"How to tone your thighs", that's been the question on my mind this season as my skinny jeans keep getting tighter and tighter around my thighs.  {sigh}  Thank heaven Mandi, Trainer Momma, is back in our how to exercise series and giving us five simple steps to tone your thighs for shorts season. To briefly recap, we've already learned How To Eat Well and Feel Full Every Time, How To Work In a Good Workout With A Busy Life, and How to Eat Well and Get Control of Your Health.  Man it's been a great how to exercise series! {high fives} With warmer weather here (or hopefully on its way), it is time to break out with the shorts and the bathing suit. Sorry, I mentioned it. It should would be nice to have some legs that had a little less jiggle and a little less wiggle this summer, yes? An effective way of doing that is to strengthen and tone the leg muscles in your workouts.

Tone Your Thighs

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="226" caption="Photo credit: www.fotolia.com"]Step ups[/caption] I adore working on legs. Perhaps its because I personally have A LOT of leg to work with, but I throw these moves into nearly every workout I do. The leg muscles in general are larger and therefore they burn more calories when we strengthen them. They are our own built in calorie burners! Let’s get to know them a bit more intimately today: Quadriceps. Nickname is “quads”. Located on the front of the leg. Hamstrings. Nickname is “hams”. Located on the back of the leg. Gluteus Maximus. Nickname is “glutes”. This is your booty. Your backside. I’ll stop there.

Five simple steps to tone your thighs:

1. Eat well. Period. No workout can compensate for lousy eating. When you eat well, you will allow your body to shed the fat and let the muscles shine through. 2. Lunges. Deep lunges are fantastic when toning your quads, hams, and glutes. Step forward, leading with the heel. Step out nice and far, bending front and back knees. Then push off front foot (oof!) and come back to starting position. Do 15 lunges on your right leg, then 15 on your left. Repeat. Find a tutoral for lunges here. 3. Squats. Squats are a supreme quad and glute toner. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, toes facing forward, standing tall, chest open, hands on hips or down by your sides. Bend your knees, stick your booty WAAAAAY out, and squat down. Tada! Do 15-20 squats. Repeat. Find a tutorial for squats here. 4. Step Ups. Step ups are awesome for strengthening the glutes and quads. They are just what they sound like -- stepping up on an elevated surface. Start at a low level, then work your way up to a dining room chair or piano bench. Do 15 step ups on your right and left side. Repeat. Find a tutorial for step ups here. 5. Wall Sits. This is THE move for the quads. Don’t skip this one! Lean up against a wall with your feet shoulder width apart. Move your feet slightly in front of you. Sit down.? Keep your back on the wall and scoot your feet out if necessary so your knees stay behind your feet. ?Make a 90 degree angle with the legs. Imagine there is a chair there. Then just sit tight for a while! Hold the wall sit for 30 seconds - 1 minute. Repeat. Find a tutorial for wall sits here. You don’t need plastic surgery, new genetics, or expensive toning shoes to tone your lower half. Just be sure you use these five steps consistently and you will be well on your way to toning your thighs.

How To Exercise Series:

Step 1:  How to Eat Well and Get Control of Your Health Step 2:  How to Work in a Good Workout Step 3: How To Eat Well and Feel Full Every Time Step 4:  How To Tone Your Thighs Feel free to ask Mandi any fitness or exercise questions you might have!  You can leave your question in the comments or on the Tip Junkie Facebook page. IMG_2704_2Mandi Reading is the author of Trainer Momma at www.trainermomma.com, a fitness and nutrition site for busy women and their families. Trainer Momma dives head first into the nuts and bolts of effective exercise, and provides healthy recipes that you will actually want to eat, and endless ideas on how to work in the workout.  She is a fitness and nutrition writer, speaker, certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant specializing in weight management. Her favorite workouts include doing wind sprints to catch her three children, running stairs with armfuls of dirty laundry, and impatiently watching her core as expand as Baby #4 develops (due in the fall!).