If you’re toting around unwanted fat deposits on your hips and upper thighs, then you’re no stranger to saddlebags. Many women deal with this pesky body issue, which can feel impossible to lose. Before you lose hope, we’ve got some secrets that will help you to get rid of those saddlebags once and for all.
Secret #1: Eat Better.
It may seem obvious, but what you eat affects how much unwanted fat you carry around. You could exercise non-stop (although we really don’t recommend that), but if you’re filling up on sugary, processed foods and not taking in proper portions of lean proteins, veggies, healthy fats, and water, plan on carrying around more weight. A healthy body starts with healthy food intake. Fix this first and results will be more likely to follow.
Secret #2: Work Out Head to Toe
We’ve all got our problem areas, but that doesn’t mean we should only target those specific zones when exercising. It’s nearly impossible to focus your fat loss. And in doing so, you’re likely limiting how much fat you’re burning. For example, if you only do fire hydrant leg lifts to shed those saddlebags, you’re burning a lot less fat than if you spend your time and energy doing more complex movements such as lunges, squats, and deadlifts. That doesn’t mean leg lifts can’t be part of your workout; they just shouldn’t be the main component.
Secret #3: Build Muscle
While you don’t need to strive for a Ms. Olympia-like physique, adding more muscle to your frame will help you burn fat more efficiently, even when you’re not working out. Exercising with weights can mean using dumbbells, barbells, circuit machines, or even just your own body weight. When you add resistance to your fitness, you build muscle. And when you build muscle, you’re one step closer to dropping the saddlebags.
Secret #4: Get Your Heart Pumping
Cardio-based exercises, such as running, swimming, biking, and hiking, are great for getting your heart rate up, which also helps to burn fat. However, that doesn’t mean you should simply plant yourself on a treadmill when you hit the gym. Instead, turn up the intensity of resistance-based exercises to add in a cardio component. For example, combine two exercises–one that is high intensity, such as sprints, and one that is low intensity, such as sit ups. Sprint for 15 seconds, followed immediately by sit ups for 60 seconds. Complete 5 rounds, then rest for two minutes before moving on to another pair up of exercises.
Secret #5: Get a Lift
Saddlebags are sometimes caused by a bigger booty that is weighed down and resting on the thighs. Before you start Googling doctors specializing in butt lifts, know that a more muscular behind looks lifted whereas a fat-based bum looks deflated. Give your rear a raised and rounded look by incorporating muscle-building exercises such as side lunges, leg press and hamstring curls.
Secret #6: Add These Exercises
As said earlier, it’s best to target the full body when fat loss is your goal (even if that fat seems stuck to your thighs and hips). However, that doesn’t mean adding in a few targeted exercised won’t help with strengthening and building lower body muscles. Just think of it like what cereal commercials that say, “part of this complete balanced breakfast.” Do these moves along with more complex muscle movements for a complete, balanced workout:
- Box or stair step ups: Step up onto a raised platform, be it an exercise box, a set of stairs, or a stack of barbell plates. Complete 3 rounds of 12 reps (per leg).
- Clam shells: Lie on your side, with legs stacked and knees slightly bent. Squeeze your butt and raise your top knee toward the ceiling. Complete 3 rounds of 20 reps (per leg).
- Donkey kick forearm plank: Set up in a plank position with your weight on your forearms. With a strong core, bend the knee of your right leg so that the sole of your foot is toward the ceiling. Pulse your foot toward the ceiling. Complete 3 rounds of 10 reps (per leg).
- Inner thigh raises: Lie on your side with your legs slightly scissored and your bottom leg forward. Support your upper body on one elbow and use the other hand for support. Flex the foot of the forward leg, and lift it off the ground no more than 6 inches. Pulse the arch of your foot toward the ceiling, making sure not to put your foot back on the ground until all reps are done. Complete 3 rounds of 12 reps (per leg).
Instead of keeping your his undercover and top secret, put our 6 secrets to work to get rid of saddlebags and start showing off those beautiful stems.
What is your favorite lower body exercise? Share with others in the comments.