From Beyoncé Photoshop controversies to daily news on the latest fad diet, the infamous and all-elusive thigh gap is hard to get and indubitably in demand.
As divisive a topic as thigh gap is, many people simply misunderstand the various components involved and why some women have a thigh gap and others do not.
There's a lot of complex science and nutrition behind it, but we've compiled some really great information to help you understand how to set thigh gap goals that are healthy, realistic, and ultimately aesthetically pleasing.
It should be mentioned that not everyone wants a true thigh gap. Some people may just like to lose a few pounds around the outer and inner thigh area. This article will definitely be of value to those people as well.
Many websites tout compound exercises like heavy lifting, lunges, or squats as the way to achieve your thigh gap goals. What these websites don’t realize is that these kinds of exercises are wrong, wrong, wrong for getting the desired effect that most women are trying to achieve.
Don’t misunderstand me here-- you will definitely lose fat-weight and gain muscle-weight by doing these types of compound exercises, but the fact that men usually get the same type of advice should tell you something’s up. The desired body that men and women want is not usually the same!
With thigh gap, what we want is a more toned, soft, slender muscle definition. Most women recognize this because they know that there seems to be a win-lose aspect of lifting weights: you lose weight, but you gain a “manly” look.
Many websites will tell you that a thigh gap is unattainable unless you're naturally born with wide hips. This is patently false. First, there's no way to know whether or not you have the perfect bone structure (without an MRI) that would cater to thigh gap sculpting and second, there are many healthy and productive ways to gain the thigh gap look even when your hips are slightly more narrow than most.
By following some very easy-to-remember steps and by staying in the mindset of healthy sculpting, healthy eating, and healthy body awareness, anyone can work towards getting a thigh gap.
Innate Challenges in Achieving a Thigh Gap
What's most important here is to set a goal that's right for the type of body you have and the lifestyle you lead.
If you have narrower hips than most and you're striving for just a modest gap, that kind of goal is going to be considered realistic.
When losing weight, women tend to see weight loss in their upper body before their lower body. The reason for this “stubborn body fat” is mostly due to the natural flux of hormones and general distribution of fat that's common in the average female body.
Very naturally, the female body stores lots of fat, over time, to allow for childbearing. The trick to working around this issue, or just trying to achieve a slimmer, more proportionate lower body, is to get rid of a lot of that stubborn body fat.
There are two fat cell receptors in the human body: the beta-receptors, which allow for the breakdown of fat, and the alpha-receptors, which inhibit the breakdown of fat. Women, unfortunately, have many more alpha-type of receptors in their thigh area. This makes it especially more difficult to lose weight in that area.
Women also tend to have much more lipoprotein lipase, which is an enzyme that allows for greater fat storage in lower body parts rather than in upper body parts. Obviously, Mother Nature has created something of an uphill battle against fat storage and fat accumulation for women.
Again, it should be noted that, in all her wisdom, she knows what she's doing. The extra fat storage is necessary and protective, from an evolutionary perspective. Don’t think of it as a setback but rather an attribute to be aware of. Only through this kind of body awareness, acceptance, and understanding can body goals be achieved healthily.
One more hurdle that some women will meet on their journey towards their body goal is genetics—yep, those genes that have been passed down through generations. These genes play a large role in determining overall patterns of weight loss.
It is important to note that not every woman will need to get to the same weight in order to get great results.
If you're naturally more petite but have narrower hips, you may need slightly less body fat in order for a thigh gap to appear.
If you're slightly wider-set, you may not find it necessary to lose as much overall body fat because the gap will be apparent, even with more fat, because of your bone structure. It’s all about your individual body type and its unique properties.
Figuring Out Your Individual Needs
First things first, figuring out what your specific problem areas are so they can be addressed individually is going to be the quickest way to get a thigh gap.
Knowing your own body will allow you to save countless hours and disappointment that many people experience trying to achieve a look that simply may be impossible for their body type.
Our main concerns here are going to be fat and muscle.
Muscles will create a bulging look that doesn’t help thigh gap and fat will consume a large amount of mass, so you need to stay conscious of both when working towards your goal.
To be effective, we need to focus on one of these concerns, first (either muscle loss or fat loss). Most people will notice that the inner part of our thighs tends to take up more mass and be rather “squishy”.
Many women take this to mean that they have too much muscle in these regions. Here is a great test to see whether it's muscle or fat that is causing the large thigh circumference.
Stiffen your muscles while extending out your legs (you can do this while sitting on a chair or the edge of your bed). Use two fingers to pinch various areas along the circumference of your thigh.
If you can gather large amounts of skin in your two fingers, than fat is likely the bulk of your thigh circumference. This test allows for you to understand your problem area and the best way to go about getting rid of some of the extra mass around your thigh, preventing you from getting that thigh gap you desire.
The Importance of Diet
Diet is also going to be a vital component in getting a thigh gap and shedding some of that fat around your thighs.
When dieting for thigh gap and overall body goals, it’s important to remember a few key things. No crash dieting! To gain thigh gap in a healthy way, you cannot simply starve yourself. If you don’t eat, you’re depriving your body of necessary nutrients. Contrary to intuition, this actually makes it much harder to lose weight, especially fat from your thighs. Your body needs nutrient-rich foods to support weight loss and general good health.
Another important aspect to remember when dieting, in regards to thigh gap, is to track your progress. Keeping a journal is a great starting place and resource to refer back to during your journey. As you shed the pounds, your diary will also act as a great way to keep you motivated.
There are many diets out there, but you should stick to nutrient-dense foods; in that way, you'll be able to eat smaller portions but still eat a healthy diet. You also want to make sure that you avoid foods that are high in saturated fat and sodium and focus on those that give you lots of good energy, like seeds, fish, and very lean meats.
As with any healthy diet, you should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and drink lots of water. Though water will sometimes add to your overall weight, this gain will be temporary. The benefits of drinking water for weight loss and overall health are enormous, and will be key in your journey towards thigh gap heaven.
Get Your Body Moving, The Right Way
Remember that the goal here is to reduce overall body fat through resistance training and cardio workouts. Make sure your diet helps you achieve a calorie deficit. Once you start to lose the fat, you can choose to continue to tone the muscle underneath for a nice lean look.
As a word of caution, don’t get trapped in the idea that you must do a ton of leg-lifts or only focus on doing resistance training on your legs. If you do this, you will use up all of your energy and neglect doing cardio, which is important for burning body fat. As a result, you will build muscle without burning fat, which will actually make your legs and thighs bigger.
Overdeveloped leg muscles are definitely a stumbling block for thigh gap. Women who are accustomed to bodybuilding or who play sports like tennis or soccer tend to have this issue. To remedy this, stick to cardio to get rid of excess fat around the leg muscles to make them even more pronounced.
For those who have more fat around thee thigh area and are less muscular, there are a few exercises that are excellent.
Some great exercises to tone the thigh region are slicing scissor raises, the plié pulse, squat jumps, and laying leg lifts (see videos below).
These exercises help strengthen and build the muscles in your inner and outer thigh region. Ultimately, these kinds of workouts are going to be invaluable on your journey towards greater health and a wider thigh gap.
Hang in There
These are many of the more important aspects of getting that wonderful thigh gap that is currently all the rage. Although most of the information we presented here may sound simple, these practices require hard work and perseverance.
Remember not to rush results. Body goals can be tough to achieve, but once you get there it;s incredibly rewarding. Ultimately, any kind of body or health change is going to be a marathon and not a race to the finish.
Hopefully all of these tips on how to get a thigh gap will be a great starting point for you to begin your journey towards body health and happiness.