The butt and thighs are two main areas that women often look to concentrate on when starting a training and diet regimen. It's not surprising either -- you don't want to have to buy new jeans all the time, or keep your favorite designer party dress hidden at the back of the wardrobe because you can't fit into it anymore. When looking to lose weight from these areas, what you eat and the training you do are the two most important factors.
Spot Reduction and Toning
Unfortunately, despite what you may have read, reducing fat and toning certain body parts by focusing on them is impossible. This is known as spot reduction and is a myth. Muscle and fat are two separate entities, and working your butt and thigh muscles won't necessarily burn fat directly from those areas. You can tone these areas by increasing the muscle size with weight training while simultaneously stripping fat.
Weight training is an integral part of any toning program. Although many women opt for cardiovascular exercise instead, this is a mistake. Weight training will not make you big and bulky, and will actually greatly improve your figure, according to strength coach Nia Shanks. Perform two butt-based and thigh-based sessions each week. Concentrate on multi-joint compound exercises, as these work more muscle groups and burn more calories, advises trainer Rachel Cosgrove of Results Fitness in California. Base your workouts around squats, lunges, deadlifts, glute bridge raises and leg curls.
Creating a Calorie Deficit
To lose fat and tone up, you have to burn more calories than you consume. Although weight training will help with burning calories, you won't get anywhere until you address your diet, too. Rather than slashing calories drastically, start by using the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recommended calorie intake of 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day and adjust according to your progress. Base your diet around lean proteins such as poultry, white fish, low-fat dairy products and beans. Get carbs from fruits, vegetables and whole-grains and fat from oily fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocado.
You can add cardio into your routine to increase your calorie burn, but it shouldn't be at the expense of weight training. Along with your two lower-body workouts, perform one or two upper-body workouts each week, too. Don't fall into the trap of using light weights for high reps either, warns Shanks. Perform four or five exercises per session and do five to 10 tough reps on each. If you're not sure of any exercise techniques, ask a trainer for assistance, and if you feel progress starts to stall, add five minutes to each workout, or drop your calories a little to boost your fat loss.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.