Tabloids love to expose celebrities’ less-than-perfect derrieres or thighs because they, like a lot of people, have cellulite. Of course, no one wants to have cellulite, but chances are most of us do, at least to some degree.
Just because so many of us have cellulite doesn’t mean everyone knows what it is, much less why it occurs. But even more importantly, do you know what to do about it? It can be confusing because there are a lot of myths and misnomers out there.
Well, I think it’s time to know the truth about cellulite.
First of all, it’s not a medical condition. Cellulite is nothing more than fat lying directly beneath the skin. What happens is there’s only so much room for these fat cells and they get pushed up toward the skin. This action puts pressure on the surrounding fascia.
Fascia is a web of connective tissue surrounding muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. Think of it like the netting of a tennis racket with the strings representing the fascia. Over time, though, those strings or tissues lose their collagen and elasticity or too much fat develops and the fat gets pushed through the netting. That’s what gives a dimpled appearance, or what we call cellulite.
Cellulite doesn’t just appear. There are different grades or degrees:
• Grade 1: Detection at this stage is nearly impossible with the naked eye because it’s happening on a microscopic level.
• Grade 2: Some symptoms appear, such as a loss of elasticity in the skin and a cooler temperature to the touch.
• Grade 3: This is the look we most commonly associate with cellulite because there’s visible dimpling, but it has the other characteristics, too.
There’s no one answer to this question, but here’s a list of contributors:
The naturally occurring chemicals estrogen, insulin, noradrenaline, thyroid hormones, and prolactin have been linked to cellulite creation.
Did your mother, aunts, grandmothers have cellulite? Then chances are you are predisposed to it, too.
The more sedentary you are the greater the likelihood of developing cellulite. Also, smokers run a higher risk for cellulite.
Because cellulite involves fat cells, it only makes sense that what you eat would contribute to its buildup. Too much fat, carbohydrates, and salt, which leads to water retention, are the biggest culprits.
There’s an entire multimillion-dollar industry of creams, pills, and procedures claiming to remove cellulite; however, none of these has passed the scientific community’s standards. In fact, some are designed to treat unrelated conditions, like asthma, and others may cause serious side effects, like allergic reactions. Some methods, like massage, have temporary benefits, and others simply hide the cellulite, like compression garments. The keys words here are “temporary” and “hide.”
The good news is that there are three key ways to effectively minimize cellulite for the long-term:
• Increase circulation
Let’s face it, we just sit too much. It’s not enough to work out for 30 to 60 minutes at a time, we need to keep blood flowing to the lower body throughout the day. If your job demands you sit at a desk, get up to walk around every 20 minutes to increase you circulation. Or swap out your chair for a stability ball. Just sitting on the inflated ball requires you to engage your core, but with every slight movement, you have to shift to regain your balance. This constant balance challenge gets your body moving much more than sitting in a traditional office chair that does the balancing for you.
Strength training keeps cellulite from settling in, too. Because it tends to form in the buttocks and thighs, I like the Pop Squat: Lower into squat position as if you’re sitting down in a chair, abs engaged and making sure your knees don’t pop out past your toes. Push yourself to standing, but don’t stop there: Without locking your knees, add a little jump into the air. When you land, lower yourself right back down into the squat. Grab weights for added difficulty. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Also, certain foods help boost blood flow. Circulation Journal reported that dark chocolate (yes, chocolate), which is full of natural flavonoids, improved blood circulation compared with white chocolate. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are known to increase circulation, too.
• Maintain a healthy weight
The more weight you carry the more fat cells pushing through the fascia. Losing weight can result in a noticeable reduction of cellulite.
• Eat high-fiber and diuretic foods
When the body holds onto extra fluids, it adds more pressure to the fascia. If I’m feeling bloated before a photo shoot, I eat something I know will help my body get rid of extra water—my favorite is egg whites and asparagus. Well, if you’re feeling like your cellulite is more noticeable or you’re getting ready to wear something that shows a little skin and you want to minimize dimpling, then fill your plate with foods high in fiber or natural diuretics.
Fiber-rich foods take longer to digest and will keep you feeling full longer so you’re less likely to reach for a sugary or fatty, salty snack. Diuretics help the body release excess water, usually through urination. Some foods serve double duty, both high in fiber and a diuretic, such as steel-cut oats and artichokes. Even flavor enhancers, like parsley, ginger and garlic, assist the body in getting rid of water. Finally, green tea, one of my all-time favorite beverages, can give relief from bloating.
On the other hand, not enough fluids or dehydration also contribute to cellulite. So stay hydrated throughout the day.
While you may not erase cellulite completely, being active and eating healthfully is the best way to control it. And as ReShape subscribers, I’ll provide you with delicious and healthy recipes as well as effective exercise suggestions.
Make it happen!
As you can imagine, I’ve seen a lot of exercise trends over the past 30 years. Some fizzled out while and others have stuck around. One of the most popular and long-lasting trends has been Stepping. Starting in the late 1980s throughout the ’90s and well into the 2000s, you could sign up for a whole variety of Step Aerobics or Step Dance classes at any gym.
While newer trends may have taken over the popularity top spot, Stepping never lost its value. It’s still a great, super-effective workout.
My good friend Gin Miller created Step Aerobics as a result of injuring her knee. Sound confusing? What happened is her physical therapist suggested she step up and down on a plastic milk crate as a way to strengthen the muscles supporting the knee. After experiencing the amount of effort it took to step up and down for an extended time, Gin thought it would be a great exercise for anyone, not just those rehabbing from injury, and she was right.
The thing that makes Stepping so amazing is that you’re doing double duty: an aerobic calorie burn, muscle sculpting and toning. Simply by adding the height of a platform, the movement of stepping up and down is turned into a weight-bearing activity, even without using dumbbells. By supporting your own body weight, you are creating resistance, which forces your muscles to engage deeper and the result is firm, toned legs and butt. Stepping has created a lot of attractive “assets” over the years. I still love doing a Step program precisely because NOTHING sculpts and tones the glutes and thighs quite like it.
When you move up and down on a step you are using all the lower-body muscles—hamstrings and quads, both the front and back of your thighs—glutes and hips. Change from a standard front step to a lateral or side step and you switch the focus to the inner and outer thighs. Start pumping your arms back and forth and you have a full-body workout.
I really like the freedom to mix things up. Turn on the music and dance through a Step routine with kicks and jumps. Grab some hand weights to increase the resistance. Raise the platform a little to challenge yourself if you feel like things are getting too easy. For beginners, I recommend to keep the step at four inches, but as your fitness level improves, raise it to six inches. You can even use the platform as a bench for triceps dips, or lower one side so it’s at an angle to lean against for an upper-body workout with weights, like a chest press.
Any Step workout is going to get your heart rate up, like running does, but here’s the big difference: it’s easy on the joints! Unlike the constant pounding of running or jogging, a Step routine has built-in shock absorbers that lessen the impact. Not only do most platforms have a cushioned surface, but by switching the support leg—step up with the left for a few reps, then start with the right—you’re alleviating stress. That’s great news if you have knees that can’t take a lot of strain. After all, remember Gin started stepping as a way to recover from a serious knee injury.
Also, because Stepping is a weight-bearing activity (even without dumbbells), you’re doing your bones good. According to the University of Arizona Bone Builders program, Stepping helps build both bone strength and density, which prevents osteoporosis.
And, as long as you can climb stairs, then Step exercising is appropriate for every age group, and great for any ability level. It’s okay to start slow because you’ll still get results. One study showed that people who stepped only during commercials while watching one hour of television—we’re talking three to five minutes at a time—burned an average 148 calories. Now, think about how much you could burn if you swap the scenario and stepped while watching TV and rested during commercials. A 130-pound woman can burn more than 260 calories in 30 minutes at a moderate pace.
And remember, the more into Stepping you go, the more you can bump up the intensity. Pick up the weights or pick up the pace. The faster you become, the more steps you’ll get in, the more calories you’ll use, the better you’ll look and feel.
Make it happen!
It’s no secret that most of us women want toned, thin thighs and tight, perky butts, but getting that may often seem out of reach. With a busy schedule and everything in between, you may find yourself sitting on your glutes and thighs more often than working them out. But even when life gets in the way, I’ve got a go-to 2-in-1 exercise that you can do in the comfort of your own home with no equipment needed! And, best of all, when you use my tips to work two body parts with just one exercise, you are able to gain maximum results in minimum time.
Now, you may be asking, how do I do it? When you perform Compound and Functional movements, this allows you have a more comprehensive workout with less time and effort. Compound movements are movements that force you to work multiple parts of your body and multiple joints at one time, while a Functional motion is an exercise you mimic in your everyday life, like the motion of sitting down in a chair.
It’s not that there is anything wrong with isolating muscles and training them as you would in, say, a bicep curl (not a compound movement). But there are limitations with that kind of training. You are not getting the improved function, balance, flexibility and coordination that come only when you treat the body like an integrated whole. In daily life, muscles work together. When you get on an airplane, for example, you must bend, twist and stretch in the narrow aisle to hoist your luggage and place it overhead. That twisting, bending and placing is an example of the Compound, integrated movements that occur every day at the grocery store, when taking out the trash, or when putting the kids in the car. This holistic style of training ultimately protects you against the aches, pains and risk of injury that may accompany age.
Try these 2-in-1 exercises to strengthen and tone your hamstrings and butt:
• Back Flye With Balance –
Stand on your right leg, holding light weights. Lift your left leg off the ﬂoor behind you and balance. Start with your hands directly under your body, palms facing each other, then lift the weights and squeeze the shoulder blades together. 12 repetitions on each side
• Squat Sit With A Rotating Twist –
Stand with feet hip distance apart, holding light weights in each hand. Push your hips back until your knees are bent to about a 90-degree angle, pulling weights to the chest. As you rise keep the left foot and hip parallel but pivot on the right toe, turning your whole body to the left. As you pivot on the right toe, squeeze the right glute while bringing the weights overhead toward your left side. 12 repetitions each side.
When you think of the famous sculpture of David, the butt and the hamstring are a blended area, not completely separate. You can’t have a strong butt and saggy hamstrings or vice versa — they go hand in hand. So working them together is how you get results – not working a single muscle over and over again. So let’s get started!
Here’s to your health!
Lift, Tone and Tighten For Summer
There’s no more time to waste! It’s time for Booty Boot Camp to help you tone your hips, butt and thighs in the best shape you’ve ever seen! A strong and lean lower body will help you look and feel fit, as well as gain balance and overall vitality and health. If you stick to the following food laws with complementing exercises, in no time you’ll maximize calorie burning and tighten your body to look great and feel confident in your bikini bottoms.
Let’s start by focusing on your eating habits. You can exercise every day, but if your eating habits are poor, you’re wasting valuable time and energy! Here’s a few laws for Booty Boot Camp:
Law 1 – Consider Your Past Habits
Even though one chip is only about 10 calories, you need to recall previous times you were in the same situation – did you eat just one? That little justification in your head of “it’s just 10 calories” quickly turns into a 600-calorie bag of chips
I advise anyone who is trying to lose weight (and keep it off) to identify her own eating patterns. Tune into the foods and eating situations that often trigger overeating or binges.
Law 2 – Rely on Your Journal
Our bodies and our fitness levels are created by old habits and old patterns. That is why keeping a journal is so helpful! It is just as important to write about your feelings as it is to record what you eat and which exercises you do. Keeping notes helps you become more aware of your habits and patterns, and with that awareness you can learn how to shift them in a healthier direction.
Law 3 – Seek Substitutions for What You Crave
It’s unrealistic to think you won’t be tempted to overindulge in your favorite sugary, salty or fatty snack foods. Replace addictive voids with other options. If you love crunchy chips with ranch dressing, try crunchy celery or sweet peppers with hummus. If you are in the mood for candy, try fruit with a little protein and healthy fat for satiety. A berry-based smoothie with a drop of flaxseed oil may do the trick.
Now, let’s get moving! In the following video, I’ll show you a few of my favorite moves to target that hard-to-beat fat once and for all! I love these moves because you can do them anywhere, so there’s no excuse to not tighten your behind! Repeat these exercise sets multiple times every day this month to get great glutes!
Remember, every choice you make today – whether to buy strawberries or brownies – is your decision. All those small choices you make determine whether you step closer or farther from the body that you want.
Make it happen!