What the Heck is Cellulite?

Cellulite, is an annoying “cheese like” appearance on the thighs, butt, arms and even sometimes in your abdomen.  Its many women’s worst enemy – even mine when I was back in college!  So, do you want the good news or bad news about this lovely physiological devil?  Well tough, I am giving you the bad first!  About 85% of post-pubertal women have some form of it.  Don’t worry though guys can get it too, just not as much.  It is well established that women generally have a higher percentages of body fat than men. A healthy range of body fat for women is 19-25% and for men between 10-15%. QUESTION…. What is the body’s largest organ??? The Skin! BAM, factoid #1, have someone buy you a free drink at a bar with that one.  Always gets people.

Skin 101. There are essentially 3 layers of skin. The outermost layer of skin is referred to as the epidermis.  Beneath the epidermis is the dermis. Then there are two layers of subcutaneous fat, which is fat beneath the skin (see picture 1).  Cellulite originates in this first region of the subcutaneous fat.  According Dr. Avram and his colleagues, cellulite is caused by small protrusions of fat into the dermis.  I know, I know, who cares about the science! Just help me loose it!!!

Losing Cellulite?  Yes it is possible if you listen to us at Show Up Fitness and follow our suggestions – ditch the pizza, soda and Mickey Ds.   Healthy eating and exercise are far superior and both excellent ways to begin the long journey to exiling those evil dimples!  Yes, LONG JOURNEY.  How long have you been depriving your wonderful body from exercise and proper eating?  Years and years!  So what we need to understand is to reverse all the crappy things that you have put in and done to your body will take time.  This is why it is referred to as a lifestyle modification.  If you want to continue to eat poorly and exercise half-assed, then those cheesy thighs are here to stay; dimple party, table of five!  The tone of this article is not supposed to be harsh, but I have trained so many clients who achieve their results when they put their excuses aside and give it everything they have (and listen to me of course!!)  The ones that fail are the ones that make excuses for everything!  So, as we say it here at Show Up Fitness… No Excuses, Just Show Up!

The magical manipulation techniques, herbal remedies, thermotherapy, topical ointments and even liposuction have little evidence supporting their efficacy on reducing cellulite.  In actuality, liposuction may actually worsen the dimpled skin appearance (just imagine the old lady on There’s Something About Mary and how her skin was)!  So, if you would like to improve your cellulite appearance, you need to lose weight!  Wow, rocket science at its best.  Weight Loss!  How can this be done?  I suggest implementing a comprehensive exercise program with resistance training, cardio at varying intensitys and stretching (Also see SPINE, the backbone of Show Up Fitness.)  This will begin reducing some of the underlying body fat.  Subcutaneous fat is layered on top of muscle; if the muscles in your hips, thighs and buttocks are soft like baby veal, then resistance will “tighten” everything up.  Add in some healthy eating habits, lots of fruits and veggies. Make sure to eat breakfast, graze throughout the day, drink plenty of water and all of a sudden the appearance of your cellulite will begin to dissipate.  Be patient, remember it took years to get it there, so with time they will go away.  Try implementing one of the following routine:

Repeat the following circuit 3-5x
Start on the stationary bike for 30 seconds pedaling as fast as you can
-Jump squats 10x
-Push ups 10x
-Switch lunge jumps 10x
-Sumatra push ups 10x
-Plank Jacks 20x
-Plank on Bosu for 30 seconds

If you are a dimple machine, then try this….
3-4 times a week, use weights and perform full body workouts.  Begin with lunges and squats. Then follow up with push-ups and pull-ups (great to do on an assisted machine). Perform some shoulder presses as well. On your days off, WALK like a mad person. Walking isn’t exercise, it’s a necessity. You should be walking 2-3 miles a day. Download your favorite podcast or walk and dream of me, whatever works for you.  

Summary
Although numerous topical treatments and alternative techniques may seem enticing (not to mention pricey), limited research supports their long-term effectiveness. However, several studies pointed out that female athletes (think of track athletes, swimmers, volleyball, and soccer players), stereotypically seem to have much less cellulite.  So, establishing a workout routine and eating healthy is your best bet for promising and sexy celluless legs (this is my word, I coined it, CELL u LESS, get it, like without cellulite!)

References
Avram, M. 2004. Cellulite: A review of its physiology and treatment. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy, 6, 181–85.
Rosenbaum, M., et al. 1998. An exploratory investigation of the morphology and biochemistry of cellulite. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 101, 1934–39.
Rossi, A.B.R., & Vergnanini, A.L. 2000. Cellulite: A review. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 14, 251–62