We've all got our concerns when it comes to health and fitness, and while many of us like to be high-minded and Zen and say we're in it for a longer lifespan and more vibrant health, others cut to the chase and admit we're really after a firmer butt or shapely thighs.
Bad news, ladies. Exercises or products that promise to "shape," "tone," "firm" or "reduce cellulite" are probably not going to give you the results you desire. Those promises are too vague to make sense. Yes, regular exercise will strengthen your muscles, which will in turn make you look more toned and probably make you more pleased with the shape of your body, but those kind of nonspecific claims aren't helpful.
As far as reducing cellulite? Not happening. Once it's there, it's there (I KNOW) and more than anything else it's a part of being female.
All of these terms are marketing words designed to sell us something rather than actual problems for which there are solutions.
Cellulite is not so much a condition or something that happens to us, but an inevitable virtue of being female. The reason we get it, and men don't, is because our fat cells are arranged vertically while men's are in a cross-hatch pattern. When we gain weight or get older, that vertical pattern is a lot more likely to result in some bulging and dimpling. Exercise might improve the appearance of the underlying muscles and make cellulite less obvious, but it's not going to fix it. And freaking out over it is a fairly recent phenomenon; the word first appeared in print in an article in Vogue in 1968.
Instead of falling for marketing terms that don't really describe a problem, using concrete and specific language is the way to go to achieve success. For example, instead of saying "I'm going to get in shape" say "I'm going to work out four days a week, and do 30 minutes of cardio and 20 minutes of either strength training or stretching each time." Or instead of saying "I need to firm my abs" say "I'll do a Pilates class twice a week, which will strengthen my core muscles."
Setting achievable goals is a much more motivating way of self-talk than pointing to vague problems you see with your body ... and when you begin to see results, you'll know why.
Image via lululemon athletica/Flickr