Almost everyone can admit to having a body part — or parts — they're not too thrilled about. For some it's their "bat wings," while others bemoan their muffin top, and still others their thunder thighs or excessive "junk in the trunk."
While your body type is non-negotiable, a healthy diet and exercise can go a long way toward trimming your trouble spots. But one month isn't a lot of time, especially because you can't target just your butt and thighs for fat loss. Fat loss happens all over your body, and eventually your butt and legs will shape up.
To trim glute and thigh fat, commit to a fat loss plan and stick with it as long as it takes, whether that's one month or one year.
Clean Up Your Diet
Your diet is the first place to look to make changes when you want to lose fat. All those little snacks and sugary beverages, fast food meals on the go, the extra piece of pizza or pie really add up — and add pounds around your glutes and thighs.
Even if you think you eat pretty healthy, you might be surprised at some of the extra calories you take in without realizing it. For the next month, your job is to be extra careful with your diet, eating clean foods and avoiding sources of extra calories, even in an otherwise healthy diet.
Here are some foods you should avoid for the next four weeks (and beyond):
Candy bars, pastries, cake and cookies
White bread and pasta
Sodas and other sweetened drinks
even fruit juice
Cream salad dressings
All of these foods are high in calories and many of them offer little in the way of nutrition.
Instead your diet should include:
- Plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit
- Whole grains
- Lean meat, poultry and fish; beans and tofu
- Low-fat dairy
- Healthy fats from fish, avocado, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils
Prepare your foods with minimal oil and season with herbs and spices. Try to eat foods as close to their natural state as possible. Eat balanced meals at regular times and drink plenty of water. Save sweets for an occasional treat, and don't cheat.
Get Serious About Exercise
Both cardiovascular exercise and strength training are important for fat burning. Cardio burns calories while you're doing it, and strength training optimizes your metabolism so your body burns fat more efficiently. Done together, you'll notice slimmer thighs and glutes and, once the fat is reduced, nice muscle definition in your legs and butt.
Any type of cardio you do over the next month will help you trim fat, as long as you're balancing your calories. Walking briskly, jogging, bike riding, swimming and dancing all burn calories. The higher the intensity at which you do them, the more calories you'll burn.
Plan to fit in a cardio workout most days of the week for the next month. If you haven't been doing any cardio, start slow and gradually increase the frequency and intensity. Understand that it may take you a little longer to see results. Starting out gradually is important for preventing injuries that will derail your fitness plans.
Since 30 days isn't a lot of time, you're going to want to work harder and smarter. Once you've developed a solid fitness base, including two or three interval-training workouts in your weekly routine will get you faster results.
Interval training workouts alternate periods of high-intensity effort with periods of recovery at a lower intensity. These fluctuations in intensity lead to improvements in the way your body burns fat. Interval training is in many cases more effective than longer bouts of exercise and it's definitely more time-efficient.
Intervals can be done on a bike, treadmill, track, elliptical machine, rower or stair climber. Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes, then increase the intensity to max, or near max, effort. Maintain this intensity level for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, then lower the intensity to recover for an equal amount of time. Repeat the intervals for 20 minutes, then cool down.
Alternate high-intensity interval workouts with longer moderate-intensity workouts. And give yourself at least one day of rest each week.
It's important not to make the mistake so many people make: doing exercises for specific problem areas thinking that will solve the problem. While it's important to do thigh and butt exercises, you have to build total-body lean muscle mass to get the results you want.
On two or three non-consecutive days each week, do a resistance-training routine that targets your arms, shoulders, chest, back, core, butt and legs. This sounds more complicated than it is. In fact, you don't have to do too many exercises as long as you stick to compound exercises and do them with enough intensity.
Compound exercises work more than one muscle group -- often many -- at one time. You can work your thighs, glutes, core and calves with one single exercise, rather than doing isolation exercises for each muscle group. Compound exercises also burn more calories than isolation exercises while you're doing them.
To work all the muscles in your body in one workout try a routine that includes:
- Shoulder presses
- Lat pulldowns
- Bicycle crunches
If you're just beginning a strength routine, start out using just your body weight. If you've been working out, it's time to add intensity by either doing more sets or adding weight. Continuing to progress will promote further muscle adaptations so you keep getting results.
Do three to five sets of eight to 20 reps of each exercise. How many sets and reps you do depends on how much weight you're lifting and how intensely you're working. In many cases you can achieve the same results in three sets working at a high intensity that you can in five sets working at a lower intensity.
To get the most bang for your buck, each set should feel challenging, with the last couple reps of your last one to two sets feeling very challenging. Working hard pays off.
Keep it Going
If you stick to this strategy for a month, you'll see results. How significant the changes will be depend on a lot of factors though, including how your body stores fat. You might see more fat loss in your belly at first, with more gradual changes in your butt and thighs. But if you stick with this plan past the first month, you'll see more gratifying changes that just might encourage you to stick with it for good.