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Q: What Is the Best Way To Get Rid of Saddlebags?

saddlebags, thighs, hips,  thin thighs

Q: Which combination of exercises and cardio is the better against saddlebags? It is my problem area; I lose everywhere but not there – Lisa Ziri

Hi Lisa! Great question. The dreaded saddlebag (excess fat around the hip and thigh area) is a very common problem area for women, and one I get asked about often. First, it’s important to recognize that there is no one magical exercise that will eliminate the fat from that area on your body (aka spot reduce). But what you can do is incorporate exercises that help to build more lean muscle mass in that region of your body, which may in turn lead to a reduction in your overall body fat (if coupled with a proper diet and caloric deficit).

One of the biggest mistakes I see women make is thinking that repeating moves like side lying leg lifts hundreds of times will help to slim down that area. If you want to get rid of fat, you need to stand up and move as many muscles as possible and challenge your body. (That’s why I love moves like this one). Moves like side lying leg lifts have their place in a well-rounded workout regimen, but don’t be fooled into thinking that an exercise where most of your body is resting on the floor is going to help you reduce fat – especially in that one spot.

You mention that you lose everywhere but there, and I can sympathize! Sadly, we tend to lose fat noticeably first in areas that we don’t want to shrink (such as our chest or booty) and then it seems to come off sooo slowly in other areas — such as the saddlebag region. But if you do reduce your body fat, you will eventually reduce the size of your saddlebags. And because it can be tough to tell from day to day, one of the best ways to track your progress is to use a measuring tape (don’t go too crazy, once a month is plenty) which can help you make sure you are losing over time.

The best recipe for fat loss – wherever the fat tends to show up on your body most- is eating a healthy diet that creates a calorie deficit (remember 3,500 calories is one pound, so I usually recommend cutting 250 calories a day from your diet, and then burning an extra 250 with exercise) and coupling it with a balanced workout routine that incorporates a variety of exercises. Fill your week with your favorite workouts, and alternate more challenging, high intensity days with low intensity sessions to avoid overtraining and burnout (and, be sure to try my “Slim Saddlebags and Beat Inner Thigh Bulge” workout here).

And don’t forget to check out our “Pear Shape Workout Plan” designed specifically for body types who tend to store more body fat in the lower half!

Finally, remember to be patient and stick with it. We live in a world where everything is promised to us yesterday! We see commercials and ads with guarantees of lost inches, six packs and model-thin thighs everywhere we go. Real, permanent fat loss takes time, and sometimes it’s a roller coaster ride of some ups and downs (trust me, I have been there, and its still a daily journey for me too). If you can focus on being the healthiest (not necessarily the smallest) you can be, your body will follow. And if there are some weeks, or months that go by and your thighs are a little larger than you’d like, remember to keep it in perspective. Love your body for what it is, and for all the amazing things it does for you today. Don’t let it prevent you from participating and enjoying your life! Thanks for writing, and hope that helps. Best of luck on your health and fitness journey!

Got a question for me? Post it below in the comments and I may answer it in an upcoming post!

Try It: The 15-Minute Slim Saddlebags and Beat Inner Thigh Bulge Workout 

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  • Valerie Neal February 25, 2014, 12:27 pm

    What a great reminder about trouble areas. I heard someone say you cannot spot reduce but you can spot train, which ties into my favorite Lucile Ball quote “I just wish my arms would stop waving when my hand did”.

    Working our trouble zones does help to strengthen the muscle below the surface which not only helps to burn fat longer (even when we sleep) but it also helps to reduce the “Appearance” of cellulite, or what I refer to as my hail damage. It’s kind of like having the car of your dreams, and keeping it cleaned and detailed, using only the best oil, and transmission fluid, but putting cheap gas in it and keeping the gas petal to the floor. You’ve got to use common sense, healthy diet (food choices, not the latest fad) and a well rounded workout routine like Jessica suggested, I loved that 3 minute clip you shared I’ll have to try that. You cannot work the outside of the leg, and not work the inside of the leg, they support each other. It also helps to incorporate your workout training through out the day, sit/stand up tall, keep the core engaged, do a proper squat when picking something up off the floor like a laundry basket (that old saying put your back into it is dangerous, lift with your legs). All of these keep proper form on your mind and you are more likely to continue on in your endeavors, which is the only way we truly see and feel results.


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