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.
I know how problematic these areas are to slim down, so I’m glad that I can answer your questions about saddlebags, too! Let’s get right into it!
WHY DO I HAVE SADDLEBAGS?
We all store fat differently! Some women are more prone to gaining weight in their stomach area, 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 others?
Your saddlebags could be the result of a few different reasons, including:
1. MUSCLE ATROPHY
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.
2. HORMONAL IMBALANCE
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. 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 and they can help you be as healthy as possible.
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 play a big role, that doesn’t mean that you can’t reduce saddlebags. Diet and exercise can make a difference!
IS IT POSSIBLE TO GET RID OF SADDLEBAGS?
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.
DOES RUNNING HELP WITH SADDLEBAGS?
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.
WILL SQUATS HELP MY SADDLEBAGS?
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.
BUT WHAT IF SQUATS MAKE MY THIGHS BIGGER?
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.
If you’re not sure what your body type is and how to work out to get the best results, check out my quiz below!
WANT TO KNOW YOUR BODY TYPE?
We’ve Created A Quiz To Help You Determine Your Body Type!
- It’s FREE
- Takes Only 2 Minutes To Complete
- You’ll Get 3 Workout & 3 Nutrition Tips For YOUR Body Type
You might be wondering now what’s exactly “too much muscle”?
Well, it’s a personal preference – what may be too much muscle for you, 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. We’re all different and we can all have different body goals.
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.
SO, WHAT SHOULD I DO FOR MY SADDLEBAGS?
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.
My Lean Legs Program 1 is an 8-week resistance training program which will help you get right on track to lean your saddlebags and legs.
ADJUSTING YOUR DIET FOR GETTING RID OF 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.
LOWER YOUR CALORIES
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! You calorie deficit should be between 200-500 calories. If you try eating less than 1500 calories per day, you’ll just damage your metabolism and slow down your weight loss.
ADJUST YOUR MACROS FOR YOUR BODY TYPE
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:
- Ectomorphs should eat 40-50% carbohydrates, 30-35% fat, and 20-25% protein.
- Mesomorphs should eat 35-40% carbohydrates, 30% fat, and 30-35% protein.
- Endomorphs should eat 20-25% carbohydrates, 45-50% fat, and 30% protein.
If you don’t know your body type already, be sure to take my free body type quiz. Knowing your body type will help you understand how you should be eating and exercising for lean legs!
ADJUSTING YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE TO GET RID OF SADDLEBAGS
DO MORE CARDIO!
As I mentioned already, low-intensity cardio is great for burning fat, and lowering your body weight. You need all of this to lose the saddlebags.
WALKING AND RUNNING TIPS:
- Walking (as a low-intensity cardio workout) burns fat and calories!
- The longer you walk, the more fat your body will burn.
- Running helps your body burn A LOT of calories and increases your anaerobic threshold.
- Try fasted cardio. This can be an excellent way to lose extra fat.
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!
YOUR BODY TYPE AND CARDIO
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! :)
MAKE SURE YOU’RE DOING RESISTANCE TRAINING
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!
Bodyweight exercises and weights will both help make a difference for your saddlebags. I prefer to use my body weight or very low weights because they keep me from getting too bulky.
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!
THE BEST WORKOUTS FOR SADDLEBAGS
If you want to develop more muscle, weights and workouts like squats and lunges will help you achieve that.
But, if you want a leaner look, these are my favourite lower body workouts that will help you get rid of saddlebags:
- Inner and outer thigh workout (for lean legs)
- Outer thigh workout
- Best thigh slimming workout – inner and outer thighs
Combine these workouts with full-body workouts for even better results. I suggest this full-body workout and this workout for a lean look.
You can also check out my Instagram for even more exercises to help you reach your goals and slim and tone your saddlebags (as well as any other area of your body you might be struggling with). :)
View this post on Instagram
I EAT HEALTHY AND WORK OUT REGULARLY BUT I STILL HAVE 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!
SEEING RESULTS FOR YOUR SADDLEBAGS
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!
Remember to do your cardio, don’t skip on resistance training and eat as healthy as possible!
As always, feel free to ask me any questions! :)
Love Rachael xx
Hii, I am suffering for saddlebag problem .I do exercise everyday, eat healthy food..but still cant help me…how can i contact you..??
Hey lovely! You can’t really spot-reduce so inorder for you to lose fat in specific areas, you’ll need to lose weight overall. You can do this by following the right type of cardio and resistance workouts for your body type and eating at a calorie deficit. :)
Hey Rachael! I’m unable to purchase your Lean Leg Program right now so if I use your lean legs challenge and other free programs of yours, will I still get great results? Thank you!
Hey lovely! Yes, you can. What’s important is that you follow the right type of workouts and diet for your body type. :)
Hii.. I am mesomorph.. Only my lower body is bulky and have saddlebag so if I do your lean leg program, will my saddlebag and entire lower body get Slim?
Hi lovely! Yes, definitely :) ️The Lean Legs Program is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking. It will help you lose thigh fat and tone your legs without adding unwanted bulkiness. It was designed specifically for girls who are struggling to slim down overall and especially their legs. :)
Hi Rachael, I have your video Lean Legs Program. If I followed that and walked on alternative days, would that help with my saddlebags?
Hi lovely! Definitely. If you’re a beginner on exercising then power walking on alternate days is a great start but once you get used to it, you can power walk 5-6x a week. We usually recommend that you aim for 7000-10,000 steps a day but you can still cut back. Can’t wait to see your progress! If you any concerns, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org :)
I want to reduce my saddlebags , plzz help me to reduce
Spot-reducing isn’t really possible so if you want to lose fat in certain areas of your body, you’ll need to lose weight overall. If this is your goal, there are 3 steps you should follow – do the right type of cardio, do bodyweight resistance training and adjust your diet for weight loss.
I have a very detailed blog post that will help you learn how to slim down your legs so please go give it a read.
It will definitely help! :)
Hi! Rachel. I’m 21 yr old, 5′ 8″ tall and weigh 145 lb. I am not really bulky as I’ve never been to gym. But my thighs have big saddle bags which don’t seem to go away. For some situations, I can’t go out for walk and I don’t have treadmill. Can u recommend me any type of cardio suitable for me as I wanna lose thigh fat? I know i need clean diet, cardio and some resistance training and to lose overall weight. I’m eating clean and losing some weight these days but I am not losing the thigh fat. Thank you so much for the information on your blog.
Spot-reduction isn’t really possible so if you want to lose fat in certain areas of your body, you’ll need to lose weight overall. Power walking is one of the best types of cardio that could help you slim down without any bulkiness but if you can’t walk outside or use a treadmill, I suggest that you follow Rachael’s at-home cardio videos. :)
Thanks so much for this information. Really helpful! I’m wondering if an air bike can be a good cardio substitute for running? You mention running being great for calorie burn and building anerobic stamina, just wondering if an air bike can do the same thing?
If you are an endomorph, then using the Air Bike will most likely make your legs bigger so I would avoid it completely.
If you are a mesomorph, you may or may not be able to get away with it. Some mesomorphs are OK with using it, while others aren’t. However, either way, I would still only do it 1-2 times per week maximum because overdoing it with cycling will most likely make your legs bigger.
If you don’t know your body type, you can take Rachael’s Body Type Quiz. It’s completely free and it will help you learn your body type in just 2 minutes :)
is it better to do one of the three saddlebag workouts per day and alternate between them throughout the week, or do them all the same day three times a week? what is recommended?
You can do them alternately throughout the week. Aside from these workouts, you should also follow full-body workouts and the right type of diet for your body type. Feel free to take Rachael’s body type quiz and email the results to email@example.com so we can give some general guidelines. :)
does walking on an incline bulk up legs or slim them down? for an endomorphic body type.
Walking on an incline will engage your quads a lot which, in turn, can make your legs bigger especially if you are an endomorph. We recommend doing your power walks on a flat surface to avoid any unwanted bulkiness. :)
I am 5ft 4 inch’s tall and i weigh 132 pounds. I have the worse saddlebags. I do sit all day and it is herritery. Recently I was working at a grocery store standing and walking all day and I noticed they went away lost up tp 10 lbs . But I am back in an office now and although I am doing squats and lunges running nothing seems to be working .
Thanks for reaching out! <3
If your goal is to get rid of saddlebags and slim down your leg, there are 3 steps you should follow - do the right type of cardio, do bodyweight resistance training, and adjust your diet for weight loss (eating at a calorie deficit).
I have a very detailed blog post that will help you learn how to slim down your legs so please go give it a read. :)
Also, it is important that you follow the right type of diet and workouts for you. Feel free to take Rachael’s Body Type Quiz to know yours.
Although squats are good for burning calories and reducing saddlebags, it can cause unwanted bulkiness so if that’s not your goal, I suggest you avoid them.
If you need more help or tips, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am interested in 3 ways to lean legs programme. My body type is endomorphs. Can you please advise:
– how much time a day I would need to dedicate to this programme in order to see results? How long is the programme for?
– what type of activity /advice the programme covers? The reason I am asking is that I cannot swim and I will not be able to walk 90 min a day (due to time constraints). Unfortunately I’ve been working from home (8 months) during the pandemic and my thighs have become bigger. I want to lose saddlebags & bulkiness of legs and I need advice whether the programme covers enough activity at home to see its effectiveness. I understand running is not a good idea?
Thanks for reaching out :)
The Program has three components: cardio (power walking), resistance training, and guidelines for body type-specific nutrition. It takes 8 weeks to complete and combining all three components and following the Program as closely as possible would surely get you results :)
Walking usually takes up around 40 minutes per day (depends on your speed) and the resistance workouts last 20-40 minutes, so I don’t think it would take you more than an hour and a half per day to finish it all. You can walk at home if you have a treadmill or outside or even go to a gym, and you don’t have to do both the resistance workout and cardio (walking) at once, you can adjust it to you and your schedule :)
If you are unable to go outside to do cardio for some reason, I have a boxing cardio workout that you can do at home but note that walking is the best thing to slim down your legs and it can’t be substituted with anything.
As for running, some endomorphs tend to bulk up if they do, but if you want to try it be sure to keep track of your results.
If you have any other questions, you can always write at email@example.com, we’ll be happy to help you :)
Maam i am an endomorph and do have saddlebags will this your plan help me to get rid of it?
The 3 Steps To Lean Legs Program is designed to help you get lean and toned legs without bulking so it will definitely help with ‘saddlebags’. It will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body). It is body type-specific which means that you will be able to follow the right type of exercises and nutrition plan for your body type in order to achieve great results. :)
If you have more questions about the program, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
How could a skinny person loose saddlebags who does not want to look more skinny but wants lower body to be slim??
Hi lovely <3
Make sure that you are doing resistance training and cardio. As for calories, make sure that you are consuming as many calories are you are burning. This will allow you to stay at the same weight :)
I hope this helps! xx
Hi, I’m just wondering if there is a day that I can’t do the workout set, can I do it the next day with whatever workout is planned for that day? For example, if I couldn’t fit in my run on Thursday can I do the run and resistance workout on the Friday?
The day that you cannot do your workout set, you can use as your rest day :) Rest days are super important because they allow the body to recover. Then just continue your workouts the next day.
I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any questions!