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Trim Those Thighs

Follow these easy flab-fighting moves to give you thinner thighs in as little as 15 minutes a day…

Who doesn’t want wobble-free thighs? Well, the good news is that it is possible to radically tone and firm up your legs in just a few minutes each day if you follow these core moves – do them twice a day (morning and evening). After a couple of weeks you will find they become easier, so try adding a few repetitions every other day, up to a maximum of 25 repetitions.

To feel and see the full benefits, supplement these moves with plenty of aerobic work. Cycling, jogging and walking are all great ways to exercise your leg muscles and they burn fat, too. Aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate to hard aerobic exercise five times a week.

Many women tend to focus on diet alone when looking to improve their body shape – but the leg muscles, like any other muscle, responds best to regular exercise.

Stubborn fat
Sitting all day on your rump, as so many of us do in our modern sedentary lifestyles, also doesn’t help. Circulation is severely impeded and the condition of the muscle deteriorates. It is also important to reduce your body fat so that the top of your thighs is firm and the shape of the muscles is visible. However, when it comes to removing fat from the hips, buttocks, and legs, women have a tougher time than men. This is because women tend to have a higher amount of fat cells on the hips, the thighs and the bottom. Whenever your exercise routine involves a lot of repetitions with very little weight, a lot of light pumping, the muscle tissues are not called upon to get stronger and thicker. Instead, they develop endurance which in turn increases the blood supply to the area. So what you need to do for a really perfect pair of pins, is work out with heavier weights and fewer repetitions, in order to increase the size of the muscle fibres themselves, leaving your legs looking really firm and totally toned.

Weight it out

You don’t need to avoid high-repetition training entirely, just make sure you include a good amount of heavy resistance work as well. Select a weight that allows you to perform 8-10 repetitions and as soon as
you are able to do 10 repetitions easily, increase the weight you use the next time you work out.

Before you start

Warm up by marching on the spot for 3 minutes. Circle your shoulders slowly backwards as you march. Next, lift up your knees alternately for one minute, bringing your opposite elbow across to your knee. Then curl your legs back behind you for one minute – aim to bring your heels up to your bottom. Think about your posture continuously – shoulders back and down, tummy in.

Squats

Squats are great for targeting the fronts of your thighs and eliminating rear-view wobble by working muscles in your bottom

BUM-WOBBLE BUSTER

HOW TO DO IT: Stand with feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Keep your back straight and put your hands on your hips. Bend knees to 90º and lean forward slightly until your body is at right angles to your thighs. Keep your heels on the floor. Lower yourself down until your bottom is level with your knees. Hold for a second, then slowly push back up to a standing position. Repeat 20 times. Try this exercise while holding hand weights or
a barbell over your shoulders.

BUM-WOBBLE BUSTER

HOW TO DO IT: Stand with feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Keep your back straight and put your hands on your hips. Bend knees to 90º and lean forward slightly until your body is at right angles to your thighs. Keep your heels on the floor. Lower yourself down until your bottom is level with your knees. Hold for a second, then slowly push back up to a standing position. Repeat 20 times. Try this exercise while holding hand weights or
a barbell over your shoulders.

Lunges
The lunge is quite demanding but great for firming up the muscles of your inner thighs, front of thighs and bottom – it’s worth the effort

THIGH STRENGTHENER

HOW TO DO IT: Place one foot forward about one stride-length apart from your back leg. Keep hips facing straight ahead and place your hands on your hips. Making sure you keep your body upright and abdominals firm, bend your knees to bring your front knee directly over your front foot. Put your weight on to the heel of your foot to work muscles in your bottom. Hold for a second, then slowly push back up. Repeat 15 times. Then, step forward with your other leg and repeat 15 times.

MUSCLES WORKED: Quadriceps, Adductors, Glutes Stretch

This exercise will focus in on those wobbly outer thighs, helping to firm them up and get in shape

OUTER THIGH SHAPER

HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your right side with your right leg slightly bent. Support your head with your right hand. Making sure to keep your left leg straight, slowly raise it about 30º. Hold the lift for 1 second, then lower it again. Repeat 15-20 times, and then repeat lying on the opposite side, raising your other leg. If you can do more than 15 repetitions easily, try placing an exercise band around your lower legs and lift the leg against the band, or try using ankle weights. Keep pelvis
rotated forward continually during the exercise in order to isolate the desired muscle.

MUSCLES WORKED: Abductors Reach
Be prepared for this exercise – It will work your inner and outer thighs in ways they have never
worked before!

THIGH TRIMMER

HOW TO DO IT: Stand straight with your hands on your hips, your head up and your feet placed slightly apart. Bend your right knee and take a large step out to the right until your right thigh is almost parallel to the floor. Be sure your right knee does not extend past your right ankle. Slowly drag your left foot inwards, pressing against the floor as you go to create resistance until your feet are almost together again and you have returned to a standing position. Repeat the action, this time leading with the left leg. For ultimate results, try to do 15-20 repetitions on each side.

MUSCLES WORKED: Quadriceps, Abductors, Adductors, Gluteals, Hamstring

Gillian Says
‘Variety is the name of the game when it comes to exercise. Cardiovascular work, such as running, cycling, walking, is great for improving heart function, getting the circulation flowing, burning calories and increasing feel good endorphins.
Weight bearing exercise strengthens muscles and bones. Stronger muscles lead to a faster metabolism even when you are not exercising.’

10 steps to fitness success

Boost your fitness plan with these 10 simple tips to really get you motivated and help you stay that way

Make the decision Believe it or not but most people tend to take around two years to decide to exercise. So break the mould and make it two minutes. List the reasons why you don’t exercise at the moment, then next to each one, write down how you can overcome the barriers – don’t leave any blanks
Do something you enjoy If it’s not fun for you, forget it. (That’s why half of all people starting a new exercise regime drop out within six months!) Think of some activities you’ll actually look forward to doing and when the enjoyment wears off, try some new ones.
Find time It won’t happen if you don’t plan for it by setting aside definite times dedicated to exercise. Put up a wall calendar and write your exercise plans for the week in big letters so everyone else in the family can see it as ‘ME’ time and won’t be tempted to interrupt you.
Create short-term goals Don’t lose heart by setting yourself unrealistic long-term goals. It’s good to have one final goal in mind, but create some instant short-term goals, too. For example: ‘This week I will walk for 25 minutes on two days and try power walking or jogging for the last 5 minutes.’
Focus on yourself Remember, everyone’s different so don’t compare yourself to others and their apparent ability to shape up and improve their fitness. They may, for example, have been fitter to start with.
You don’t have to be Superwoman It’s never too late to get into good habits, but ‘a journey of 1,000 miles must begin with a single step’. You only have to do 20 to 30 minutes of exercise three times a week to reap real helath benefits.
You’ll lose more fat than by healthy eating alone In a recent US study, one group of participants followed a low-fat diet alone, while another group combined a low-fat diet with an exercise plan. After four weeks the first group had only lost around 3% of fat, whereas the diet and exercise group’s fat loss was around 80%. So it really does add value. And the good news – the exercise was simply walking for 30 minutes 5 times each week.
Kick-start your metabolism If your weight loss has slowed down but you’re still following your diet and exercise regime religiously, boost your metabolism by trying to do the same routine for a longer time or more quickly. Tricking your body in this way will help kick-start your metabolism.
Give yourself a reminder Dig out your least favourite photograph of yourself looking big to remind you exactly why you started exercising in the first place. It might be painful but it’ll help keep you on track.
Look to the future Just imagine how fantastic you’ll feel once you’ve achieved what you set out to – and promise yourself a real treat, non-food, of course, when you make it happen.

Where’s that?

GLUTEALS: these are the muscles in your bottom
QUADRICEPS: these are the muscles in the front of your thighs
ADDUCTORS: these are the muscles in your inner thighs
ABDUCTORS: these are the muscles in your outer thighs
HAMSTRINGS: these are the muscles in the back of your thighs

Photos iStockphoto/Shutterstock

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