Diet & Exercise Plan for Toning Buttocks & Thighs

Fitness woman fit girl with measure tape measuring her thigh
Combining training and diet is the best way to get toned thighs and buttocks. (Image: Voyagerix/iStock/Getty Images)

Getting toned buttocks and thighs is a tough but rewarding goal. Be realistic in your expectations -- any significant change is likely to take at least six months and will require total consistency in your diet and training. Despite the hard slog you will have to put in, the satisfaction and pride you will feel once you've achieved your goal will make it all worthwhile.

Nutrition Comes First

Out of all the actions you can take, what you eat will have the most significant impact on your lower body. Focus on eating natural, wholesome foods in sensible amounts for your body and levels of activity. Eat lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruit and limited dairy and whole grains. Consume grains and fruits either just before or just after your workouts to make sure the carbohydrates are used as energy rather than being stored as fat. Eat until you are satisfied, not until you are over-full, and drink plenty of water throughout the day, avoiding sugary drinks.

Lift Heavy, Lift Often

Lifting weights is an excellent way to tone the buttocks and thighs. In order to get a tight, defined look, you need to lower your total body fat and increase your lean muscle mass. Weight training is the best way to do this. Incorporate weightlifting into your routine three times per week, using lower body exercises such as the squat, lunge, deadlift, leg press, leg extension, calf raise and hyperextension. Complete three sets per session, selecting weights that will let you perform eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise.

Run Like the Wind

High intensity interval training, HIIT, is extremely effective for burning fat and building lean muscle in the lower body. HIIT workouts can be as short as four minutes, or as long as 20 minutes, depending on how intense you make them. The shorter the session, the more intense they should be. A popular HIIT workout is the Tabata sprint: Eight rounds of 20-second sprints at 100 percent effort, followed by 10-second rests. Doing Tabatas two to three times a week will help you shed body fat all over, but the emphasis on lower body activity will help you build lean muscle in your legs and buttocks to create the desired tone.

Take It Easy

Overtraining will stall your progress and undo all your hard work. If you are doing three weight sessions and two Tabatas, for example, your body will be under a remarkable amount of pressure. Your central nervous system and your musculoskeletal system will need increased amounts of sleep every night -- at least eight hours -- as well as leisure time in relaxing environments, such as slow walks through parks or forests, to reduce stress hormones once or twice a week.

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