Summer is coming and that means shorts and swimming suits! I have been asked a lot recently about what can be done about cellulite so I decided it was time to do a post on the subject. So, first I will explain what cellulite is, why women have it, and then the things that can be done to decrease it.
First of all, cellulite is not just fat. It is a combination of fat and collagen fibers. Collagen fibers are tissues that connect a person’s muscle layer to her dermis layer of the skin. In many woman in their lower bodies, these collagen fibers run vertically. This allows the fat cells (which are sandwiched between the muscle and skin layers) to grow in pockets between the collagen fibers. The fat cells expand there and once they become tightly packed, cause the puckering and dimples that women complain of on their butts and thighs.
There is also a genetic component to cellulite. This is why some skinny women have more cellulite than some overweight women. This is related to the distribution of collagen. Women whose collagen fibers crisscross (instead of running vertically) form a mesh and they have less cellulite. The same is true for men because they genetically have most of their collagen distributed in the mesh pattern.
The reason why cellulite tends to form more on a woman’s lower body than upper body is because women have a natural tendency to store more body fat in their lower bodies and have more difficulty losing body fat from their lower bodies. This is related to the hormone estrogen because estrogen causes a woman’s fat tissue to be harder to burn in her lower body (due to its effect on the receptors on the fat cells).
So now that you have an understanding of what cellulite is, you now need to know what to do about it! Because cellulite involves both fat and collagen, both need to be addressed to reduce the dimples and puckers.
THE TWO WAYS TO DEAL WITH THE COLLAGEN:
- REMODEL AND STRENGTHEN THE FIBERS OF COLLAGEN
There is not good clinical evidence, but there are women that say cellulite treatments (that are available at salons and MD offices) that attempt to remodel collagen through heat, vibration, and light therapy work extremely well. All of these treatments attempt to remodel collagen by causing deep tissue stimulation. There are also some less expensive options to cause this deep tissue stimulation which include massage and self-deep tissue massage with foam rollers.
2. BUILD UP THE MUSCLE
Because the collagen fibers connect to the muscles by way of the muscles’ fascia (connective tissue that lines the muscles), the development of the muscle impacts the tightness and tone of the collagen. When women perform lower body resistance exercises, they strengthen these muscles and tighten the collagen (which reduces cellulite).
TWO WAYS TO DEAL WITH THE FAT:
- BURN THE FAT
Remember that I stated earlier in this post that the lower body fat on a woman is more resistant to being burned than the upper body fat? Well, there are key steps to help burn this resistant, lower body fat. The first of these steps is to go low carbohydrate with your diet (total carbs for the day around 100 grams). The purpose of this is to reduce insulin which helps speed the fat release from the lower body by suppressing the action of certain receptors on the fat cell. Along with this, the best exercise routine to burn lower body fat is to exercise on an empty stomach with intervals, resistance training, and lots of walking. There are also a few supplements that can aid in this (green tea extract, coleus forskoli, and yohimbe).
2. INCREASE THE BLOOD FLOW
Another characteristic of the lower body fat in women is that it has reduced blood flow compared to other body fat (such as belly fat). So to help decrease this fat, it is helpful to increase blood flow. There are several ways to do this:
- hot baths and saunas
- contrast hydrotherapy (alternating hot and cold)
Another interesting thing to note about increasing the blood flow is that it is also great for removing fluid and improving the health and strength of collagen fibers.
So in summary, there is a genetic component to cellulite that we cannot control. This is the part not to worry about! Concentrate on the things you can do which include:
- HELPING TO REMODEL AND STRENGTHEN THE COLLAGEN
- BUILD UP THE MUSCLE
- BURN THE FAT
- INCREASE THE FLOOD FLOW
IF YOU WOULD LIKE FURTHER HELP AND GUIDANCE WITH THIS, PLEASE CHECK YOU MY Nurturing Fitness Life Online Membership. By selecting this service and agreeing to a three-month minimum, you will get many benefits including customized nutrition and exercise programs that can be geared to your goals (from cellulite reduction, to weight loss, to muscular development, to increased energy). Please let me know if you have any questions! I look forward to hearing from you!