You have entered The 'Legsperts' Room, where specialists respond to 5 questions fired at them by The Legologist (lucky them) to get you the best free advice on maximising the health and appearance of your legs. I'm going steadily through my little black book and gathering insight from the experts I rate - including Mark Whiteley, the vein king, Marcia Kilgore, the Fitflop founder (and brilliant beauty ideas queen), Jess Schuring, founder of Heartcore Fitness and creator of The Ultimate Leg Workout, and Shabir Daya, pharmacist behind magic website VictoriaHealth. That's just a start. I'm also hounding a pedicurist, a 'waxpert' and a nutritionist, so expect some grade A advice over the coming weeks ..
Disappointing I know but I'm afraid I have not managed to interview Jennifer Aniston (right) about her fitness/nutrition rules for great legs, but in the absence of a photo of Rick Hay, Fushi's nutrition expert (whose indepth nutrition advice is below), I went with this image instead. Incidentally, a study by Braun once revealed that Aniston has the most perfect legs in Hollywood according to a scientific study: scientists came up with a specific formula, which involves multiplying the proportions of the leg and thigh, and the texture of skin, to calculate the perfect pair of pins. Aniston scored an impressive 14.67, the highest score of anyone tested. Dr Aric Sigman, who did the study, said: 'for men, the ideal leg is shapely, full and smooth with a semi-gloss sheen. Women want the same thing - only two sizes smaller'. [The study also showed British men preferred women to have shapely legs like Beyonce Knowles'.] Anyway, over to Rick:
The Legologist: Which foods help to boost a slow circulation best?
Rick Hay: "Spices such as tumeric, ginger, cayenne and chilli are all excellent for circulation and have been used extensively in Western, Chinese and Ayurvedic herbal medicine for this purpose. Current research is revealing that these spices work on both stimulating circulation and on helping the lymphatic system remove toxins. They have high levels of antioxidants, which all well as their role in fighting free radical damage, provide cardiovascular benefits by helping to keep the blood thin. They are are also full of biochemical powerhouses. For example, curcuminoids in tumeric have been shown to have positive anticarcinogenic properties. Research has shown too that the herb Ginkgo Biloba helps circulation - not only to the extremities but also to the brain - so you can have great legs and a terrific memory courtesy of the flavonoids contained within this medicinal plant! Fresh fruit and vege juices with a hint of ginger are also recommended as these provide the body with enzymes that help with circulation and cleansing. Spirulina is a great protein based supplement that helps circulation and detox - a healthier liver leads to better circulation and spirulina helps a liver cleanse due to the high levels of chlorophyll that it contains'.
TL: Many women feel the heat and hormones in their lower legs (knees, ankles, feet). Have you any nutritional advice for puffiness?
RH: 'Dandelion Tea is fantastic for this problem as it is an excellent diuretic helps take away excess water and any fluid build up in the the body. Cooking with onions and garlic is recommended not only because of their circulatory properties but also because of their cleansing properties. Research, both in complementary and orthodox medicine, has clearly demonstrated this effectiveness. Fresh carrot, apple, cucumber and ginger juice can also help thanks to the enzymatic activity that they promote. Fresh juices are nutrient-dense and provide a multitude of vitamins and minerals that are necessary for overall health. It's important to take a holistic approach and, by treating the health of the whole body, the health of the legs will follow. To reiterate - this includes the hormones, not just the legs - and to this end there are many menopausal formulas/supplements that can help in both vitamin and herbal forms. A good green powder preferably organic is also great to help alkalise the body and therefore help reduce the severity and symptoms associated with hot flushes'.
TL: Best ingredients for a detox smoothie?
RH: 'Fresh carrot, cucumber and apple juice are excellent and simple to get hold of. But for a super powerful benefit, add Fushi's Beauty Totale Powder. It contains 10 superfoods including spirulina, kelp and bilberry. This nutrient-dense smoothie will help keep you fuller for longer and reduce cravings. The superfoods are packed with vitamins, minerals and various antioxidants that help cleanse and repair - whilst the herbs help to regulate blood sugar levels. This juice has an incredible ORAC score, the measurement used to grade antioxidant activity. Anything green detoxes the liver and provides high levels of magnesium which helps reduce leg cramps'
TH: Supplement/drink that can enhance leg health/shape?
RH: 'Enhancing leg shape needs a combination of diet and exercise. Talking supplements I would go for either or both of Fushi's Total Body Slim Complex, which is is designed to complement a sensible weight loss programme. It contains ingredients that help distribute, breakdown and remove cholesterol and saturated fats from the body, whilst promoting proper breakdown of all bulk nutrients in the gastrointestinal tract. It is also designed to help balance blood sugar levels as an imbalance in this area can lead to sweet cravings and weight gain. Also, Fushi's Total Body CelluLIGHT Complex which contains a combination of vitamins, minerals and herbs that act to promote the breakdown and dispersion of cellulite and increase circulation, thus removing accumulated toxins from fatty tissues. Again for drinks - think green and fresh. Fresh not concentrated vege and fruit juices - the best being my old favourite - carrot, apple, cucumber and ginger. Another perfect drink, effortless to make, is a glass of warm filtered water with the juice of half a lemon - it's a great way to start each day and helps to keep you regular. It also helps to eliminate toxins. Drinking various herbal teas during the day is a great way to stay hydrated and to help your body detox slowly. Now, too, you can get some brilliant troubleshooting vibration technology such as the Vibration 600 Platform (above) and the Vibration discs (Vibrodisc). They are excellent for helping with leg shape and include circulation boosters terrific for boosting circulation and decreasing swelling'.
TL: Which celebrity has the best legs?
RH: 'Jennifer Aniston and Cate Blanchett both have legs to die for!'
Scarlett Johanssen, Frida Pinto, Patsy Kensit, Dita von Teese, Geri Halliwell and X Factor's Brian Friedman have this lady (left) on speed dial: mega manicurist Pippa Hebden, Barielle's star nail-tiste, has worked backstage at the BAFTAS and Vivienne Westwood's catwalk shows, and she is a Vogue session work nail artist. Basically, Pippa is a prime candidate for The Legologist's spotlight!
The Legologist: the difference a pedicure makes to legs?
Pippa Hebden: "having a professional pedicure makes a huge difference to your legs. They will feel more relaxed, softer and a pedicure helps improve the circulation".
TL: your hot colour tip for toes for a/w?
PH: "dark brown and light beiges to create a natural and sophisticated look. To spice up your toes and add glamour, I'll be using gold, caramel or golden shades".
TL: any great non-abrasive scrub-masks for hard skin on feet?
PH: "I think the beach is the business for your feet because sand is a natural exfoliant and seawater movement gives a natural massage. But together the sun, sea, sand and pool water will dehydrate your feet. Give them special attention. My top tip (and one I swear by for my own feet): once a week, before going to bed, layer on Barielle Intensive Foot Cream with Deep Sea Mud. It's a luxurious and intensely enriched foot cream and it's brilliant for dry, stressed feet. Deep ocean clay is loaded with minerals, oils, vitamins and proteins that renew and revitalise damaged skin, making feet smoother and healthier. To ramp up the results, pull a pair of cotton socks on over the cream and leave on overnight".
TL: the biggest favour you can do for your feet?
LH: "they are the poor relation, the one area that we take for granted and ignore. The biggest favour you can do for your feet is to wear sensible shoes, have regular pedicures and then work on your feet at home. Also if you want your feet to feel better after a long day at work, I recommend refrigerating a good moisturising cream and use it at the end of the day when your feet are really tired and hot".
TL: which celeb has the best legs?
PH: "Shakira! She has the perfect body with toned, sexy legs".
Meet Natalie Roche (right), Managing Director of XEN-TAN UK, the self-tan experts. I review self-tans in my column in the Telegraph Magazine this weekend and XEN-TAN came out so well I've decided to turn my spotlight on Natalie and fire 5 questions at her about creating the best self-tan at home (and find out what 'grabbing' is ..):
The Legologist: tans flatter: is that the only reason we all like being brown?
Natalie Roche: "if you have a tan when everyone else's suntan has faded, it suggests holidays in exotic places while the rest of us have our noses to the grindstone. It adds a touch of glamour and a tanned body is definitely considered sexier. There is no doubt that with a tan you instantly look fitter, and some would say leaner, with the muscles are more defined".
TL: any tips for preventing pigment drift around ankles + knees?
NR: "the secret lies in exfoliating and moisturising on a regular basis. The patchiness is simply due to the skin flaking off at different intervals".
NR: "exfoliation increases the body’s’ natural desquamation (natural flaking) process. Exfoliation improves circulation bringing fresh blood and nutrients to the area, and oxygenating the tissues. It leaves skin smooth, soft and supple, and brighter. Being smoother, it provides the perfect surface to apply the tan. When exfoliating we should concentrate on areas that are naturally drier, such as the knees, elbows and hands. The new generation tans are not so dependent upon moisturising. Xen-Tan Luxe products contain vitamin E and Shea Butter to soothe and moisturise. However, extra help is needed for the classic dry areas, knees, elbows, hands and feet to stop the tan from ‘grabbing’".
TL: your failsafe product (self tan, exfoliator, moisturiser)?
NR: "my fail safe product is self tan, and more especially Xen-Tan Dark Lotion (left) which delivers the ultimate Mediterranean tan. I can cope with greasy hair and no make-up. As long as I have a natural glow, I’m good to go".
TL: which celeb has the best legs?
NR: "Cameron Diaz, definitely".
MARCIA KILGORE, FOUNDER OF FITFLOP, BLISS, SOAP & GLORY - SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR BASICALLY ..
Marcia Kilgore once told me that the moment she came up with the concept for FitFlop - and realised it would work (she was at a work function at the time) the hairs stood up on the back of her arms. To say Kilgore is the queen of entrepreneurs is an understatement in my view. She has an amazing knack for tapping into the shifting zeitgeist and coming up with concepts that women want (simple really, if she doesn't want it, she doesn't create/sell it) - no wonder she is a heroine to anyone with an entrepreneurial bug. After Bliss came Soap & Glory, and then FitFlop - to be seen on millions of pairs of feet all over the world. The Legologist bows down in admiration and fires five question at her favourite 'zeitgeist surfer'. Read on ..
The Legologist: why FitFlop over any other ‘flop'?
Marcia Kilgore: "because it has gym built-in. The success of the FitFlop footwear is without a doubt down to our global patent-pending Microwobbleboard™ technology, and the fact that it enables men and women to squeeze more exercise into their hectic daily schedules. It was biomechanically engineered by Dr David Cook and Darren James at London South Bank University to increase the time that your muscles are engaged, every single time you take a step. The high density heel section absorbs up to 22% more shock than regular footwear, relieving joint stress. The midsection is low density creating instability and increases leg muscle activation by up to 19%. Lastly the toe cap is a mid density, allowing you to maintain speed and pace by supporting the push off. FitFlop sandals are ergonomically designed so our upper sits high on the instep, preventing the dreaded toe curl. The American Podiatric Medical Association has awarded FitFlop footwear its Seal Of Acceptance, which confirms that it is THE ‘healthy’ flip flop for summer".
TL: is it true that we can have a tighter butt just by Fitflopping around?
TL: is it true that we can have a tighter butt just by Fitflopping around?
MK: "yes, our Microwobbleboard midsole has been proven, via biomechanical testing at Salford and London South Bank University, to increase the duration of bottom muscle activation up to 30%! Many wearers also report improved posture and relieve from lower back pain, arthritis, RLS, lower leg oedema, hip pain and heel spurs. For someone like me, whose exercise is limited to walking my kids to school and walking to work, I certainly feel energized when I walk in FitFlop footwear, and I have a pair of very happy feet!"
TL: which is your personal favourite style?
MK: "I am fortunate to trial every style we develop to ensure consistency of experience and fit. I do have my favourites however which are the classic red Walkstar (they look hot with jeans and are so light on your feet) and the black Happy Gogh which is the perfect mix of cool, comfy, happy, classic and convenient".
TL: any particular product (cream etc) you love for your legs?
MK: "it has to be the much talked about Sit Tight firming cream from Soap & Glory. It’s an entirely new kind of slimmer, the new triple action pressure-activated firming formula battles lower body areas, the place women tend to be most affected by fatty tissue buildup. I wish I could say I had time to hit Bikram yoga every other day, jog and workout (if only!) but with two kids, a husband and two brands to run I just don't seem to find the time so Sit Tight combined with my FitFlops when I’m on the move is my number one solution!"
TL: which celebrity has the best legs?
MK: "Grace Jones is a fan of FitFlop footwear, and uses them as her high heel antidote. Have you seen her legs recently, incredible!"
TL: any particular product you love for your legs?
MK: "Sit Tight, which only fully-activates when you are sitting in a chair. If I may say so myself, it’s spectacular.”
MARK WHITELEY [aka DR LEGS], VASCULAR SURGEON
It's rare in beauty to meet someone who speaks with 100% honesty and, increasingly, the benefit of genuine wisdom. Meet someone who does: Mark Whiteley (right) is obsessed with veins and has done more research on their formation and how to treat them than most living vascular surgeons. Treatment of varicose veins has been in need of an overhaul for years: none of the popular treatments – ‘stripping’, sclerotherapy, ablation and endovenous lasering – work reliably. Mark believes varicose veins are the result of Congested Pelvic Syndrome (CPS) caused by surplus blood to the pelvis, which affects women from puberty but is undetected till after pregnancy. Veins then appear on the back or top of inner thighs, advancing down legs. Most doctors don't look for CPS or know there is treatment for it. So when they strip or inject veins it only works shortterm because they don't treat the root. Whiteley's keyhole method, which involves inserting a coil into veins to stop pelvic vein reflux in a way that removes varicose veins, is the most exciting advance in vascular health in years. He is the only surgeon to consult if you have a vein problem. Treatment costs from £150, call 01483 477180 for an appointment or visit The Whiteley Clinic.
These are Mark's *unedited* answers to The Legologist's questions:
The Legologist: are varicose veins a fact of life?
Mark Whiteley: "varicose veins run in families and are therefore linked to our genes. One in four people will develop varicose veins - for those people who will get them due to their genes, they are just a fact of life. Of course three out of four people will not get varicose veins!"
TL: what makes your approach special/better?
MW: "in the past, doctors thought that all varicose veins were caused by one of two simple problems. They performed the stripping operation for these, which our research has shown allows the veins to grow back again. Our approach starts off by identifying the cause of varicose veins in each patient - the cause is individual to different patients. We have a range of treatments, all of which permanently destroyed the vein and prevent them re-growing. These include endovenous laser, radiofrequency closure, foam sclerotherapy, coil embolisation and the TRLOP technique amongst others. We then tailor each treatment plan to the patient's varicose veins - making sure the combination of treatments we provide are exactly what that individual patient requires to get the best possible result in both the short term and long term".
TL: can broken veins be removed with a cream?
MW: "no. There is no cream that can penetrate the skin and destroy the veins. The best you can hope for is a cosmetic cream to cover them".
TL: what’s the best favour you can do your legs health-wise?
MW: "keep active and fit and eat well. If you start seeing thread veins, varicose veins, or discoloured skin around your ankles - or if your ankles swell or you get aching legs, you should see veins specialist to get a scan to see if you have underlying varicose veins".
TL: the finest legs in celeb-dom?
MW: "I haven't researched this - but if there is an opportunity I would be happy to do so!!"
PARISSA: JANET CHAO
Janet Chao, left, is Parissa's 'waxpert'. Parissa is the sugar-based home hair removal system which is so natural (100%) you can eat it - that's quite a feat when you consider how chemical-rich most depilatory applications are. Hardly surprising really that Parissa, developed in Vancouver by Azar Moayeri 25 years ago, has been such a massive success. Azar uses food grade ingredients sourced from Europe and north America. The products even have bathroom credibility - you want to be able to see them rather than hide them away at the back of your bathroom cabinet. Clever Azar, making something essentially practical and boring appealingly sexy and high performance. Back to Janet: The Legologist fired her questions and got the following answers:
The Legologist: which has the longest-lasting results for leg hair – wax, cream or razor depilatories?
Janet Chao: "wax; removes hair from the root".
TL: one factoid about leg hair and/or depilation of that we don’t know ..
JC: "red hair is the thickest amongst blonde, brown & black hair".
TL: one depilation tip – ie, moisturiser afterwards, bathing before or after, etc ..
JC: "exfoliating every other day minimizes ingrown hairs".
TL: does depilation remove a tan as well as hairs?
JC: "waxing will remove a spray-on or cream tan but will actually enhance a suntan. the top layer of dead skin cells will be removed, allowing your tan to 'shine' through".
TL: who has the best legs?
JC: "Justin Timberlake and Jennifer Aniston".
JANET'S THUMBS UP:
Timberlake's pins (below left) and Parissa Wax Strips for Legs & Body (below right) - see home page for The Legologist's summer giveaway ..
VICTORIA HEALTH: SHABIR DAYA
Meet pharmacist Shabir Daya, right. You don't often see pictures of this man, but he is one half of the very clever brains that founded the website Victoria Health, and he is a genius on all things relating to natural health. Shabir is the man the editors go to when they want the lowdown on a health supplement and whether it works. A mine of information, he gives proper objective advice, the kind that only a real insider can do.
These are his answers to The Legologist's 5 Questions:
The Legologist: what's the best supplement for legs overall?
Shabir Daya: "it has to be Diosmin Complex by Lifetime Vitamins (£18.95). It contains herbal extracts that help with circulation as well as helping to ensure long term repair of the valves within the veins. Also increases lymphatic drainage which helps with leg swelling and water retention".
TL: the best approach for improving on cellulite? Is it supplements, diet and exercise combined – or just a really good supplement?
SD: "in my view it is to increase lymphatic drainage using supplements such as Gotu Kola (£15.95), which also strengthen the individual cells, together with a topical oil such as Birch Cellulite Oil by Weleda (£18.94)".
TL: can puffiness (ankles, feet, knees) be eased with any particular nutrients found in food or supplements?
SD: "puffiness can be decreased with an increase in B vitamins, especially vitamin B6, and best sources include sunflower seeds, beans, brown rice and brewers yeast".
TL: what's the worst thing you can do for the health of your legs?
SD: "without doubt the worst possible thing for your legs is smoking. Also high sugar intake is bad because sugar damages all the proteins in the body including the tissues of the legs".
TL: who has the best legs?
SD: "I really can't comment – I don’t know – sorry!"
SHABIR'S THUMBS UP:
Diosmin Complex, below, one of Shabir's top supplements for leg health: circulation on go-slow? Try this: it's the most potent natural topical boost you can take.
HEARTCORE: JESS SCHURING
Meet Jess Schuring, founder of Heartcore (http://www.heartcore.co.uk/), who run 4 training studios in London doing pilates, circuit training and general fitness training. Call 020 7460 2312 to book a free trial class.
The Legologist: can exercise give you a smaller bottom and leaner legs - really?
Jess Schuring: "absolutely! It's simple and straight forward: the more you move and exercise your muscles, the stronger and leaner muscles get. As your body gets stronger, your metabolism speeds up and before you know it you'll see definition and muscle tone!"
TL: How much pain for gain?
JS: "the less afraid you are of pain, the quicker you'll see results. So yes, it comes with a price, but the results are worth it!"
TL: The best exercise for outer thighs?
JS: "we have specific movements at Heartcore that work specifically on shaping your legs and problem areas like outer thighs. [Click here for Heartcore's Ultimate Leg Workout]. Lateral lunges are great for toning that area too, as are kickboxing moves like the side kick. If you carry a lot of fat there, speed up your fat burn with short and sharp cardio interval training".
TL: Who's got the best legs?
JS: "Heidi Klum. Her legs are stunning - long, super toned and elegant".
TL: Your favourite legcare product?
JS: "Miracle Lotion! I love the fact it's packed with herbs and the smell makes me think of being on holiday!"
JESS'S THUMBS UP:
Seven Wonders Miracle Lotion: Heidi Klum's amazing legs:
£13.95 www.victoriahealth.com insured for $2.2 million ..