The two most frequent topics we get asked about are belly fat and lower body fat (specifically cellulite).

In this article, I want to discuss and clarify the issue of lower body fat with specific reference to the cellulite phenomenon. What is cellulite? Why does it appear and how can you get rid of it?


Snake Oils


Some argue that there is nothing you can do about cellulite. Genetics play a part in predisposing people to having cellulite, due to the type of collagen fibres one possesses. But no matter what your genetics, the aesthetics of cellulite can always be improved.


Suggested remedies are, as you would expect, far and wide. A quick Google search throws up things like dry brushing, cayenne pepper, coffee grounds, apple cider vinegar scrubs and concoctions, as well as seaweed baths. All of which are mostly a waste of time. Understanding what cellulite is and how it is formed is the first step to actively reducing it.


Cellulite is the combination of two factors; fat deposits and collagen fibres. The reason women predominantly get cellulite and men don’t, has a lot to do with genetics. Genetics relate to how the collagen fibres are distributed (vertically or criss-crossed in layout). Some women can also possess the criss-crossed layout.

Lucky Genes


Female fat and collagen in the lower body is a little different to that found on a man’s body, and even different than fat found on different areas of the female structure.


When fat is stored, it gets tightly packed inside the collagen fibre pockets creating the characteristic dimpling effect. The criss-cross layout doesn’t allow this dimpling effect.


The collagen fibre layout explains why some overweight people don’t have as much cellulite as some skinny people. We cannot change this genetic layout, so dealing with cellulite is not just an issue of losing or gaining fat, or doing massage or exfoliation, it is a matter of doing something to address fat loss as well as collagen strength and health.

Lower Body Reluctance


Vertical collagen fibres, a general tendency to store fat in the lower body, along with higher density of eostrogenic alpha-receptors, is the triple whammy of female cellulite.


In general women have a harder time losing fat from their lower body. This is mainly due to the type of receptors found in the fat of the area. The mechanism of burning fat in this area relies on understanding how the adrenergic receptors work.


Dr Jade Teta explains: “Women have about nine times more alpha-adrenergic receptors associated with their (lower body) fat tissue compared to beta-adrenergic receptors. Adrenergic receptors are bound by the body’s most potent fat burning hormones catecholamines. When the catecholamines interact with beta-receptors, fat is released from fat cells. When they bind to alpha-receptors fat release is drastically slowed.”


To simplify, think B for burn and A for anti-burn. Women possess a lot of A-receptors in the thigh region, making it more difficult to lose this fat.


Now that you understand the situation of how and why cellulite is formed we can proactively plan to improve these factors. The four factors for cellulite loss are: Fat, Fibre, Flow and Firm:



The need to lose fat is obvious. Reducing the amount of fat in the collagen fibre columns will reduce the dimple effect. Controlling insulin is a major key for fat loss in this area. According to Dr Teta: “Keeping total carb intake under 100g for the day and exercising on an empty stomach using a mix of intervals, then weights and then followed with a long slow cardio session, like walking, is what delivers best results.” Also avoiding exposure to oestrogenic properties is important.



The second most important factor is to increase lean tissue. A lower body resistance workout that concentrates on muscle growth is essential. Bigger muscles means tighter muscle fascia, which increases the tightness and tone of the connective tissue in the skin. This is one of the reasons lifting weights tightens the body even when fat is not lost.



Strengthen and remodel the collagen fibres. This is the hardest part and where all the Google remedies of body scrub, deep tissue massage, as well as heat, vibration and light therapy come into play. Collagen remodelling is an important step, but most provide only short-term results.



Here we are talking about increasing blood flow to the lower body.  This is very common in spa treatments. The major ways to increase blood flow to an area are to move that area and to heat that area. Exercise does both and so does massage. Increased blood flow to an area means increased ability to move released fat to be burnt for fuel.


Phil is founder and master trainer at Body Expert Systems. Contact him on 0934 782763, at his website or through Star Fitness (

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Phil Kelly

Phil is an avid sportsman and loves most things fitness. With the final realisation that he would not be an All Black, he turned his full focus to studying the human body in regard to improving movement and posture, developing strength, function and performance, as well as scrutinising the conventional wisdom of nutrition for fat loss and performance. He loves challenging the 'norm' and is dedicated to the prosperity and health of his clients and the community. He has a mission to educate and empower people to "be all they can be" by providing accurate, research proven and industry leading information. 


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