Ever wondered if working out consistently can help you with the dimples on your legs you can't seem to budge?
Yep, we're talking about cellulite. Btw, cellulite isn't "too much fat," rather, a physical trait most women have. It's caused by weaker connective tissue and larger fat cells around women's thighs and hips which we carry, why? You guessed it: for childbearing reasons.
93 percent of women are affected by cellulite, and a shocking 60 percent of women surveyed believe it's down to their lifestyle. But news flash: Cellulite is normal, and definitely not caused by anything you can control.
According to personal trainer Leigh Clayton, nearly all women will have cellulite, but how it shows will differ from person-to-person. That is, your best mate could have it under her skin, it just may not show on the surface. Every physical body is different, so cellulite looks different on every individual.
"It's completely normal and nothing to worry about," he shares. However, how it appears, plus how much you have, is largely down to:
- lifestyle factors
- body fat percentage
It's high time we embraced cellulite as one of the many perfectly normal bodily features most women experience. But before we do: There's an old wives tale that swears cardio will get rid of cellulite. To put that one to bed once and for all, we quizzed Leigh on his expert knowledge on the matter.
Why do you get cellulite?
As above, it's fairly simple. "It's to do with fibrous tissue breakdown underneath your skin," explains Leigh. "As fat cells push upwards against your skin, it gives a dimply appearance on the surface." See? Totally normal.
So... can exercise reduce cellulite?
In a word: no. Sure, logic might suggest that reducing your body fat percentage will reduce the amount of cellulite that you have, but realistically, the human body is far more complex than that, the PT explains.
"Removing it completely is unrealistic and unlikely. As far as I'm aware, there is no scientific research or evidence to suggest that exercise can totally get rid of cellulite," Leigh continues.
Where do you think the myth comes from?
Simply put, people are terrible at comparing themselves to others. "They see people who have less cellulite than them doing certain exercises and think they need to do that to reduce their cellulite, too," Leigh explains.
He urges you not to confuse correlation with causation. "We know that reducing body fat and growing muscle in the right areas can—sometimes, not always—reduce the appearance of cellulite—but only reduce, not get rid of. If you're interested, I'd recommend hiring a qualified personal trainer who can inform your decision with expert advice," he explains.
It's important here to remember that you're individual, unique, and special, and really don't need to be worrying about your cellulite. Embrace your body, practice self-love and treat your body with compassion: You only get one life, and wasting it worrying about what moves are best for cellulite seems futile.
Still not convinced? Read our round-up of the celebs who've openly embraced their cellulite. Guaranteed to make you smile.
Conscious about your cellulite? Here are three tips to follow
As above, a huge 93 percent of women have cellulite or will have it at some point in their lives - "it’s a fact of life," Leigh explains. Remember this next time you feel self-conscious: Everybody is too busy with themselves to notice your cellulite anyway.
"Even if they did notice and judge you, then they're probably not the type of person you'd want in your life, right?" shares Leigh. "If you can learn to accept it, then you're left with the headspace to focus on training goals that actually matter," he continues.
Now that's something we won't say no to. Leigh suggests investing in gym kit that makes you feel less self-conscious and more confident. "What will seem like one small confidence boost will massively help with other areas, too," he shares.
- You'll feel more confident.
- You'll be more motivated to go to the gym in the first place.
- You may enjoy your gym session more.
- You may work harder during your session as a result.
"I'm a big fan of this tip," Leigh adds. "I do this personally. People do this for their 'going out' clothes, so why not your gym clothes, if you spend lots of time in them?"
Focus on a training goal
...that isn't related to cellulite.
Sure, this sounds obvious, but you'll likely be surprised by how much maintaining a healthy diet within your energy balance requirements, drinking more water, sleeping well, and following a well-rounded training programme will boost your confidence. And isn't that the whole point? Getting you to focus on your many plus points, not your flaws?
"Any workout or training plan that helps you build consistent confidence is a yes in my opinion," Leigh explains.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.