Lots and lots of you ask me all about saddlebags and how to get rid of them!
Naturally, a lot of women (including myself!) store fat in their upper thighs, so I’m not surprised that these are such common questions.
I’ve written a lot about how to get lean legs, how to lose inner thigh fat, how to slim calves and how to reduce thigh muscles. So, it’s safe to say, I’m very familiar with the issues women have when it comes to their lower body. And I’m glad that I can answer your questions about saddlebags, too!
We all store fat differently! Some women are more prone to gaining weight in their stomach, while others might gain more in their upper thighs and butt.
In general, most women say that they tend to gain weight in their lower abdomen and upper thighs.
But why are some women more likely to have saddlebags than the others?
Your saddlebags could be the result of a few different reasons, including:
Sitting all day and not using your lower back and butt muscles can lead to muscle atrophy.
When your butt muscles are underused or underactive, the area becomes softer and extra fat can fall out to the side. This can cause your butt to sag and lose its perkiness. For some women, this can lead to saddlebags.
Hormonal imbalances can cause women to gain and lose weight in certain areas.
Estrogen seems to have a big effect on the accumulation of fat in the thigh area area. So, even though you may not have much extra weight on other parts of your body, estrogen may cause you to be more prone to developing saddlebags.
I’ve had my own share of experiences with hormonal imbalances. If you suspect that you might have a hormonal imbalance, I suggest going to the doctor and a naturopath.
They can do different tests to give you a good understanding of what’s happening with your body.
For many women, saddlebags are just genetic. Look at your mom or grandma. If they have saddlebags, there is a good chance you will have them too.
But even though genetics
Every woman’s body is different, but there are things you can do to feel healthier overall and to reduce the appearance of your saddlebags!
Remember, it is impossible to spot reduce. We can’t tell our bodies where we want the fat to go (unfortunately!). This means that you can’t do a bunch of squats and expect that fat melts away from your thighs. Similarly, you can’t do crunches to lose fat in your stomach.
But you can lower your body weight, which can reduce the appearance of saddlebags, and you can tone your lower body to make it look more shapely.
Yes, running should help your saddlebags by reducing your overall body weight. Running helps you burn a lot of calories and it improves your cardiovascular fitness which also increases your anaerobic threshold.
That basically means that if you run regularly and build your stamina, you’ll be able to stay in the“fat-burning” zone (aerobic zone) for longer. And the longer you stay in the aerobic zone, the more fat your body will burn!
I have a very detailed blog post where I explain all about aerobic and aerobic types of workouts and how to lean out your legs with cardio.
I typically suggest that you try to pair running with regular walking too. Walking is less intense than running and burns fewer calories. But, when you walk, your body uses fat as an energy source.
You can learn more about the benefits of walking and running here.
Squats and other lower-body resistance training can be really helpful for saddlebags. These exercises won’t make your fat just disappear (cardio is better at burning fat!), but they will help your butt look perky and toned.
Any type of resistance training is going to tone your muscles and speed up your resting metabolic rate. The faster your metabolism is, the faster your body will burn thorugh the calories and you’ll be less likely to store fat.
Since one of the main causes of saddlebags is muscle atrophy, doing these exercises can really help you build muscle that’s needed to keep your butt and upper thighs tight and toned.
If you don’t mind building your quads (thigh muscles), go for it, girl!
But I know that some women actually have issues with building their thigh muscles. And I also know that certain body types are more likely to build (too much) muscles.
And what’s exactly “too much muscle”?
Well, it’s a personal preference – what may be too much muscle, might be just perfect for your friend. So yeah, “too muscular” is really subjective and only you can decide if something is too much for you.
But, if you already know that you don’t want to make your thighs bigger and you know that squads bulk up your quads, I’ll tell you EXACTLY how to get rid of the saddlebags without building too much thigh muscle.
Saddlebags, as I mentioned, can come from many different reasons. In order to really help your saddlebags, you need to do a few different things for them.
So, first of all, I would advise you to lose extra body fat. As I mentioned, you cannot spot reduce fat so if you want to lose saddlebag fat, losing overall body fat will help. And if you need to lose body fat, you’ll need to adjust your diet and start doing effective cardio.
Also, you should do some kind of resistance training. This will help you tone your legs and butt and reduce your saddlebags.
Clean eating is all about eating food in its most natural state. Try to limit processed foods, especially ones that are full of sugar or unhealthy fats.
I also avoid alcohol, sugary drinks (including refined fruit juice), white bread, and fast food. You can read more about what I do to eat clean here.
Clean eating will help you stay full, keep your calories lower, and give you the nutrients your body needs. It can also help you regulate your hormones, as processed foods and gut problems can contribute to hormonal imbalances.
Clean eating on its own probably won’t make your saddlebags disappear, but it’s definitely a very important step in the right direction.
If you have extra body weight, reducing your caloric intake will help your body lose weight all over, including in your thighs.
I suggest that you try eating at a slight caloric deficit. In other words, eat less than the calories you burn over the day. This is how I calculate how many calories I need.
However, be sure to eat enough!
Everybody needs carbohydrates, fat, and protein to function properly. But different body types need different amounts of these macronutrients to look and feel good!
There are three main body types, and each one should be eating differently. Here’s what I recommend:
As I mentioned already, low-intensity cardio is great for burning
I love walking, and I’ve seen it make a huge difference in slimming my thighs! :) And my Lean Legs girls also tell me how effective it is for them!
Check out the results!
Endomorphs and mesomorphs need more cardio. I suggest 5-6 times a week of walking and running.
Ectomorphs, if you have saddlebags, it is probably because you are skinny fat and need to tone your muscles. You should still get cardio in (around 3 times a week), but resistance training will probably help you more! :)
If you want to improve the look of your lower body, resistance training is going to be extremely important! It will help lift your thighs and butt and give you a nicely shaped figure!
When you’re doing lower body exercises, make sure that you’re engaging your butt and thigh muscles to combat that muscle atrophy!
Do resistance training 3-4 times a week for best results!
If you want to develop more muscle, weights
But, if you want a leaner look, these are my favourite lower body workouts that will help you get rid of saddlebags:
You can also check out my Instagram post for even more exercises to help you reach your goals and slim and tone your saddlebags. :)
Some of you ladies might be doing all of this. You’re eating clean and exercising but without much luck. Your saddlebags are still there.
If your saddlebags are really apparent and they just won’t go away, I suggest you really look into your hormone balance for the sake of your confidence and your health!
Try reading this blog post for some hormone issues that can be causing stubborn fat!
Hard work pays off! If you eat well, exercise, and make sure your hormones are balanced, I believe you will see an improvement to your saddlebags!
As always, feel free to ask me any questions! :)
Love Rachael xx