distance runner in the Olympics. None of them have thighs the size of tree trunks.
Of course, like any fitness goal, don’t expect immediate results. But once you reach about 45 minutes 4-5 times a week, you should begin to notice results.
But I want to lose this thigh fat fast!
If you want faster results, just run more often. If need be, run an hour every day of the week until you are satisfied with the look of your thighs.
How to Avoid “Bulky” Thighs
- Minimize cycling. Out of all the cardio exercises, cycling focuses on the thighs most. As a result, cycling can increase the size of your thighs like no other, especially if you are genetically predisposed to quick muscle growth on your thighs.
- Avoid squatting, deadlifting, and lunging at a high rep volume. Squatting with heavier weights and fewer reps can actually help to tone your thighs, but doing so with lighter weights and many (8-12) reps will almost certainly increase muscle mass. Compared to running, these exercises are not nearly as effective for burning fat, which is what you ultimately want.
Great, so running alone will help me lose weight on my thighs?
Do not underestimate the importance of proper nutrition. Remember, if you’re consuming more calories than you are burning in a day, say goodbye to the fruitions of your running. As mentioned in The Secret to Bulking Up, it all comes down to the energy equation; you must burn more calories than you consume in a day, otherwise you will never lose weight. Simple, right?
Without further ado, you now hold the secret on how to lose weight on your thighs. And no, it cannot be achieved by a special pill or magic diet. If you’re new to running, be sure to review proper running form to minimize your risk for injury.