Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope everybody is enjoying a safe and happy holiday. Next week we’ll pick back up with our Super Foods, but for now here’s this week’s Fit Tip. Happy Turkey Day!!
Fit Tip of the Week:
Cellulite. It’s one of many words women fear (and probably hate) the most. We know what it looks like, but what is it and how can exercise help? Cellulite is simply plain old fat, but it does have one defining characteristic. Cellulite presents itself with a dimpled, cottage-cheese, orange peel look and here’s why. Everyone has connective tissue that separates fat cells into compartments. Men typically have a horizontal or criss-cross pattern to said compartments. For women the compartments have more of a honeycomb appearance, giving fat a greater chance to protrude or bulge, which yields the cottage-cheese effect. Thanks to this women are more likely to develop cellulite than men, mainly around the hips and thighs. However, keep in mind that men can develop this condition too. Cellulite does become more noticeable with age, because the skin gets thinner over time. This generally strikes individuals in their 30s. Now, does this mean that everyone will develop cellulite? No. Genetics determine where your fat cells are distributed and how many fat cells you have. Activity level is another key factor associated with cellulite. If you regularly exercise, you will decrease your odds of developing cellulite (by lowing your body fat percentage) or if you do develop cellulite the cottage-cheese appearance won’t appear quite as pronounced.
Unfortunately, there are far too many people who buy into to (literally) the idea of quick and easy fixes. There is no such thing. Skip the creams, liposuction, pills, and body wraps. In all honesty, they don’t work. No cream can penetrate the skin and rearrange the fat cells beneath the surface. Liposuction is designed to remove excess deposits of fat, but it won’t change the appearance of fats. The effects of body wraps are just temporary, because all it does is compress the fat. Immediately after, your skin looks nice and smooth, but your skin will return to normal by the next day or two. Also dieting alone will not make the fat go away. There are diets that do make you lose weight, but at least one-quarter of the weight loss is muscle, which can lower your metabolism (among other things). If you return to your normal eating habits you will not only regain the weight but you will probably regain more than what you lost because of the lowered metabolism.
So, what can be done diminish the appearance of cellulite? Experts recommend daily cardio exercise combined with two to three strength-training sessions a week and a healthy diet. I know this sounds like a broken record but this is the only approach that has been proven for years to work, thanks to hundreds of documented case studies. An example is a case study conducted by Wayne Westcott Ph.D. In one study lead by Westcott, 72 men and women did three 30 minute workouts for eight weeks. The group that did only aerobic activity, lost about 4 pounds of fat but gained no muscle which only slightly improved body composition (the amount of lean tissue vs. non-lean tissue in the body). When subjects participated in aerobic activity and strength training they dropped 10 pounds of fat and added 2 pounds of muscle, which resulted in a greater improvement in body composition.
Keep in mind, an exercise program doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. For strength-training exercise any tool is fine. Dumbbells, elastic bands, machines and even your own body weight, all are very effective for strength training. If you like machines, then try leg presses, seated leg curls, hip adduction and abduction and overhead presses. If free weights are your thing give dumbbell squats, band hip adduction and abduction, body weight trunk extension and tan curls. Keep in mind results will not come overnight. With a consistent exercise program and a healthy sensible diet the results will come and the cellulite will start to diminish.
Until next week…