By Jessica Cassity
A lot of workouts are marketed as fat-blasting and cellulite-shrinking. Instructors claim that if you only knew the right moves, your trouble zones would disappear and your body would be dimple-free. But can certain exercises really get rid of cellulite?
The Verdict: Exercise can reduce fat, but there's no way to spot-treat cellulite
“Getting rid of cellulite requires proper exercise, nutrition, proper circulation and the control of fat-storage hormones [that are] more prevalent in the lower body,” says personal trainer Ariane Hundt, founder of Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp.
To some extent, genetics determine how much cellulite a person has. So does gender: Women are more prone to having cellulite because, unlike most men, they tend to store fat in their thighs, hips and buttocks.
Unfortunately, these factors mean that some people are destined to have cellulite no matter how hard they work out. But there are ways to reduce its appearance. According to Hundt, the keys to a good anti-cellulite training program are: losing body fat, firming the muscle underneath the skin, following a low-carb diet, and boosting circulation and blood flow.
Here are her tips for doing all of that:
Eating a low-fat diet consisting of lean proteins and veggies is one way to lose body fat. Avoid sugar, starches, alcohol, processed foods and sugary fruit. Lowering your carb intake will also help: Foods with a low glycemic index have been shown to aid in weight loss, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
Interval training -- which involves varying the intensity of your activity -- is a great way to burn body fat.
Firming the muscle underneath the cellulite will help smooth the skin's appearance. Focus on strength-training moves that build up the hamstrings, quads, buttocks and hips. Aim for training the lower body at least two times a week, increasing the weight over time to challenge your muscles. Among the most effective lower-body exercises are:
- Step-Ups: Step up on a bench or fitness step, then step down with the same leg. Aim for 20 reps on each leg.
- Lunges: Walking or stationary lunges effectively target all lower-body muscles. Take one large step forward and lower your body so both of your knees form 90-degree angles, keeping your front knee over the ankle. Return to starting position. Aim for 30 to 50 reps on each leg.
- Squats: Aim for 50 reps, keeping your weight in the heels and your back straight as you extend your hips down and back (like you're sitting in a chair). Try to lower until your thighs are at least paralell to the floor. Don't let your knees extend past your toes.