We all have areas of our body that just seem like whatever we do, we can’t lose the extra weight. For some it’s the butt, for others its the tummy. But for most of us, our thighs are one of the most difficult areas to slim down.
You’ve done more squats and leg extensions than you can count, but no matter how hard you try, you just can’t firm up your thighs. It might be your genetics—unfortunately, some of us are just born with more fat cells and fewer muscle cells than Jillian Michaels, says Wayne Westcott, PhD, director of exercise research at Quincy College. But even if that’s the case, don’t kiss the dream of dynamite thighs good-bye. Avoid these 7 common mistakes, and you’ll sculpt some gorgeous curves.
1. Your diet isn’t very thigh-friendly
“To really change your body, the first thing you need to attack is your nutrition,” says De Wispelaere. “Protein, vegetables, fruit, and good fat—if it’s not one of those things, don’t eat it.” Protein is vital: It builds muscle while raising metabolism, so you shed fat faster.
2. You’re not doing clockwork lunges
This simple, at-home, no-equipment exercise tones the legs, butt, and thighs, and it’s great for getting rid of cellulite. In fact, the older you get, the more important it is to regularly do moves like this one. “As women age, they lose muscle,” says Westcott. “As that muscle layer becomes thinner, weaker and less firm, the overlying fat layer loses its stable base, and it crinkles and wrinkles.” Result: Your thighs pucker up. Do these lunges like clockwork.
3. You’re doing the wrong kind of exercise
You can’t change your basic body type, but you still have a lot of room for improvement. If you have skinny legs, avoid long-distance running, which breaks down muscle and will make them even more birdlike. “Instead, concentrate on weighted step-ups or spinning to build muscle,” says DiDio. But if you’ve got short legs, too much heavy weight training can make you look even stockier. She recommends doing squats and lunges with just your body weight, and to aim for 12 to 18 reps. Cardio will also help. “But no matter what your body type, everyone should be strength training,” she adds.