The uber guide to hot thighs, legs & buns

 

101 ways to get rid of cellulite & tone up your legs and butt this summer

Welcome to the ultimate how-to guide for firmer, smoother, slimmer, hotter legs this summer, brought to you by the leg experts, LipoTherapeia. This guide is the outcome of 17 years of research and hands-on experience with thousands of women and we hope you will find it as useful as it was fun for us writing and compiling it.

The guide starts with a 10-point cellulite boot camp and the 12 most common cellulite myths and with 79 more specific tips to follow in the next few weeks. The guide will also comprise dos and don'ts, best & worst and other useful information to help you understand the whats, the whys and the hows of how to tighten skin, boost leg circulation and reduce cellulite.

Are you ready? Let's go!

The no-compromise cellulite 'boot camp' plan

 

Panic before the holidays?

Here's a list of the 10 best ways to reduce* cellulite fast!

Some of these tips may not be easy to implement, but then again, losing cellulite in one, two or even four weeks is never going to be easy - but it's worth it! Follow these steps and enjoy hotter, firmer, smoother thighs and bum in just a few weeks.

(* In most cases you can't actually get "rid" of cellulite completely, so "reducing" it makes much more sense)

 

 

1>  First off, lose the sugar. do it now, not next monday.

(importance: 5/5)

Sugar and cellulite

It is said that "sugar is the new smoking" - and for good reason. Sugar is one of the worst things you can do to your eyes, teeth, blood vessels, pancreas and, for the purposes of this article, your legs and bum.

Sugar, found in pastry, desserts, chocolate, cocktails, jam, cola drinks etc, causes skin ageing and blood vessel damage throughout the body by boosting inflammation and collagen-damaging glycation, which makes skin aged and grey.

Worse still, sugar provides calories for your fat cells and also stimulates insulin which leads to the accumulation of that fat in your subdermis, what is commonly known as "cellulite". Glycation and inflammation, mentioned above, are also hallmarks of cellulite, and there is no bigger enemy to thighs than cellulite.

If you want to have hot thighs (and a nice smile and youthful skin, and healthy heart, and slim body), you must get rid of sugar. Getting rid of sugar is not as difficult as it seems and the best way to this is to go cold turkey. Just replace sugar with more-but-healthy food for the first week and don't worry about calories, until you break free of the addiction.

For chocolate lovers (probably 95% of those who read this article), indulge in the super-healthy, chocolate-craving satisfying, bum-friendly high-polyphenol cocoa protein shakes described below.

BTW, eliminate agave syrup, coconut sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), maple syrup, fructose and honey, as these are almost as bad as sugar, with HFCS and fructose being even worse than plain sugar..

 

 

2>  Run for the hills (or the steps)

(effectiveness: 4/5) 

Uphill interval running / fast step climbing for cellulite

Interval training refers to intermittent intensity running, cycling, uphill walking, elliptical training, swimming etc. Football, basketball, cross country running/cycling, "spinning" and circuit classes (currently called HIIT) are fun forms of interval training. However, even plain 30" fast - 90" slow running, swimming or cycling on your own are much more fun and much less boring than steady speed running, swimming and cycling.

Interval training helps you burn more calories and boosts your metabolism way more than steady speed training of the same duration. Interval training is THE best exercise for cellulite. Interval running, specifically, is even better, and uphill interval running is the ultimate anti-cellulite exercise.

A great variation of uphill interval running involves climbing up steps fast for 30" and then stepping down to your starting point slowly for 90" (pictured above). If you have knee or other joint problems go for intensive interval swimming instead.

(Consult a doctor if you are not certain about your cardiovascular capacity for any vigorous exercise.)

 

 

3>  Juice is the word

(effectiveness: 4/5) 

Vegetable juicing for cellulite

Vegetable juices and berry smoothies contain highly concentrated plant chemicals and very little in the way of calories, making veg juices / berry smoothies probably the best food category you can have. The polyphenols and carotenoids in those juices and smoothies possess multiple anti-ageing, collagen boosting, blood vessel supporting and anti-cellulite properties.

Just make sure you don't include ANY other juice in them (eg apple, carrot, beetroot, banana, grape etc.) to avoid ingesting too much fructose, glucose or sucrose (sugar). Your legs will thank you, by looking less puffy, firmer and healthier.

 

 

4>  Have a cocoa, turmeric & whey protein shake

(effectiveness: 3/5) 

High flavanol cocoa and cellulite
Curcumin for cellulite

Skin is made of protein. Collagen, that makes your skin firm, and elastin, that makes your skin elastic, are proteins. If you avoid protein, because you are led to believe that excessive protein is bad for you, you will not have enough protein to repair and to firm up your skin.

The fact is that, in their effort to avoid red meat, most women do not consume enough protein today, leading to skin looseness, ageing and cellulite. Fortunately, you do not need to suffer from protein deficiency if you are a vegan/vegetarian these days, as there are plenty of high quality plant-based protein powders on the market to choose from.

For the non-vegans, a quality non-denatured whey protein powder is the ultimate source of high quality protein. Combine with high-flavanol cocoa, to benefit from the amazing anti-cellulite properties of cocoa flavanols and also to get your daily chocolate fix, without all the fat and the evil sugar (did you know that 70% chocolate contains 30% sugar?).

Add some turmeric (turmeric is anti-inflammatory, lipolytic and anti-fibrotic, i.e. perfect for cellulite prevention and reduction) and a hint of stevia for taste, and you have a super nutritious, cellulite-busting, high-protein shake.

 

 

5>  Squat on the vibration plate

(effectiveness: 4/5) 

Vibration plate squats and cellulite

Vibration is the most important cue for collagen and elastin production for your skin and blood vessel cells, so it is no wonder that vibration plate training is the ultimate skin firming / circulation-boosting exercise. It is even better in that respect than interval running and swimming.

Tightening your gluteus maximus, i.e. your main butt muscle, is the single best thing you can do for your butt, as it lifts, firms and improves the shape of your butt more than anything else in the world. So by doing squats on the power plate you combine internal muscle tightening with external skin tightening. What could be better?

 

 

6>  Get some help from mother nature

(effectiveness: 5/5) 

Several plant extracts and nutrients are proven to help fight multiple aspects of cellulite, including escin (from horse chestnut extract), asiatic acid (from gotu kola extract), caffeine, ruscogenin (from butcher's broom extract) forskolin (from coleus extract), curcumin (from turmeric root extract), EGCG (from green tea extract) and retinol, among many others.

Creams with high concentrations of those extracts can offer valuable help in the fight against cellulite (the keyword here is "high concentration", as most cellulite creams contain very little in the way of actives, and that's the reason why most cellulite creams don't work). The Celluence® creams contain a total of 40x such natural actives, the highest concentration of actives in a cellulite cream in the world.
 

 

7>  Take up kneading

(effectiveness: 4/5) 

Strong cellulite massage

Massage is great for your legs, and even simple amateur skin massage can help keep your legs healthy and bump-free, as long as it is strong and it is applied on skin, NOT muscles.

Kneading massage movements alternated by long upward strokes for 20-30 minutes will improve poor circulation and help break down fibrous tissue, both important aspects of cellulite. Always allow one day between massaging sessions to allow your skin to recover. The occasional bruise is fine, but don't massage so hard that you look like a domestic abuse victim!

 

 

8>  Get some help from technology

(effectiveness: 5/5) 

High intensity monopolar radiofrequency is THE most powerful skin tightening and anti-cellulite technology known today. Nothing else compares to it. In contrast to the more prevalent bipolar RF, monopolar RF goes deep into skin tissues where cellulite and skin's large collagen structures are found, to stimulate fat release, collagen production and circulation increase, thereby tackling three major cellulite aspects at once.

Just make sure that the machine is strong enough, especially if you are a bit curvy or overweight, as this requires higher intensities for good results and most machines on the market are just not strong enough. Meso-CRF® Body | Turmeric combines the highest intensity - yet safest and most comfortable - monopolar RF technology with powerful, highly concentrated extracts of turmeric, green tea, gotu kola and forskolin, among others.

 

 

9>  Freshen up with hot and cold showers this summer

(effectiveness: 4/5) 

Contrast showers for cellulite

Contrast showers, also known as hot and cold showers, produce a profound increase in circulation and metabolism and summer is the optimum time to benefit from them (few people can tolerate cold showers in the winter). The alternation of hot and cold water constricts and dilates blood vessels, respectively, producing a powerful blood vessel pumping effect.

Skin itself reacts in much the same way, and the overall metabolism is boosted by the cold water via a process called thermogenesis. At the same time, hot water provides welcome distraction between the cold water periods.

Start with hot water for a few minutes and then alternate with hot and cold every 1-2 minutes, ending with five minutes of luke-warm water. Again, if you are not certain about your ability to tolerate hot and cold, ask your doctor first.

 

 

10>  salmon, wakame & sencha

(effectiveness: 3/5) 

Salmon, wakame and sencha tea for cellulite

If I had to choose one leg-friendly, cellulite-busting meal, that would be wild alaskan salmon with a lot of wakame salad and a nice cup of sencha powder green tea.

The combination of EPA and DHA (the omega-3 fatty acids found in large amounts in wild salmon) and fucoxanthin (a plant chemical found in wakame) has been proven to significantly boost thermogenesis and lipolysis (fat reduction, to you and me), making it the best thigh-and-bum friendly meal you can possibly have. Protein in salmon is absolutely necessary for you skin, iodine in wakame is important for your thyroid function and other carotenoids and polyphenols in wakame also contribute to leg skin health, as astaxanthin, a carotenoid found in the intensely red coloured salmon, does. The sencha powder green tea is far better than matcha green tea, as it contains more polyphenols and less caffeine.

Just stay away from farmed salmon, which has quite high amounts of plain fat in relation to EPA and DHA. Garnish with some sauce made with sesame seeds, lime, chili, low-salt soya sauce and a drop (a drop, not a cup!) of olive oil, and enjoy the ultimate anti-cellulite meal :)

If seafood and sencha tea are not your cup of tea (excuse the pun), a lean protein meal combined with loads of vegetables and some herbal tea should be almost as good.

 

 

The last word

Black rice for cellulite

Of course, I don't expect you to eat wakame and drink protein shakes all day, neither to do interval running every single day (that would be bad for you, anyway).

In general, a low-fat, low-carb, high-fibre, water-rich diet (that includes A BIT of olive oil, nuts, avocado or coconut oil), LIMITED dark coloured carbs (e.g. black rice, pictured above; adzuki beans; red quinoa etc.), LOADS of lean protein (think eggs, lean meat, fish, skinless chicken, pulses), PLENTY of vegetables (they don't need to be kale - all vegetables have amazing, cellulite-busting phytochemicals) and loads of everyday physical activity (on the days you don't do interval training) will help you come closer to that ideal hot beach bod!

Needless to say, smoking - and especially drinking - are not good ideas. However, contrary to popular wisdom, up to three cups of coffee or tea per day are absolutely fine. Furthermore, drinking two litres of water or herbal teas a day is absolutely essential, not just for the summer and not just for cellulite, but all year round, in order to maintain good digestion, healthy skin and efficient detoxification.

The 12 most ridiculous myths about cellulite

In addition to knowing what to do to get rid of cellulite, it pays to know what NOT to do. Wasting time on silly coffee scrubs or pointless dry brushing will divert your focus and time from things that actually do help to tighten and smoothen up your legs.

I know you will find some of those points surprising, but hey, after all those years of brainwashing with inane internet advice by so called "experts" on how to get rid of your cellulite, you are right to feel confused and surprised.

 

1 > Ground Coffee scrub for cellulite. Seriously?

Coffee scrub for cellulite

Caffeine in coffee beans is tightly bound within the fibres of the beans and only released into your espresso under high temperature (90º Celsius) and high pressure (9000 millibars, i.e. nine times the atmospheric pressure, equivalent to the pressure found 240 ft deep into the sea). Caffeine does not just travel out of its own volition through the fibres of the ground beans onto the skin's surface, just because you rub the beans against your skin [we are not even discussing caffeine's problematic skin absorption here]. In fact, no caffeine is expressed out of the beans when you have a coffee scrub. Zero. Nada. Zilch.

Why then every single article about "how to get rid of cellulite" mentions coffee bean scrubs? The answer is simple: marketing hype on the part of the companies that sell the coffee scrubs, combined with ignorance on the part of the people who write this advice. Just ditch those ground coffee beans or simply use them for exfoliation on the face or body. Or, better still, make a nice cup of coffee with them and enjoy :)

 

2> Dry brushing for cellulite. Really?

Dry skin brushing for cellulite. Really?

Yet another example of a cellulite "cure" involving working on the epidermis (surface of skin) to treat the exact opposite layer of the skin (hypodermis). Dry brushing is actually more hyped up than coffee scrubs, but it is almost as pointless.

Dry brushing is supposed to help boost lymphatic flow, but the truth is that normal upward massage movements with your lovely hands and some nice oil will do a far better job in boosting circulation and lymphatic drainage than skin brushing. And if you alternate those upward movements with some strong skin kneading with your fingers you will probably give your legs ten times better massage than with a brush.

You would need to bring your skin to the point of bleeding from all the brushing if you were to provide the same results as strong hand massage. Things are simple: dry brushing is not an effective lymphatic massage method and exfoliation does nothing for cellulite. Don't waste your time doing the wrong things.

 

3> Caffeine causes cellulite. Since when?

Caffeine causes cellulite. Since when?

Caffeine is a very misunderstood substance. It is proven to help treat cellulite if you apply it on your skin, but it is also alleged to cause cellulite if you drink it. What gives?

Well, the truth is that caffeine has a triple anti-cellulite action when applied directly on the adipose tissue (e.g. as an active in a good anti-cellulite cream): it is lipolytic, anti-fibrotic and circulation enhancing, i.e it acts on three aspects of cellulite at once. And it is also absolutely innocent when consumed in moderation (up to 4 cups of coffee per day, i.e. 400mg/day).

The only problem with caffeine occurs with abuse: drinking 10 cups of coffee a day (I have treated some clients who do that) will most probably exhaust your adrenal glands and nervous system, eventually leading to a collapse in your metabolism, which will ultimately affect your cellulite. Very indirect effect, but possible.

Having said that, although 1-4 litres of water per day is great for you, with 10 litres per day you actually die. However, no health or beauty writer claims that water is lethal. Very unfair for caffeine...

In summary, normal consumption of the usual 1-4 cups of caffeinated drinks a day is absolutely fine. For caffeine sensitive people 1-2 are the maximum I would recommend, due to its effect on the nervous system. Caffeine does not normally give you cellulite and it actually does help reduce it as an anti-cellulite cream active ingredient.

 

4> Cellulite exercises? They don't exist.

Cellulite exercises? They don't exist

Any personal trainer worth their salt will tell you that spot fat reduction (i.e. removing fat from a specific body area by exercising the muscles above that area) does not exist. This does not make any physiological sense whatsoever, and it has also been proven beyond doubt with different studies.

How on earth then thousands of trainers and cellulite "specialists" recommend outer leg exercises to get rid of cellulite on the outer thighs or inner thigh exercises for inner thighs etc? Unfortunately, it's the same marketing hype / ignorance thing that makes people recommend ground coffee scrubbing and dry brushing...

Let's make it clear once and for all: you can perform vigorous whole body exercise (e.g. interval training, running, swimming, uphill walking etc) to reduce overall cellulite and it will work. But doing hip extensions (butt exercises, such as the one in the picture) to remove cellulite on the butt is futile. Yes, it will tone your gluteus maximus muscle and lift your bum, but never in a million years will it specifically reduce butt fat or cellulite.

So the next time you see a YouTube video or an article with pictures of cellulite exercises, don't waste your time with that misinformation. Go for a power walk instead :)

 

5> Cellulite is just fat. No it isn't!

Cellulite is just fat. No it isn't

This is an old one: "cellulite does not exist, it is just plain fat".

No it isn't. What people call "fat" is subcutaneous adipose tissue, i.e. fat under the skin, and does not normally cause any bumps to pop out of the surface of the skin. Cellulite, instead, is fat within the skin itself and is characterised by unsightly small and large bumps, accompanied by fibrosis (scar tissue), inflammation and water retention. Normal subcutaneous fat is not fibrotic, it is not inflamed and has good circulation. Physiologically, normal fat and cellulite are two different things.

And of course cellulite does exist. No matter what name you give to it, it is a visible, quite often painful, unsightly, hardened tissue protruding out of the skin, and nobody can deny its existence. If the name 'cellulite' offends, call it 'superficial fibrotic bumpy inflamed fat', if you may, but it still different than plain deep fat.

 

6> "Love your cellulite"? What is there to love?

Love my cellulite? No thanks.

And this is a new one. Lately different campaigners, including plus size models, urge women to "love their cellulite", which is totally absurd. As I mentioned above, cellulite is 'obesity of the skin' characterised by inflammation, fibrosis and poor circulation/water retention, all unhealthy physical states. What is there to love about a negative state of health in your skin?

This point is in fact an extension of the fallacy mentioned above - that cellulite is an invented condition that does not exist. However, both our eyes and numerous scientific studies show that it exists, it is real, it is unhealthy, many women do not like it (while most men are generally indifferent to it, unless it is excessive), they perceive it as ugly and wish to reduce it. Nothing wrong with that and no woman can force another woman what to like or not like.

I could totally agree if someone said "accept your cellulite". Although cellulite is unhealthy, it does not kill and you can live a happy, long, fulfilling life even if you have lots of cellulite. But I do not think the word "love" makes any sense when it comes to cellulite. There is nothing to love there.

It is the same as one man saying to another man "love your beer belly". Most men accept their stomach fat because they cannot be bothered to reduce it, but I have yet to meet a man who "loves" his beer belly, and I have yet to meet a woman who "loves" men's beer bellies either. All in all, there nothing feminist about loving your cellulite. It is yet another slogan used for publicity and hype.

 

7> Does liposuction get rid of cellulite? Nope.

Does liposuction get rid of cellulite? Nope.

Another myth arising form the fallacy that "cellulite is just fat" is that liposuction can get rid of cellulite. This could not be further from the truth. As I described above, cellulite is obesity INSIDE the skin, while subcutaneous fat, the fat that liposuction reduces, is obesity UNDER the skin. Cellulite is part of the skin itself. No liposuction can get rid of it, because it would have to remove the skin itself. And you wouldn't like to walk around without skin, would you?

In fact, by emptying the volume that used to be occupied by fat underneath the skin, liposuction always makes skin appear looser and accentuates cellulite. Liposuction doesn't make cellulite itself better or worse per se, but it makes it look worse.

So, no, liposuction does not get rid of cellulite. Not even vaser or smartlipo, which theoretically tighten the skin but in reality they just harden the skin, with cellulite sitting on top of the hardened skin and looking worse than before.

 

8> Cellulite surgery is the best option. Not really.

Cellulite surgery? No thanks.

There are two types of surgical procedures for cellulite.

One involves cutting off the connective tissue strands that tether the skin's surface onto the underlying tissues and which cause cellulite fat to protrude. There are two types of such surgery: subcision surgery and cellfina surgery. By cutting those strands off we (kinda) "get rid of" cellulite on that spot, but then the skin is no more tethered to the underlying tissues and becomes flabby (that natural tethering is there for a reason). Given that most women with cellulite already have loose skin, it does not take a genius to realise that this type of surgery causes skin on that area to behave like a fruit jelly with every step its owner takes.

Furthermore, the female legs have a few dozens of large connective tissue strands that can be cut with surgery and a few hundred, if not thousands, smaller ones, that cannot be undercut with any surgery of any type. This means that unlike other methods (such as monopolar radiofrequency which treats everything, it is non-invasive and safe), this type of cellulite surgery leaves plenty of cellulite left untreated.

The other type of surgery (cellulaze) involves a laser cannula which is inserted inside the skin and fires its laser beam upwards to melt and harden the cellulite. It all sounds good in theory, but as with vaser and laser liposuction, mentioned above, this is not exactly skin tightening, it is skin scarring/hardening. It quite often goes wrong and endows the unlucky receiver with some beautiful scar tissue bumps, much worse than cellulite itself.

If I had cellulite I would not even contemplate cellulite surgery. I'd better "love my cellulite"...

 

9> Cellulite is genetic. All resistance is futile?

Cellulite is genetic

Cellulite is 50% genetic and 50% lifestyle-related, i.e. dependent on how much you eat, drink, smoke, move and what chemicals/medication you consume. Even women with perfect genes, such as top models, eventually get cellulite after years of drinking, smoking and an overall unhealthy lifestyle.

On the other hand, women with less-than-perfect genes can avoid cellulite if they follow a healthy, natural lifestyle. Resistance is not futile. Cellulite is not a given: eat healthily, exercise a lot, avoid chemicals and you can either stay cellulite-free for life or keep cellulite at a minimum. A strong cellulite treatment and a concentrated cellulite cream can help a lot too. More on that below.

 

10> For cellulite all you need is diet and exercise. I wish...

Radiofrequency for cellulite

You heard and read it many times: "cellulite treatments do not work, cellulite creams don't get absorbed and all you need to reduce cellulite is diet and exercise". However, this could not be further from the truth...

Healthy diet and regular exercise are prerequisites for cellulite prevention, (limited) cellulite reduction and essential if you want to achieve maximum results from any cellulite treatment or cream. But on their own, diet and exercise are not enough to significantly reduce cellulite. This is because diet and exercise cannot be focused on a specific body area, hence the need for treatments and creams.

Now it is true that most cellulite treatments and creams do not 'work', simply because they are too light and too diluted, respectively. However, strong treatments, such as high intensity monopolar radiofrequency, and quality cellulite creams, containing high concentrations of multiple anti-cellulite actives, such as caffeine, forskolin, gotu kola, curcumin, escin and more...) do produce great results, always in conjunction with healthy diet and exercise, of course.

 

 

11> Cellulite is just toxins and water retention. If only it was so easy...

Cellulite is toxins? You wish.

On the other hand of the "cellulite is just fat" camp is the "cellulite is toxins and water retention and all you need to get rid of it is lymphatic massage and detox" camp.

Although there is some truth in that argument (both toxins from smoking, plastics and food additives do partially cause cellulite), these are far more important causes of cellulite. Think hormonal contraception, sugar consumption, excess carbs and fat in the diet, inactivity, alcohol consumption and more.

So a mere lymphatic drainage or some colonic irrigation (the de rigueur "detoxification" method these days) would not restore skin looseness, break down any fibrosis / scar tissue or release any fat from the adipose tissues. In fact, a strong cellulite massage focusing on skin, rather than on muscles, would do a much better job than the feather-light manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) suggested by the "toxin brigade".

 

12> "melt the fat away" to "break down cellulite". Hmmmm...

Melt the fat away and get rid of cellulite

"The treatment melts down the fat which is then naturally expelled by the body through the kidneys and liver". Sounds familiar?

Many providers of anti-cellulite treatments (typically laser, ultrasound, acoustic wave or radiofrequency-based treatments) and manufacturers of such equipment, claim that their treatments can “melt” the fat which is then naturally “expelled” out of the body, through the kidneys or liver. This cannot be further from the truth, as any biologist or doctor knows.

Simply put, expecting to melt the fat with a machine and then go to the toilet to flush it away from the body via your urine is wishful thinking and does not exist, no more than Santa Claus exists, anyway. In fact, fat in the body is already in liquid form and does not need to melt.

The reality is that a good, strong cellulite treatment does release fat from the cellulite fat cells, which is then taken up by the lymphatic system and veins and transported to the liver, muscles and other tissues where it can be burned for energy. But under no circumstances fat melts and then gets urinated or defecated away by the body, as many brochures and websites would have you believe.