Janette, exercise can bring about positive changes and help you lose some of the cellulite. But studies have shown that dieting and wearing yourself thin with a preponderance of fat-burning aerobic exercise is not the answer and will not give you the significant results you want. Aerobic exercise alone may actually feed off of muscle tissue, especially if it's not supported by the adequate protein, carbohydrates and essential fats.
Dr. Wayne Westcott, a well-respected strength-training researcher and author of "No More Cellulite," explains this phenomenon:
"Each decade they - women - lose about 5 pounds of muscle and gain 15 pounds of fat. You have this shrinking foundation under this growing fat layer, and eventually the fat clumps."
Westcott adds, "It's not just a matter of having too much fat. It's a combination of too much fat and too little muscle."
If that seems a little unbelievable, take a look at some of your friends who run. Those who only do aerobic activity and fail to do strength-training exercise may still have dimply thighs. It comes down to body composition and building muscle mass.
Westcott goes on to say that dieting in the absence of strength training can actually promote the appearance of cellulite by causing muscle loss. He believes strongly that lifting weights to build and maintain muscle is the way to preventing the accumulation of cellulite.
I'm sure you're aware of the countless "miracle products" on the market that promise to rid you of cellulite. Products such as dietary supplements, creams, lotions, pills, body wraps, massage techniques and even surgical and vacuuming procedures are purchased by consumers desperate for a quick fix. However, there are no such products that can live up to these claims. Concentrate your effort on strength training and eat a diet with adequate lean protein.
And heredity does play a part in how your fat is stored. Inheriting loosely woven connective tissue is one strike against you. Age causes this connective tissue to weaken, which leads to bunched-up fat cells, aka cellulite.
This does not mean that fighting cellulite is hopeless. You just must be more diligent in your attempt to minimize it. The exercise regimen you choose (again I emphasize strength training) combined with the kinds and amount of calories you consume will determine whether the amount of cellulite on your body is affected. Westcott has shown that women who modified their diet and engaged in 45- to 60-minute sessions of aerobic exercise plus weight training three to five times a week saw results within two months.
Don't give up. Simply refocus your energy to improving your body composition and building muscle. Incorporate strength training two to three times a week. This shift will be the most effective way of making your body as strong and smooth as possible.
Cindy Boggs, fitness presenter, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified coordinator/instructor since 1989. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311, or e-mail cindys...@aol.com. Look for Cindy's fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World" on her Web site, www.cindysays.com, or contact the YMCA at 340-3527.