For the longest time the fitness industry has done quite the impressive job of selling you bullshit to make a dime. Unfortunately a lot of the advertising is targeted towards women, causing us to get caught in the tangled webs of what is fact or fiction. There are tons of health and fitness myths (and products to match) out there but I wanted to cover the top two most common that I get asked about most often.
Cellulite has been a HUGE buzzword in the fitness space for a long time, it’s been known in the states since about 1973. Cellulite is commonly referred to as the dimple like skin that accumulates in the hip and thigh area. There are an incredible number of treatments that all claim to be the best solution to the ever growing “cellulite problem.” These options vary in price and recoverability with creams and ultrasound technologies on the low end of cost and various surgeries on the higher end. The major similarity that all of these gimmicks have in common is that the purchase itself benefits the seller and their marketing scheme. The consumer, however, is left to feel ashamed or embarrassed about their natural body.
Cellulite was made up to pull more money from consumers by creating insecurities!
What exactly is cellulite?
Cellulite is fat. Plain and simple. To get a little deeper into the topic though, cellulite is two fold, not only is it fat, but what gives it the specific dimple look is based on how the fascia is structured under the skin. Everyone has a thin layer of fascia covering every muscle in the body. Fascia is essentially a second layer of skin made up of connective tissue. When the fascia is particularly tight coupled with a higher body fat percentage, this can create the look of what has been deemed cellulite or dimples and advertised to women as such.
Research shows that 80-90% of women have cellulite. I have it too! Why do we have cellulite? Because we are made to carry children and the extra fat deposits in our hips and thighs are standing at ever ready attention for when that day comes. Cellulite is also genetic. If your family is more prone to cellulite, chances are you might develop it at some point too. There was recent uproar in the body positivity community about an ad that AVON published saying, 'dimples are cute on your face' but 'not on your thighs.' Woah AVON! Let’s stop shaming women’s bodies and look for healthy and safe alternatives to help women feel better about themselves. Is it possible to get rid of cellulite?
There are foods that help reduce cellulite. Eat nutrient dense foods: This will help your body heal and repair. Focusing on eating more vegetables and fruits as well as getting healthy fats in and omitting sugar and/or all packaged foods (rule of thumb: if it’s in a package, don’t eat it). Subscribe to my blog here and you can get my weekly recipe updates.
Lift weights will fight cellulite: Heavy weights are best, but form is most important so you don’t hurt yourself. Watch my YouTube Video on why you should be lifting heavy weight. LIfting weights will begin to stretch and mobilize the fascia and the appearance of the dimples will begin to fade. Weight training will also aid in fat loss and promote muscle growth, and all are needed when it comes to the appearance of cellulite.
Get Massages or Body Work done to avoid cellulite. 1) because you love yourself and 2) because regular body work can loosen up the fascia and as you train with weights new patterns will be formed in that fascia to change your structure and prevent future issues in the area.
2. Waist Trainers
Waist trainers are all the new craze when it comes to preying on women’s body insecurities. If you’ve ever browsed around on Instagram, chances are you’ve seen influencers and celebrities touting the before and after of wearing a waist trainer. There are loads of trainers on the market varying from simple synch wraps that velcro to corset like trainers that you either zip up or clip together. Most are meant to wear while working out, but lately there have been products made that can be worn underneath clothing to give more of an hourglass illusion to the physique. Most websites suggest wearing trainers for a few hours a day to start, then progressing to a ten hours a day. Think of a modern day corset, yeah, remember those? Haven’t we come far enough from that era! The main selling point of these trainers is two-fold and depends on the context of which you are using it:
While working out: the extra fabric covering your waist will heat up that specific area more and help that extra water weight come off and tighten the midsection.
Generally: It forms the shape of your waist into more of an hourglass shape and wearing it for long periods of time can start to ‘naturally’ alter your shape.
We have completely mainstreamed the waist trainer for women. It is marketed as a quick fix for weight loss, and all you have to do is wear it. The waist trainer is much like a modern day corset. When women would wear corsets in the past it was also for the same desirable figure that women are still striving for today. While worn, these corsets made women faint from the inability for the lungs to expand to take in air, it squished their organs (check this out for a good graphic), and alter the structure of the skeleton. Waist trainers (albeit an updated version of the corset) are no different in their effects on the human body. So does the waist trainer actually work in creating an hourglass shape? Short-term results might alter your silhouette while it is being worn. There is zero proof however in long term healthy results from a waist trainer. It essentially just “sucks you in” much like a pair of spanks or a control top would.
Okay so you’re probably asking yourself if waist trainers are dangerous. Waist trainers harm your organs in a few ways. The intense pressure from wearing them can cut off the supply of blood to vital organs in the body which can result in organ shutdown and death. The squeezing effect can also start to shift and alter the organs to become displaced in the body further preventing their proper functioning. The intense pressure can also prevent blood flow to the legs causing numbness or tingling in them. Waist trainers are especially dangerous when worn while working out.
One of the most if not THE most important muscles in the body are the core muscles. The Rectus Abdominus, the Obliques, and the Transverse Abdominus (TVA) are all the essential core muscles that help keep us upright, connect our upper body to our lower body (functionality), and protect our spine. If you are wearing a waist trainer while working out and in daily life you are essentially letting the waist trainer do the work for you. Wearing a waist trainer disengages the core muscles and disconnects you from them. Wearing a waist trainer will atrophy (weaken) these very important muscles, which is the very last thing you want to be doing when working out. This type of extended use will result in deformed organs, weakened muscles and low back pain/injuries. So do waist trainers work? No! Not for the real results you’re aiming for.
Focus on your core and upper body. If you want your waist to look ‘slimmer’ or have more of an hourglass shape, then pay attention to building your upper body. This is how bodybuilders achieve the tight waist by emphasizing their upper body. We cannot change what we are born with or how the structure of our bodies morph as we age, but we can use weight training as a tool to shape and sculpt our bodies to look a certain way. When you focus on fat loss and then build out your upper body just a little bit, you will create a natural illusion of the hourglass in a healthy way! These methods aren’t simple and quick but they will promote the longevity of your health over time and don’t have long lasting health damaging effects. There is no shortcut for health!
Looking for help in your own health and fitness journey? I do consultations for free. Let’s get you started today!