Having a thigh gap seems to be really in style these days. Personally I do like the look of it but I don’t really get the obsession some people seem to have about it. Just search for  ”thigh gap” in tumblr,browse through some of the post and you’ll see what I mean.I’ll try to keep this post as short as possible, so here we go, how do you get the thigh gap?

(A little update: Tumblr has by now blocked certain tags like “Skinny”, “Thin” or “thinspiration”, showing the message “If you or someone you know is dealing with an eating disorder, self harm issues, or suicidal thoughts, please visit our Counseling & Prevention Resources page…”. I’m really not sure what to think of that. On the one hand I think browsing through those tags did create a lot fuzz around being skinny and body image. At the other hand I think it strips girls who want to find motivational pictures to get fit and thin the healthy way, of a lot of opportunity to motivate themselves. After all skinny is not the same anorexic)

I did a lot of reading on it in the past few days and results have been amazingly disappointing. Whether you do or do not have a thigh gap depends mainly on two factors.
  1. body fat percentage
  2. bone structure

That’s a no brainer really but let’s take a closer look at the bone structure:

Bone Structure

femoral bone structure

So first off, that picture should make it obvious that the more space there is between your femurs, the more likely you are to have a thigh gap. As a result that means women with wider hips are more likely to have a thigh gap and women with smaller hips are less likely to have it. You should be able to see or at least feel your hip bones  to give you an idea of how wide your hips are. It’s hard to measure the actually width since most of have some fat in between (width not circumference)But that’s not all. Take a close look at femoral neck. The way your femoral neck is structured and the way it is attached to your hips will significantly influence how wide your hips seem and also how likely you are to achieve a thigh gap. Take a look at the following pictures: 
femoral neck anglesAdmittingly it does take a bit of imagination, but take a second and imagine each of those being attached to your hips and how they would change your appearance. In the last picture (Coxa Valga) the femoral neck points downward, while in the first picture (Coxa Vara) it is more horizontally aligned. Assuming they are the same size, the latter will increase the distance between your femurs.

So to sum up if you’re a woman with wide hips and horizontally aligned femoral necks you will likely be able to get this thigh gap. However if you have smaller hips and/or your femoral necks are less horizontally aligned you will have a much harder time to achieve this. I’m not saying it’s impossible, after all there is a second factor that influences your ability to have a thigh gap and that is body fat percentage. The problem remains the same though. If your bone structure doesn’t favour a thigh gap, then it may be possible to bring your body fat percentage to a point where you get one anyways. In many cases that would be unhealthy low though and you have to ask yourself if having a thigh gap is worth sacrificing your health. The answer obviously is no, so don’t beat yourself up about it. If you’re a pretty girl and I’m sure you are, you will look gorgeous with or without thigh gap.

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Body fat percentage

I guess the title of this section “body fat percentage” is a bit misleading. Afterall your total body fat percentage doesn’t matter as much as the actual fat you carry around your thighs.
Obviously the less fat you have around your thighs the more likely you will have a thigh gap and for most of us that takes a whole lot of work. How do you get there? Since you can’t influence the way your body stores fat you will have to lose or gain weight in total.

Diet: Avoid foods that bloat. The quickest and most effective way to lose fat is probably to leave out carbs. Rely on vegetables, lean meat and eggs only. Limit your fruit and diary intake and stay away from other carbs completely.
If you want a bit more guidance with that, The Paleo Diet is one of the best diet books I’ve ever read. And suitable for long periods of time. Or have a look into Sound Mind, Sound Body by David Kirsch’s that i.e. Rachel Bilson and Heidi Klum follow to lose weight.
To get a head start also consider doing a detox plan. Giselle Bundchen for example follows the The Martha Stewart Vineyard Detox Diet. But remember a Detox Plan is never a permanent solution.

Cardio: Is important to keep or get slim legs. In fact if getting a thigh gap is your main goal, cardio workouts should be your main focus, because they will burn fat without creating big muscles. Good exercises are running, cycling, swimming, jumping rope or elliptical machine. Keep resistance low to not increase your muscle mass. personally I like Intervals, they’re great. However they may also not be ideal if your goal is to get that thigh gap because they do work your big muscle groups. If you’re into it, dancing can also be a great cardio exercise. It doesn’t only burn fat and gently tone your body but also help with your posture and thus automatically make you look slimmer. Ballet in particular is great for your posture and I’d say one of the best dance workouts on the market is the New York City Ballet Vol. 1 and 2

Miley leaving the Mari Winsor Studio in L.A. (picture from justjared.com)

Toning: While your goal is to get slim looking legs without much fat or muscle mass, it doesn’t mean you can’t work your legs at all. Just focus on exercises tht target small muscle groups and use little to no weight. Try pile squats, inner thigh lifts, inner thigh side raises, side lunges or standing deadlifts. Pilates is also a good toning exercise to create long lean muscle, as it relies mainly on bodyweight and many repetitions. Miley Cyrus for example is known to follow Maris Winsor’s Pilates regimen. If you want you can try her Lower Body Pilatesand Cardio Pilates DVDs. Tracy Anderson follows a similar small muscle group targeting approach and you can get her workouts for a relatively cheap price. My favourite DVDs are her Mat Workout and Perfect Design Series

Yoga and stretching: Both will make your legs appear longer and leaner, especially if you’ve never really stretched and your muscles are tight. Yoga is a huge trend at the moment, so there really is tons of free resources online.If you happen to have  favourite trainer, chances are they brought out a yoga DVD at one point or another. Jennifer Aniston and Kate Beckinsale for example both swear on Mari Ingber’s Yogalosophy
As you can see to really achieve a little gap between your thighs, you really have to limit your workouts in some way and I don’t think that’s worth it. You will find that most athletes don’t have a thigh gap, that doesn’t mean they’re fat or unhealthy. It’s just because they have fairly big muscles. I said it above already, if you’re gorgeous you will be with or without a thigh gap. In my eyes you should just focus on getting fit and healthy and if you end up with a thigh gap – great, if not – so what?