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7 Tips for Hot AF Legs this Summer

  • 5
  • May 07, 2019
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When it comes to getting toned and tight legs and glutes, cellulite has no place! Cellulite is the bumpy fat deposits visible on the surface of the skin in mainly areas of the body where we hold more fat. The fat deposit creates pressure on the surrounding connective tissues, pulling the skin downward causing pitting and dimples.

As women, our unique biochemistry makes us even more prone to developing cellulite. Hormonal changes in estrogen can weaken the connective tissues that surround fat cells and, as a result, negatively affect the skin’s support structures. This causes a loss of blood vessel receptors in the thigh and hip regions and less circulation to the area. When circulation is decreased, the result is less fat oxidation or burning in the area.  There is also less collagen production resulting in more fat accumulation and weaker connective tissues – a double whammy!

If that weren’t enough, our fat cells are also distributed in vertical columns making them more prone to bulging and pitting. Most women have cellulite to some degree and as we age, cellulite tends to worsen as we lose collagen and the support structures become weakened.

The good news is if you’re working out regularly and eating a healthy diet, you’re already fighting the cellulite battle!  Increase your efforts for maximum results – add these seven tips to combat cellulite for hot AF legs this summer and for that matter all year round!

#1 – Keep Sugar Low

Eating a healthy diet is necessary to build lean muscle and keep your legs toned, but it is also necessary to keep body fat levels down. If you’re not already, eat a diet that is low in sugar and stick to complex, fibrous carbohydrates that provide sustained energy. Too much sugar will result in more fat cell storage, which will result in greater fat deposits that can trigger the appearance of more cellulite.

Furthermore, a high sugar diet can accelerate the ageing process in skin via inflammation and glycation, which can directly cause damage to collagen and elastin – weakening the skin.  High sugar diets can also weaken blood vessels, reducing circulation and increasing water retention.  The result of high sugar diets – fat accumulation, water retention, glycation and inflammation – the perfect storm for cellulite.

Keep your carbs low –20 to 30% of your calories is enough.  Eat plenty of vegetables, leafy greens, some fruit and root vegetables.  Stay away from refined and processed carbs like pastries, pastas, breads and white rice. Try carb cycling or if you want something a bit more extreme and have more weight to lose give keto a try.

#2 – Increase Healthy Fats

Healthy fats, in particular, Omega-3 can help balance out hormonal levels, reduce inflammation and stimulate collagen production, which can both help combat cellulite.  Additionally, healthy fats can help increase insulin sensitivity – insulin is critical for blood sugar metabolism.  Improving this ensures the body is removing and utilizing sugar in the blood as efficiently as possible – reducing possibility of glycation from occurring.

Add healthy fats to your diet from a variety of sources such as fatty fish – salmon or mackerel, avocado, nuts – walnuts and almonds, seeds including flax, chia and pumpkin seed, or from oils such as coconut and olive.  Fats should make up about 30% of your diet. A healthy keto diet or a modified keto diet is a great way to get in your healthy fats, while upping your protein content and decreasing sugar and carbs.

#3 – Workout Often

Sure, working out increases lean muscle, but it also increase circulation. The more you move your body, the more you activate blood flow to your fat cells increasing fat oxidation or fat burning. Lack of blood flow can result in hardening of collagen around fat deposits worsening the appearance of cellulite.

It can be very easy for women to increase muscle size, since our center of gravity is in our hips, unfortunately as easy as it is to increase muscle, it’s not so easy to burn off the extra fat stored.  As a result, it’s easy to have big legs instead of lean and trim.

Keep your workouts focused on maintaining lean muscle and burning off fat. Increasing lean mass will harden and tighten up the legs, while burning off fat will reduce the cellulite pitting severity. Workouts should focus on a combination of weight training and conditioning movements.  Use a combination of compound movements such as squats and deadlifts, with more aerobic movements such as walking lunges, box jumps or jumping squats.  Incorporate cardio training like HIIT – high intensity interval training using jump rope or running.

Sets and reps should focus on volume over load – keep your weight light and your reps high!  Try this workout:

  1. Walking Lunges/Box Jump Squats 3 sets x 30 reps
  2. Barbell Split Lunges/Pop Squats 3 sets x 30 reps
  3. Sumo Squats with Kettlebell/Leg Extensions 3 sets x 30 reps
  4. Step Ups with Dumbbells/Reverse Lunges 3 sets x 30 reps
  5. Barbell Deadlifts/Leg Curls 3 sets x 20 reps
  6. Barbell Glute Hip Thrusts/Hyperextensions on Exercise Ball 3 sets x 20 reps

More leg workout ideas here!

#4 – Reduce Fluid Retention

Reducing fluid retention can help reduce the appearance of cellulite. First of all, be sure you are hydrated. This will help flush out toxins and keep the skin supple and plump. Be sure you are drinking at least 3 to 4 L of water daily. You can also try using a supplement to reduce water retention such as Dandelion Root Extract, which is a natural diuretic that can help flush out fluids from beneath the skin.

Eat water filled foods also – plenty of detoxifying vegetables and fruits.  If you have a hard time drinking a lot of water, try infused water with slices of citrus, herbal teas, or iced teas without added sugar.  Be sure to reduce or limit your caffeine intake, which includes coffee, sodas and energy drinks.  Be sure to also reduce your salt intake, salt can increase fluid retention in the body.

#5 – Increase Collagen Production

Increasing collagen production will strengthen the connective tissues helping to reduce the appearance of cellulite. Gotu Kola Extract has been shown to improve elasticity and thicken the skin by increasing collagen production, which helps to minimize the appearance of cellulite.

Vitamin C is another supplement that can help by stimulating collagen production at the genetic level by turning on transcription and synthesis pathways. Supplement with 30 mg of Gotu Kola three times per day and 500 to 1000 mg per day of Vitamin C.

Increasing intake of Vitamin C and anti-oxidant rich foods will also go a long way.  Eating plenty of green and colorful vegetables and fruit will help increase your anti-oxidant status in the body.  Anti-oxidants help protect against free radical damage of tissues and tissue structures, as well as help reduce whole body inflammation in turn – maximizing collagen production.

#6 – Increase Circulation

Increasing circulation via exercise is one means, but there are also a few supplements out there that can increase circulation to tissues. Horse Chestnut Extract can decrease small pores on capillary walls and improve blood flow. This will improve cellulite appearance as well as decrease varicose veins, if present, and reduce lower leg fluid retention. Gingko Biloba is another supplement that can increase blood flow. As a supplement, try 50 mg of Horse Chestnut Extract or 150 mg of Gingko Biloba daily.

Additionally, foods that are rich in nitrates such as beets, greens and root vegetables can also increase blood flow throughout the body.  Nitrates help increase vasodilation of blood vessels, which in turn increases blood flow and nutrient delivery.  This can help keep blood circulating in the legs, greater circulation equals greater fat oxidation! Have beet juice – mix with fresh orange, or chop and roast them for salads or sides.

#7 — Try a Topical

Topical creams can help to reduce inflammation, increase blood flow, reduce fluid and promote collagen production. Although they are not the best method for reducing cellulite, they can help improve appearance. Try an aminophylline or caffeine-based cream, which can help stimulate fat cells in the affected area to be released and burned off.  Other ingredients you’ll find in cellulite fighting creams include Vitamin C to help build collagen, Vitamin A to reduce free radicals that can breakdown collagen as well as some of the other supplements mentioned above.

Until Next Time,

Be Fierce & Rule the World,

LJ

References:

Diamond BJ, Bailey MR. Ginkgo biloba: indications, mechanisms, and safety. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2013. 36(1): 73-83.

Maquart FX, et al. Stimulation of collagen synthesis in fibroblast cultures by a triterpene extracted from Centella asiatica. Connect Tissue Res. 1990; 24 (2): 107-20.

Nugsgen BV, et al. Topically applied vitamin C enhances the mRNA level of collagens I and III, their processing enzymes and tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase 1 in the human dermis. J Invest Dermatol. 2001. 116(6): 853-9.

Pinnel SR, et al. Induction of collagen synthesis by ascorbic acid. A possible mechanism. Arch Dermatol. 1987. 123(12): 1684-6.

Shukla A, et al. In vitro and in vivo wound healing activity of asiaticoside isolated from Centella asiatica. J Ethnopharmacol. 1999. 65(1): 1-11.

Suter A, Bommer S, Rechner J. Treatment of patients with venous insufficiency with fresh plant horse chestnut seed extract: a review of 5 clinical studies. Adv Ther. 2006. 23(1): 179-90.

Tenni R, et al. Effect of the triterpenoid fraction of Centella asiatica on macromolecules of the connective matrix in human skin fibroblast cultures. Ital J Biochem. 1988. 37(2): 69-77.

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