We are getting close to the end of the cellulite study that we started in early January. To recap: I took three women, Alex, Rebecca, and Brandy through a three-month exercise and diet routine to see if we can reduce the look of cellulite they have around their hips and thighs.
The focus of the study was to lose body fat and gain muscle as a two-pronged approach to make the cellulite less noticeable. Cellulite is caused by excess body fat and the breakdown of the collagen fibers of the skin. This we cannot do anything about…but we can build the muscles, in particular, the butt muscles and drop the body fat so that we can get a smoother look with she skin…in spite of the collagen fiber breakdown.
Here are the results thus far:
As of March 13, Alex lost a total of 14 pounds of scale weight. It gets a bit better once we figure out how much muscle she gained. When she first started, she weighed 202 lbs with a body fat % of 42. By March 13, she weighed 188 lbs with a body fat percentage of 39%. Looking at the measurements, she has gained two pounds of muscle so she actually lost 16 pounds of fat. This equates to about 2 pounds of fat loss a week along with building a little bit of muscle.
She is noticing that her clothes fit a little looser every week consistently, and she gets comments from her co-workers all the time now about how she looks.
She tried a diet routine about a year ago, and she did lose weight but she lost both muscle and fat on that plan. Her diet plan did not have her do strength training, so she got softer and weaker as she went along. Moreover, the daily calorie intake was too low to maintain once she was done with the plan (she was eating 1,000 calories a day or less). She feels much better with our approach.
As of March 13, Rebecca has lost 5 pounds of scale weight. We took skin fold measurements back late January, and at that point she already gained one and a half pounds of muscle. Her body fat when we started was 30%, and when we took the skin folds in Late January, her body fat was around 25.5%. This shows us that, at the very least, she has lost a total of 6.5 pounds of fat and gained some muscle.
I have not done a skin fold measurement on her recently, but it looks like she is even leaner than when we took the measurements before. Her abs are starting to come in, and her body clearly has changed shape. She gets many compliments from her friends too.
Brandy had the most unusual change in her body. She lost a total of three pounds scale weight from when we first started, and I admit that this does not seem like much. But there is an interesting twist to her changes…she gained more muscle and lost more fat on average than the other two women in the study. According to our measurements, she gained about five pounds of muscle and lost about 10 pounds of fat. She started at around 34% body fat and at the last measurement she was around 30%. This is a significant overall change in her body. She, too, has noticed that her clothes fit differently, and both Sharon and I notice that her waist is slimmer and her butt is a bit more lifted and shapely.
- In spite of having all of the women train with relatively heavy weights (i.e. heavy enough to go to fatigue after 8 to 10 reps), none of them have “bulked out”. Not even close. They all gained a couple of pounds of muscle, with one woman gaining closer to 5 pounds. This is in line with how I know the body works. Gaining muscle takes time…and consistent pounding to reshape. It does not happen fast, but when the muscle is there, the body goes through a transformation. It looks healthy and beautiful.
- Strength gains slowed down but continued after the first month. I expected this from my observations of clients over the years. The fast gains initially happen because we are getting the neural drive to fire the fast twitch fibers. Once that happens, true strength gains (and muscle shaping) happen.
- None of the women made all of their appointments. After about the first month, they all missed a couple of appointments for one reason or another. Coming down with a cold, car problems, work and so forth were the reasons. In other words, life got in the way. This actually has been consistent with our paying clients. Most of them, after the first month, started missing appointments too for some reason. Some would drop off, while others would re-commit and get back on track. All of the women in the study did get back on track and they still made progress overall. There is a lesson in there for all of us.
- They adjusted the diet plan to their individual needs and tastes. They did not stick to exactly what I recommended, but they did try to keep the carbohydrate count as low as they can stand it. They may have seen faster progress if they did, but it would not have been sustainable. They needed to own it in their own way, in spite of what I said.
Overall I would have to say the project was a success. They all saw remarkable changes in their bodies, and I am sure that they will see some cellulite reduction as well. I will be finishing the final session in the next couple of weeks. I will have the photos and final measurements then.