I am so glad we are at a place in society where being strong and fit is seen as superior to being skinny and underweight. While there is nothing wrong with being naturally skinny, in my opinion you will enjoy a much healthier life if you focus on gaining some muscle mass and being fit and strong. I am going to list some reasons why I decided focusing on having small thighs and a “thigh gap” is completely over-rated and why I choose to focus on just training hard instead.
Note: you do not have to be a “body builder” or think that I mean you must bulk yourself up — which first of all is not even an easy task to do – HA! I just mean focus on getting strong and lift some challenging weight – your body will change for the better and you will not automatically become bulky (it is NOT that easy).
ALSO: We cannot decide what kind of body type we have, but we can strength train and sculpt our body to bring up any areas that may bother us. Flat butt or twiggy legs or skinny arms, you can lift weights and change it! Some people have wide hips and perhaps naturally skinny legs whereas others are born with more curves – at the end of the day you should just be proud of whatever body you have and work to get strong and fit — NOT skinny!
Read on and enjoy and take notes! Having a thigh gap is completely overrated and actually bad for your health.
- You are predicted to live longer if you have strong legs. More muscle in the legs is directly correlated with living a longer, healthier life. Think about it: if all you do is focus on having small thighs and this ridiculous “thigh gap”, then as you age and hit your 70s and 80s you are simply going to be weak and at a greater risk for falling and breaking a hip or worse! More muscle mass correlates with a decrease in all-cause mortality. Also, having stronger legs means your joints are more healthy and therefore less likely to hurt, all while supporting you better in your day to day activities. So train those legs and just focus on being strong, not skinny!
- Focusing on having skinny, small thighs means you will not lift weights much at all, which means an increase on overall body fat and even worse – tummy fat! That’s right — if all you do is walk and jog and do cardio to keep your legs as skinny as possible, you will never build any muscle on your physique which means you will have more body fat than someone who regularly lifts weights. Since we cannot spot reduce fat on the body, you are also going to have fat in the midsection. Weight training is key for reducing overall fat mass in the body — so say hello to a slimmer midsection as you age! You can either have your thigh gap and your soft tummy or you can build strong, muscular legs and also have a tight midsection. I know which one I would choose! That’s right – building your legs will also correlate with less fat in the abdomen – so get after it!
- You will have to control what you eat more than someone who lifts weights and does not obsess about having a thigh gap. Who wants to live their life constantly trying to under-eat and track every single calorie ingested? That is a miserable way to live. First of all, no one cares or is jealous of you if you have a thigh gap — so all you are doing is torturing yourself trying to be the “smallest version of yourself possible”. When you have more muscle on your frame you automatically are more metabolically healthy meaning your metabolism works better at rest and therefore you can EAT MORE than someone who has less muscle mass. This is one of the main reasons why I love strength training and being strong — especially with my glutes and legs (glutes are the largest muscle of the body) — the more muscular my lower body is, the better my body will process food. So if I decide to go out and have cheat meal and eat pizza or a burger and fries from a high quality restaurant, my body will process this food much better than someone who does not lift weights and therefore has less muscle on their frame.
So to summarize: you will live longer, have a flatter, more defined midsection, and you will have more flexibility with your meals and eating as you age if you have STRONG LEGS and forget obsessing about a “thigh gap”.
MY FAVORITE LOWER BODY MOVES TO INCORPORATE ALMOST WEEKLY:
- Barbell hip thrust
- Bulgarian split squats
- Reverse lunges or deficit reverse lunges OR curtsy lunges
- Goblet squats
- Barbell front squats
- Landmine squats
- Single leg deadlifts
- Cable glute kickbacks
- Bridges, single leg bridges
- Variations of abduction: double banded monster walks and lateral walks or standing fire hydrants; clamshells; diagonal kickbacks
- Kettlebell swings (heavy)
- Sumo deadlifts
- Deficit sumo squats
- Lateral lunges
…just to name a handful!
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1 thought on “Three Reasons I Don’t Care About Having a “Thigh Gap” and a List of my Favorite Leg and Glute Exercises”
Great post Kelly! Thank you! Let’s train on this when I teturn
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