Cellulite is defined as persistent subcutaneous fat causing dimpling of the skin, especially on women’s hips and thighs. Some may know it as simply “cottage cheese” thighs or something to that affect. Regardless of what you call it, cellulite is the definitely undesirable and for most people, very difficult to eliminate or treat.
According to an article posted on Scientific American, “Is Cellulite forever?” they state that “Cellulite affects up to 90% of women, and 10% of men. As women start approaching menopause, estrogen starts decreasing. From 25 to 35 is when you start seeing the appearance of cellulite. Estrogen has an impact on the blood vessels. When estrogen starts to decrease, you lose receptors in blood vessels and thighs, so you have decreased circulation. With decreased circulation you get less oxygen and nutrition to that area, and with that we see a decrease in collagen production…. [Also, at this time] fat cells start becoming larger, [they] begin protruding through the collagen [and become the bumpy fat known as cellulite].” (1.)
According to metaboliceffect.com, “how to get rid of cellulite on legs,” when compared to men, cellulite is related to collagen, and women have collagen fibers in their lower body that are located up and down like a “picket fence.” Because of this straight up and down distribution of the collagen fibers, aside from low estrogen as women reach pre-menopause and menopause, and genetic factors, this is the major reason that females get cellulite and men don’t, and the superficial collagen of men forms more of a mesh. According to the article, “if women have the picket fence of distribution of collagen, then men have the chain link fence” distribution of collagen. Where women’s fibers run up and down, male fibers criss cross.” (2).
So, how do we get rid of this unwanted, visually unappealing demon that plagues us as we age? Of course, there are several ways to attempt to rid your body of cellulite, some of which can be very promising, and some can also be considered very extreme. They can also be very costly and considered potentially dangerous if you are looking to do things naturally and want long lasting results, on a more practical level. Of course, we are talking about the creams and plastic surgeons, dermatologists and those avenues that some people take to say “see ya later,” to their cellulite. There is the more promising and healthier way of just good ole’ fashioned hard work in resistance training. Not only can resistance training create a much needed, healthier life style change that may be desirable to you, it just might be beneficial to help get rid of that unwanted cellulite that is collecting around your thighs as we speak.
An article posted on livestrong.com, “Can Lifting Weights Get Rid of Cellulite?” shows that some research has indicated that exercise does help improve skin texture by reducing fat in the body’s fat stores and the “cellulite-prone” layer. According to the article, In “healing without medication,” written by Robert S. Rister, “Rister cites a weight loss study conducted at the University of Maryland in which study participants, who lost about 15 pounds over six months, lost as much fat under the skin of their thighs, where cellulite had formed, as they lost of the fat that the body stores for energy.” (3).
An article posted on bodybuilding.com, “Cellulite Solutions for Women,” written by Sherry Gideons, says the best defense against cellulite is by combining a low-fat diet with an appropriate exercise program that tones the underlying muscle. Therefore, an aerobic only exercise program aimed at burning fat simply is not enough. The article goes on to say that strength training is an important element in reducing the unsightly appearance of cellulite, because it increases muscle tone and decreases total body fat. However, the way that you choose to strength train, is even more important that the idea of strength training alone. The article suggests that a program targeting fat loss in the lower body, specifically hips, thighs, abdomen, and buttocks is ideal. Training the lower body makes the muscle groups that promote reduction in the actual size of the area quite fatigued, while decreasing the percentage of body fat. The routines that are recommended, with these goals in mind are: “5-25-repetition concept, which also keeps the heart rate up. Gideons also encourages that when training for shape, not size, that the exercises are performed with no rest between sets, only for a drink of water. This type of training will create more fat-burning muscle while still giving you a longer, leaner and shapely, not bulky body and can also be considered as a two in one system. Resistance training and cardio in one.” Gideons goes on to advise: “with the last few repetitions feeling a bit challenging. Secondly, problem areas should be trained four to six times a week, following the 15 to 25 repetition rule. Lastly, exercises should be done in a fairly fast paced cycle. This means for example, in a given workout if there are five different lower body exercises being performed in that particular workout session, exercises 1-5 should be performed once (15 – 25 times each), then exercise 1-5 should be performed again and when endurance permits, even a third or fourth time.” (4).
Since the majority of those who struggle with cellulite are women, according to Gideons, “Although nothing can replace the benefits of aerobic training for the heart, aerobic training does not tone muscle, and muscle tone is the only answer to the battle. Women need to incorporate lightweight training into their fitness routines in order to have the best body that they as an individual can possibly have…” and the bottom line is as follows: “The amount of fat in the body is determined by the individual’s eating and exercise habits, but the distribution of fat in the body is determined by heredity. In most cases reduction of a particular part can be accomplished only as part of an overall weight-reduction program.” (4).