Today we are talking about the thigh grap craze, which is currently sweeping social media faster than a cleaner on two scoops of N.O. Xplode.
Check out this gut-wrenching email from Rebecca (shared with permission of course):
“Hey Russ, I have a question…
All of my friends have thigh gaps but I don’t. Every time we upload a picture together they always make jokes about how thick my legs look, and the comments mention it every time.
I’m not overweight (currently size 8), but this makes me feel really inadequate. Are there any exercises I can do to address it? A trainer at my local gym has given me a few, but nothing has changed yet.”
The first thing I’d do here is get off social media.
Seriously, I despise it.
A 2018 study pubslished in BMJ Open showed that prolonged social media usage has links to poor sleep, increased anxiety, and even depression. It’s a world where everyone is comparing lives against others (often fake as f**k) and the dopamine hit of acceptance or rejection by our peers can wreak havoc on our mental health if we let it consume us. (1)
That’s a dark road to go down, because the body dissatisfaction issues which arise from the unrealistic beauty ideals portrayed on social media are associated with weight control issues, very low self-esteem, and even easting disorders. (2)
The second thing I’d do is go grab your so-called friends and give them a f**king thumbs down because they sound like nuclear bellends!
The Best Exercises For A Thigh Gap?
If you ever Google search the best exercises for a thigh gap, you’ll be squashed with a tidal wave of bulls**t.
From the awful trainers like this who try to sell you their thigh gap diet plan, to the ones who say that lifting weights will make you bulky and recommend using resistance bands instead (the body can’t tell the difference!), to the ones who talk about their miracle weight loss shakes…
The dark side of the fitness industry is an un-governed wasteland for this type of thing. It’s like walking into Mad Max: Beyond The Thunderdome and asking one of the pirates for fitness advice.
So here’s the thing:
Whether you have a thigh gap or not will be determined by malnutrition (definitely not a good thing), or hip bone placement. Please ignore anybody giving you a bunch of inner thigh exercises claiming they’ll do the job, because they won’t. That would be classed as spot reduction, which research confirms is impossible. (3)
Part of my job as a fitness professional is that I have a duty to you, to protect you (as best I can) from the mountain of bulls**t out there.
I take it very seriously.
In the age of social media I believe that people (women in particular) are being put under more pressure than ever before to look “perfect” all the damn time, and there are very real dangers to this type of behaviour under the surface.
There is so much bad advice regarding this type of thing, and it pains me that when those ‘solutions’ do not work it causes lots of women to beat themselves up and think there’s something wrong with their body.
It is my experience (working in the gym with over 1,000 personal training clients and 100,000+ website members throughout the last two decades) that this is how eating disorders start.
So no, you do not need a thigh gap. Improving your fitness should make you feel good about yourself both inside and out, and the next time some thunderc**t wants to tell you otherwise feel free to send ’em my way.
- Scott H., et al. Social media use and adolescent sleep patterns: cross-sectional findings from the UK millennium cohort study. BMJ Open (2019).
- Aparicio-Martines P., et al. Social Media, Thin-Ideal, Body Dissatisfaction and Disordered Eating Attitudes: An Exploratory Analysis. Int J Environ Res Public Health (2019).
- Katch F., et al. Effects of Sit Up Exercise Training On Adipose Cell Size and Adiposity. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport (1984).
Who Is Russ Howe PTI?
As featured in Men’s Fitness magazine and voted in the world’s top 50 fat loss coaches by HuffPost, Russ is among the UK’s most subscribed personal trainers with 105,223 men and women receiving his free weekly fitness tips e-mail.
In the gym, clients range from busy parents, to models, to athletes and actresses. Russ also worked alongside the UK government for 8 years in a venture combating childhood obesity in England.
Outside of the gym, he’s a proud Dad to three young lads.
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