I need a cellulite hack. “One thing you will never hear is ‘I love my cellulite” says Ashley Black, fitness guru and founder of Fascia Blaster an exercise regime based on set of claw like massage tools designed to help breakdown and rid the body of cellulite.
We all know that skipping the fries is the most basic way to combat cottage cheese butts and thighs or dimpled arms – but why do even the leanest, fittest women battle with cellulite? It’s something I’ve personally dealt with all my life, and as a model sometimes it was a roadblock to professional success. Strict dieting, no dairy, no wheat, no sugar, plus no alcohol backed up by daily exercise kept my cellulite at bay. However, unless you’re getting a check to live like a monk, it’s just not sustainable. Cut to childbirth, menopause, and mid-life weight gain and… Hello, cellulite, my old friend!
“What gives us those bumps, dimples, and cottage cheese?” According to Black, cellulite is made of groups of fat cells, which by themselves are not dimpled and dented, but become that way when trapped by “tight, sticky webbed fascia”. Black cites webmd’s causes of cellulite in her best selling book ,“It’s Not Fat It’s Fascia”, to back up her theory. She suggests that we can simply “iron out the fascia like a bedsheet” – think about smoothing the bulges out of feather pillow. If you were to remove the fascia from your body – it would look like one “big cotton candy mummy of your body”. Black writes, “when you peel away the skin from fried chicken it’s the white membrane you see, and sometimes you can see fat mangled into it, which gives the appearance of dimples and wrinkles in the skin.”
Black categorizes four different types of fascia found in the human bodies. Type one fascia is like an ace bandage, running all throughout the body from just underneath the surface of the skin twisting and winding through the muscles as deep as the bone and resurfaces again… “like a plate of spaghetti” at any point beneath the skin. Type two fascia is structural. Think of the white membrane inside of an orange – it’s soft dense structural fiber is akin to the husk found on the white side of the orange peel. This same fibrous material becomes softer, weblike and more flexible under our skin, in much the same way as the thick white membrane does between the sections of the orange.
The third type of cotton-candy-like fascia fans out like a vast network of sticky stretchy spider webs, supported by structural fascia penetrating and weaving through the muscles like a net and attaching to the bone. Unhealthy fascia clamps down around weak or injured muscles forming a tight ball of both structural and supportive fascia pulling down on the skin forming the bumps and dents we call cellulite. The visceral fascia housed in the abdominal cavity protecting vital organs is a goopy liquid like jello that holds up your organs much in the same way jello suspends fruit cocktail in its gelled environment when you add it to the mix.
Type four, Straw fascia, surrounds the spine in long vertical lines and connects to all the other areas of the body. Tight Fascia restricts movement in the joints and muscles. we experience this as knotted muscles, torn fascia, often seen as an after baby belly that’s impossible to lose is another consequence of disrupted fascia causing cellulite. Now we understand where cellulite comes from… what’s the hack?
Invasive or non-invasive procedures like liposuction and CoolSpa are effective for removal of cellulite, but they don’t rebuild the supporting structures of the body. Liposuction is painful, and requires 6-8 weeks of recovery. While CoolSpa is uncomfortable with little down time, it’s also costly, as it targets small areas at a time and may leave have uneven results.
Ashley Black’s Fasciablaster, a grip handheld plastic stick with a series of plastic claws designed for deep tissue massage specifically to release fascia providing emergency support to overtaxed muscles and ligaments, or splayed fascia where fat protrudes appearing as cellulite. Using the stick requires more courage than skill, the technique is simple.
Out of the shower or after a workout put oil on your skin, and move the stick up and down then sideways for 1-5 minutes per area with as much pressure as you can stand. I didn’t go bezerk, but I can tell you – spots where I have bubbly looking skin on my thighs turned black and blue in a matter of minutes after I massaged them with the stick. When I met with Black a few weeks later at a seminar I saw the same thing occur instantly on lighter skinned women who tried the blaster stick at the seminar. Some women experience the leopard spot phenomena on backs of jiggly arms, on back fat, but the spotting did not occur when targeting areas of bound and fatigued muscles, for example, in the neck shoulders and lower back. Black says the instantaneous black and blues are caused by blood rushing into an area that has long been bound by fascia. What I do know is that after 4 consistent weeks – where I followed the protocol outlined in her book of administering daily self massage I saw enough of change in the shape of my thighs and texture of the skin on my thighs and rear end to feel very encouraged.
The biggest catalyst for transformation may be Black’s advice to be mindful of your posture – hold your stomach in at all times, stand up straight and keep your shoulder blades together whenever you catch yourself hunching forward. Posture is an easy form of self-care that upgrades every moment of your day. Self-massage with the blaster stick after bathing and especially effective after a workout and a hot shower is also another relatively easy way to commit to handling the irksome problem of cellulite on a daily basis. So, if I skip a day or a week of working out, the blaster is my hack for increasing blood flow and circulation in my butt and thighs in order to fight the battle of the bulge.
Physicians agree there is no one single cure all for the appearance of cellulite – a condition that affects women almost exclusively. Our bodies are designed to store fat needed to support pregnancy by the way, so it’s just a fact of life for most of us, no matter our age, weight, or size. So relax, you’re not wrong or lazy, we women are just made that way. Personally, no one single method works for me to control my weight or cellulite, exercise is at the core of regulating both my mental and physical health. Anything else I can do that adds to improving circulation and mobility, like self-massage and stretching, adds up more than you can imagine – in your overall attitude towards your body and your outlook on life.
CHEAT SHEET FOR CELLULITE
GET A TAN
Darker skin shows less cellulite. Get a tan. Real or fake bake tans work wonders when you’re exposing areas prone to dimpled cottage cheese looking skin. Sally Hansen AirBrush legs wins for creating bronzed smoother looking skin. This full coverage spray on comes in 3 shades and covers even the darkest bruises and veins. Bonus: The color dries instantly and doesn’t transfer onto clothes or upholstery.
STOCKINGS IN A BOTTLE
Another supermodel hack is mixing together ¼ teaspoon of liquid foundation with 1 tablespoon of body lotion in your hand and using that to hydrate and and hype-up your all over body glow. For a big night out, dust bronzer all over your legs from your hips to your toes to up the glamor quotient.
COMPRESS TO IMPRESS
Winter is coming and with that comes the option to wear compression opaque black compression tights to improve circulation in buttocks legs and feet . If compression tights sound orthopedic – it’s because they are, but the right ones don’t look granny stockings at all. Make the investment in a good pair of black opaque tights. Reason one – to boosts your circulation, Reason two – to augment your workouts. That’s right, wearing compression tights before after and especially during a workout might feel a little constricting at first, admittedly, compression tights take about twice as long to get into as regular tights but the payoff is so worth it, especially for those of us who sit or stand all day on our jobs.
Here’s my top picks for compression tights:
Item M6 Compression Tights are so beautifully made you would never guess that medical grade compression technology is woven into every inch of these soft tights. High tensile strength elastic continuously exerts gentle pressure on the veins in your legs and buttocks to aid circulation up towards heart keeping blood from pooling in the feet and legs which can cause swelling.
Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity Compression Leggings are my favorite for heavy workouts. Why? Because they breathe with me and they move with me, without making me feel like I’m stuffed in my tights like a sausage. I started wearing Sweaty Betty about 3 years ago and every piece I have them remains pristine workout after workout wash after wash. Bonus on the Zero Gravity leggings? They sculpt and lift your butt, not to mention your morale and that’s before you even start your workout!
Story x @VeronicaWebb
Cellulite Beauty Tips x @coolspanyc
FasciaBlaster x @ashleyblackguru