Created for Greatist by the experts at Healthline. Read more

Fat is necessary for sustaining life and protecting your organs. But where you store excess fat is all determined by your genetics. So, if you find you’re carrying extra weight around your inner thighs, that’s just how your body operates.

And while having some inner thigh fat is perfectly fine, if you’re ready to tone things up, we’ve got you covered. Here’s how to lose inner thigh fat in a healthy and sustainable way.

young woman doing squats on risersShare on Pinterest
Getty Images

If you eat more calories than you can burn, your body needs to store those additional calories somewhere since they aren’t being used. That’s where fat comes into play.

According to the World Health Organization, there has been an increased intake of energy-dense foods (think high fat and high sugar) as well as lowered activity. This energy imbalance is the fundamental cause of weight gain.

Now as to where this fat is stored, again, you can thank your genetics for that. One study found that body fat storage is highly influenced by genetic factors, especially in women.

Women usually store fat in their hips, lower belly, and inner thighs. While men carry fat mainly in their abdomens, but aren’t completely off the hook with inner thigh fat either.

If your genes graced you with the gift of inner thigh fat, it can form in two ways:

  • subcutaneous fat (located just below the skin)
  • intramuscular fat (located within the muscle)

As with any weight loss situation, a combination of diet and exercise can help you blast inner thigh fat. You just have to put in consistent work.

Change up your diet

Since taking in too many calories can build up fat, reducing how many calories you’re taking in each day can help you lose inner thigh fat.

One pound of fat is equivalent to about 3,500 calories. So, just cutting out 500 calories a day can help you eat 3,500 fewer calories a week, and lose about 1 to 2 pounds a week.

Other basic dietary changes to help you lose inner thigh fat include:

  • reducing processed foods and sodium intake
  • ditching white starches for complex carbohydrates
  • cutting out sugary drinks
  • drinking more water
  • eating lean protein
  • filling half your plate with vegetables
  • eating fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth

Incorporate cardio and strength training

There are two different forms of exercise to help you lose fat.

  1. Aerobic: Exercise sustained over longer periods of time, such as cardio activities like running, walking, or biking that gets your heart rate up.
  2. Anaerobic: Bursts of exercise for shorter periods of time, such as high intensity interval training (HIIT) or strength training.

To maximize your results, it’s a good idea to do a combination of both in the forms of cardio and strength training.

One study found significant weight loss results in both men and women after 10 months of aerobic exercise. Other research found that anaerobic exercises like HIIT are also effective for fat loss.

Plus, cardio helps you burn calories in the moment, while strength training helps your body continue to burn calories throughout the day.

So, a good rule of thumb is to exercise 4 or 5 days a week to see results, and incorporate both cardio and strength training.

Ready to get your cardio on? You can do any cardio exercise to burn fat, but the following exercises will get your heart pumping along with targeting those thigh muscles.

Hill training

Running up and down hills just straight up blows, but it will get your thigh muscles strong and improve your fitness ✅.

Grab a stopwatch and find yourself a hill (don’t go too steep too quick). Then run up the hill as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Cool down and walk back down. Repeat this about 5 times, and aim to do this 2—3 times per week to start.

Not into running? Find a hilly area and take a walk, or go for a hike in nature that’s a bit of a climb.

Gradual treadmill exercises

Maybe you live in a really flat area and there just aren’t hills that get your legs burnin’. A treadmill can also do the trick.

Pick your cardio (walking or running) and gradually increase the incline to 5, 10, or 15 percent while you exercise for at least 30 minutes.

Mix this into your weekly cardio routine 2—3 times a week.

HIIT

The best part about HIIT exercises is that they can literally be done anytime, anywhere.

Moves such as jump squats, burpees, and high knees are all forms of HIIT movements that can get your heart rate pumping in a short period of time.

Getting in HIIT exercises 2—3 times per week is a solid amount.

The following six movements will tone your inner thighs and reduce the appearance of fat. Include this routine into your exercise plan a few times a week to see results.

Repeat this workout 2—3 times through.

1. Curtsy lunge

Reps: 10—15 per leg

Equipment: Optional dumbbells

  1. Stand with a wide stance and keep your chest upright and shoulders down.
  2. Cross your left leg behind your right leg and squat into a curtsy position, keeping your right leg planted and body upright.
  3. From the lowered position, push yourself back up and place your left leg back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat on the other side and continue switching legs until you hit your reps.

2. Walking lunges with dumbbells

Share on Pinterest
Image by Dima Bazak

Reps: 10—15 per leg

Equipment: Optional dumbbells

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart while you hold a dumbbell with each hand. Keep the weights steady at your sides. (If you’re a beginner, try with no dumbbells first.)
  2. Step forward with your left leg and lunge forward. Make sure your knee doesn’t go beyond your toes and keep your leg perpendicular. Your non-lunge knee should be around 1 inch off the ground.
  3. Keep your weight mainly in your heels and push your left leg back to the starting position.
  4. Switch legs and lunge with your right. Alternate legs as you walk to complete your reps.

3. Sumo squat (AKA plie squats)

Reps: 30 seconds total

Equipment: Optional dumbbell or kettlebell

  1. Stand in a wide stance with your toes and knees pointed outward.
  2. Slowly lower into a squat position. Keep your hands on your hips to help your balance and keep your spine and torso upright.
  3. Slowly rise back up, squeezing your glutes to bring yourself back up.
  4. Continue for 30 seconds total.

4. Skaters

Share on Pinterest
Image by Dima Bazak

Reps: 20 total (10 per leg)

Equipment: None

  1. Similar to the curtsy lunge, you’ll start with your left leg behind your right with both knees bent.
  2. Press sideways off your left leg and land back onto your right. Keep your left foot behind you in a curtsy lunge position on the other side. Switch off between legs.
  3. You can either step or hop depending on your fitness level. Keeping your back leg off the ground will also be more challenging.

5. Side lunge

Share on Pinterest
Image by Dima Bazak

Reps: 10—15 reps per leg

Equipment: Optional dumbbells or a medicine ball

  1. Stand with your feet wider than your hips while you hold either a medicine ball or weight at your chest with both hands. (Beginners, try without weight for the first time)
  2. Take a step to the left and squat down on your left leg by bending your knee and lowering your body until it’s parallel to the floor. While doing this, ensure that your toes are pointed forward and your left knee is aligned with your left ankle.
  3. The weight or medicine ball should also remain at your chest and be in line with your left hip, elbow, and shoulder when down into the squat.
  4. Power back into the starting position by pushing off your left leg. Finish your reps on that side before moving onto your right side.

6. Supine inner thigh lift

Reps: 15 reps per leg

Equipment: None

  1. Lay down flat on your back with your abs engaged. Have your arms out to your sides, with your palms lying flat on the ground.
  2. Keeping your hips on the ground, lift your legs up toward the ceiling with your feet flexed.
  3. Lower your right leg out to the side as far as you can tolerate without lifting your hips. Keep your foot flexed the whole time.
  4. Bring your leg back up to the starting position, squeezing both your legs together at the top.
  5. Repeat 15 times on your right side, then switch to your left.

Some of us are graced with the genetics that give us thick thighs. But fat also accumulates in this area due to the extra calories and limited energy expenditure in the form of exercise.

Improving your diet and adding in cardio and thigh toning exercises takes time, but it’s the most beneficial way to get those thighs of steel.