Full hips and thick thighs have always been prized in the black community, but that doesn’t stop a woman from looking in the mirror and wishing she had that Beyoncé thigh gap or a little less jiggle. There’s no one exercise that can give you award-winning thighs—for the fifty-leventh time: Spot reducing fat doesn’t work—but here’s what can help:
- Get in that cardio. Burning calories is the way to reduce overall body fat, and heart-thumping cardio is the fastest way to do that. Select cardio that burns the most calories, such as biking, jumping rope and running, and squeeze in hour-long sessions five times a week to notice a real difference. Bonus: These activities also tone your legs while you’re doing them.
- Make time to tone. All that calorie- and fat-burning cardio you’re doing will reveal strong muscles. Adding moves that sculpt your inner and outer thighs, hamstrings and booty will make your legs look leaner and slimmer. Include a few strength-training sessions that target your lower body each week. Give that 30-day squat challenge a go!
- Do it on a hill. It being cardio. Tackle some hills during your run, pump up the treadmill’s incline or run stairs at the local high school football stadium. You’ll notice the heart-rate increase right away, which means you’re working harder and burning more calories than if you exercise on a flat surface. An incline also targets the butt, hamstrings and thighs.
- Stay hydrated. Save hundreds of calories by sipping water instead of sodas, fruit juices and other sugar-sweetened beverages. It keeps you hydrated and encourages portion control, both of which help with weight loss.
- Celebrate your genes. If a pear-shaped body has been passed down through the generations in your family (your grandmother, mother, aunts and sisters have one, too), there’s not a whole lot exercise and eating right can change. Stay active and eat well, but don’t obsess about it. Love the body you were given—thick thighs and all!