According to Kathleen Goodwin, R.D., muscle burns off fat calories at all times to maintain itself. That means that the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn, even when you're not working out. Your thigh muscles and your abs are two of the biggest muscle groups in your body. Building up these muscles on a daily basis will help you burn off fat calories and lose body fat. Try some daily exercises to build your thighs and abs over time.
Daily Exercise Regimen
According to Brad Schoenfeld from LookGreatNaked.com, to make sure your muscles recover and grow, they should be trained no more than three times a week, and you should always rest at least 48 hours between workouts. Schoenfeld says it's a myth that you can target your abs every day and they will have enough time to recuperate, since abs aren't different from your other muscles. However, working out every day doesn't mean you won't engage your abs daily. Your abs are "stabilizer muscles" that support your back and maintain your balance during virtually any exercise activity. It's great to work out every day, as long as you're not targeting the same exact muscles within one 48-hour period. The best way to strengthen your abs and thighs is to do varied and diverse workouts to make sure you work all of your muscles while giving them time to recover.
Running Stairs and Hills
Running at an incline works out your leg muscles more than running on a flat surface. Particularly during stair running, you use your abs for spinal stability. There are often long staircases you can find at apartment complexes, or you could use stadium bleachers. According to Shape.com, a stair running workout involves resting for 30 seconds when you get to the top of the stairs, and doing four to five laps. Running stairs strengthens your quads, while running up hills strengthens your upper thighs. Try to alternate daily between running stairs and running hills to ensure you target all of your thigh muscles. If you cannot run them at first, walk the stairs and hills every day until you build up the leg muscles and cardiovascular ability to run them. For best results, don't do this workout more than once within a 48-hour period.
Ron Jones High Performance Health suggests using a chair to do squats to tone your thighs. Stand in front of a chair as though you're about to sit down on it. Slowly bend your knees until your hips just barely touch the chair. Do not put your weight on the chair. Lean forward slightly to straighten your knees and stand up. Slowly lower your hips again. Keep your back straight. Repeat 12 times. Here you're engaging your hamstrings, glutes and quads. To let your legs recover and build muscle, don't do squats again for another 48 hours.
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana is a yoga exercise that strengthens your abs, hips and thighs, according to YogaJournal.com. The exercise involves lying on your back with your legs extended upward at a 90-degree angle. Have your palms facing down on the floor. Contract your core muscles to slowly lower your legs to the floor. Do not touch the floor, but hover your feet just above it. Inhale to slowly lift your legs back up to a 90-degree angle. Do three sets of 15 leg lifts and increase repetitions with progress. For recovery and muscle repair, don't do this exercise for another 48 hours.
Don't forget the classic sit-up or crunch for strengthening your core. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Rest your palms behind your head on the floor. Contract your abs to lift your upper back off the floor. Don't curve your back or neck. Exhale when you lift your shoulders off the floor and inhale when you lower down. Do at least three sets of 30 crunches, with 30-second rests in between. Give your abs 48 hours to rest before doing crunches again.
You don't need any equipment to do the plank, and it works the entire abdominal muscle group, as well as your butt and thighs. Lie on a mat facing the floor and support your upper body with your forearms. Join your hands together and curl your toes under your feet. Keep your back flat. Don't forget to breathe while you hold for a full minute. The plank massages your internal organs and improves your balance. If it's too hard, you can drop your knees to the ground while holding the pose, putting as little weight on the knees as possible. Do three sets, resting for 30 seconds in between. Do more sets as you improve over time.
- TheDietChannel.com: Successful Weight Loss: Top 10 Tips on What Works and Why; Kathleen Godwin, R.D.
- Shape.com: Hill Running Made Easy
- Ron Jones High Performance Health: Chair Squat
- YogaJournal.com: Raised Stretched-Out Foot Pose
- Ab-core-and-stomach-exercises.com: Home Ab Exercises and Ab Workout No Ab Machines Necessary Means No Excuses!
Lindsay Haskell enjoys writing about fitness, health, culture and fashion. She is a contributor for "Let's Talk Magazine" and "The Wellesley News." Haskell is completing her B.A. in philosophy at Wellesley College. She's also a fiction writer whose work can be read online.