"Toning" is one of those ambiguous words that doesn't mean anything.
I agree with Dragonchilde - you can't target where you lose weight from. Energy is delivered to the muscles via the bloodstream, NOT from being absorbed from surrounding fat stores. Squats or side planks may work the muscles in those areas, but will do absolutely nothing about the overlying layer of fat.
If you have reached your goal weight but still feel you have some fat to lose in those areas, about all you can do is to continue to reduce your overall body fat through a combination of cardio, all-body strength training and watching your intake, and some of it will naturally come off the thighs and love handles.
In terms of strength training, I would recommend an all-body approach, aiming to work most of the major muscles in the body, rather than concentrating on 'problem areas'.
I encourage people to strength train *while* losing weight. They are very compatible and will help you achieve the best results. If you don't, some of your weight loss will come from muscle mass. Less muscle mass, slower metabolism. And it will make maintenance easier as well.
Dragonchilde is absolutely correct, you can't target specific areas for fat loss...the best bet is full body strength training program. If you have extra saggy skin, no exercise will help your skin to shrink. weight lifting/resistance training/strength training...whatever you want to call it, works your muscles, not your skin. At the very best, strength training will help to "fill out" that extra skin with muscle.
That doesn't mean strength training is not a good idea...it is important to help increase your metabolism, be stronger in general, and to prevent muscle loss that occurs from dieting without strength training.
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There's no way to target specific trouble zones for fat loss; the best program is a full-body program that targets everything. And there's no need to wait until you've lost the weight, either; for best results overall, do it from day one! When you don't, as much as 25% of weight loss can be from lean muscle mass, resulting in what is unfondly known as "skinny fat", where your weight is low, but your body fat percentage is high.
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