How to Lose Weight in Your Thighs

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 notification*Due to the overwhelming interest in this topic, we are currently (September 2014) designing a premium program that is specifically geared towards reducing the size of the thighs and improving their shape. If this sounds good to you, sign up for our earlybird list here and be the first to be notified when it launches. 

 

 

how to lose weight in your thighsIf you go online and google how to lose weight in your thighs, you’re gonna get flooded with a whole lot of sites made by people who don’t really know what they’re talking about. They’ll tell you to do all sorts of leg exercises or even ride a bike to get your thighs under control.

But, this doesn’t really address the problem, does it? After all, leg exercises are designed to build muscle mass. Muscle mass adds size to your legs. And this is not what you’re after if you’re wanting to lose weight in your thighs, right?

If you’re unhappy with your thighs, it is likely due to one of three causes:

  1. You have too much fat on them.
  2. You have too much muscle on them.
  3. You have no discernable muscle tone.

More then likely, since you’ve found yourself on this page, you’re suffering from problem number 1 or 2, or both. You could also be suffering from problem 3, but not know it, since your fat is covering whatever muscle on your legs there may be.

nola-woman-runningNo matter if your problem is that you have too much fat on your thighs, or if you have too much muscle on your thighs, the solution to both problems is the same. You might not be happy to hear it, but the only sure-fire solution to lose your fat and/or your muscle on your thighs is to run, and run lots.

It’s called marathon cardio, or roadwork. It’s the same thing that boxers do to get down to weight before a big fight. It involves doing long periods of low intensity running. What do I mean by long periods of running? I mean at least 45 minutes, and anywhere up to 1 hour.

Running with low intensity for a fairly long period of time will also have the effect of toning your leg muscles, making the need to work them with traditional legs exercises disappear. It also won’t make your leg muscles visibly larger – so long as you run for at least 45 minutes per session. Think about it for a second, you don’t see any long distance runners out there with thighs the size of tree trunks, do you? No, and there is good reason for this.

This solution isn’t pretty, but it does work, and it is the only thing that definitely will work on your thighs. This solution works just as well for women as it does for men.

That said, it may be very difficult, if not impossible for you to go out and start cardio sessions of that length if you don’t already exercise regularly. You’ll need to start small, and work your way up to that amount. Don’t expect any miracles right off the bat, but by the time you get up to 45 minutes in a row at least 4 times a week, you will begin to see results almost immediately.

It doesn’t matter if you can’t run for 10 minutes straight. Just start low and slow, and try to add 1 minute to your overall time each time you run.

Want better results, and want them faster?

If you want to speed up your results, then run more often. If you aren’t happy with your results, then run more often. Take it up to an hour a day, 7 days a week until you’re happy with the appearance and size of your thighs. It’s not easy, but you will get there, I promise. After a while it will become kind of a habit, a lifestyle change, and not a chore. Once you are happy with your appearance, you can scale back your cardio to 3 sessions a week, of 20-25 minutes per session to maintain your new shape.

Your Thigh’s Kryptonite

That said, there are certain things that you must absolutely avoid if you want to lose size in your thighs. These are, in no particular order:

1. Stop riding your bicycle. It’s an unspoken rule amongst people who get bigger thighs by simply thinking about them (or at least, it can seem like that) to never get on a bike. Cycling has the rather unfortunate effect of puffing up a set of thighs like nothing else can – particularly if you’re prone to gaining muscle on your thighs easily. It’s important to use running as your main source of cardio if your goal is to lose size in your thighs.

2. Stop squatting, deadlifting, lunging, or any other forms of leg exercises which require you to use weight as resistance. These exercises will put on muscle mass – not remove it. They will contribute to you losing fat, but it’s important to note that this fat will be burned from all over your body (as there is no such thing as spot reduction, unless you get liposuction), and again, build muscle mass and size in your thighs (something you don’t want), not to mention the fact that these exercises simply don’t do as good a job at burning fat as marathon cardio (nothing does).

One thing that you must do in order to make sure your marathon cardio is effective is eat the correct amount of food every day. No matter how much you run, if you’re eating more calories than your body is burning in a day, you will NOT lose weight. The math just doesn’t add up. The rule supersedes all others when it comes to weight loss.

If you make sure that you’re eating less calories than you’re burning in a day, you will lose weight. It’s as simple as that.

Lastly, your thighs aren’t going to magically change overnight. No amount of exercise, dieting, so-called “magic” pills, or prayer will do that. However, with diligence, consistency, and a little hard work, you’ll start to see positive results in about 3 weeks. I’d say good luck, but this isn’t about luck. You know what to do – do it!

- Josh

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P.S. Just another quick reminder, if you’d like a little more guidance and detail than this, we’re developing a full-fledged program dedicated to reducing the size of your thighs. It will cover everything from what to eat, when to eat it, when to train, what to train, and a whole lot more. Get notified when it’s released by getting on the waiting list - click here and make sure you don’t forget about it.

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  • http://YourWebsite Britt

    Question – what if you integrate marathon running with weightlifting (deadlifts, squats, etc)? I’d like to reduce my thighs but really would hate giving up lifting (not a super intense lifter – crossfit 4 times a week with moderate lifting added).

    • Josh Vales

      That combination will give you extremely toned looking thighs/butt. The marathon running will keep your muscles at relative bay – so go ahead and do both if you love doing them. They effect some people more than others.

  • http://YourWebsite Megan Myers

    Does working out on a elliptical machine work as well? I don’t have a treadmill and it really isn’t convenient to run where I live. Too many cars and other things around.

    • Josh Vales

      The elliptical is great for fat burning. It won’t make your legs bigger or anything like that. It just doesn’t quite have the same effect as running when it comes to reducing the size of your legs. That said, depending on your genetics, the elliptical may do the job decent enough – it’s just not as much of a sure bet as running. Hopefully this helps!

      Josh

  • http://YourWebsite Denise

    How about a Nordic Track ski machine with no leg resistance? Is it a good alternative to running or should I stick with the running?

    • Josh Vales

      It is a great workout, and it will help you lose weight. It won’t have quite the same effect on your legs as running outdoors will, but depending on your genetics, you should still see some reduction in size.

  • http://YourWebsite Denise

    Good to know, but will it reduce the muscle in my legs? My problem is muscle at this point. I had to stop running due to a lung infection and a broken rib.

    • Josh Vales

      It won’t do a great job of reducing the muscle in your leg, especially if you use any amount of resistance (which is quite necessary to get a good fat-burning workout). However, it IS better than nothing.

  • http://Mlssoccer.com Mark

    Will running for an hour and a half 6 days a week help burn more fat more quickly. (this is not a problem as I play sports and am athletically inclined.) also, how will this affect my previously built musculature?

    • Josh Vales

      It definitely would, though an hour and a half a day isn’t necessary, you could get away with just 1 hour if you were so inclined. As far as how it affects your current muscles, that depends entirely on your diet. If you’re eating enough to maintain your bodyweight (even with the running), then your upper body should remain relatively unchanged. Your legs will probably lose some muscle size as you go on, but you can mitigate this effect with your diet.

  • http://YourWebsite Oni Ishtar

    does this mean no circuit training that includes squats and lunges? or are they ok as long as no weights are involved?

    • Josh Vales

      Squats will put muscle on your legs faster than anything else. If you’re wanting to streamline their appearance it’s best to stay away from them. Though, if you’re eating a calorie deficit on a daily basis, their effect won’t be substantial.

      Josh

  • http://YourWebsite Janet

    Is the treadmill going to give the same effect? Right now i do 40 on elliptical and around 25-30 treadmill changing the incline and speed no running,due to extreme asthma

    • Josh Vales

      Treadmill is a close second, though as you can see in this article: The Treadmill vs. Running Outside – it’s not quite as good as running outside!

      What you’re doing right now sounds like it will be effective. Hope this helps,

      Josh

  • http://YourWebsite TRACY

    hi, I have really big calf muscles and thighs from martial arts but recently had knee surgery but really want to lose the muscle (i know so many people want big calfs but i hate mine) i want to shrink and define mine- Any suggestions? Tracy x

    • Josh Vales

      Calves are tough, certainly the toughest part of the leg to slim down. Watch your diet, and follow this advice on running, and that’s the best you can do. Calves have the largest genetic component. Thanks for commenting! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      • http://YourWebsite Jennifer

        Thanks for the information on calves and thighs. It is hard to find a recommendation that seems accurate from previous experience. Most sites tell you to love your gigantic calves, instead of telling you how to get a lean look that you are after.

  • http://mlssoccer.com Mark

    So will this regimen of 1.5 hours of marathon cardio/roadwork a day for 6 days a week reduce fat all over my body with time, and not just be limited to my thighs? (i.e. gluteus Maximus, stomach)?

    • Josh Vales

      It will most definitely reduce fat all over your body – it’s impossible to spot reduce! Thanks for dropping by the site,

      Josh

  • Bobby

    The write-up provides proven useful to myself. It’s very
    helpful and you’re naturally extremely educated of this type. You get exposed our sight in order to varying opinion of this specific subject matter together with interesting and solid articles.

  • http://YourWebsite Lily

    Hey, I was just wondering how long should I run if I really want to shrink my thighs? And if I’m trying to lose weight there should I stop eating sweats? And what kind of food do you think will help the most well trying to lose weight?

    • Josh Vales

      Hi Lily,

      You should try and run for about 45-60 minutes at a time if your goal is a reduction in the size of your thighs. Also, you should reduce the amount of sweets you’re eating if you’re trying to lose weight. Excess sugar should be avoided whenever possible. In terms of food choices, try and pick natural, whole foods. Meats, vegetables, fruit, water, etc. Hope this helps!

      Josh

  • http://YourWebsite Jared

    How much protein and carbs should i eat a day.And how long should i wait to go running after eating.

    • Josh Vales

      I would wait at least 30 minutes to give your body some time to digest. I tend to advise people to eat around 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. Carbs very depending on what your goal is, and how resistant you are to weight gain with them. Hope this helps,

      Josh

  • http://YourWebsite Denise

    Hi Josh,

    Is there a chance that long distance low intensity running won’t work for everyone? No matter how much I exercise or maintain a healthy diet – I just am not seeing the results I’m after.

    Denise

    • Josh Vales

      Those with thyroid issues will have trouble losing weight regardless of what they do. Also, if you are not eating a daily calorie deficit, you will struggle to see results. What is your diet like? Have you had success losing weight in the past?

      Josh

      • http://YourWebsite Denise

        Hi Josh,
        I have had my thyroid tested on several occasions and it’s functioning within the normal range. I have not reduced my caloric intake, however I know for a fact I haven’t increased it either. I’m only taking in 1,000 calories a day and running (outside…not the treadmill) 5 times a week for 50 minutes. My diet consists of lean meats such as chicken, no red meat, salads, veggies and some fruit and egg whites. I stay away from bread, pasta and potatoes. However, I do like cereal in the morning with fat free milk and that’s usually Kashi. Not sure what’s going on and hiring a nutritionist/personal trainer at this point is financially not an option.

  • http://YourWebsite menise

    hi josh,
    how fast do i need to run because if i run to fast wouldn’t i be gaining more muscles ?

    • Josh Vales

      At a pace that you can keep up for at least 45 minutes.

      Josh

  • http://YourWebsite samantha

    I read some articles that running actually will make my thighs grow bigger, is that true? or actually it also depends on the amount of time spent on running? Currently I run 3 times a week, each workout about 30-45 minutes with a run-walk option, does it help to reduce the size of my leg?

    • Josh Vales

      It really depends on your diet, what weight bearing exercises you are doing, and the length and style of your running. If you’re jogging for long periods of time (45+ minutes), at least 3 times a week, this will absolutely help reduce the size of your legs. Hope this helps,

      Josh

  • http://YourWebsite Preet

    Do you have any suggestions on what foods I should be eating and what foods I should stay away from?

  • http://YourWebsite Jaime

    Hi,

    I’m not a massive fan of running I find it hard to enjoy, but I am a good swimmer and enjoy this. Can swimming have a good effect and help loose weight on my legs or will it build the muscle.? If it does still have a good effect what strokes and exercises do you recommend?
    Thanks

  • http://YourWebsite DeeDee

    Hi, what should I do if I hit a runner’s plateau. Should I just keep running or should I change it up. Also, does turbo kickboxing make legs bulky.
    Thanks

    • Josh Vales

      Take a break, change your routine, add in some HIIT running. Try biking, the elliptical, swimming, or rowing for a while and then come back to running.

      I’m not exactly sure how turbo kickboxing differs from normal kickboxing, but normal kickboxing will tend to put some muscle on your legs. It really depends on your diet, though in general, it will give your legs a nice toned look.

  • Ed

    Love your blog, it’s helped me focus on the important aspects of losing weight. Cheers.

  • http://YourWebsite Francis

    Hi Josh,
    would running help reduce my inner thighs?

    • Josh Vales

      Absolutely Francis!

  • http://YourWebsite Christi

    Hi Josh, I was a little confused about the muscle stuff. You said that riding a bike would gain muscle, and running is the best option. What confused me is that, why would riding bike gain muscle while running don’t? I mean both are exercise, so what’s makes them different?

    • Josh Vales

      Running requires less direct work on your quads than biking. Biking will inflate your quads (not in a bad way), but if you’re looking to lose overall size, biking lacks the reducing effect that running offers. Look up pictures on google of any long distance endurance runners, do you see any with large legs? And what about bikers? Hope this helps,

      Josh

  • http://www.chamexpress.com/ Roberto

    Even if we do manage to lose weight without dieting help has bagged recognition from
    the doctors. A good way to finish yo-yo Dieting Help? Cycling your calories can help.

    I need to stay away from the TV and do something about it, I thought as I
    stabbed my knife into my chicken salad. I have been having
    those very vibrant dreams that often come with ketosis. It doesn’t have to be deprived or hungry.

  • http://YourWebsite Victoria

    Does boxing slim your thighs?

    • Josh Vales

      It won’t have much of an influence on your thighs. However, if you’re seriously training to box, then long bouts of ‘marathon’ cardio are part of the process, and this will definitely help slim your thighs. Hope this helps!

  • http://YourWebsite Stephanie

    Hi Josh, great article first off. This is very helpful and has defiantly answered a lot of my questions. I just want to know though. I’m doing HIIT running and straight after I’m doing weights on my legs but low weights and longer reps. Is this right? Should I eliminate HIIT all together and just do 45 minutes of long distance running instead and forget about the weights. I feel as those my muscles are bulking up but the fat is still there. I’ve been exercising for 5 years now and still no results :( I’ve never been able to wear shorts, dresses or skirts let alone a pair of jeans and I’m just desperate now for someone to steer me in the right direction. Please help.

    • Josh Vales

      Stop doing HIIT running. Stop using weights on your legs. Do 45-60 minute sessions of long distance cardio and watch your diet CLOSELY. Choose smarter foods, it’s quite possible you’re eating too much. If you haven’t seen results in 5 years, you’re doing something wrong. Don’t keep doing what hasn’t been working, you already know it won’t get you the results you want. Change it up. What does your diet normally look like?

      Josh

      • http://YourWebsite Stephanie

        Thanks Josh. I’ve stopped doing HIIT and weights. Ill just purely run. My diet is a little all over the shop. I think I just need to start being more consistent. I tend to eat well but when I don’t see the results I go back to eating whatever I want. My relationship with food is not good and I’m seeing a nutritionist. But thanks again for your advice. I’m starting now :)

  • http://YourWebsite Molly Abuli

    I am running on treadmill Speed @ 9. Is it that fast? My legs are bigger than before now. That’s not what I want. I want to lose weight at the same time have skinny legs. Could you please advice am I doing wrongly ?

    • Josh Vales

      Is it possible for you to run outside instead? How long are you running for? Also, what does your diet usually consist of?

      Josh

  • http://YourWebsite Hassan

    Will running 10k for 6 days a week be a good choice? Even though you say that you should only run for 45-60min. A 10k for me is about 75min. Im trying to slim down my thighs.

    Thx for the great article!

    • Josh Vales

      You can do that, it might be a bit hard on your joints! If you can manage that amount if really dependent on you. If you find yourself gassing after a couple weeks of this, just limiting the time.

      Hope this helps!

      Josh

  • http://YourWebsite Stephanie

    Hi josh. I was wondering does running also slim down your upper body. I really need to lose weight and fat on my arms and back. There is just too much flab. What other exercises should I do for upper body? Thank you

  • Alethea Thomsen

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  • Hazel

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  • http://YourWebsite Sandy

    I’ve taken up running in the last six months or so, trying for 10k (about 55 min) 3 times a week, and shorter runs combined with elliptical, weights and Pilates class on the other days. My upper legs definitely seem bigger (I’ve always had thin legs before). My diet is pretty much the same. Any ideas as to what I am doing wrong?

    • Josh Vales

      You sound like you’re doing a lot more activity in general right now. This may very well be manifesting itself in the form of more muscularity in your legs, which is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on your goals. Your muscles may be pumped up after activity, and any adipose tissue covering it might not have had a chance to burn off yet. Follow your results closely and let me know if it keeps up.

      Josh

  • http://YourWebsite Joanne

    What will happen if I run more than one hour? Thanks :)

    • Josh Vales

      Nothing bad will happen! You’ll burn more calories, and it will be tougher on your body and your joints. If you enjoy running for long distances and don’t have any physical ailments stopping you from doing so, there’s no real reason you can’t do it if you want to.
      Josh

  • http://YourWebsite neha

    Hey Josh,
    If I decide to run on the treadmill, what speed? 5.5 or 6? Also, is it just as effective to run/walk until I can reach 45min of running continuously?

    Is it okay to lift heavy on upper body or should I do light weights?
    Is it okay to do lunges and squats without weight or just do none at all?

  • Steph Ruberto

    Hi josh. I’m struggling to decrease the size of my calf muscles. They just seem to be growing bigger when I measure them. I am running well over the 45min mark. And I do eat healthy ( I see a nutritionist) but what am I doing wrong? They are defiantly growing bigger. I don’t do squats or lunges. The only weights I do are on my upper body. Help!!

    • Josh Vales

      Calves are probably THE most stubborn body part when it comes to losing fat or building muscle on them Steph, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Running tends to go either way for people. It can slim down calves and nicely shape them for some people, or it can cause them to balloon a bit. It’s certainly highly dictated my genetics, maybe more so than most other body parts. I will be writing an article on this topic within the month most likely (after further research). Also check out my article on losing muscle from you legs here.

      If you don’t want to wait that long, I have no hesitation is suggestion Visual Impact for Women. Visual Impact for Women has solutions on how to decrease muscle mass, if you feel you are too bulky. Here’s a description from one of the chapters (Chapter 19: How to Lose Muscle Mass on Purpose) of Visual Impact for Women:
      “Legions of women have muscular thighs and calves that they would like to make slim and defined. This is common especially with women who have been given poor training advice. Despite this being a taboo subject, I’m going to give you a strategy that works.“ – Rusty Moore, Author of Visual Impact.