Posted by: Susan | 2004/10/13


Hi there I was wondering if you could offer some advice. I go to gym 3 times a week where I do 30 minutes cardio and 30 minutes toning and then I run about 5km on Saturday and Sunday and yet I can't seem to tone my upper thighs (saddlebag area!!). The rest of my body is quite toned but have this real problem there, are there any exercises I can do to imporve this?

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Our expert says:
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Hi Susan

You are not alone, for what it's worth as consolation. Many many people, particularly women, have this problem, whereas men tend to struggle with the 'bentley belt' or beer belly. So, what you are fighting against is partly genetic, it's just the way we are designed, and unfortunately, you can be lean all over but for one area.

It is however possible to tone and lose fat, but very important to realise that you can't do on the thighs only. You have to aim for overall weight loss. You are probably thinking "not possible, I've got none to lose", but this is what you have to try. So, the principle is that you must do whatever you would normally do to burn fat. That means cardio training as you have. However, I would suggest two things. The first is to up the duration of the cardio to about 40 minutes. This can mean increasing the total training time to 70 minutes, or you can sacrifice some of the weight work on a couple of days a week, that's up to you. Increasing to 40 minutes means an extra hour a week and that could make the difference. The second change is to train a little more intensely on a few days a week. I don't think that you should go out and bust yourself up with a killer workout, but if you can take that 5km run, which let's assume takes around 30 minutes, and knock 2 minutes off that in the course of the next month, and maybe a minute off that in the month after, then the intensity will be higher and often this is important to help burn the fat. Don't do this everyday, just once of twice a week, and it should be OK.

I hope this helps

Oh, one last thing, diet is vital and you can train yourself to a standstill and see no results if your diet is not playing along, so have a good look at that too.

Good luck

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