If your thighs are larger than you’d like, this can be a result of excess body fat or accumulated muscle tissue. Getting trim, slender thighs is a common desire for men and woman alike. Although you can’t spot-target fat in this, or any other, specific area of your body, you can use diet and exercise to get results. You need a combination of increased activity, improved eating habits and strength-training exercises to burn excess fat throughout your body while also toning your legs.
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Eat more health-conscious foods that promote a lean body composition. Focus on healthy carbohydrates that come from whole-grain breads, green and orange vegetables and fruits. Eat lean sources of protein that can be found in fish, turkey, skinless chicken and egg whites. Choose low-fat and fat-free dairy products when you select cheese, yogurt and milk.
Reduce your portion sizes to eat fewer calories and less fat. The American Council on Exercise recommends reducing portion sizes by 10 to 15 percent from your current levels during each meal. This method helps prevent you from overeating and consuming too many calories and too much fat.
Avoid foods with processed sugar and salt. Use the label on food products to look for sugar in the ingredient list; it can be listed as fructose, dextrose or sugar. Salty foods include potato chips, pretzels or foods with table salt added to them.
Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Cut your consumption to a quarter to a half of what you currently drink. Reducing the amount of alcohol in your diet will help eliminate empty calories, sugar and carbohydrates.
Perform strength training for your legs two to three times a week. Use lighter weights with which you can perform 12 to 15 repetitions for each exercise. This style of training builds muscular endurance, burns calories and does not pack on bulky muscle tissue.
Choose a variety of exercises that target the front, sides and back of your thighs. Examples of thigh exercises include squats, lunges, leg lifts, leg curls and leg extensions. To perform the leg extension, select the appropriate weight, sit in the seat of a leg-extension machine and place your feet on the designated pad out in front of your body. Your legs should create a 90-degree angle in the starting position. Lift the weight with your legs until your legs are straight, slowly bend your legs until you are in the starting position again and repeat.
Perform cardiovascular exercise five to seven days a week for 30 to 60 minutes per session. Perform cardio exercise after strength-training exercises; during the initial phase of physical activity, your body burns stored sugar for energy, then burns fat for energy. Choose exercises that burn a high rate of calories while also toning your legs muscles. Examples include cycling, step aerobics, running, swimming and using an elliptical trainer.