Your Fitness Teacher’s Secret Shame

The first step in overcoming a problem is admitting you have a problem.

My name is Mariska. I teach Pilates. I work out almost every day. I wear the same size as I did in college. I have low body fat. And much to my chagrin, I have cellulite on my lower butt/upper thigh area. The b-thigh, th-ass, gluteal fold – whatever you want to call it. I don’t remember ever not having it.

I do squats often, I request glute work in class, and I make it a point to try to do a lot of butt exercises. If I don’t keep working on my derriere, I also have flat-ass syndrome. Though lifted, toned, and tightened has been achievable, cellulite-free has not.

My husband has told me more than once, “You don’t have cellulite.” The other day, I was lamenting its presence, and he said (true story), “It’s getting better.” Which means that A) I have cellulite, B) he noticed, and C) he lied to me. Marriage is tough.

The first step in overcoming a problem is admitting you have a problem. (I’m admitting it on the Internet, so I feel like I should get bonus points… ‘cause that’s a pretty big audience).

But, wait, is it actually a problem? And if so, whose problem is it?

Let’s get the skinny on cellulite.

First, what is it? Is it… fat?

In medical terms, cellulite is known by such horrifying terms as adiposis edematosa, dermopanniculosis deformans, status protrusus cutis, and gynoid lipodystrophy – all things that sound terrible and potentially life-threatening.

But, will it kill you?


Shorten your life?

Probably not.

Ruin your chances with men?

Doubtful. Chances are, they’re not really paying attention. Notice it took my husband eight years to admit I have any.

Oh, and they might have it, too.

There are multiple degrees of cellulite (the kind you see all the time and the kind you don’t see at all and the kind you see when you’re pale or squeeze your bum.)

Cellulite is simply normal fat under the skin (and everyone has to have some fat to live). It looks bumpy because it’s pushing against fascia, which causes the skin to look the way it looks.

There’s a genetic component (thanks a lot, mom). And it’s not weight dependent, a reflection on your overall fitness, or a tragic failure of your workout or you as a person.

Exercise can reduce fat and minimize its appearance. But it might not go away entirely or forever. That doesn’t make you a lesser person – just a normal one.  I’ll still be requesting glutes in class, though. The flat butt thing can be fixed.

Stay hard core,


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