Before you set about losing weight from thighs first understand the factors that influence the size of your thighs. This will allow you to choose the right thigh exercises, tailored to your needs, goals and body type.
WHAT CAUSES BIG THIGHS?
Women and men have so-called sex-specific fat deposits. Sex hormones affect fat distribution. Estrogen directs fat to deposit around the pelvis, buttocks, and outer and inner thighs of women, while testosterone means men store fat in the belly area. This makes it far more difficult for women to shift fat from the hips, butt and thighs than from other areas of the body – areas of so-called stubborn fat. While it is obviously the bane of many a woman’s life, there is a biological advantage – this type of fat is thought to play a role in fertility and lactation. Interestingly, it appears that during lactation, this stubborn fat is not quite so stubborn and easier to budge than normally.
2. BODY SHAPE
Your body shape will have significant bearing on the size of your thighs. Pear-shaped women will suffer the worst of it, with large thighs and butt, while cone-shaped women will have slim thighs and legs compared to the rest of their body. You cannot change your body shape and if you are pear-shaped you will have to work harder slim down thighs and inner thighs. However, don’t despair, Jennifer Lopez is a perfect example of a pear shape - yet no one gives a second thought about the size of her thighs, but instead extol her shapely derriere.
Your thighs may simply be large because you have a lot of fat in this area - fatty thighs. As explained above, most women will have a natural tendency to deposit fat in their outer and inner thighs. Unfortunately, this means that this is one of the last places fat then the shift, which means you need to be patient and determined to see results. For women legs tend to slim around a body fat percentage of 18%. Therefore, you can strip away thigh fat, to get slim thighs, but it will take time. Use the body fat calculator to determine your body fat percentage.
The best thigh exercises for you are the ones that don’t simply firm and tone, but strip fat from thighs, to make big thighs smaller (see how to lose fat from thighs). If you don’t burn fat, you wont get slimmer thighs. Thus, any thigh exercises that only firm thighs, but do not burn fat will do little to actually slim thighs, since your thigh muscles remain firmly hidden under a layer of thigh fat.
Another reason for large thighs is that you may naturally have large thigh muscles. Muscle is made up of muscle fibers. There are different types of muscle fibers, which also vary in size. You are probably have a larger proportion of Type II muscle fibers (large) commonly found in sprinters and power athletes than Type I fibers (small) generally found in endurance athletes. Muscular thighs, even if thighs are toned, means larger thighs. Unfortunately, you can’t shift muscle like you can shift fat. Not that you would want to. Muscle is healthy, excessive fat is not. However, don’t be disheartened, there are a couple of causes of big thigh muscles you may be able to do something about, to slim thighs:
- It may be the case that you don’t have a genetic tendency to have big thigh muscles, but that you have a natural tendency to gain a lot of muscle in your thighs with exercise. High-resistance/ high-incline exercise (e.g. treadmill or elliptical trainer) or spot reduction exercises for your thighs/ inner thigh exercises may have made you thigh muscles bigger (see how to lose weight from thighs). Sports such as ice skating and dancing also tend to produce powerful thighs. Therefore, if you have been doing these type of exercises that target thighs in a bid to get slimmer thighs, you may need to rethink your workout strategy.
- You are genetically programmed to have large muscles (mesomorph body type), but you may also have a lot of fat around the muscle. In other words, you have a lot of fat and a lot of muscle. Stripping the fat from your outer and inner thighs will slim thighs significantly and you might just find that some beautifully defined legs are lurking underneath that thigh fat.
FAT THIGHS VS. MUSCULAR THIGHS
To understand how to slim thighs you need to understand a little about how your thigh is constructed, i.e. thigh anatomy. There are several layers that go into making your thigh. The first layer is obviously skin. Under the skin is a layer of fat. The yellow colored stuff you can see in the picture is fat. This thigh fat surrounds the thigh muscles. When you gain weight, that yellow layer gets much thicker making your thigh bigger. The red colored stuff under the fat is muscle. When you exercise these muscles in a certain way, they get larger, which in turn makes the thighs bigger. That’s why, when wanting to slim thighs, you need to think about both thigh fat and thigh muscle. Both go up and down in size, influencing the proportions of your thighs.
Take the slim thigh test to determine whether you have fatty thighs or big thigh muscles.