Can running help against cellulite? Not entirely, but the right kind of running can at least make the cellulite less noticeable. Here is what you need to know.
The Dreaded C Word
The C word: cellulite. It is quite a painful subject for many women, judging by the many questions I get from women who are literally crying over this on a daily basis. In letters they tell me about all the insane procedures and exercise regimes they do to get rid of the orange peel on their thighs.
In part, cellulite is caused by genetics. But if you look back in time, let’s say 30 – 40 years, cellulite was something women weren’t nearly as often struggling with. Why? Maybe they were less stressed, and stress contributes to the development of cellulite. Maybe it’s because there are now more hormones in our food. Or maybe women try to be much skinnier and often still don’t properly work their muscles.
But whatever it is, we can do something about it. We may not be able to cure it entirely, but with the right nutrition (see bottom) and the right kind of exercise, you will notice a difference.
Running And Cellulite
Running can help against cellulite, but it has to be the right kind of running. Long distance running is very likely not going to help against your cellulite, because it reduces muscle mass. I keep hearing that if you run for an hour 5-6 days a week you will get rid of cellulite, but, believe me, the only thing you will get rid of with this is your muscles. Especially those in your butt.
Don’t believe me? Just take a look at pictures of long distance runners and juxtapose them with pictures of short distance runners. Notice the difference in muscle mass? I think bigger muscles bolster the skin and together with a normal body fat percentage that can alleviate cellulite. In other words, the trick is having good nutrition, focusing on weight training to increase muscle mass and doing short distance interval running as cardio.
So how should you do the interval running?
Start with 5 minute of brisk walking as your warm-up. If you are running on a treadmill, you can also elevate your incline to about 6-8%. I wouldn’t set it higher, because then you would have a really hard time running all out, and that is what you will need to do. After your warm-up, increase your speed to as fast as you can handle for 30 sec, then decrease to just walking (this is your recovery). Not brisk walking, just 30 seconds of real recovery walking. It needs to feel like a recovery and if it doesn’t, adjust your speed accordingly.
Before this starts sounding like a piece of cake: When I say running all out, it needs to be all out 100%! Really push yourself to the max – trust me, it’s quite hard to do. In those 30 seconds, you shouldn’t be able to talk or think of anything except the timer.
Switch between the two intervals until you’ve reached 15 minutes, then do a 5 minute cooldown. As you progress, you can opt for increasing the running and decrease the walking interval, but make sure to never do too little rest.
On the other hand, if 30 sec of running feels too hard to start with, you can increase the walking interval to 40 or even 50 seconds – make sure to listen to your body at all times, because it knows where its limits are. Trying to get a heart attack has been proven to not help against cellulite!
I recommend you to do this running program 3 times a week, after your weight training session. You should also make sure you drink plenty of water and have a good, sound nutrition (check here for some tips about cellulite and nutrition). Results should start being noticeable within about 2 weeks. Maybe even sooner, depending on your current body composition.
All this should at least make your cellulite less noticeable. Don’t fret if it doesn’t go away entirely, because you are more than those bumps on your skin! Especially when the rest of you is healthy, active and vibrates with life!