There are plenty of expensive wraps, oils and creams that claim to help reduce cellulite overnight, but the truth is that very few of them actually work.
So what can you do to get rid of cellulite? Some say that building muscle can help to reduce its appearance, is this true?
In the following article, we are going to look at whether building muscle can get rid of cellulite? Please read on to discover the truth for yourself. [toc]
What Is Cellulite?
According to the Mayo Clinic, 8 out of 10 women have cellulite, with it appearing primarily on your thighs, hips and butt.
It forms in the subcutaneous fat layer, which is the uppermost layer of fat. This layer of fat is used to maintain structural support and insulation.
When the elasticity of the connective tissue that surrounds this fat layer decreases, the fibres tighten and presses over the fat layer; resulting in the dimpled texture resembling orange peel that covers the surface of the skin.
What Causes Cellulite?
There are numerous reasons why cellulite may form. It is more likely to form in areas that have naturally high levels of fatty tissue, such as the butt and the backs of your thighs.
Other risk factors of cellulite include:
- Your gender (women are more likely to develop cellulite )
- High oestrogen levels
- Fluctuation in weight resulting in increased levels of fatty tissue
- A reduction in collagen as you age
- Genetics; does your family have a history of cellulite?
- Increased inflammation
- Poor circulation
- Poor lymphatic drainage
- Changes to your hormone balance
- Birth control pills
- Unhealthy lifestyle choices; cigarettes, alcohol and stress can cause cellulite
Build Muscle And Reduce Cellulite
Weight training or any resistance training that build muscle can help to reduce cellulite in a few different ways.
For a start, building muscle will increase your bodies ability to burn calories even when you are at rest.
According to the American Council on Exercise, each pound of muscle will burn between 7 and 10 calories daily. In comparison, one pound of fat burns only 2-3 calories daily.
Resistance training can also remodel the connective tissue that surrounds the fat tissue, therefore smoothing the appearance of cellulite.
In a study published in the book “Healing Without Medication” , Robert S. Rister cited a weight loss study that was conducted at the University of Maryland.
This study found that the participants of the study lost an average of 15 pounds of six months, losing as much fat from under the skin of their thighs (where cellulite had formed), as they had lost of the fat that the body stores for energy.
It has also been shown that resistance training can cause an increase in your metabolism even after you complete the workout .
This process is called EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption), often called the afterburner effect.
In one research study, it was shown that EPOC caused an increase in BMR of 4.2% for a period of 16 hours . This was the equivalent of 60 extra calories burnt, which may not seem a lot but will soon add up over time.
Exercises To Get Rid Of Cellulite
It is worth saying that it is impossible to spot reduce cellulite. However, exercise can help with your fat-burning efforts.
Alongside your muscle-building efforts, you may want to try other activities to help your efforts, such as:
- Riding a bike
- Elliptical machine
To build muscle you may want to include some of the following exercises into your regime:
Whether you choose a bodyweight squat or use a barbell or dumbbells. If you want to build muscle in your lower body then you need to squat.
There are plenty of squat variations and I would highly recommend looking on YouTube to see how to perform them.
For a standard squat (with barbell) you will need to face the bar, grabbing it with a medium grip.
Next, dip under the bar and place it onto your upper back, your feet should be under the bar at this stage with your chest raised.
Unrack the barbell by straightening your legs. Step back with straight legs, making sure to lock both your hips and knees.
To squat, you should take a deep breath, hold it and lower yourself down. You should push your knees out while your hips are moved back. You should keep your lower back in a neutral position.
Squat down until your hips are below your knees. Once you break parallel you can return to the starting position by straightening your knees and keeping your chest out. Again, lock your hips and knees at the top. Remember to breathe.
The lunge works a number of different lower leg muscles, including the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps.
With lunges, you will need to stand with your feet hip-width apart, engage your core and take a big step backwards.
You should engage your glutes as you bend your front knee. Your back knee will lightly tap the floor as you lower.
You should try to keep your upper body upright while performing this exercise.
To return to the starting position you should drive your heel into the floor.
#3: Hip Thrust
This exercise is perfect for building glute strength and size.
To perform this move you should start with your shoulder blades against a bench. You should spread your arms across it for stability.
If your shoulders do not reach the bench then you will need to start this exercise with your butt off the floor.
Your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle, with your feet flat on the floor.
Next, take a deep breath, blow the air out fully, and brace your core.
While you are lifting your hips you should squeeze your glutes, holding at the top of the lift for 2-3 seconds. You should not hyperextend your lower back at the top of the movement.
#4: Squat Jump
For the squat jump you should assume the standard squat position, with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
Pretend that you are sitting back in a chair as you begin to squat down. Your arms should start to raise in front of you.
On the upwards part of the movement, you are going to propel yourself into a jump. You should bring your arms down to assist this movement.
Aim to land as softly as possible, to avoid jarring. Let the balls of your feet hit the ground first.
This is one repetition, you should immediately squat down and repeat the exercise.
When you first start out with the above exercises you may want to just use your bodyweight. To add more resistance you can add weight using a barbell or dumbbell.
Make sure to warm up before you start your workout properly. Light cardio for 10 minutes and some dynamic stretches should suffice.
What Else Can You Do To Lose Cellulite?
Alongside your new muscle building exercise regime, it is important that you take steps to improve your nutrition.
Firstly, you should consider cutting out all junk food, fatty foods, alcohol and sugar. These are all foods that cause cellulite to form and can also cause weight gain too.
Foods that are full of salt should be avoided too. This is because salt can cause water retention, which can cause the orange-peel to look even more visible.
Instead opt for protein-rich foods to help build muscle, whole carbs and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The fresh fruits and vegetables will contain the nutrients your body needs for good health, along with nutrients such as potassium and vitamin C that can help fight cellulite.
Potassium-rich foods like apricots, bananas and potatoes can help transport oxygen and nutrients to your bodies cells.
Potassium also helps your body to excrete waste products from your body.
Foods rich in vitamin C (bell peppers and kiwis for example) can promote collagen production. Collagen is responsible for skin health and will promote smooth and even skin.
As for drink choices, I would recommend that you opt for water over the other options available.
Water contains zero calories and will help clear waste from your skin and body. It is also important for transporting vital nutrients around your body to its cells.
Other methods that you can use to reduce the appearance of cellulite include:
- Professional massage; can help improve the elasticity of the skin
- At-home massage creams; some help, others don’t
- Avoiding tanning; either in the sun or at the salon
Finally, if you are still concerned about the appearance of cellulite and traditional methods have not worked then you may want to speak to a dermatologist.
They may suggest one of the following solutions:
- Acoustic wave therapy
- Laser therapy
- Chemical peels
You need to remember that these treatments will need to be repeated to maintain the results, and that they may become expensive over time.
If you are trying to rid your body of cellulite then you are going to have to work hard.
Building muscle will certainly help, and along with the other tips listed here, you will certainly see an improvement.
You may not ever have completely smooth skin, but this is ok. Perhaps it is time that we started to love ourselves a little more regardless of how we look. Focus on health rather than appearance I say.
If you have any of your own tips to reduce cellulite then we would love to hear them. You can leave your tips below using the comment form provided.