Ask The Trainer #117 – Beating Cellulite

Ask The Trainer #117 - Beating Cellulite

QUESTION:

Hello. I was hoping you could give me some advice. I’ve been so frustrated lately! I can’t seem to get rid of the cellulite on my butt and the backs of my legs. I hate it. The skin looks gross, like a lumpy cottage cheese texture.  Working at a desk all day probably doesn’t help, but I work out hard for an hour every night. I follow a split weight training routine where I train upper body one day, then lower body the next. Typically, I train with weights for 30 minutes, followed by around 30 minutes of cardio (HIIT style).

I don’t think I eat too bad and I don’t go out to eat much, but I do find myself eating a lot of those Healthy Choice and Lean Cuisine microwaveable meals because they’re convenient. I’ve been doing this for over a year now and I have lost weight and gained more muscle tone, but the cellulite is still there. I’m at my wits end with this and I don’t what else I can do? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Cindy


ANSWER:

Hi, Cindy. I believe unequivocally that there are many more women who struggle with this issue than those who don’t. I’ve even known a few men who have been plagued by this. So, let’s talk about beating cellulite.

The “cottage cheese” appearance is a result of the layer of fat beneath the skin pushing against connective tissue, causing it to bulge. For women, the potential for developing cellulite increases with age and peaks around menopause.

There are numerous underlying factors that contribute to cellulite formation. In women, hormonal changes and dwindling levels of estrogen could play a role in blood circulation and inhibit collagen production. That, combined with fat cells growing or multiplying, will create the perfect storm for cellulite to thrive.

If there is one positive aspect of cellulite it would be that it isn’t physically dangerous, but it’s commonly viewed as a cosmetic flaw that is unappealing. The beauty industry has taken full advantage of these sentiments by producing a plethora of these so-called ‘magic’ creams and gels that allegedly minimize the appearance of cellulite. Unfortunately, desperate customers give away millions of dollars to these manufacturers, while obtaining little to no results for their expense.

The appearance of cellulite becomes prominent when there are fat distribution changes or metabolic changes that result in alteration of fat cells and connective tissue. Among these possible metabolic changes are increased insulin levels and insufficient levels of catecholamines — compounds that act as neurotransmitters and are significant in the storage and breakdown of fat molecules.

Carbohydrates

Consuming too many carbohydrates results in higher levels of insulin, which supports lipogenesis, or the growth and/or formation of fat cells. Again, this will intensify the development of cellulite. Microwavable meals tend to be high in the very types of sugar that promote high insulin output. Even if those meals are relatively low in calories, the types of sugars they contain can be problematic.

Another issue with these microwavable meals is that carcinogenic (cancer-causing) toxins leak out of the plastic containers they are stored in, which will then seep into the food you’re eating. In other words, stay away from the microwavable meals. An extra hour or two of food preparation per week is far less inconvenient than coping with a life-threatening disease that could come from ingesting high levels of toxic chemicals.

You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned that sitting most of the day probably doesn’t help matters. Prolonged sitting may have a negative impact on circulatory patterns in the body and increase the likelihood of developing cellulite. Notice that the parts of the body where cellulite develops are the same areas that are compressed while sitting in a chair, which restricts blood circulation.

Blood Circulation

Again, poor blood circulation is one of the primary components of cellulite development.  After you’ve been sitting for a long time, then suddenly stand up, the biological mechanisms in the body that regulate insulin and process blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol, are suddenly activated. These chemical reactions have a profound impact on the cellular functioning of your muscles, which means this will affect how your body regulates insulin and controls your blood sugar. Just the simple act of getting up and carrying your own body weight around will improve your body’s ability to shuttle fuel to the cells to be processed for energy.

When you sit for prolonged periods of time, the opposite occurs. Blood circulation slows down, and blood sugar and insulin levels rise because your body doesn’t require much fuel to just sit around.


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The most practical solution to this would be to simply force yourself to get up and go for a short walk or find a flight of stairs to go up and down after you’ve been sitting for 30 or more consecutive minutes. If this isn’t possible, then just stand up from your chair as though you were performing a squat, lower your butt back to the seat of your chair again without actually sitting, then stand back up. Repeat this motion for 15-25 times, like a set of bodyweight squats. This will help promote better blood circulation, which will serve as a weapon against cellulite.

It sounds like you have a great exercise regimen in place. Unfortunately, an hour of exercise doesn’t relinquish you from the responsibility of realizing the opportunities to incorporate more physical activity throughout the day.

Dry Skin Brushing

There is a technique called “dry skin brushing” that some people swear by for helping minimize the appearance of cellulite. Besides cosmetic reasons, many holistic practitioners believe this practice will also stimulate the lymphatic system, increase blood circulation, improve digestion, and relieve stress. Dry skin brushing should be done daily for noticeable results. It would be easiest to make it part of your daily routine prior to getting into the shower in the morning.

To do this technique, pick up a high-quality brush made from natural materials. Be sure to choose a brush with a long handle to reach your back and other hard to reach parts of your body. You can brush almost your entire body but stay away from the face, genitals, prominent varicose veins, or skin abrasions.

How To Dry Skin Brush

Begin with your feet, then work your way up to your legs, stomach, chest, arms, and back. When you brush, always stroke the brush towards your heart. This will promote optimal blood circulation. Also, when you brush, be sure to apply a firm amount of pressure, but not so much that it feels painful. Your skin should be a little pink afterward but never red or irritated. You can brush for as long as you like. But, your average dry brushing sessions typically last 10-20 minutes.

After your morning shower you may want mix 1 or 2 drops of grapefruit essential oil with some other carrier oil like a massage oil, then massage it into the areas where cellulite is most prominent. Grapefruit essential oil is believed to enhance the activity of the lymph glands, which, in turn, may help prevent poor blood circulation and cellulite.

Just a few final thoughts; eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants may help reduce or halt the progression of cellulite. To maximize nutrition and minimize disease promoting man-made chemicals, I suggest adhering to a whole food diet. If you can do this with organic food, all the better.

Remember, when food is processed, there are usually insulin boosting sugars, along with inflammation promoting chemicals and fats that not only contribute to the development of diseases, but they may also promote cellulite development. Focus on including mostly fresh, unprocessed, meats, cage-free eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and tubers (potatoes & yams).

Toxins

Scientists beleive toxins contribute to the development of cellulite. Therefore, drink plenty of clean, filtered water daily to help flush toxins out of your body. Also, drinking various teas like burdock, milk thistle, cayenne pepper, ginger, chicory, dandelion, and goldenseal are commonly used in holistic medicine for detoxifying the body.

I hope you find this information useful. I wish you all the best in achieving your health and fitness goals!

Prove ‘Em Wrong,
Chad Shaw

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