1. Your cycle
  2. Lifestyle
  3. Fitness and exercise

Flo Fact-Checking Standards

Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

How to Lose Thigh Fat: A Simple 3-Step Plan

Summer is almost here, and the promise of warmth, sun, and a teeny bikini gets some of us thinking about how to lose thigh fat. Fat loss happens proportionately throughout the body, and spot reduction in a single area is unlikely. However, by adopting certain habits and using targeted exercises, you can sculpt and tone your thighs based on your personal goals.

1. Exercises to lose thigh fat

Incorporate these techniques into your fitness routine to jumpstart the fat-burning process and gradually reduce thigh fat. 

  • High-intensity interval training: HIIT promotes a significant reduction in body fat, compared to other types of exercises. It involves short bursts of intense physical activity like sprinting or jumping, followed by short recovery periods of rest or low-intensity movement. Why is HIIT so effective? Your body continues burning calories even after the workout, thanks to boosts in your oxygen requirement and metabolic rate. 
  • Squats and lunges: Toning exercises such as squats and lunges are excellent for shaping and defining your leg muscles. They build the entire lower body — including the glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings — which equals stronger, leaner thighs.
  • Weight training: Weight training, specifically for the lower body, will produce sculpted thighs and better-defined leg muscles. Focus on seated or standing leg curls, barbell squats, and similar exercises at home or in the gym.

2. Diet to reduce thigh fat 

In the quest to eliminate thigh fat, eating right is just as important as hitting the gym. Learn how to fuel your body with specific nutrients to maximize your metabolism and shed any pesky pounds.

  • Avoid refined carbs and sugar: Refined carbohydrates and sugary foods are all around us, and they can negatively impact our health. The biggest culprits are pasta, white rice and bread, pastries, sodas, and desserts. These foods cause your blood sugar levels to spike, then crash soon after. Hunger and cravings for even more junk food always follow. These foods also lack key nutrients and shouldn’t be a regular part of your diet, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. 
  • Load up on fiber and protein: High-fiber, high-protein meals keep you feeling fuller longer — with fewer calories. Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, legumes, lean meats, and eggs are all good sources of fiber and protein. They also contain other essential vitamins and minerals that will create a well-balanced diet. 
  • Drink plenty of water: The human body is composed of 75 percent water, which means that practically every function involves water in some way. Staying hydrated is crucial to keep your body running smoothly. Even slight dehydration can slow your metabolic rate. Nutritionists generally recommend drinking eight or more eight-ounce glasses of water per day, but you can adjust the amount based on your height, weight, and activity level.
  • Remain in a moderate calorie deficit: To lose one pound, the body needs to burn roughly 3500 calories. If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, you’ll have to first calculate the number of calories your body needs to maintain your current weight. Reducing that number by 500 calories a day would be a realistic starting point for a diet. Over-restricting your caloric intake may lead to feelings of deprivation and result in binge eating later.

3. Lifestyle changes to lose leg fat fast 

Lose thigh fat by introducing small changes to your lifestyle that support your overall fitness and give you the shapely legs you’ve always wanted. Read on for a few handy tips.

  • Stay active: Keep moving and on your feet throughout the day. Opt for the stairs instead of the elevator, ditch the car while shopping, and take a short walk on your lunch break. Minor modifications like these will add up and help ensure that your legs are always on the go!
  • Make time for relaxation: Stress and anxiety tend to throw your fitness plans off track. You may start to feel unmotivated and even tempted to overeat favorite comfort foods. This is due to elevated levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, which cause an imbalance in your hunger hormones — insulin and ghrelin. The result is “stress eating” and subsequent weight gain. By doing stress-relieving activities like meditation, yoga, listening to music, and spending time with loved ones, you can steer clear of this behavior.
  • Adopt a healthy sleep routine: Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your weight. Constant fatigue affects your decision-making abilities, zaps your energy, and encourages binge eating. Much like stress, it also tips the scales on your hunger hormones in the wrong direction. A recent study found that after just one week of sleeping for five hours a night, participants gained an average of two pounds per person. Maintain mental clarity by getting seven to eight hours of sleep and using these tips for better sleep.

Trust the process

Of course, any approach promising quick weight-loss results will probably not be sustainable and may harm your health. Significant and achievable fat loss requires time and commitment. To lose thigh fat and keep it off, consider trying the above exercise, dietary, and lifestyle advice. Crash dieting or overexercising pose risks to your body, so it’s important to keep balanced goals.

“Counting Calories: Get Back to Weight-Loss Basics.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 8 Dec. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/calories/art-20048065.

Boutcher, Stephen H. “High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss.” Journal of obesity vol. 2011 (2011): 868305. doi:10.1155/2011/868305

“Cortisol.” You and Your Hormones, Jan. 2019, www.yourhormones.info/hormones/cortisol/.

Wewege, M et al. “The effects of high-intensity interval training vs. moderate-intensity continuous training on body composition in overweight and obese adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Obesity reviews: an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity vol. 18,6 (2017): 635-646. doi:10.1111/obr.12532

Maillard, Florie et al. “Effect of High-Intensity Interval Training on Total, Abdominal and Visceral Fat Mass: A Meta-Analysis.” Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.) vol. 48,2 (2018): 269-288. doi:10.1007/s40279-017-0807-y

“How Much Water Do You Need to Stay Healthy?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 14 Oct. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256.

Read this next