Raphael Calzadilla is a certified trainer with the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and has been a personal trainer for almost 20 years. He is also a natural competitive bodybuilder, 2001 Mr. Connecticut, and winner of the prestigious WNBF (World Natural Bodybuilding Federation) Pro Card, earning him status as a drug-free professional bodybuilder. You can learn more about Raphael at his website www.fitbyraphael.com.
Four years ago I was asked to speak at a fitness and nutrition seminar. With the audience being primarily women, I was excited to once and for all clear up the misconceptions about cellulite. Finally, it was my chance to talk about the infamous cottage cheese-look that makes women cringe in disgust.
I enthusiastically told my wife, Pam, and shared some of my material. She was excited about the subject matter and was listening intently. I told her that, from a medical standpoint, cellulite doesn’t exist. Her eyes got so big I thought I’d be shot on the spot, but I told her to be patient because it gets better.
I told her that cellulite is nothing more than fat. Len Kravitz Ph.D., who published an outstanding article “Cellulite: Everything You Want To Know and More,” in which he said “the name (cellulite) originated from the French medical literature over 150 years ago.” He goes onto describe the physiological reasons why cellulite is nothing more than plain old body fat.
I discussed how the fat cells of men and women have connective tissue that separates fat cells into compartments, that the organization and shape of those compartments differs between men and women, and that this is what gives cellulite the cottage cheese-look in women.
I went on to explain that another problem is the location of cellulite in relation to the skin and talked about the epidermis, the dermis, and subcutaneous fat. I told her that if there is an abundance of fat at the subcutaneous level, it becomes extremely visible to the eye because it’s just below the surface of the skin.
I confidently concluded with Pam that there’s therefore no such thing as cellulite, it’s simply body fat.
I’m looking at my wife all sorts of proud when she looks at me disgusted. Then she screams, “Who cares?! Women don’t care what it is; all we want to know is how to get rid of it!”
That’s the bottom line! I gave her an education and she gave me a better one.
So what can you do to diminish the appearance of cellulite? Frequent cardio exercise combined with two to three strength-training sessions a week and a healthy diet.
Huh? What? That’s it? Yep, that’s it. It’s body fat. That’s how you decrease it with natural methods.
The good news is that there’s proof that this approach works. Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, and author of “No More Cellulite”, designed a cellulite-reduction program. It includes 20 minutes of strength training with five exercises for the upper body and five
for the lower body, and 20 minutes of treadmill walking or jogging, staying at about 70 percent to 80 percent of maximal heart rate.
This program is followed three days a week, although participants can always do more cardio.
Participants in an eight-week study of Westcott’s program lost about one pound a week or about 10 pounds after two months. When participants combined the exercise program with good eating habits (a food pyramid–based diet consisting of 1,600, 2,220 or 2,800 calories), they doubled the fat loss, losing 9.1 pounds of fat (compared to 4.5 pounds without the nutritional component).
We reduce body fat through the formula of diet, resistance training, cardiovascular exercise and consistency, precisely what was used by Dr. Westcott.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Is that all there is?” You read all of this only for me to tell you that you need a healthy calorie-reduced nutritional program, resistance training, cardiovascular exercise and consistency?
Yes, that ‘s the harsh reality.
If you’re thinking of trying the various cellulite wraps, compressors etc., save your hard earned money. Based on the fact that cellulite resides so close to the surface of the skin, it can temporarily be compressed. If you try a cellulite reduction compressor and you see it working for a day, all it means is that you compressed the fat temporarily – it will be back to the way it looked very soon.
The amount of cellulite you lose will depend on individual genetics. Some women can completely eliminate all signs of cellulite and some women will still show some degree of it. However, no matter what, it can be greatly reduced through the formula of diet, resistance training, cardio and consistency.
The solution may not be what you were hoping for, but it’s the truth. And the truth can help you to get moving on the right track. Be patient, be consistent and you’ll see the cellulite (body fat) reduce over time.
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March 4th, 2011