The cottage cheesy appearance is caused when the fibrous tissue just below the skin forms pockets. These pockets fill up with fat deposits that bulge and produce the bumpy appearance that we refer to as cellulite. The more excess fat a woman has, the more severe the problem. Sad but true though, even women of ideal body weight can still have cellulite. Cellulite is alleged to be a special type of "fat gone wrong," a combination of fat, water, and "toxic wastes" that the body has failed to eliminate.
What Can You Do?
So what's the best defense? There are several different so called fixes out there including creams and even surgery. But by far, the most practical, safest and long lasting way to reduce cellulite is by combining a low-fat diet with an appropriate exercise program that tones the underlying muscle. Therefore, an aerobic only exercise program aimed at burning fat is not enough.
Strength training is an important element in reducing the unsightly appearance of cellulite since it increases muscle tone and decreases total body fat. But the way you strength train is even more important. A program that targets fat loss in the lower body, specifically hips, thighs, abdomen and buttocks is ideal for most women.
Freestyle Fitness, A women's only program is a great way to train with these goals in mind. The very nature of a women's only program geared at training the lower body fatigues the muscle groups helping to promote a reduction in actual size of the area, while decreasing the percentage of body fat. The routines that I recommend for women with these goals in mind involve a 15-25-repetition concept, which also keeps the heart rate up. I also encourage that when training for shape, not size, that the exercises are performed with no rest between sets, only for a drink of water. This type of training will create more fat-burning muscle while still giving you a longer, leaner and shapely, not bulky body and can also be considered as a two in one system. Resistance training and cardio in one.
First, let's discuss some of the physical issues that plague many women regarding body shape and body composition. Most women have the same issues. They want to become more firm and leaner, they want delicate feminine cuts, and they want to defeat the battle with the hips, thighs and back of the upper arms. In many cases, women want to not only firm up these problem areas, but they want to reduce the size of these areas. Although nothing can replace the benefits of aerobic training for the heart, aerobic training does not tone muscle, and muscle tone is the only answer to the battle. Women need to incorporate lightweight training into their fitness routines in order to have the best body that they as an individual can possibly have.
Let's explore some basic principals of how women should resistance train. First, as a general rule, women should perform exercises at a weight that allows them to complete 15 to 25 repetitions; with the last few repetitions feeling a bit challenging. Secondly, problem areas should be trained four to six times a week, following the 15 to 25 repetition rule. Lastly, exercises should be done in a fairly fast paced cycle. This means for example, in a given workout if there are five different lower body exercises being performed in that particular workout session, exercises 1-5 should be performed once (15 - 25 times each), then exercise 1-5 should be performed again and when endurance permits, even a third or fourth time.
In addition to the visible physical changes that will result from consistent resistance training, there are numerous health benefits that only resistance training can provide for women such as:
Slowing down the aging of the skeleton and increasing bone mass. Improve the strength and function of tendons and ligaments. Rev-up metabolism by building lean muscle. For every pound of lean muscle built, an additional 50 calories a day will be used. Replaces the 1/2 pound of muscle that we lose each year as we age, beginning at around the age of 30. There are many other benefits of resistance training, but those are several important ones. If properly done, your workout can not only give you that swimsuit model physique that you want, but it also can provide you with results that can reverse some of the inevitable results of aging. If done properly, resistance training will not make you bigger. It will in fact reduce and firm the areas that you battle with that won't go away, no many how many aerobic classes you take.
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In 1998, the FDA approved a high-powered, handheld massage tool that consists of a treatment head and two motorized rollers with a suction device that compresses the affected tissue between the two rollers. The manufacturer is permitted to promote it for "temporarily improving the appearance of cellulite." The procedure -- called Endermologie -- usually takes 10 to 20 treatments to get the best results, and one or two maintenance treatments per month are required to maintain them. I myself used to be an Endermologie tech and discovered more a relaxing experience then any significant cellulite change.
An herbal product called Cellasene is being vigorously promoted as a cellulite remedy. The product was developed by an Italian chemist named Gianfranco Merizzi. Its ingredients are evening primrose oil, dried fucus vesiculosis extract, gelatin, fish oil, glycerol, Soya oil, grape seed, bioflavonoids, Soya lecithin, fatty acids, dried sweet clover extract, dried ginkgo biloba extract, and iron oxide. The product, to be taken twice daily (or three times per day for an "intensive" program) for two months and then once daily for maintenance costs $1.50 to $2.00 per capsule.
Here's what one Internet marketer says [followed by my comments in brackets]:
Dried ginkgo biloba extract assists in blood circulation and stimulates the metabolism of fats. [Although ginkgo can increase circulation, it does not stimulate fat metabolism. Even if it did, there is no reason why it would exert a localized effect.] Dried sweet clover extract can increase blood circulation and assist in removing fluid build-up. [This ingredient may have mild diuretic action, but is not "fluid build-up" is not a factor in the appearance or composition of fatty tissue.] Grape seed bioflavonoids are powerful antioxidants that protect cells and blood vessels from damage. [Whether antioxidant supplements help protect tissues is not scientifically settled. Regardless, any such mechanism has nothing to do with the quantity or appearance of fatty tissues.] Dried fucus vesiculosus extract stimulates metabolism and can help reduce localized fats. [This herb contains significant amounts of iodine and could adversely effect the thyroid gland. The U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (USRDA) for iodine is 150 micrograms. The average American woman ingests 170 micrograms per day from food (not including iodized salt). Each capsule of Cellasene contains 240 micrograms of iodine. If enough were taken to increase thyroid function, the result would be unhealthy.] Evening primrose oil and fish oil are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, a source of energy that increases metabolic levels and helps in diminishing saturated fatty acids. [The "energy" is simply the caloric value. Neither oil increases metabolism or reduces the amount of other fats one eats.] Soya lecithin helps to break down fats. [The body makes all the lecithin it needs. Lecithin supplements do not cause the body to shed fat.]
Many salons and spas exist where clients supposedly can trim inches off the waist, hips, thighs, and other areas of the body. These facilities use wraps or garments, with or without special lotions or creams applied to the skin. The garments may be applied to parts of the body or to the entire body. Clients are typically assured that fat will "melt away" and they can lose "up to 2 inches from those problem areas in just one hour.
The Bottom Line
The amount of fat in the body is determined by the individual's eating and exercise habits, but the distribution of fat in the body is determined by heredity. In most cases reduction of a particular part can be accomplished only as part of an overall weight-reduction program.
Remember that you are never too old to begin. No matter if you are in your 20's or your 80's, if done properly and safely, resistance training can change your life by making you stronger, and firmer in a very feminine way.