What is cellulite, and how can we make it go away?

Published 5:28 pm Friday, October 9, 2015

Being a nutritionist and master personal trainer, one subject comes up quite often, especially with new clients.

“How can I make my cellulite go away?” they ask. This can be a touchy subject, because not only do 90 percent of all women get some degree of cellulite, they sometimes don’t know how to get rid of it. (And by the way, some men get it, too.)

First, let’s go over just what cellulite is. Cellulite is plain old body fat.

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Why does cellulite have a somewhat “dimpled” appearance? The reason is that body fat can sometimes be compartmentalized by connective tissue deep within layers of the skin. While everyone has connective tissue under their skin, men’s connective tissue tends to have horizontal patterns, which makes it more difficult for body fat to accumulate. Women’s connective tissues under the skin tend to have more of a honeycomb pattern. This allows more fat to collect and bulge outwards, giving a dimpled effect.

There are also many other variables that influence the amount of cellulite a person might have. These can include gender, genetics, age and even skin thickness.

The question is, can you get rid of your cellulite? The short answer is yes, but make no mistake, there are no quick fixes. I’ve had clients lose significant amounts of cellulite but it takes planning and effort.

First, let’s go over what doesn’t work. Stay away from creams aimed at reducing cellulite. If you read the label of most of these creams carefully, you’ll find that most only reduce the “appearance” of cellulite by a temporary (and I do mean temporary) tightening of the skin.

Also, treatments like liposuction are expensive, ineffective and can actually be contraindicated because they are designed to remove only deep body fat, not cellulite, which sits just below the skin’s surface.

Beware of herbal extracts designed to reduce cellulite. There’s not much evidence that they actually work at all, and some can even be dangerous because they can interact with certain prescription and non-prescription drugs.

So, what does work? I use a combination of treatments with clients. We start with a proper weight-training program specifically designed for the individual. That is important for both women and men for two reasons. First, for every ounce of muscle you train, you burn extra calories 24 hours a day. Second, muscle that is not toned will tend to sag, which makes cellulite look even worse.

Proper aerobic exercise comes next. This helps burn more calories and also helps tone muscle. I also help clients design an individualized eating program to help them lose even more excess body fat. In fact, one of my Charlotte clients has lost 72 pounds of body fat with just simple changes to her exercise regimen and diet.

I also make sure all my people get proper rest. In fact, if I’m training a client who is on a specific timeline, like a model for an upcoming photo shoot, or an athlete for a specific or seasonal sport, I require that they get an extra hour of sleep each night, whether they have to go to bed an hour earlier or get up an hour later. A nap won’t do it, because that extra hour of sleep needs to be contained in a certain cycle of sleep. Clients are amazed at the difference it makes. Remember, rest is the “glue” that holds everything in your fitness and diet program together.

Finally, make sure your supplement program supports you. While there are no supplements that in and of themselves get rid of cellulite, there are nutrients without which cellulite would build.

For example, vitamins C and E are necessary for red blood cell formation and collagen production, both of which affect connective tissue below the skin’s surface. Without firm connective tissue, cellulite is much more apparent.

By properly using all these techniques together in your program, you can significantly reduce the amount of cellulite you have at any age.

Fitness or nutrition question? Email me at dwcrocker77@gmail.com or visit fitness4yourlife.org. David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 29 years. He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the USC Spartanburg baseball team, The S.C. state champion girl’s gymnastic team, and the Converse College equestrian team. He served as lead trainer to L.H. Field’s modeling agency, and taught for four semesters at USC Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.