Big thighs and a nice round butt are good or bad, depending on how you view your thunder thighs. The trick to slimming down thunder thighs is to actively tone them through various exercises. Just running or using an elliptical will not provide the results you're seeking. Combine strength exercises for the lower body and a diet plan to transform those thunder thighs to sleek, sexy and toned legs.
Begin an exercise program to firm your thighs fast. Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, believes the air squat is the most basic, fundamental, functional and important move for the human body to master. The squat works multiple muscles at the same time, improves core strength, posture and tones and strengthens the thighs. To do a squat, start by standing in front of an 18- to 20-inch-tall chair or bench. Place your feet slightly wider than hip width apart, and angle your feet at a 30-degree angle outward. As you begin to squat, move your hips back and down, keep your chest up and your lower back straight. Keep your knees in line, but do not allow them to pass your toes. Keep all of your weight on your heels. Squat all the way down to the chair, pause, then stand up.
Perform the lunge to help tone your thighs. The Georgia State University Department of Kinesiology lists “quadriceps (the muscles on the front of the upper leg), hamstrings (the muscles on the back of the upper leg), gluteals, hip flexors and calf muscles” as the prime movers of the lunge. Place colored tape on the ground, about 3 feet long, when learning the proper lunge. Start with your feet hip-width apart and one foot on either side of the tape. Take a step out with your right foot, while keeping both feet on their own sides of the tape. Begin lowering your left knee to the ground. Do not allow your right knee to pass your toe; your legs should form two 90-degree angles when performing this movement. Keep your chest up and once you tap the ground with your left knee, push back to standing position.
Add weights or other resistance-training exercises to your routine. The American Council on Exercise states “strength training favorably affects an individual's overall body composition, resulting in a greater proportion of lean tissue relative to fat tissue. This training adaptation helps to enhance both functional performance capabilities and physical appearance.” Improving your overall body composition by decreasing your body fat gives you the sleek, lean look that you're seeking.
Add cardiovascular exercise to your routine. The best exercise regimen to reduce thunder thighs includes a balance of strength training and cardiovascular exercise. Prevent boredom by using different machines or participating in different activities that will get your heart rate up. This may include running, walking, rowing, playing sports or taking an aerobics class at a gym or fitness center.
Making the Changes
Take your measurements with a flexible tape measure, or have a friend or family member measure for you. Document each measurement in a small notebook. Begin by taking a step out with your right leg, but keep all of your weight on your left leg. Measure the circumference of your right leg, 4 inches above your knee. Move the tape measure 4 inches up your leg and measure its circumference. Take one more measurement at the widest part of your thigh. Now, stand with both feet together. The last measurement is taken by placing the measuring tape around the widest part of your hips.
Avoid diets below 1,100 calories per day; they cause more harm than good. Approximately 30 percent of the weight you lose on these types of diets is muscle. Washington University Physicians states “when we go on a diet, the body's ancient survival mechanisms kick in, refusing to use up valuable stored fat, making it more difficult to burn calories by lowering our metabolic rate and decreasing our energy level and requirements.” You want to burn the fat stored in your thighs, not hold on to it, so eat a healthy balanced diet.
Eat more natural carbohydrates in the form of fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed carbs like bread, cereals, pastas, flavored juice blends and sodas. These sources of carbohydrates are often high in sugar and can easily lead to an excess of calories throughout the day. Too many calories, from any source, leads to weight gain.
Add healthy fats to your eating plan. While it sounds cliché, good fat actually helps the body burn the energy stored in your fat cells. Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman, certified nutritionist, states “good fat is essential for both permanent weight loss and overall health." Good fats are found in nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil. Stay away from baked goods, chips, butter, gravies and creamy sauces which contain trans and saturated fats.
Eat a sufficient amount of low-fat protein. The Harvard School of Public Health states “lack of protein can cause growth failure, loss of muscle mass, decreased immunity, weakening of the heart and respiratory system, and death.” Don't cut protein out your diet. The HSPH recommends getting at least .8 grams of protein per kilogram, about 2 pounds, of body weight. Avoid high-fat proteins, instead eat lean proteins such as skinless chicken, turkey, salmon, tuna and other types of fish.
Use the same notebook you used for your measurements to track your exercise and diet. Write down everything you eat and when and how you exercise. Retake your measurements after one month to check your progress. This will also help ensure you are getting enough calories and macronutrients each day. To lose weight, decrease the number of calories in your diet by 250 to 500 calories daily and burn an additional 250 to 500 calories when exercising to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week.
- Greg Glassman: Squat Clinic
- The University of Georgia Department of Kinesiology: Lower Body Strength
- American Council on Exercise: One of the More Common Perceptions in Some Fitness Circles Is That Strength Training Individuals Lose Weight Because One Pound of Muscle Can Burn Approximately 30-50 Calories Per Day. Is This Claim Valid?
- Washington University Physicians: What’s the Skinny on Fat?
- Dr. Ann Louise: Diet/ Detox
- Oregon Health and Science University: Weight Loss Tips