The truth about women and cellulite (and no, I won’t be trying to sell you a cure…)

Despite being strong, fit and fairly lean, I, like many women my age (47 next month) and younger, have cellulite on the back on my legs. (There, I’ve said it)

For much of the year, I forget about it. (How often do you actually see the back of your own thighs?)

It doesn’t affect my day-to-day life. My legs are strong and get me through many classes and workouts each week. My kids could care less (as long as I can walk and bike and kayak with them). My husband still thinks I look hot (TMI? Sorry 😉 )


17 years ago this August…

I wear form-fitting exercise clothes in public and don’t worry about what I look like at all. (Perhaps I should care more? Especially those days when I’ve gone directly from teaching group fitness, training clients in the gym and getting my own workout done to grocery shopping and after school pickup, all without fixing my droopy pony-tail or re-applying deodorant…).

I’m even comfortable wearing a bikini at the beach and the local pool (bathing suits are a great equalizer when everyone’s wearing them).

The only time I give it a second thought is when the weather suddenly warms up and the aerobics studio becomes too hot to wear capris during class.

strength training for women

My usual teaching attire

Because I teach a good portion of my classes facing the mirror and typically have 30 to 36 pairs of eyes watching my every move, I’m very self-conscious about wearing shorts when I teach.

Silly, I know; given that most of my class participants are probably paying more attention to their workout than my legs.

Because I know how ridiculous I’m being (and that comfort during a workout is much more important than fashion and bodily insecurities), I’ve pulled out my copy of Ultimate Booty Workouts to remind myself that since there’s no scientifically-based cure for it (despite the daily onslaught of ads to the contrary in my Facebook feed…), completely unworthy of my attention.

Sure, you can reduce it’s appearance by adopting a fit, healthy lifestyle (exercise to build muscle and burn fat, increase hydration and eliminate sugars and processed foods), but even women with body fat percentages in the lower teens may still have visible cellulite due to the structure of the collagen fibres in their connective tissue and the prevalence of fat-binding receptors in their lower bodies.

To quote myself 😉

Cellulite is caused by “herniation” of the fat within the body’s fibrous connective tissues. Essentially, it’s fat that has escaped the tissues that normally contain it…It’s partly genetic, meaning that if your mother had noticeable cellulite, chances are you will as well. But it’s also affected by hormones, nutrition, and exercise… [Cellulite can, however, be made] less noticeably by reducing overall body fat and “plumping” up the underlying muscle via strength training. Flattering clothing and a bit of a tan can help too.

Armed with the above information, an increased motivation to stay away from sugar and processed foods, a brand new strength training program (stay tuned for news as to how you can join my monthly online training group) and much support from my friends and colleagues in the health and fitness community (check out Girls Gone Sporty’s ‘Bikini body link-up’), I’ll be “turning the other cheek” and sporting a pair of leg-baring workout bottoms in class.

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Just as soon as it warms up. I promise.


Do you pay any attention to the back of your group fitness instructor’s legs?

What’s your favourite “cellulite cure”? Body wraps? Electronic vibration machines? Plant stem cell creams?


  1. The only time I ever looked at a group fitness instructor’s legs was when I was trying to figure out what the heck she was doing! Lol. I can guarantee I wasn’t looking for cellulite.

    My favourite cure for cellulite is for sure the vibration machine. Who wouldn’t want to get fit by standing on a machine for 30 minutes and never have to lift a finger? 😉
    Ariana recently posted…I Came, I Ran, I Kinda Sorta ConqueredMy Profile

  2. Nothing like being cheeky! While my waistline gives me fits, my legs cooperate and have no cellulite. So it’s hi ho hi ho into shorts I go! Cute pic of you and hubs!
    KymberlyFunFit recently posted…Can a 55 Year Old Have More Energy Than a 20 Year Old?My Profile

    • Tamara says:

      You have superior genetics Kymberly! Can you believe that photo was taken nearly 17 years ago? And thank heavens hubby no longer has facial hair 😉

  3. sooo glad to hear you have cellulite. Misery loves company you know! I personally have never looked at the back of your legs during class, I suppose it is because I am too worried about people noticing the back of mine. Doesn’t help when your kids say “nice dimply thighs mom” Honestly trying to get rid of or even reduce it seems to be an exercise in futility. I try not to look to closely in the mirror and constantly wish I had a few asian genes in me.

    • Tamara says:

      Ha! So true! I think that’s why it’s no big deal to wear a bathing suit at the beach…

  4. I hate wearing shorts when I work out. Mostly because when I do, I focus too much on what I look like and not enough on the workout;) I never notice the instructors’ legs if that helps:)
    Rachelle Q recently posted…Runner’s High at Mile 5My Profile

  5. It’s sad that women have to be so consumed by cellulite. As you point out, a good proportion of it is due to genetics and other biophysical processes. We can be as toned and as fit as a body builder and still have cellulite. So it’s better to focus on developing strong legs and toned thighs that get us through the day and don’t require the confines of Spanx (because really, who wants to wear all that?) And for those swimsuit days, a little self-tanner can be our best friend. 🙂
    Carrie Rubin recently posted…“Bonjour Réalité,” Said Paris To The Midwestern Au Pair GirlMy Profile

    • Tamara says:

      Yep. Agreed. But I haven’t found a self-tanner that works for my very pale skin Carrie. The last time I tried using one my daughter asked me “Mommy, why are you knees orange?” LOL!

  6. I have never looked at the back of my instructor’s legs 🙂

    I never had to worry about cellulite until this year. Hello 43. I am trying very hard not to be self conscious about it. However I am super happy with my legs since I have been lifting and squatting with weights. I focus on the front and that they are strong
    Stephanie Robbins recently posted…Total Training Goes SocialMy Profile

    • Tamara says:

      Stephanie, I loved that picture you shared with our group. Your legs look strong and muscular and BEAUTIFUL!

  7. Thank you Tamara for this. So many women spending crazy money for things that do not work. Yes, we can get TEMPORARY reduction from caffeine type creams & some in office dermatologist stuff but women need to read this! I don’t do classes so.. but I notice when I am out & about BUT I know all about the cellulite stuff so I know it can be better if we do the things in your quote above & also know it is genetic too… I haven’t looked lately BUT I stopped wearing my shorter shorts in the 50’s… I wore shorter ones thru my 40’s. 🙂
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted…Comment on My Thoughts on Taking SupplementsMy Profile

    • Tamara says:

      I think it’s a blessing that our eyesight starts to go at about the same time the body does. What you can’t see can’t bother you, right? 😉

  8. Comment luv was having issues for me & that is not my most recent post 🙂 Ah, there is is.. 🙂
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted…Gratitude Monday & Simple Things in LifeMy Profile

  9. No – I’ve never looked at my group fitness instructor’s legs. I never thought I had cellulite either then one day I looked. Yup I sure do. I don’t think about it often, but once in awhile I will be in an aerobic class and think – my shirt is too short and my pants too tight I bet I look gross from behind. I didn’t realize my instructors felt like this sometimes too.
    Savvy Working Gal recently posted…Lean Back and ThriveMy Profile

    • Tamara says:

      Ha! We are all the same, aren’t we? Maybe your instructors are just really good at projecting a lack of insecurity 😉

  10. Hah! No, I do not notice instructor’s cellulite, or, if I do, it just makes me realize that they are “real” too. I think the most humbling workout attire is cycling shorts. Between the stuffed sausage look and the padded bum, there’s no room for vanity!
    Coco recently posted…One Bike Path Two Ways On The Mount Vernon TrailMy Profile

    • Tamara says:

      Here’s to being real! (I think I’m as real as they come, instructor-wise; no tan or ‘enhancements’ here…)

  11. My waistline gives me fits as well but my legs are my one great feature I can count on. I wish I could wear a midriff bearing top but I feel too self conscious. Isn’t it funny how two hot ladies can feel this way? Need to stop the negative self talk. If I wear a tight top this weekend will you wear shorts one day?
    Margo recently posted…What Did We Learn This Month? Shape Magazine with Ivanka Trump on the CoverMy Profile

  12. Soooo you’re telling me there’s not magic cream or pill.. damn! 😉

  13. I don’t ever notice, but then again, i’m probably dying from the workout. I wear shorts when i teach. but then again, i haven’t had kids yet. soo… there’s that. Being comfortable teaching is key, so you do what works, yes?

    • Tamara says:

      So true! But I also think it’s important to get over our body hangups so I’m working on being brave 😉

  14. Hi there.

    I´ve never have looked at my traineer legs but i bet i´m gonna do it the next time.

    The best cure for cellulite is definitly excersise and drink a lot of water, but the genetics have a lot to do, because no matter what i do u can´t get rid of it.

    Thanks for share!

  15. Hi Tamara,
    Great blog!
    I was thinking, if cellulite is a problem of fat “at that has escaped the tissues that normally contain it” I don’t understand why it would not go away if you cut down you fat level at around 10% … since you have muscular legs it would probably melt away?? After that you could come back to your normal 18% body fat but then the fresh new fat would now be contained? Do this make any sense?

    I like your blog and your perspective on fitness. Thanks and continue the good work!

  16. Yeah so I heard that 90% of women have cellulite (particularly over 40). In that case, if you don’t have cellulite you’re a genetic freak and we’re all normal. So there :).
    Suzanne @WorkoutNirvana recently posted…The Guide to Clean Eating on AutopilotMy Profile

  17. You know where I stand in your class and I can’t see any cellulite from where I am! It is something that I never would even give a second thought to. The only time I’m looking at an instructor’s legs is to figure out what I should be doing myself 🙂