Cellulite: What is it?

Cellulite, many of us know about it, many of us see it on ourselves or other people, many of us try to get rid of while some succeed and some fail.  Cellulite does not discriminate, teens and adults alike are susceptible to having it.  Skinny individuals sometimes may even have more than what our horribly plastic society considers “fat” individuals.The bottom line…it’s NOT cute! so what exactly is it? Why does it form? How can we prevent it? Can we get rid of it?
cel·lu·lite
ˈselyəˌlīt/
noun
  1. persistent subcutaneous fat causing dimpling of the skin, especially on women’s hips and thighs. Not in technical use.

Medical Terminology: adiposis edematosa, dermopanniculosis deformans, status protrusus cutis, and gynoid lipodystrophy

Street Terminology: cottage cheese skin and orange peel syndrome

Before I giving the down low on cellulite, I want to say something to the men: you TOO can fall victim to cellulite! It’s not just women (although we are more prone to getting it because put simply our bodies try to hold on to fat more than the male anatomy)!  Cellulite can also form anywhere! Even though it is found mostly on the thighs and hips, it can form in the arms, stomach, back.  Basically anywhere that can get “fat.”

Cellulite  can be caused by the following:

  1. Hormones
  2. Genetics: Before moving on to the next cause I wanted to state that genetics may predispose you to the tendency of developing cellulite, BUT it does NOT mean you WILL get and it’s not something that can be prevented or go away.
  3. Diet: over eating processed carbs, fats, salt, without enough fiber and water can cause a person to develop cellulite
  4. Lifestyle: Those who smoke, the sedentary, and those who sit in one place for a long time (desk jobs) may be more likely to develop cellulite
  5. Clothing: Wearing panties so tight that they restrict blood flow may actually contribute to cellulite development

Treatment:  There are probably a million and one cosmetic treatments on the market that cost a pretty penny.  So far from the case studies I have personally looked into, NONE of them have been scientifically proven to actually work.  There are also topical scrubs (i.e. sugar scrubs, coffee scrubs, rubbing amino acids, etc) and although those are much less expensive, once again from what I have looked into, they are not backed by science.  Anti cellulite creams? same thing! currently no medical research has been found to back up those claims.  Below is a small excerpt from Scientific American about what the aforementioned actually does:

“Most all creams will only address the fat. So the Nivea [Good-Bye Cellulite Gel-Cream] and others with L-Carnitine transports fats into the [cells’] mitochondria to be used as energy. Caffeine creams will help by blocking the making of fats by the alpha receptors. Some creams have aminophylline, (a compound in some respiratory drugs) which, like caffeine, works by blocking the alpha receptors. In most creams, you find some way of targeting only the fat cells [and not addressing the connective tissue or circulation aspects of cellulite]. ”

So what does work? Exercise, water, proper diet.  The goal is to decrease the size of your  own individual fat cells.

 

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Setting Realistic Goals

This topic was suggested to me by one of my clients. Totally wishing I would have thought to cover my opinions on his topic sooner, as I think setting realistic goals is key in anyone’s fitness journey.

Far too often I get emails from followers saying they want to drop 50-100 pounds ASAP.  Wanting to lose 50-100 pounds is a great long term goal.  Where I like to start is short term weekly goes.   For example, why does someone need to lose that much weight? What habits did they create that made them gain so much excess weight? I am a huge follower of the baby steps principle.  I absolutely HATE when “fitness and health professionals” put people on ridiculously restrictive diets.  Sure they might restrict themselves for ,maybe a week but then it all hits the fans.  Binging is what we want to AVOID as we should be trying to promote a lifestyle change.  The other day I got an email from someone who was confused because they bought a nutrition program from someone and all it included was a “No No” list.

NoNo list example

Fit of all, almond milk and coconut milk aren’t even considered dairy!!!  Avocado is GOOD for you.  Nuts are GOOD for you.  I could rant on and on about this No No list.  How is this person even in business?! This is just not how you help someone establish a healthy lifestyle.  Start with them, help them remove sodas, processed juices from their diet first by replacing it with water, then tackle the fried and switch it with grilled or bakes for example.  But baby steps!  Not that don’t eat this, don’t eat that nonsense. On a sidetone, PLEASE don’t send me an email saying that you bought someone else’s program, but want my free advice.  Not happening.  But anyways…

Set daily goals:

-Today I will have veggies at every meal.

-Today I will have my smoothie without added sugar

-Today I will have more water than usual

and those are just a few

Set Weekly Goals:

-This week I will lose .5-1 pound.

-This week I will only have 1 bag of chips

-This week I will only have whole grain carbs

-This week I will not eat fried foods

-This week I will go from exercising zero times a week to 1-2 times a week.

Get the picture? Baby steps lead to achieving Monthly Goals:

-This month I will lose 5-10 Pounds (everyones body is different and loses weight at different paces, the goal is to focus on healthy habits)

-This month I went from eating 30 bad meals, to 15 bad meals

-This month I hit my exercise goals

Which helps you meet your annual fitness goals.

If there is one take home phrase I would love for “baby steps” to stick with you.  Don;y focus on bad decisions, focus on all of the good decisions.

 

How to Read Nutrition Labels

Oh man, it’s been almost a month since my last post.  Life kind of happened haha.  I’ve had to cope with the sudden unexpected passing of one of my dogs, Handsome.  I’ve also been dealing with 2 new puppies,  school,  tons of demos with LetlerFit apparel, and the release of my new online workout program Get LetlerFit in 30 days! Link to view/purchase my program click here. (Can be downloaded internationally)

Anyways, today’s post is dedicated to reading nutrition labels (the basics).  By law every food item we purchase at a convenient store, supermarket etc. that comes packaged must contain Nutrition Facts that include ingredients, macronutrient and micronutrient break downs, serving size, and calories per serving.

If you start at the top of the label  you will see Serving size and Servings per container.  The macronutrient breakdown of each serving size follows below.  Now, how do they get the calories to declare up top where it says calories per serving?  In my previous post about macronutrients I mentioned that Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram, protein contains 4 calories per gram, and fat contains 9 calories per gram.  If you look at the attached Nutrition Label that also has explanations on how to read it you will see that this particular item has

12 g of fat, 31g of carbs, and 5g of protein.  So per serving 12g of fat times 9 gives 108 calories from fat, 31g of carbs times 4 gives 125 calories from carbs, and 5g of protein times 4 gives 20 calories from protein per serving.  In total that is 253 (rounds down to 250) calories per 1 cup of this food item.

Underneath the macronutrients, the micronutrients are listed.  Next to both macro and micronutrients you can find the % Daily value column.  The downfall to this column  is that the daily values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet (average male diet) so women have to estimate based off of the listed daily values.  So for example, if you are eating this food item and consume roughly 2,000 calories a day you are getting 20% of your Calcium needs, which means in your other foods you need to consume the other 80% of your Calcium needs.

In the attached photo ingredients are not listed, but on all labels you can find them. So looking at a label you see from very few ingredients to labels that contain tons of weird ingredients.  The less ingredients, generally the better the food item is for you.  The more ingredients on a label, the more fillers, useless junk, chemicals, and preservatives are what can be found.  The order in which the ingredients are listed are NOT random by the way. The ingredients that comes first on the list are the ones that are most found in the food item while the ingredients towards the end of the list are the ones that the item least contains.

ingredients

In the above example, the item most contains enriched flour and has the least of the food dyes.

That just about sums about nutrition labels.  Any questions? Don’t be afraid to comment! Don’t forget to check out my online at home 30 day workout program! Click here (Can be downloaded internationally)

Fasted Cardio

Fasted cardio is any kind of cardiovascular exercise done in a fasted state (an empty stomach).  Fasted cardio has been around for an incredibly long time as a fat loss tool that has just recently started to get popular once again.  Athletes love adding fasted cardio to their workout regime whenever they are trying to cut fat and lean out because the right kind and right amount (i’ll get to specifics in bit) of fasted cardio help you not only lose body fat, but do so while also maintaining your current muscles.  Keep in mind that fasted cardio is an enhancer to an already clean diet and one should also not expect to make “gains” in the period of time that fasted cardio is being implemented to someones regimen.

A study published by the “British Journal of Nutrition” discovered that subjects who fasted during morning cardio burned up to 20% more fat throughout the day.  It is proved to be efficient because when you sleep, your body fasts over night and conserves the carbohydrate stores allowing for your body to convert fat to fuel while doing your fasted cardio workout.  At night your body also breaks down amino acids into glucose opening up a second type of fuel source.

Food as well all know gets broken down to usable molecules that get released into your blood stream.  Of those molecules, insulin, serves as the mover of other molecules into your cells.  Once insulin is absorbed because the digestion process has been completed, insulin levels drop and your body enters into the fasted state telling your body to use fat as fuel.  Insulin also prevents the breakdown of fatty acids.  So basically, the higher the insulin levels, the less usage of fat for energy.  In the image you can see the period where insulin either promotes or impairs fat loss.  As can be seen, the period in which we are sleeping is where the most fat loss occurs.  Imagine waking up an immediately doing 30 minute of cardio to enhance that period of fat loss?

Personally, whenever I do choose to do fasted cardio it is no more or no less than 30 minute of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  Why only 30 minutes?  Because your body is in a fasted state, more than 30 minutes usually leads to your body using your muscles as an alternative energy source.  Because I want to lose fat and maintain my muscle mass, I do 30 minutes.  Why do I choose HIIT?  HIIT workouts have been proven to set you up for more fat burn throughout the day.  Compared to slow and steady cardio like what gets done on the elliptical or treadmills, HIIT cardio burns double the amount of fat in the same amount of time.  In essence, you get more bang for your buck.  Next week I plan on going more in depth about HIIT workouts.

On another note, my Skull print Columbian workout shorts are on a flash 25% off sale until Saturday, May 9th, 11:59pm EST. Use code “SKULL25” at checkout!

Why is proper hydration important?

Far too often have I asked clients what their total water intake is, and the answer is always too little.  Sometimes I have even gotten that people are AFRAID to drink water because they are afraid they will gain the water weight.  Excess water weight usually happens with too much salt in your diet because salt makes you swell up and retain fluid but it does not mean that you should stop drinking water in order to keep the number on the scale from going up.  How much water in a day should somebody aim for?  Water accounts for about 50-60% of our total body weight.  Personally, I usually go off of multiplying your body weight by .5 if you’re sedentary,  by .6 if you’re lightly active, and by .7-.8 if you are very active to ensure you are putting back the liquids your body sweats off. You can always check with you doctor to see if you’re drinking the right amount of water.

Here are 9 simple reasons to make sure you are drinking enough water:

1.  Regulate body fluids.  Your body needs water to aid in digestion, nutrient transport and absorption, as well as body temperature regulation.

2. Appetite Control:  despite what many people think about water making you gain weight it actually helps you control and even lose weight.  Why? Imagine how many calories you would save if you’re day didn’t consist of 8 glasses of juices and sodas, but only of water. You can also find water in the foods you eat. Foods like fruits, veggies and oatmeal look large and are very filling because they contain higher amounts water compared to other foods.  Bigger, healthier foods with less calories and more water still fills you up because they take up the same amount of room in your stomach as lets say a doughnut and a creamy latte.

3. Water gives your muscles energy.  When the cells that make up your muscles are lacking in fluids and electrolytes they shrivel up, which causes muscle fatigue.  The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends drinking about 17 oz. of water 2 hours before exercise, at the beginning of the exercise and regularly during your workout to ensure proper hydration and replacement of fluids lost in sweat.

4. Radiant skin.  When you’re dehydrated your skin gets very dry and wrinkly.  So proper hydration allows for glowing skin and less wrinkles.

5. Mental Focus.  Dehydration messes with your memory, motor skills, and attention span.  Trust me on this one!  A few weeks ago I misjudged my rehab time after dealing with the stomach flu and I went to workout in the sun.  Long story short as I’m lying on the floor staring at the medics, it was very difficult to mumble the answers to the questions I was being asked (one word answers mind you).  While trying to rehydrate myself, I found myself very unproductive.  All I wanted to do was lay in bed and watch TV.  For those that know me, that is the complete opposite of who I am.

6. Drinking water aids your kidneys in detoxing your body (peeing).  When you’re hydrated, your urine is light and odorless.  On the contrary, the darker and smellier your pee is, the more you need water.

7. Prevents headaches.  Have you noticed that when you go without water for a long time you get a headache? Well, that’s your body’s way of asking for water.  Case studies have found that people who suffer from migraines and drink 2-3 glasses of water within 2 hours of having it, show a decrease in overall tension and pain.

8.  Immune health.  Regular peeing allows your body to get rid of germs and bacteria that may causes viruses like the common cold.

9.  Digestive health.  When you deprive your body of water, the kidneys become forced to take liquid from your poop (gross, i know), which makes it harder for your body to excrete your poop.  Proper hydration allows for your kidneys to receive the water it needs.  It also allows the fiber from your diet to expand inside of your body to help you poop more frequently.  You should be using the restroom at least once a day. Anything else, is considered constipation.

How much water do I drink?  For my weight and activity level I drink a gallon of water a day.  How do I make sure I’m drinking enough water? I have found that water bottles just don’t work for me because by the time I drink them, I forget to refill them or I just get caught up with a million and one things.  So instead, I carry around a gallon.  Yes, It’s annoying but it beats having to waste time refilling water bottles and it allows me to keep track of my daily water consumption.

I posted a picture with a coupon code for gallon gear. It has saved my life.  Not only does it keep my water gallons cold, but when I go to the gym I leave everything in the trunk of my car because theres a space for my wallet, phone, and keys.  It’s genius! I definitely recommend it to athletes or anyone that is serious about their hydration.

Kick your Sweet Cravings to the Curb

First, I would like to apologize for being MIA this past week between presentations, papers, client appointments and birthday madness I neglected to post last week.

This week however, I would like to start off with a blog about curbing your sweet tooth.  Why do we crave sugar in the first place? There are 2 main reasons.  First, sugars are carbohydrates.  Carbs trigger the release of our brains happy chemical, serotonin.  Second, because the taste of sugar actually gives your body a natural high by releasing endorphins.

Now, I have 5 Basic Tricks for curbing that sweet tooth.

1.  Usually, when we are craving sugar, or anything for that matter, it is because there is an imbalance in our diet.  To make things simple, I have attached a cravings chart that tells you you’re craving, what you’re missing, and what you should eat.

2. Instead of going for that chocolate bar or gummy worms, go for fruit.  Yes, fruits have sugars, but they are natural sugars that our bodies are able to better process.

3. Live a little, but not a lot.  Everything in moderation is ok.  If you have a good week, 2 weeks or even a month 1 bad day won’t kill you. When you do give in, try to combine the unhealthy sweet with a healthy one.  For example, a fruit with some nutella.

4.  Have a support system.  Making a LIFESTYLE change (healthy is not a diet, diets are temporary) can be difficult.  It gets a lot easier when you have an accountability partner or group.

5. Don’t skip breakfast.  When you skip breakfast you allow your body to drop in blood sugar levels that make you crave something sweet later on in the day.cravings chart