Tina Haupert is a Boston-based Lifestyle Influencer and the creative mind behind Carrots ‘N’ Cake, a healthy living blog that serves to help everyday people achieve more balance through fitness, nutrition, and general best practices to improve one’s holistic personal wellness. Tina’s weight loss journey began in 2004 when she decided to get serious about her health and her body image. Two years and 23 pounds later, she reached her weight loss goal all while developing healthy lifestyle habits that she’s been able to maintain to this day.
Alright, so by now you’ve changed your diet, ramped up your workouts, and are ready to tone your slimmer thighs. Here’s a quick anatomy lesson to explain why certain exercises are more effective at toning your thigh muscles than others: Your thigh muscles run diagonally, not vertically like your quadriceps. When you want to work muscles that run diagonally, you have to perform exercises that incorporate different angles, moving in different directions.
Lie on your back with knees bent to 90-degree angles. Straighten your arms by your sides, and lengthen your fingertips. Press the backs of your shoulders against a mat, and slide them down away from your ears. Focusing on the deep waist muscles, inhale and slowly move your knees to the right, then exhale and return to starting position. Repeat on the left; that’s 1 rep. Do 5–8 reps.
Although it seems good in theory, the major issue with training in a fasted state is that the weight loss could be coming from a loss of muscle mass, which is exactly what you don't want. Training without proper nutrition makes it very difficult for your body to replenish and recover from the protein breakdown that occurs during a bout of exercise. Therefore, the body ends up sacrificing muscle mass because there are no available amino acids for muscle protein synthesis.
Losing belly fat shouldn’t mean strict dieting or deprivation. “People often think that you have to eat certain foods or avoid certain foods [to lose weight] and in reality, it comes down to eating more of a balanced diet that is portion- and calorie-controlled,” says Zeratsky. “This allows your body to have enough energy to do what it wants to do while managing weight.”
Use the meal as a reward for a week’s worth of hard work, or the completion of a project you’ve been dreading. “It’s OK for people to blow one meal a week without feeling guilty,” says James W. Anderson, M.D., director of the Metabolic Research Group at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. “If you follow a healthy diet 95% of the time, you can relax and enjoy yourself the other 5% of the time without gaining weight.”
Track your portions to identify total carbohydrates. A serving of nuts (1 ounce) with 5 grams of carbs quickly adds up to 10 grams if you consume a second serving. Many people count carbs when they begin a low carb lifestyle, but they eventually stop counting. If you were losing weight consistently when you were more closely tracking, a reset period of going back to counting can make a big difference.
I also think its important to note that having portion control is not the same thing as being on a diet. I never considered myself to be on a "diet." I remember a few co-workers asking me what kind of diet I was on and I didn't know how to answer because I never thought of myself of dieting because I still ate all foods that I loved. It was more just eating all foods in moderation. I could still eat a good burger and sweet potato fries if I went out to dinner, drank wine on special occasions, ate dark chocolate and ice cream, etc. I never stopped eating the foods I enjoyed, I just ate them less.
As noted above, our bike racer study (Phinney 1983) involved 9 lean men locked up while eating a precisely controlled ketogenic diet for 4 weeks. In addition to daily weights, three methods were used to determine changes in body composition. As a group, these subjects lost 1 kg of body weight in the first week of the ketogenic diet, all of which was attributable to reduced muscle glycogen stores (which were directly measured). After that, their weights were stable for the next 3 weeks. Unfortunately in this study we did not have the opportunity to measure metabolic rate, but based on our body composition data, anything over a 3% increase in energy expenditure associated with the ketogenic diet would have shown up as non-water associated weight loss (by implication, a loss of body fat). Clearly these 9 men did not demonstrate an obvious increase in body fat loss in the first 4 weeks of keto-adaptation.
Try a diet in which you consume 2200 calories (men) or 2000 calories (women) per day. This should cause a deficit sufficient for you to lose one or two pounds per week, depending on your activity level. Some women may require lower daily calorie intake, such as 1800 or 1500 a day. Start by limiting yourself to a 2000 calorie limit per day, and lower the limit if you do not see progress.
Research suggests that people with stronger legs are less likely to fall as they age, potentially reducing their risk of fracture and immobility, so there’s no time like the present to start shedding that extra body fat, toning those muscles, and building a strong foundation for a healthy future. Incorporate the 10 ways to lose thigh and leg fat into your routine now and you’ll be feeling stronger and more confident in no time.