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Exercise and Fitness

Fat thighs despite workouts

10/10/2002

Question:

I am an almost 40 female. Last winter wasn`t great for consistent work outs, busy family plus was sick a lot. Since July I have been pretty faithfully doing our Nordic Track for 20-25 minutes followed by some weight exercises with 3 pound weights. Total workout takes about an hour, including cool down. I have been doing that 3 - 4 times per week. My upper body -- back, arms, are looking better, more sculpted. But my thighs are getting bigger, not smaller! Now that cooler weather is here my jeans are hard to get up and are tight around the thighs. Is this just temporary as muscle and fat vie for space and hopefully muscle replaces fat? I am very frustrated also because I have gained a couple of pounds. So do I keep it up and the thighs will go down or what?

Answer:

Congratulations on your fitness routine. Do you have access to any other cardiovascular conditioning equipment or options besides the Nordic Track? You are gaining muscle mass, which is good for overall health and fitness. However, some folks alternate cardiovascular conditioning (to even include swimming, if available) to not work the legs so hard. Many times, as like in your case, folks do not want to buy new clothes to accommodate the change. The weight gain is expected as muscle weighs more than fat. Again, this is good. It comes down to a personal preference and what you feel good at. Don`t cut out the cardiovascular component since it is so important for heart and lung health, in addition to weight management. I would recommend switching things around a bit to see if you can obtain the desired result. 

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Response by:

Carolyn   Nickol, RD, MEd Carolyn Nickol, RD, MEd
Director
Fitness Center at CARE\Crawley
University of Cincinnati