How To Burn Inner Thigh Fat: Explore 5 Toning Exercises

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Medically reviewed by Kimberly Langdon, MD

How To Burn Inner Thigh Fat

One of the most stubborn areas to get rid of fat on your body is on your inner thighs. At times, it may even feel like everything you eat goes straight to them — especially for women who have evolved[1] to keep fat in the thigh and hip area, giving them a pear-shaped body. So, how to lose inner thigh fat?

Yet, with the right diet, a few lifestyle changes, and targeted exercises, you can slim down the thighs giving you the lean look you desire. 

How to Lose Inner Thigh Weight

You will have to lose weight overall to reduce the fat in your thighs, and to do this, you can:

  1. Eat a balanced diet. More than cutting calories, what you eat is more important than how much you eat. We will discuss this more in-depth later.
  2. Eat the right amount of calories. When dieting, many focus on not going above their daily calorie intake goal, but it is also essential that you eat enough. Not eating enough calories can sabotage your weight loss goals because your body goes into starvation mode, and your metabolism slows down. So eat the right amount – enough that you burn more than what you eat but at the same time enough that your body doesn’t think there is food scarcity and goes into starvation mode.
  3. Set realistic goals. Setting goals that are realistic is a way to keep yourself motivated and on track. If you have a big goal, break it up into mini-goals so you can feel your progress. Small wins can help motivate you and keep you on track.
  4. Exercise daily. Exercise doesn’t have to be intense sweat sessions all the time. You can alternate between high-intensity workouts with low-intensity ones. What’s essential is to keep your body moving to burn calories and stored fat. Even making minor adjustments such as walking to the store instead of taking your car or taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator can help you reach your weight loss goals faster.
  5. Don’t rely on your scale. The numbers on your bathroom scale do not tell the whole truth about your body’s weight loss. It can fluctuate depending on how much water weight you have. Water weight can cause you to gain additional pounds and bloat parts of your body, like your face and stomach. Take note of your weight, but at the same time, also consider your body measurements, how you feel overall, and how your clothes fit.
  6. Talk to your doctor. Before embarking on any diet or exercise program, it is always essential to consult with your doctor first, especially if you have any chronic illnesses. Your doctor can ensure your diet and exercise plans are safe and can help you achieve your goal.

With so many types of diets, exercise programs, and supplements available, it is not as clear-cut when someone says all you need to do to lose thigh fat is maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. 

Five Exercises for Your Inner Thighs

Diet and exercise programs aren’t just one size fits all. Many factors[2] need to be considered when selecting a diet and exercise program suited for you. Your metabolic health, gender, activity level, age, current weight, and height could make some diet and exercise programs more effective for you than for someone else and vice versa.

Excess body fat on your thighs can form as subcutaneous fat, fat just below the skin, or intramuscular fat, which is fat within your muscles. There is no way to focus on one body part for weight loss. 

To help tone your inner thighs, try doing the following exercises to engage your thigh muscles. Depending on your level of fitness, you can start with two to three sets of 8 to 10 reps for each activity, except for the seated bridge and seated hand push. Start with three sets for twenty seconds per set for the seated bridge and one-minute per set for the seated hand push.

  1. Back Kick: Stand on one leg, with the knee slightly bent. Raise your other leg slightly behind you while keeping your core and your butt tight. Bend forward, keeping your body straight, as you kick the lifted leg back. Squeeze your butt muscles as you return to your starting position. Repeat with the other leg.
  2. Butt Lifts. Lie on the floor and keep your back flat, knees bent, and feet flat.  With your arms at your sides, raise your pelvis towards the ceiling, creating a 45° angle with your body. Flex your thighs and butt, hold the position for a few seconds, and lower your body.
  3. Seated Leg Lifts. Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands on the chair’s sides. Bend your knees at a 90° angle. Lift your right and hold for 30 seconds, then lower your leg. Repeat with the other leg.
  4. Seated Bridge. Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor, bending your knees at a 90° angle. With your hands at the side of the chair, lift your hips, letting your feet and hands support your body. Hold for 20 seconds, then slowly lower your body. Work your way up to holding this position for one minute as your body gets used to it.
  5. Seated Hand Push. Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor, and your knees bent at a 90° angle. Put your hands on the outside of your knees. Simultaneously push your knees in with your hands while pushing your knees outwards and hold this for one minute.

How to Get Rid of Inner Thigh Fat

While some body fat is essential to protect your organs and to sustain life, more often than not, many of us have unhealthy levels of excess fat. Mainly determined by your DNA, women tend to store their extra body fat in their lower abdomen, hips, and inner thighs, while men tend to hold theirs in their stomachs. 

Before you start your diet and exercise programs, make sure you consult with your doctor first and get their help tailoring a fitness program that’s best for you.

To lose fat on your inner thighs, you must restrict your calorie intake to where you’re consuming less than what your body is using, and of course, exercising daily. 

Bear in mind that limiting your calorie intake does not mean starving yourself. Doing so may even prevent you from reaching your fitness goals. How many calories you should have in a day depends on multiple factors such as your age, activity level, and current weight, to name a few. 

Make sure your diet consists of whole, unprocessed foods and that you do a combination of high-intensity interval and strength training when you exercise. 

Engaging your thigh muscles as you exercise is one way to tone them, but make sure you also work out other muscle groups. Doing this can help you lose weight all over your body faster. Increasing your muscle mass also boosts your metabolism, allowing you not just to look toned, but keep you burning calories even while at rest.

Making minor adjustments to your lifestyle, such as eating more protein, eliminating processed food, refined carbohydrates, and sugary drinks from your diet, and consciously making an effort to be more active during the day, can help you achieve your goal of reducing fat on your inner thighs.

Suppose you have a regular exercise routine and keep a healthy diet? In that case, you don’t need to depend on the weighing scale much to tell you of your progress. Feeling better about your body, having more energy, and fitting into your clothes better are other telltale signs that you are on the road to achieving your fitness goals.

Understanding Thigh Fat

Storing fat in the thighs and hips helped women survive through famine and drought during the caveman times. When women go through pregnancy and breastfeeding, their bodies need an additional 1,000 calories[3] a day on top of their basic caloric needs. They used the fat stored in their hips and thighs during pregnancy and breastfeeding when there wasn’t sufficient food available, helping both them and their offspring to survive. 

Females who can easily store fat in these areas had higher chances of surviving and, at the same time, passed down this ability to their offspring. One reason why your thighs are one of the most challenging places on your body to shed fat is that it could literally be written in your DNA to store it![4]

Men store most of their excess fat on their abdomen, but they can also store fat in their thighs. A study[5] from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health discovered that men with high amounts of thigh and abdomen fat are at a higher risk of developing advanced and fatal prostate cancer.

Most of us in these modern times hardly experience shortages in food. In reality, we even have food excesses more often than not — making it even more challenging to lose weight. The best way to reduce thigh fat is really through diet and exercise.

Thigh Fat and Cellulite

Aside from the health risks, excessive weight on your body can bring, aesthetically, having too much thigh fat can make your legs look dimpled. Cellulite builds up around the thighs and buttock area for nearly everyone, but more so if you are overweight. 

While not a danger to your health, many opt to have the appearance of smooth skin. Diet and exercise can also help reduce the appearance of cellulite. There are also many cellulite creams available in the market that claim to reduce the appearance of cellulite. Creams containing CBD oil seem to show a lot of promise. Preliminary animal studies have shown CBD can help reduce food intake and boost metabolism. 

Diet

To lose fat in your inner thighs, you need to eat fewer calories than your body uses. Use a calorie calculator to determine how many calories you need to maintain your current weight, and from there, reduce your calorie consumption by 500 calories[6]. Doing this should help you lose one pound every week.

As mentioned earlier, it is more important to focus on the kind of food you eat than how much of it, as nutritious foods boost your health while you lose weight. You may make these changes to your diet to help you reach your weight loss goals:

  • Eat less than what you usually eat
  • Avoid food that is processed or has refined carbohydrates
  • Eliminate sugary drinks such as soft drinks and juices
  • Eat more protein
  • Drink more water
  • Exercise

Toning your muscles can reduce the appearance of fat. To help you have slimmer-looking thighs, do exercises that engage your thigh muscles, such as walking or running. You can do both activities on a treadmill or outside. 

Once your body gets used to your usual walk or run, you can add intensity by walking or running on an incline.  Running or walking on an incline engages your thigh muscles more. When starting, aim to do this two or three times a week.

Thigh Muscles

However, don’t just focus on your thigh muscles when you work out. Spot training to lose weight on one body part is not practical. You will achieve better results if you do exercises that use different muscle groups at a time, such as pull-ups, lunges, pushups, and squats. 

Doing high-intensity interval training workouts for 20-minutes two or three times a day can help you burn more fat effectively and consequently help you lose inner thigh fat. Interval training enables you to improve your aerobic capacity as well as build your muscles.

Aim to include both aerobic and anaerobic exercises in your exercise routine. Aerobic exercises are activities that increase your heart rate and can be done for long periods, such as walking, biking, or running. 

On the other hand, anaerobic exercises are exercises designed for short bursts of activity with high intensity. Examples of anaerobic exercises are sprinting, interval training, and strength training.

With long-term calorie restriction, your body tends to slow down your metabolism[7] to save energy, therefore burning fewer calories and reducing your muscle mass. Compensate by lifting weights to exert your muscles. Strengthening your muscles increases your metabolism and prevents muscle loss. 

Don’t think that you need to go to a gym for strength training. Exercises utilizing your body weight, such as pushups, squats, and sit-ups, are sufficient.

While it is best to do exercises that use different muscle groups to maximize weight loss, you can include exercises that target your thighs, such as those listed below, to keep them toned.


+ 7 sources

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  3. ‌CDC (2021). Maternal Diet. [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/diet-and-micronutrients/maternal-diet.html [Accessed 2 Jul. 2021].
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Dara is a full-time freelance writer with experience in several fields including politics, travel, and ophthalmology. When she isn't sitting at her computer, you can find her dabbling in filmmaking and acting.

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