OMG My Thighs Are Getting HUGE!

“Krista…”

My mom called me up the other day, noticeable worry in her voice.

“I have a problem.”

My mom then explained how after nearly five months of doing some type of resistance training four or five days a week, she was starting to notice her thighs getting bigger.

“And that wasn’t exactly the goal,” she said, obviously freaking out a little.

“Calm down,” I said. “Tell me exactly what’s happening.”

“Well,” she went on, “my waist is getting smaller and firmer, but my thighs are GROWING. It’s getting harder and harder to fit into my pants!”

I laughed, and proceeded to explain.

Here’s what happens when you begin a new exercise program:

You start to lose weight and gain strength almost immediately. This makes you happy and motivates you to keep exercising.

Then you hit your first plateau. Your strength and endurance gains start to slow, and you stop shedding the pounds as quickly as you were in the beginning.

And then… here’s the scary part for women… often certain body parts start getting BIGGER. Your thighs grow, and you may have a harder time fitting in those skinny jeans you bought six months ago, not because you’re getting fatter, just because you’re getting… bigger.

(Of course, if you’re working all of your muscles equally, this happens with all parts of your body, it’s just most noticeable on your thighs, arms and shoulders.)

This scares the crap out of most women. I’ll admit, back when I was first experimenting with weights, I got so scared when my thighs started to expand that I actually stopped working out.

“Lunges and squats make my thighs too big,” I told my trainer in high school, and stubbornly refused to do them.

I saw this same scenario with many of my own clients as a personal trainer—they were all ready to quit as soon as they felt their thighs getting closer together. The women, at least.

(This happens to men, too, it just bothers them less.)

But here’s the thing, females (and overly concerned men)…

Resistance training is good for you.

When you reach this phase in your training where you start to feel a little… bigger… that means you’re putting on muscle. And you know what muscle does? BURNS CALORIES!

“But I don’t want to stay that way forever!” You say (and my mom says).

Here’s my promise to you: you won’t.

Because you know what happens after you put on muscle and stick out your training for a little while?

You lose the layer. Yes, that layer of fat over your beautiful, shapely muscles—the layer that causes your clothes to not fit right, that embarrasses you in a swimsuit, that creates unsightly cellulite… that layer disappears.

So Mom, and everyone else out there… just stick it out. It’ll all be worth it in the end.

Image credit: Greatpapa

57 thoughts on “OMG My Thighs Are Getting HUGE!”

  1. I have this very same problem. but I am worried because I started training hard in june. I feel like I should be past this stage! Is there a time period after which you should start worrying?

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  2. Oh thank god! I’ve been lifting and doing lots of your workouts for the past couple of months and all my pants and some shirts are tighter! I was really starting to freak out. I”m trying to cut back on the calories a bit to help ignite the fat shedding and will keep increasing my intensity with the workouts. Phew, what a relief to read this! I was so confused! 🙂

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  3. Hello, so I did HIIT for a few weeks a while back and I noticed that my stomach was getting smaller and tighter.. But.. I felt like my legs were getting more bulky and muscular. This is not what I want because I already have pretty muscular thighs to begin with. So I was just wondering if you could help me out because I’ve been struggling lately!
    Thank you!

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  4. Happy I read this! I’m about 6’1 and currently 162. I eat well & take amazing supplements but working out was never my thing until about 2-3 months ago. I have noticed, and so have others, that my arms and back are sculpted and getting more tone. My lower half seems to be improving (butt lifted more) except for by thighs. I consider myself pear shaped in that area. My things seem to be getting bigger! and the cellulite won’t go away 🙁 I’m going on vacation in 4 weeks and was hoping my things would be in shape to wear shorts. I thought lunges and squats would help but I seem to be getting bigger. Any suggestions are appreciated.

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  5. Thank you for the information, will calm down now. It seams I have hit this very scary period and was wondering if all those efforts were actually screwing up my figure. Very useful!

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  6. holy shit thank YOU! i was freaking out a little. i just took some time off from running and started doing more strength and plyo work. i got tired of being another exhausted, weak athlete.
    but i’m freaking out because as my strength is soaring, my thighs are are getting all crazy on me. wtf. i had no idea this was a ‘thing’ so thank you. i was about to pull a crazy and stop working out and go low carb. LOL hell no.

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  7. I’ve been working out for over two years now … i used to run long distance at 6mph-8mph for 40mins-1hr for the first year but then changed to intervals (30:30secas for 30mins) at 5.5mph and 10 mph…. I also did like Kayla Itsines Bikini Body guide, Body Shred Program, pilates, jump rope etc – I even have a personal trainer! But my legs have not slimmed down! They just get more muscular&bigger – the fats still there!! I think my diet’s pretty good too (fish, quinoa, avocado, eggs, spinach, greek yogurt etc. very low carb) but I’m not getting as lean as I want!!! My clothes feel tighter too! sometimea my weight fluctuates like 3-4kgs and takes forever to go back down. Any suggestions?

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  8. im skinny and have skinny legs ism teying to get them bigg and miscular and more shape in my body but when i workout ill start to get big then when i stop for a weeek i just lose it all and i go back to having skinny legs will this workout keep ny legs big

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    • Maybe change up your diet, I know you are probably used to low carb, keto diet but you should give high carb low fat diet a go, the body needs carbs to move and ketosis puts a lot of pressure on your metabolism, so your body is probably storing fat as it is being stressed for lack of complex carbs. Eat early most of your calories and give your body the macro (and micro) nutrients it needs

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  9. that actually sucks!!! i’ve always WANTED bigger, thicker thighs. i think mine are wayyy too skinny and i hate them. i started doing squats & other things to make my thighs bigger, but now i know that it won’t last :/ i kind of don’t want to lose that layer of fat! for me, (the right kind of) thickness is GOOD!!

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    • I hate hate hate my thighs. I’m only 5ft and weigh 130 lbs because I am naturally muscular (23 ich waist, 23 inch thighs) My dad was a sprinter/pole vaulter and my mother was called thunder thighs at school so I have muscle and fat from both sides. I used to be anorexic and I’m really struggling with being a good 12kg heavier than I used to be since eating normally. The second I exercise (and I can do *7 hours* of cardio in a session) I get bigger and heavier. My shorts wont fit suddenly when they did a few days ago. Being so short, the size of my thighs stands out, as they are about the same size as my entire upper body. My quads stick out from the top of my hip to my knee and hamstrings stick out at the back, which just looks bulky and awkward. My shorts and skirts keep riding up my ass, tights are stretched around the thigh and saggy at the knee. I hate catching myself in the mirror side-on because I am just made of thighs. Freaking wish I had smaller legs so I can wear cute clothes. I don’t even lift but I look like I do!

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  10. Stop squatting you will not slim thighs with this method esp if you are a mesomorph shape or a pear shape.Honestly Callanetics is great for slimming thighs just look at Callans legs and her students.Do not over stress the middle quad , inner and outer thigh needs more focus.I never found squats any good for backside , just built up my thighs and made me look shorter and wider.Squats suit ectomorph shapes and those with long legs and tall height .A woman under five six with short thighs will look worse with resistance training in the form of weighted squats and lunges.You also need to stretch a lot and hold stretches for 50 100 seconds .

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    • Of course! I agree wirh you! That is why I stay away from the squad and lunges that make my thigh look bulky. The best way to slim down the upper thighs is a lot of walking, steady pace cycling, and callanetics. Callanetixs and Pilates are good workout too. Also make sure to eat foods that are high in potassium that will help to get rid of toxin and sodium from the upper thighs.

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  11. This is exactly what’s happened to me!! I hit my plateau this year & I noticed I feel my thighs are bigger! I am on a powerlifting programme – so keep perservering seems to be the consensus

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  12. Thanks for the tip, I really hope this is true as I have run into the same problem. I have been doing all of Julian Michaels workouts as well as the 30 day shred level 1,2, and 3 for about a year now. Now that I have found out that it is bad to repeat workouts over a long period of time, I obviously need to switch it up a bit! However, does anyone have first hand experience of this “weight falling off to reveal muscle miracle”?! Hasn’t happened for me yet

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  13. It happened to me, I did workout for 5 days at home and my thigh is getting bigger and my butt is getting smaller(there is a concave part) on it. Should I stop my workout? What should I do know,

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    • It happened to me, I did workout for 5 days at home and my thigh is getting bigger and my butt is getting smaller(there is a concave part) on it. Should I stop my workout? What should I do, now?

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  14. I have this same problem but I don’t think it is ‘the same’ problem. my thighs got bigger close my knee and it is hard, looks like a muscle! But here is the crazy part that freaks me out and I don’t know why: it happened after 1 week (3times) of a 30 minute high intensity workout program. is this a problem?! I just started exercising.

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  15. i’m doing the famous BBG and am on week 5. Today I noticed that my thighs are actually touching when I walk, and it is really freaky. Is it normal? will it go away if I continue working out?

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  16. Totally flipped out right now! I’m a middle aged runner/swimmer. I added some HITT to get ready for a beach vacation. Well here I am on vacation and all of my shorts are tight. I’m going to keep it up and hope to get over this large hump

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  17. I am just finishing up week 4 of BBG and I am also noticing my pants are feeling tighter and it is confusing because I have been eating well and being consistent with my workout. Before Christmas I did 11 weeks of BBG and I trust me it does work. I slimmed down but also felt bigger before I noticed a change. For me adding extra cardio (running) helps the process. It is so easy to feel discouraged though!

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    • Hi Amelia! I believe there’s nothing to be afraid of. If you feel that cardio helps you, do that! You’re on the right way. 🙂

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  18. Please i need help I’m 16 and i I’m well built above buh i have slim thighs and flat butt …i actually don’t have the genes and i want to build it up naturally without any artificial method,I’ve been crying because of this…please give me hope

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    • Hi! Focus a lot on lower body exercises, like squats, pistol squats if you can do them, lunges, walking lunges, bridges and other. It all takes time, so be patient!

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  19. Same thing with me. Am a jogger, and l jog atleast 5km a day, and for the first months, l toned down, then l changed my intensity then now l have bigger thighs and it bugs me a log. My pants feel tighter and hence l feel fat. But l wont stop, jogging, cant but been working more now on my upper body. An reduced calories

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  20. I am truley concerned as well as I was 170lbs and 5’6. I started the anna victoria fit body guide 12 week plan and lost 10lbs by week 6 but then i gained 5 back and ive noticed i have bigger thighs now and i am not loosing much weight anymore. Its week 12 now and im almost done the program but I am not happy with my results. What should I do and when will i start loosing weight, especially from my thighs!

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  21. This is happening to me as well….sigh…I started getting in the gym regularly about 3 years ago, I shedded 50lbs in a little over a year, & I got down to 120lbs and a size 1/2 (I’m 5ft9 but very small framed and was always naturally thin my whole life until that one little time when I got heavy after an injury) so I have maintained my weight loss for over 2 years now and I’m continuing to go to the gym about 5 times a week. Just lately I’ve noticed my pants are tight in my thighs, butt & hips (I’ve NEVER had a butt, so I kinda like the muscle there lol) but I’m not digging the tightness of my clothes in my pants in my thigh area (hard to find pants to fit when your waist is small) lol & then my arms are super toned and so is my upper back & now my shirts fit tighter in the sleeves but loose everywhere else. How do I lean this out? I don’t want to be bulky. I eat a fairly healthy diet, I get my daily protein, drink tons of water, but I prefer myself ‘skinny fit’ rather than muscle popping out stretching out clothes and bulky. I’m trying to up my cardio daily, and do less strength training. Any other suggestions? So glad I found this article!!

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  22. This is happening to me and the worse part is my right thigh is becoming noticeably bigger… And they are rubbing together… This makes me really uncomfortable

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  23. Not sure if you all have noticed all the comments but a LOT of women (especially pear shapes) are not getting good results with lifting heavy weights. Not even when they “hang in there.”

    Women have higher body fat percentage than men and fat does not “turn into” muscle. It sits on top of the muscle you’re building. And you cannot spot reduce so if you tend to hold fat in our butt and thighs even when you are at your most slim and you lift heavy you ARE going to get bigger down there and even a deprivation diet won’t help you (which is no way to live anyway.)

    Also, a pound of fat burns about 2 calories whereas a pound of muscle burns I believe 4 or 5. That’s virtually insignificant. If you put on 10 lbs of muscle (which would be quite a lot of muscle gain for a woman) you’e only burning 30 more calories a day – not enough to make any real difference to your metabolism.

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  24. i started 21 day Fix program. After 5 days my thighs got bigger so with my calves. I’m in week 2 now:( help please!!!!! I really don’t like huge thighs and big calves im only 5ft tall. I look even shorter now. It feels devastating. :'(

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  25. Been doing crossfit for almost 10 months now. Strength has really improved, upper body has really improved. Lower body is in a world of its own!!! what more should i do to reduce just 2 inches off my lower hips??? I am 170cm tall female..

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  26. For those looking for a solution, I’d like to offer my perspective….
    I am a model. As a model besides being tall and thin, I’m also suppose to be tight. Even slim women can suffer from a tiny pooch, flimsy love handles, saggy/lacking butt…. you get my point. Now, most of you may not want to look like a model, just a fit woman, but you don’t want to look disproportionate either. You trained hard for this! For most models, when talking to the average fitness guru they repeat over and over, that WOMEN CAN’T BULK UP. Well, I’m here to tell you WE CAN! Sure, we may not end up like The Rock, but our biceps may grow, your could be larger, and I see many women lose their waist and look like a board on the sides. None of this is necessary. Talking to trainers who specialize with models, here are a few tips…
    1. Avoid regular squats. They bulk up the front of your thighs. It only takes 5 days to build muscle, and no where gains muscle faster than the lower body on women. I’ve been instructed to do sumo squats instead, which are pretty much ballet plies. Just remember to stick your butt out for the exercise to be effective like regular squats. I still do lunges, but I don’t use any weights, only body resistance. If your serious, I would stop doing weights withe the lower body, maybe limit to resistance bands, and no sprinting, You can probably assess by yourself how much of an issue this is for you.
    2. Do the same moves, but high reps and using body weights, instead of few reps and heavy weights. You are strong! You will build larger muscles if you use larger weights!
    3. Remember to watch your diet so the fat can melt off. Some helpful tactics, are diets with lots of protein and vegetables, avoiding junk food, bread, and dairy. I don’t have an issue with these food groups, but they always help me when losing weight. I also eat fruit quite a bit, so I limited it to one or two a day, and none later in the day.
    4. Popular exercises for women who want to be long, lean, and toned but not bulky include Pilates, kickboxing, jump roping. and circuits. The best, for a model, would be circuits that are designed for a model, lie the methodology x program. But another program, that’ fast, makes you sweat, and only uses body resistance will help too.
    Good luck!

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  27. Maybe I can offer some advise to calm the freak out effect that everyone is having. I am 5’1″ and 42 years old. I been working out with heavy weights for almost a year now. When I started I weighed in at a wopping 151lbs, for us short people this is pretty heavy. 3 months in I lost 30 lbs and went down 2 sizes. But I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted because that 2 sizes only put me back to the size I been almost all my life. I couldn’t figure out why I still had this layer of fat and I knew under there somewhere was that lean muscle that I have been working on. Then it hit me… I was spending more time lifting than doing cardio. I then started doing a full hour of cardio every other work out and a 15 min cardio after heavy lifting days (about every other day). When I tell you that the weight starting falling off I mean literally it started falling off. I dropped 2 more sizes in the waist with in a month, and could see definition. As far as bulking, if you want a nice round butt it is natural to have the pants fit a little tighter through the hips, thighs and back side, but cardio is what keeps the midsection toned, flat and lean. I have completely changed my body shape and even had to changed the type of jeans I wear to what I call “Butt Jeans” lol. You can go onto Amazon and type in “Butt Jeans” and find lots of jeans that will fit this now beautifully transformed hot body you have worked so hard for… Diet plays another part as well. I can’t stress enough, STAY AWAY from Sugars Period! Good fats such as alvacado and nuts are good only in moderation because they can keep you from shedding that fat away at a steady pace. I intermediate fast every other month to keep my metabolism moving! So go get em’ girls!

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  28. Thank you, I was really getting sad. Usually I can drop and see a difference with just a little discipline in my diet, I always work out. But this time I really wanted a forever change with serious muscle definition, and of course I got bigger. On about week 8 and just want to cry. Had my pity party trail mix, but after reading this, I’ll get back on track in the morning. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  29. I am having the same problem but Mixed Fit here I come 9 am today 11 am sum and mon 7pm. I will not and can not quit the devil is a lie.. I am going to add more cardio dancing and a Hit class In it to win 9t ot

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  30. I’m 11 years old and I think I’m fat, but everyone says I’m not, I’ve been trying to starve myself to get skinnier, I’ve also been doing wall sits and pushups, but what I don’t understand is that my legs have gotten bigger, I just want to be as skinny as my friends at school. Do you have any advice for me?

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  31. I’m only 15 and wanting bigger butt wider hips and toned thighs😂 im 5’3 108 pounds in trying to eat more to becuase im only a teen and you still growing. I’ve been doing my leg routine it’s the usual 1- Squats 2- inner squats 3- lunges 4- donkey kicks 5- fire hydrant and to make it more intense I just carry my 15 pound backpack lol 😂 and I’ve seen so much improvement my butt has gotten more rounder and lifted my thight you can see muscle shape when I put on my pants, also my hips are very easy to see. My waist shrunk. I’m a pear shape and I like it! I still have little hip dips but I really now truly love me body shape now also my appearance. You know people say or comment to me or talk to me that I look ugly I look weird i look scrawny yes it hurts for not even a minute 😂 because when I look at myself in the mirror even naked I think to myself All my going through pain has paid off even to see little improvement made me love myself. Really🙏 I hope one day I can prove all those people who said that wrong, that’s my motivation.

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  32. Do you know long how does it take for the size to start shrinking? I have been consistently lifting for past 5 mths and am the biggest I have ever been- which is MISERABLE. I have been following a sensible diet and maintaining 1700 cals or so – as suggested by my gym. I have gone up 2 dress sizes, which is really not fun…and don’t think my mind ( or wallet) can accept another dress size up…I won’t have any clothes to wear!
    Any suggestions on what I need to jazz up? Do more cardio or cut cals? This is painful !

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  33. I’m convinced the answer to this is TAKE BREAKS. I job every day, almost 1:30 hrs, and I notice only when I take a day ‘off’ (i.e. I walk at medium pace for an hour) do I actually lose significant weight. Like today, for instance, I went overboard and did the 1:30 hrs. My thighs are massive right now, hurting, swollen, etc.. and I know it was STUPID because I should have been on break. But I went overboard. I will have to now take a break tomorrow.

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  34. Hi – I’m a male in my mid 30’s. I would like to say I’m in great shape. Run regularly every second day 5-9 miles, work out. Swim in the winter months. I’m noticing my thighs expanding and they feel like they’re getting larger and larger noticeable stretch marks. I can’t get into old jeans, new jeans are getting tighter and uncomfortable. Does this sound like what you’re referring to or could it be something else? Very frustrating

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  35. Hi, I have a huge worry with my current body physique!!!! I’ve always been extremely skinny, but in the past 2 months, I’ve noticed that my thighs and calves have gotten bigger?!! I don’t know why- I haven’t changed much in my sports/gym routines and I hate the way I fit into jeans now. Just wondering if it is possible to regain my past leg shape, and if so, which exercises?? Because right now it seems practically impossible:(

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  36. Heyy!

    You need to lift heavy but, do much lower reps like 4-6reps! If your reps are higher than this then you will target muscle hypertrophy which is where your muscle grow! So you’re options would either be lift lighter and do high reps, so like circuits and HIIT or lift heavy to get the strength and the tone but don’t go for long reps 6+ as this will cause your muscles to grow!

    Hope this helps

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  37. I have same issue!! My quads and hammys are grown as a result of heavy weight training involving barbell squats and lunges.
    I am naturally heavier on bottom area than torso. So should I stop doing heavy weight squats, and stick to more of steady state cardio?

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  38. Wow thought I was the only one who was experiencing this exact situation! This article was so helpful and comforting to me — thank you!

    Reply

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