Q: What, exactly, are saddlebags?

In a post about the booty, I mentioned that a lot of women are holding onto a “big booty,” saying they don’t want to work out for fear of losing it, only to ignore the other issues that can come paired with it – like a large tummy or saddlebags.

But, as I was asked, what are saddlebags?

It can get confusing, but saddlebags are a very specific issue, and you know it when you see it.

Saddlebags appear on the thighs. They are not curves, in the sense of the coke-bottle shape. If hips – and you know what I mean by hips – are curves, then saddlebags are more like sharp angles.

The photo to the direct left shows “saddlebags.” These adorable little fat deposits get their name from the fact that people who have them apparently resemble horses with – yep, you guessed it – saddlebags on the back of a horse. The thick pink line shows the natural shape of this person’s body, while the black circles show what can be classified as saddlebags.

There is such a thing as simply having hips, but at the point where they protrude out like this, it’s saddlebags. Some also refer to it as “square booty.” Lots of women have fat on their outer thighs, but that’s just “outer thigh fat” and if you actually like the look it provides you, that’s okay. “Saddlebags” are a very specific kind of look, and if you want to change it, I have some advice.

It can come from a few things, the most important of which being when, as pictured, your booty rests on your thighs – notice the crease between the booty and the thigh – thereby pushing the fat that would rest in that space where your booty is outward toward your hips. It can alter the pattern of fat deposits on your body, thereby spreading it even higher up.

I had major saddlebags at my first start. I didn’t think anything of it – just thought it meant I had hips – but it wasn’t the same thing. I didn’t look the way I thought I’d looked. Now, with the tips I’m about to share, my thighs are much more shapely. Sure, there’s fat there, but I don’t mind it as long as I look the way I want it to look.

Now, I’ve seen explanations of saddlebags that said everything from “muscular displacement” to disorder, but my experiences were very different. Mine were, simply, fat.

I still have faint remnants of my old saddlebags, but three things are making a huge difference in their removal.

The first, is cardio. The reality of saddlebags is that, for most people, they’re fat accumulated along the sides of the body. Cardio, a beneficial component of fat loss, will help rid the body of them. The lower body won’t be the first place targeted for fat burn – depending upon how much fat you have to lose, it may start in the upper body first and work its way down – but once the body starts to burn in a more proportionate fashion, you can expect to see pretty awesome results after some dedication.

The second…is changing the way you eat. Something in your daily intake is contributing to that fat sticking to your thighs, so you have to be committed to changing how you eat in order to change that for good. Be willing to play around with that and find out what works best. (Here’s a tip – for me, I had to skip some of the refined carbs.)

The third and final tip? If saddlebags come from having a booty that rests a bit too comfortably on the thighs, then weight lifting will help to lift that booty up, up and awaaaaaaaay, thereby allowing the displaced fat to go back where it wanted. Squats, lunges, good mornings, dead lifts… all are exercises born to lift the booty and make you a happy camper. That’s also the fastest way to develop a “fit booty,” since a muscular booty – not one that is predominately fat – has less of a chance of “deflating,” going back to resting heavily on the thighs and pushing that fat outward again. Test it out yourself – look in a mirror, turn to the side. “Pick up” your booty cheek, now turn forward. Does the shape of the thigh change? Then go get your squat on!

Saddlebags are common in women who, as they age, the shape of their bodies change due to lack of activity. In other words, a thin woman with a “round booty” can wind up with saddlebags as she ages (the woman in the photo is actually rather petite) because of a lack of muscle and activity as well as a poor diet. They also appear in women who are simply accumulating a sizeable amount of fat. It happens.

If you’re not comfortable with it, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Try these tips and see how they help you!