Achieving slimmer inner thighs requires a holistic approach involving diet, exercise, and debunking common myths about spot reduction.
Sustainable dietary changes, low-intensity cardio, and targeted resistance exercises are the keys to successful inner thigh fat reduction.
Choosing the right exercises and adopting long-term habits are essential for attaining and maintaining slimmer inner thighs.
Different individuals have unique body types with specific “problem areas” where losing fat can be particularly challenging. For many people, particularly women, the inner thighs are one such stubborn region. Despite investing in exercise programs promising thigh-targeted results and diligently following them, you might not see the desired results, and following them can sometimes result in your thighs actually getting bigger.
Rachael Attard, a certified personal and group trainer and nutritionist, and the founder of rachaelattard.com, reveals the most effective ways to help you slim down your inner thighs and achieve the results you’ve been striving for.
What Causes Inner Thigh Fat?
The accumulation of fat in specific areas of the body is influenced by several factors:
1. Calorie Imbalance: When you consume more calories than your body uses through daily activities and exercise, the surplus calories are stored as fat. This fat storage is not under your direct control, and where it accumulates depends on your gender, genetics, and body type.
2. Gender Differences: Women typically have a higher percentage of body fat than men. Evolutionarily, higher body fat in women has been advantageous for ensuring survival of the species during times of food shortage.
3. Genetics and Body Type: Your genetic makeup and body type also influence where your body tends to store excess fat. For many women, the inner thighs and lower belly are the primary areas for excess fat storage, so these can be particularly stubborn areas when it comes to fat loss.
Why Is Inner Thigh Fat So Hard To Lose?
As previously mentioned, women tend to store more fat in the lower parts of their body, such as hips, glutes, and thighs. These areas are among the first to accumulate any excess fat, and they can be particularly resistant to fat loss.
Unfortunately, there are numerous misconceptions surrounding weight loss, and one of the most persistent ones is the concept of spot reduction. It’s crucial to understand that we cannot selectively choose which areas of our body lose fat. Just as we have no control over where our bodies store excess fat, we cannot pinpoint specific spots for fat loss.
Be wary of anyone who claims that a set of thigh-targeting exercises alone will magically slim down your thighs. Such promises often oversimplify the complexities of fat loss and may lead to disappointment and frustration.
How To Lose Inner Thigh Fat?
Just because there is no one or two exercises that will magically reduce your inner thigh fat doesn’t mean that there is nothing you can do if you want to slim down your thighs. A combination of the following two tips is the best and fastest way to achieve your goal:
1. Eat a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Having a well-balanced diet should be the foundation of any fitness goal you put in front of yourself. In this case, you should incorporate all the macronutrients in your diet (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) while making sure you are in a caloric deficit.
I recommend eating 250-500 calories less than what you need to maintain your weight (you can calculate this number for yourself by using any calorie calculator).
Moreover, switching to a low-carb diet will ensure quick results, as it can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce overall calorie intake, which is beneficial for fat loss. When you eat a low-carb diet, you are reducing the primary source of energy in your body. In the absence of carbohydrates, your body will start to burn more fat and protein for energy. This means that your body will rely on stored fat for energy, which will result in significant fat loss.
Remember that sustainable, long-term dietary changes tend to be more effective for achieving and maintaining your fitness goals than seeking quick fixes. These lasting changes not only contribute to gradual and steady fat loss but also help you develop healthier eating habits that can support your overall well-being and weight management in the long run.
2. Avoid Exercises That Can Make Your Thigh Muscles Bigger
The most popular resistance training exercises like squats and lunges work very well if your goal is to tone and strengthen your thigh muscles. However, these exercises will only make your inner thigh muscle bigger, but they won’t get rid of the fat, which will result in your thighs getting bigger.
Again, if that is your goal, exercises like squats, lunges, weighted leg machines, and CrossFit are perfect for you, but if your goal is to slim down your legs and thighs, you should avoid them.
Similarly, cardio exercises like cycling, elliptical, and stair or uphill running build muscle, which will make your legs bigger rather than slimmer.
Best Exercises To Lose Inner Thigh Fat
The best combination of exercises for inner thigh fat is effective cardio and the right type of resistance exercises.
1. Low-intensity Cardio
In my experience, the best type of cardio for achieving slimmer inner thighs is often the most overlooked—walking. Walking is a highly effective exercise for reducing excess fat in general, including inner thigh fat.
Unlike running, cycling, or dancing, walking provides a low-impact workout that is gentler on your joints while still helping you burn calories and fat. It’s a sustainable choice that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine, but you will need to do a lot of it. The goal is to get to at least 10,000 steps every day.
It may sound like a lot, but it doesn’t need to be done all at once. My advice would be to start your day with 5km and then try to do as much walking throughout the day as you can.
Use little tricks like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther from your destination, or going for a short walk during your lunch break. These small changes can add up and help you reach your daily step goal, ultimately contributing to your inner thigh fat reduction.
2. The Right Type of Resistance Training
There are numerous benefits of resistance or strength training: it can tone up your body, help you lose weight faster, and it can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and arthritis. If, however, you want to focus your fitness goals on slimming down your legs, specifically thighs, you will need to focus on lower impact pilates style training.
Here are some exercise suggestions:
Resistance Band Deadlifts
Begin by stepping on a resistance band with your feet hip-width apart. Hold the band’s handles or grip the band itself, and while keeping your back straight and knees slightly bent, hinge at your hips and lower the band toward the ground. Stand up straight, squeezing your glutes at the top, to complete one repetition.
Single Leg Deadlifts
Stand on one foot while holding a dumbbell in one hand (opposite to the standing leg). Keeping your back straight, hinge at your hips and lower the dumbbell toward the ground while extending your other leg behind you. Return to the starting position to complete one repetition.
Prone Leg Lifts
Lie face down on a mat with your legs extended. Lift one leg off the ground while keeping it straight, then lower it back down. Switch to the other leg to complete one repetition.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet together, forming a diamond shape with your legs. Lift your hips off the ground as high as you can, squeezing your inner thighs and glutes at the top, then lower them down to complete one repetition.
Donkey Kicks to Fire Hydrants
Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Lift one leg behind you, keeping it bent at a 90-degree angle, in a donkey kick motion. After a few reps, transition to a fire hydrant by lifting your bent leg out to the side. Alternate between these two motions to complete the set.
Three-Legged Dog Press
Start in a plank position with your wrists under your shoulders. Lift one leg off the ground and press it upward toward the ceiling, keeping it straight. Lower it back down to complete one repetition.
45 Degree Leg Lifts
Lie on your side with your legs straight and your body at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Lift your top leg as high as you can while keeping it straight, then lower it back down to complete one repetition.
Attard concludes: “Achieving slimmer inner thighs involves a multifaceted approach. To reach your fitness goals, it’s essential to focus on sustainable dietary changes that encompass a balanced diet with controlled calorie intake. Combine this with low-intensity cardio, particularly walking, which is often underestimated yet highly effective. Aim for at least 10,000 steps daily, and try to incorporate walking into your daily routine.
By following these recommendations and doing the right resistance exercises, you can work toward your goal of slimmer inner thighs while fostering a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. Remember, the journey to achieving and maintaining your desired results is about consistency, patience, and making choices that support your long-term well-being.”