Included in this article:
Lose fat, build muscle | The plan | The workout

If you've always thought you're stuck with cellulite, this workout will change your mind. And if you've blamed your diet, fat or even trapped 'toxins' for cellulite, we'll explain why you've been (mostly) wrong all the time.

Cellulite, says Dr Wayne Westcott, the mastermind behind this workout, is primarily about having too much fat and too little muscle. The right exercise programme can produce major improvements.

Lose fat, build muscle
Westcott and his team have proved it: they put 16 women, ages 26 to 66, on a 20-minute, three-day-a-week programme that included cardio, resistance and flexibility training. In two months, the women lost an average of 1 - 1.5kg of fat and added 1kg of muscle. More importantly, they decreased the size of their hips, where cellulite often appears, by 3.5cm.

All the women reported less cellulite on their lower bodies; 70% reported having 'a lot' less, saying their thighs had changed from 'soft' to 'firm'. And the evidence wasn't only anecdotal: ultrasound measurements of all the women showed a 1mm reduction in the superficial fat layer (the cellulite layer) and a 1mm increase in the muscle layer.

The keys to their success? Losing fat and building muscle. So, if you have cellulite û or want to prevent its appearance û this workout is for you. It's quick, effective and proven.

Two minutes on a treadmill, bicycle, stair climber or elliptical trainer.
Eight minutes at 70% (or more) of your maximum heart rate. You should be breathing hard but able to talk.
Do one set of each exercise, fatiguing the target muscle in 10û15 reps. Making sure to use correct form, add 5% more resistance at nearly every work-out. Each rep should take two seconds up, four seconds down.
When you finish a set of one exercise, stretch that muscle. Westcott's research has found that this builds muscle faster. Hold each stretch for 20 seconds.
Cool down for two minutes
If your gym doesn't have exactly this equipment, ask one of the trainers to point you to the closest alternative.

The plan
There are two ways to attack cellulite:

The basic plan
Just 20 minutes of cardio, strength and flexibility exercise, three days a week, it focuses on lower-body strength training with machines. It also includes supplementary stretching (which ultimately helps to build strength) and 10 minutes of cardio work to burn additional kilojoules, and thus reduce fat.

The extended plan
For faster results, Westcott encourages 40 minutes, three times a week, including a longer cardio workout and more weight training to build overall body strength.

It works best if you do it in a gym with weight machines, so you can 'isolate each muscle (group) and increase weight at almost every work- out', Westcott says. 'If you work out at home, stick with leg moves like squats and lunges, and use as much resistance as possible.'

The Workout

Please note: Consult your personal trainer or physician if you are unsure of whether this programme is suitable for you. Your trainer could advise you on the correct weights and number of reps suited to your fitness level.

Seated leg curl
Sit with your legs straight, roller behind your ankles, and support bar across thighs; hold handles for support. Keeping entire back and hips against machine back and seat, bend knees to bring heels down and under seat. Straighten legs; do 10-15 reps. Strengthens hamstrings. Starting weight: 20-40kg

Leg extension
Sit with your back against pad and rollers in front of your ankles, feet relaxed, but not pointed. Hold handles for support. Fully straighten legs without locking knees. Return to starting position and do 10-15 reps. Strengthens quadriceps. Starting weight: 15-30kg.

Hip adduction
Sit with pads on the inside of your thighs at knees, legs separated slightly more than hip-width apart. Keeping your back against pad, contract abdominals; hold handles for support. Press legs together until they almost touch. Return to start and do 10-15 reps. Strengthens inner thighs. Starting weight: 20û45kg.

Hip abduction
Sit with pads adjusted at the knees on the outside of thighs. Place feet on foot plates, legs slightly apart. Contract abdominals so your hips and back are against the back pad. Maintain alignment and press legs out to a little more than hip-width apart. Return to start and do 10û15 reps. Strengthens upper hips. Starting weight: 15û30kg

Leg press
Lie flat on a leg-press machine or sled. When sitting down, your hips and shoulders are firmly against pad. Keep feet parallel and hip-width apart; ankles, knees and hips should be in one line. Hold handles and push legs almost straight. Keeping pressure through the heels and feet, bend until they're at a 90-degree angle to your hips. Straighten legs (without locking knees) and do 10û15 reps. Strengthens quadriceps, hamstrings, buttocks and calves. Starting weight: 30û65kg

Lying chest press
Lie with handles of an incline bench-press machine just above mid-chest. Bend knees, place feet on foot bar and contract abs to bring back to bench. Grasp handles overhand, arms bent, forearms parallel and elbows towards floor. Press bar up, straightening arms without locking elbows. Slowly lower until elbows are even with or slightly below shoulders. Return to start and do 10û15 reps. Strengthens chest, triceps and front shoulders. Starting weight: 14û27kg

Seated row
Sit on a stack-row machine with front pad at upper rib-cage height; lean lightly on pad. Bend knees; keep feet flat on floor. Hold the vertical handles, arms extended and palms facing in. Squeeze shoulder blades together, then bend elbows back and towards waist without rocking torso, keeping wrists straight and elbows close to body. Straighten arms and do 10û15 reps. Strengthens middle back, rear shoulders and some biceps. Starting weight: 20û40kg

Overhead shoulder press
Sit; hold vertical handles, elbows bent and close to torso. Contract abs to keep back against pad. Squeeze shoulder blades together, then straighten (don't lock) arms to press handles up. Lower; do 10û15 reps. Strengthens upper back, shoulders. Starting weight: 15û25kg

Lower back
Sit in back-extension machine, knees bent, feet flat on the foot plates. Fasten support strap and cross arms over chest. Lean forward until back is almost parallel to floor. With abs contracted and back straight, press torso against the back pad until just past vertical. Return to start and do 10û15 reps. Strengthens the erector spinae. Starting weight: 25û40kg

Ab curls
Sit on an ab machine, seat set so support bar is at chest height. With feet in foot plates, knees bent, hold bar with hands. Contract abs, lean forward from hips, pressing bar towards thighs. Straighten torso to starting position; do 10û15 reps. Strengthens abdominals. Starting weight: 20û35kg