The 3-step rule to reducing the appearance of cellulite

Women around the world spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on cellulite treatments that promise a quick fix. But the real solution, if you’re looking for one, is healthy eating and incorporating three-dimensional movements to your workout.

Search the internet, or any women’s magazine from the past… well, ever, and there will be copious amounts of advice on how to “get rid” of cellulite, that uneven distribution of fat making our thighs, butts, and stomachs look dimpled.

Decades of limited representation of beauty would have you believe cellulite is something to be ashamed of, or ugly; something that needs to be fixed with creams, dry-brushing, or even “fat-melting” injections. The list of supposed treatments is almost endless, costing women approximately $370 million every year.

First of all, it’s important to remember cellulite affects almost every woman, slim or curvy, and unfairly or not, its existence is totally biological.

“Cellulite happens when enlarged fat cells push through the connective tissue beneath the skin better known as the fascia,” explains trainer and founder of Body by Michael (BBM), Michael Abdallah.

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“In women, fascia, a fibrous connective tissue, connects in a perpendicular direction. This crisscrossed shaping is designed to hold fat cells for women as they prepare for bearing children. In men, fascia actually runs parallel, preventing the appearance of cellulite.”

But if the appearance of your cellulite is making you self-conscious, especially in the summertime when it’s more likely on display, Michael explains his three-prong approach to reducing its appearance.

Shrink the fat cells

“Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just ‘get rid of fat cells.’ They never go anywhere,” he says.

“You can only shrink your fat cells.”

So how do you do that? Shrinking fat cells is addressed with dietary changes and/or increasing the size of your muscle cells.

“You start with the hormone that triggers the depositing of fat: insulin,” says Michael.

“You need to focus on reducing the release of insulin, and eliminate ‘fat-soluble toxins’ as they too are stored in the fat cells.”

This all sounds very sciencey, but in the simplest of terms, you need to take a look at what you’re eating.

While insulin is vital to our day-to-day function (it turns what we eat into energy), too much of it can cause a myriad of health problems.

Start by keeping an eye on your portion sizes, reduce your sugar intake especially in foods that offer no other nutritional value like lollies and chocolate, and swap out refined carbs for healthy wholegrains.

Lastly, Michael says cortisol needs to be reduced as that, too, is stored in fat cells.

Tighten the fascia

Cortisol is your fight-or-flight hormone, and it’s what’s activated when we experience stress: heart rate goes up, blood pressure increases, headaches, and so on.

Added stress contributes to the depletion of collagen in the fascia, as well as stretching, so it’s really important to “focus on stress reduction techniques like diaphragmatic breathing, meditation,” etc, at work or home.

Another way to help repair and tighten fascia is by stimulating the production of growth hormone, aka somatotropin.

“Higher intensity full-body exercises that are explosive, dynamic and no longer than 8-12 minutes, will stimulate the production of growth hormone,” says Michael.

“But make sure you don’t over-train otherwise you’ll pass the ‘Bliss Point’ and it may have an adverse effect.”

Get moving

You need to wake your muscles up.

As many of us work at a desk these days, we’re living increasingly sedentary lifestyles, which among the many negative impacts this has on our health it can leave our muscles either short and tight or long and weak.

But this can also occur if you’re working out with poor form, says Michael, or focussing on the same muscle groups over and over.

“From humanity’s inception, we were created and designed to be opportunistic movers with three dimensions to our movement,” he says.

“In short, you need to make sure you’re focusing on all three… the simple gym machine exercises you’ve been using aren’t going to do the trick.”

The three dimensions are sagittal, front to back; frontal, side-to-side; and transverse, rotational.

So rather than doing just squats for example, incorporate lunges, and lateral or Cossack squats into your leg routine.

The best news?

“Walking counters cortisol,” says Michael.

“So on the days you aren’t pursuing high-intensity workouts, consider a nice stroll through the neighbourhood.”