Achieving the thigh gap. It’s a haute topic these days, made popular by slimpossible advertising and charming Chivers (mind our sarcasm, gals). But are they attainable, or a dangerous ideal?
Put on your big girl panties, ladies, because it’s time for some real talk: Not everyone can achieve a thigh gap. You can lunge, scissor kick, lift and squat your little heart out, but unless your bone structure allows for it or you have naturally slim limbs, a space between your uppers legs is difficult—if not straight up impossible—for the majority of women to achieve. Therefore…
Was that a tough pill to swallow? Well take another gulp of water (several glasses a day, people!), because this is one fitness fact that isn’t going away anytime soon. Emphasizing the thigh gap as a measure of how good of shape one is in is like watching someone open a bag of chips and hailing them as a top chef—the two are hardly related. As with women who developed one by being naturally slender, the thigh gap is a correlation between the width of the hips compared to the length of the femoral head. Unless you can figure out how to rearrange the composition of your skeleton (good luck), the quest for a thigh gap is a wildly futile one.
There are many factors to consider when determining the true health of a person. For example, the number on the scale may scream “fat” to you, but in reality, as long your Body Mass Index (click to calculate yours!), or BMI, falls within 18.5 to 24.9 range, you are perfectly healthy according to most health standards. BMI is a ratio of weight and height and is calculated using the following formula.
Take an individual's weight in pounds and divide it by the square of her height in inches, then multiply the result by 703.
[Weight in pounds/(Height in inches)^2]*703 = Body Mass Index
So someone who weighs 140 pounds and is 5’6” would have a BMI of about 22.6. That being said, the range can be adjusted for all kinds of healthy people. Athletes, for instance, may have high BMIs despite a normal percentage of body fat since muscle is more dense than fat. Similarly, women with two different-looking figures could have the same BMI depending on how the fat is distributed differently throughout their bodies.
Needless to say, the ladies with the “right” bone structure and/or lean legs have absolutely nothing wrong with them, nor do the ladies who are striving for toned thighs and a stronger physique.
However, to base your progress on an inch or two of air could lead down a path of disordered eating, exercising, and thinking that robs you of realizing your improvements elsewhere. Just as there is no true way to spot train an area of your body to develop one muscle, there is no guarantee that severely cutting calories or doing never-ending sets of a single exercise will give you the results you’re after. Reexamining your fitness goals will help you to recognize how to better expend your physical and mental energy and enjoy the journey rather than hinge it on a trivial attribute.
Were you so focused on your thigh gap that you failed to notice how defined your back has become or how sculpted your calves are? Say it ain’t so! Measure your health by the increased amount of energy you have as a result of an improved diet and by the positive changes happening all over your body. A few extra inches of space do not suggest a higher level of beauty or well-being, so why stress it? Your bones aren’t going anywhere, your natural composition won’t budge, and trying to be someone else sounds so boring.
Pay attention to the factors of health that matter, keep active, eat clean, cheat with help from natural beauty and fitness supplements, and use those thighs for the important things, like strutting your stuff.
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