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Pectoral implants, liposuction contouring, buttock augmentation… with plastic surgery offering instant results, who needs a gym membership anymore?

As gym-body-enhancing procedures become ever more popular, cosmetic surgeons are finding new and creative ways to give clients the muscular look they want.

But at what cost?

In the UK a set of pectoral implants ranges between £3,000 and £6,000, implants for a Kim Kardashian-look bottom costs around £2,000, and liposuction body contouring starts at £2,000.

Yet beyond the price tag, one obvious peril of a gym-look body is frequently overlooked: fake muscles are no substitute for real ones. As one expert put it, “Pectoral implants will not help you open ketchup bottles or pickle jars.”

James Fell, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, told the LA Times that even though using diet and exercise to get fit requires more time and more persistence than cosmetic surgery, ultimately the old fashioned way brings with it greater benefits.

Brain over brawn

A successful diet and exercise plan, Mr Fell said, “helps you become a problem solver and righteous goal achiever, spurring you to successes in other aspects of your life”.

“This is something that no surgeon, no matter how fancy the degrees hanging on the wall or how hefty the bill, can accomplish.”

So cosmetic surgery may offer a shortcut to an impressive six-pack, yet bulking up the traditional way means you might just get the brains along with the brawn.

What about cellulite?

Notoriously exercise-resistant, cellulite is caused when fat deposits beneath the skin start to push through layers of collagen fibres. Its appearance is blamed on a lack of exercise, excess fat, poor circulation, hormones or genetics.

Yet even dedicated gym buffs are susceptible to its unsightly presence. And with nine out of ten women and one in ten men affected by cellulite, it’s perhaps no surprise The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons reported a 20% increase in liposuctions in 2015-2016.

So surgery is better than exercise?

Not necessarily… A study from the University of Colorado comes with a warning – within a year patients can expect the fat removed during the operation to return, reappearing elsewhere on the body.

Researchers from the university, Teri Hernandez and Robert Eckel, said, “We must emphasize that liposuction surgery is not a weight loss procedure.”

In order to get the best results from liposuction, the report advised patients post-procedure to try and sustain a healthy weight by eating well and enjoying regular exercise.

Don’t quit the gym just yet

Regardless of your motivations – to be cellulite free or achieve a toned body – it seems frequent exercise is a vital and unavoidable element in achieving a gym-look body that lasts.