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DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
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Posts: 9,717
6/5/13 11:36 A

Olga, y ou're missing the point. The original poster asked specifically for advice on losing FAT on her thighs, something you yourself has admitted is impossible.

"Toning" is basically a marketing word; it means different things to different people. It's not a bad word, but it's kindof a useless one.

Doing squats will not directly slim and reduce the fat on the thighs. You can do squats as long as you like, but if it's not accompanied by a reduction in calories for overall fat loss, no muscle will ever show through the fat. That's what we're talking about.

Arguing over the semantics of a word doesn't change the fact that your first post on this thread gave misleading, inaccurate advice that will not help the OP achieve her goals.

Fat loss is a total body process. A full-body strength training is far more effective than doing specific exercises to target trouble zones.

You can do all the "toning" in the world, but until you lose the fat over those muscles, no one will ever see it.

I refer you to this article BY Sparkpeople:

"What Is Toning?
When most people say that they want to "tone up," what they usually mean is that they want to become leaner. Basically, they want to lose fat, and add a little muscle definition—but not so much muscle mass that they look like a bodybuilder (much more on that later).

In the fitness world, there is no real definition for toning that is greatly recognized. Rather, toning is a term used to describe the end goal, which usually results from a combination of basic weight-lifting and fat-burning."

OLGA18 SparkPoints: (23,570)
Fitness Minutes: (18,547)
Posts: 1,213
6/5/13 11:32 A

I guess Spark People knows what toning means since the advertisement on this page for their book and video says "Slim Down and Tone Up". Enough said.

KSJ040 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (6,024)
Posts: 35
6/5/13 10:54 A

Wow! Thank you to everyone for your wonderful insight and advice! You are right that it is too late to have perfect thighs this shorts season haha...I just meant that my focus was drawn to them because of putting on shorts the other day and noticing that there is much room for improvement. To clarify...yes, I was seeking not only to reduce fat in my thigh area, but also to strengthen and tone the underlying muscles. That being said I have learned a lot from both sides of the advice scale here in order to accomplish both goals and will follow the information you all have provided. I am already currently following a regular cardio workout and incorporating strength training. I am restricting white foods and sugar. I have not done any specific thigh muscle strength training moves yet though and will certainly incorporate that now as well since it will lead me to my goal AND make my jogs faster and farther in time. Thank all of you guys again! You are a super team for advice!

MATTHEW0498 SparkPoints: (32,853)
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Posts: 1,377
6/5/13 10:30 A

You can't spot reduce but last year I started walking the treadmill on an incline and saw a huge improvement in my hips and thighs.

NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
6/5/13 8:01 A

Perhaps what Olga has done is built muscle mass in her arms and that bulk has pulled her excess skin (from prior weight loss perhaps) tight. That is possible to do, bodybuilders do it although it's not perfect. I used bodybuilding techniques to build mass in my shoulders and biceps to try to tighten some of the slackness in my tricep area after losing 100 lbs. It is imperfect but with enough added size it can improve the appearance. My shoulders are huge (I have a photo from this week on my page) and now my triceps appear a little more taut (my body fat % went down by about 9 percentage points during the same time though - and this accounts for probably 80% of the result). I don't know if this is what Olga means.

I don't know what "toning" means either. Honestly that word is a mess. It's best avoided. Either you want to build strength, or you want to build mass, or you want to reduce body fat, or you want to reduce cellulite, or you want to build agility/speed/flexibility, or you want to improve bone health, or you want to improve your overall health, or you want to work on cardiovascular health and endurance, but if you want anything else, the gym isn't where you need to be. Toning is a very unclear term and I THINK what people mean by it is to take flesh that has a somewhat soft and irregular appearance and to make it look as if it is taut and can barely fit over the muscle underneath. If someone wants that, they need to work on building mass and reducing body fat, two things that can be achieved at the gym, not usually at the same time, and never in a short period of time (waiting til June to say it's shorts season, I need to tone up my thunder thighs is ... well I don't want to be mean but it's hopeless, basically. Start working now and maybe this time 2014 or 2015 (depending on your starting point - we all have different ones) you will have the results you're looking for).

My gut feeling is that the OP is dissatisfied primarily with the large size of her thighs. I say this because I used to put myself down using the same phrase (thunder thighs) and that's what was bothering me too. To achieve smaller thighs, the OP needs to undertake a calorie restricted eating plan and incorporate regular, pleasurable exercise and continue to do that for a year or so. By doing this, she will reduce her overall body fat, much of which is located in her thighs. To achieve shapely thighs, the OP needs to undertake a regular strength training program that makes her lower body work very hard to lift heavy weight several times/week for at least a few months (though after my first 9 months I'm nowhere near finished working on mine!). Specific exercises? Squats, deadlifts, jumping exercises, lunges, can't go wrong with those.

My opinion on cellulite? Every woman has a body fat percentage threshold for cellulite. Get above that body fat %, and you'll have cellulite. Get below it, cellulite is gone. In my case, I've never gotten low enough to get rid of it, but I am working on it and someday when I get there I will announce to the world just how low my body fat had to get before the cellulite disappeared from my butt and thighs. It is still very prominently there now, though I am a healthy weight.

OLGA18 SparkPoints: (23,570)
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6/5/13 5:28 A

I, of course, agree that specific exercises will not make fat go away. I also know that exercises targeting a specific area absolutely make that area appear smaller. Triceps exercises and inner thigh exercises work very well on those problem areas. I don't think there is anything ambiguous about the term "muscle tone". I hear it all the time and I know exactly what it means.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,451
6/5/13 5:08 A


Toning is one of those ambiguous words, that doesn't have any specific meaning. If you mean strengthen the thigh muscles, then say strengthen.

But in the context of 'thunder thighs', it is a pretty strong inference that the original poster intended toning to mean reduce fat in the thighs.

And nobody here is saying "Don't bother exercising", or that someone with more lean mass and less fat won't look trimmer at the same weight. What they are saying is that thigh specific exercises won't reduce thigh fat specifically.


OLGA18 SparkPoints: (23,570)
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6/5/13 4:05 A

The question wasn't about losing weight, it was about toning.
If a person is at their ideal weight and exercises regularly it is virtually impossible that their body doesn't look better than someone who is at their ideal weight and does not exercise.
That is because exercise firms and tones the body.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,451
6/4/13 7:41 P

I totally agree with Lec, and I disagree with Olga.

Burning fat is an all-body process, and 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 lunges will develop the thigh muscles, but will do absolutely nothing about the overlying layer of fat.

What 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.

Yes, you should be doing squats and lunges. But the reason is that these are the largest and strongest muscles in the body, and will give you the most bang for your exercise buck. The fact that they are in a similar place in the body to where you are seeking to lose weight from is totally irrelevant.


6/4/13 7:32 P

Olga - You probably got results from other lifestyle changes you made (diet, exercise). Triceps kickbacks & extensions burn very few calories, since the triceps muscle is small. That's why most professionally-designed programs don't include lots of tricep exercises.

KSJ040 - since it isn't possible to choose where we lose, follow a normal, full-body strength training program. That plus doing regular cardio and eating the right number of calories will burn fat. Wherever you most recently gained it, that's where it will come off first - regardless of whether you work that area.

LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
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6/4/13 4:51 P

OLGA18 SparkPoints: (23,570)
Fitness Minutes: (18,547)
Posts: 1,213
6/4/13 4:38 P

Focusing on toning up specific muscle groups works.
That is why triceps exercises (triceps dips, kickbacks and extensions) work to make that flabby skin under your upper arms disappear.
Toning exercises absolutely do work. I know because I have used them. Done properly, often with the right amount of sets and reps they work.
I knew that the day someone said to me "Wow, your upper arms are so thin!"
The batwings disappeared because I focused on the triceps.
It works. Don't let anyone convince you otherwise.

Edited by: OLGA18 at: 6/4/2013 (16:43)
LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
Posts: 2,744
6/4/13 1:07 P

Strength training isn't really going to help reducing wiggle in your thighs (see: why spot training doesn't exist). If you're looking for a temporary, quick fix, there are some creams with caffeine that will reduce the appearance of cellulite for a day or 2. Otherwise overall fat loss is the only thing that will help.

KSJ040 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (6,024)
Posts: 35
6/4/13 1:01 P

Super awesome and I thank you both!

ROXIELU0422 Posts: 317
6/4/13 12:15 P

squats are great. The ones mentioned below and I also do curtsey (sp) squats where you cross one leg behind the other and squat down and alternate legs.

Doing leg lifts laying on your side are also good for outer thighs. For hamstings, get on all fours, and raise your leg behind you and flex your foot and do small pulses at the top.

OLGA18 SparkPoints: (23,570)
Fitness Minutes: (18,547)
Posts: 1,213
6/4/13 11:30 A

I feel your pain and I find the following 2 exercises helpful:

Plie squats (wide stance squats with toes pointed out) 3 sets of 20

Lying adductions (No, that's not a typo, it's adductions) 3 sets of 15, work up to 20

You can find demo's here on SP. Good luck!!!!

KSJ040 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (6,024)
Posts: 35
6/4/13 11:07 A

Hi there! It is shorts season and I need to tone up my cottage cheese thunder thighs haha. I currently engage in Tae Bo and walking/light jogging, but I need advice on exercise moves to focus on my thighs. I dislike lunges, but if that is the best thing then so be pain, no gain, right? Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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