Ugh! Flabby arms, bingo wings and the jiggle that keeps on waving long after you’ve said your goodbye’s. Arm fat can be embarrassing and tough to tame for many women.
Fortunately, we’ve got the steps to help you beat unsightly arm jiggle, for good. Follow them and soon you’ll be stepping out in sleeveless tops with confidence without starving yourself or cranking out thousands of useless arm exercises. Check it out below!
#1. Spot-reduction doesn’t work!
If there’s one message to take away from this article, this is it. Spot reducing – or targeting an area with specific ‘toning’ or ‘fat burning exercises’ – is (largely) a waste of time. Is it better than doing nothing at all? Sure. But it’s a woefully ineffective way of losing weight effectively.
Why? It’s not how the body burns fat. Physiology dictates that when we lose fat we do so from all-over, not from the trouble-spots on your arms, or anywhere else for that matter (muffin top, back fat, love handles, thigh fat etc.).
Yes, there are certain areas where losing fat does become harder (typically bums & thighs for us ladies), but for now give the triceps and biceps exercises a rest and instead focus your attention on total-body exercises. You’ll turbocharge your fat loss results, including from your arms, in half the time, guaranteed.
Muscle tissue is metabolically active, meaning it’s a potent natural fat-burner. Exercises like triceps kickbacks and bicep curls are fine and you can use them, but for fast fat loss results, you’ll want to base your workouts around movements which use large muscle groups including squats, lunges, chest presses, dips, shoulder presses and dumbbell rows.
An important note on ‘toning’: You cannot tone a muscle. A muscle may only get smaller or larger. The illusion of definition comes from decreasing body fat percentage and/or increasing muscle size. This applies to all skeletal muscle, including those found in the arm.
#2. Crunch the numbers!
As I’ve hopefully made clear, burning the fat off your arms means losing weight. And when it comes to losing weight, calories are king. You could eat a diet full of all the right things and still not budge the scale because you’re simply not ‘burning’ enough through physical activity and metabolic processes.
Don’t get me wrong, you absolutely should still strive to eat a healthy, balanced diet, but it’s calories that ultimately dictate the numbers on the scale.
Don’t panic, I’m not suggesting that you need to go cold-turkey on junk food and all of your favourite sweet treats. After all, what fun would that be? However, it is important to recognize that there are certain foods that can help or hinder the fat burning process.
What’s your target weight? Add a zero to that number and that’s approximately how many calories you should be eating each day. Next, its time to fill your plate with the right type of calories.
#3. ‘Arm’ your diet with fat-fighting foods!
If how much you eat is the number 1 factor for weight loss, what you eat is undoubtedly number 2. It goes without saying that you should cut-back on calorie-laden junk foods, but it’s not just because the calories are high, they’re ’empty’ too.
There’s a good reason why donuts are shaped like a ‘zero’ – their nutritional value is almost nil. These refined carbohydrates, also found in foods like white bagels, bread, pastries, white rice, pancakes, waffles and muffins are broken down quickly by the body, spiking insulin levels, before being converted to glucose and stored as fat.
The same goes for processed foods high in sugar and trans-fat and the liquid calories found in alcohol, soda and fizzy drinks.
Instead, maximize your fat burning potential by eating natural foods high in protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Checkout this big list of fat burning foods to help trim the fat from your arms in record time.
#4. ‘HIIT’ arm fat where it hurts!
It’s not just resistance training that can trim the fat off your arms. Cardio is great, too. After all, you actually oxidize and breathe-out most of the fat you lose!
Any exercise which gets your blood pumping is great, but for quick, time-efficient results, look to add some high intensity interval training (HIIT) to your routine. It’s been proven to accelerate fat burn both during and after your workout compared to steady-state exercise and in much less time, too.
Here’s a great 20 minute high-intensity workout that combines bodyweight resistance exercises with cardio. Follow-along and complete it 3-4 times per week for maximum fat loss results.
So, the next time you go for a jog, alternate fast bursts of exercise with gentler paces (i.e. easy for 30 seconds, then fast for 15 – repeat 4-6 times). While HIIT is a more advanced training style, it’s principles can be altered to suit just about any fitness level. Naturally, your own experience will dictate how hard/long you can go. The bottom line is don’t be afraid to work up a sweat, even if its just for a short time!
It’s not just about interval training, either. Any exercise is good exercise. The more you move, the more calories you’ll burn and while this doesn’t give you free-reign to splurge, it does give you to the freedom to be able to enjoy the foods you love more often without worrying about the scale.
Get active for at least 30 minutes a day and boost your calorie-burn by taking a walk, jumping rope, practicing yoga, vacuuming the house, going for a bike ride, dancing, hitting the beach or doing a few laps in the pool – the choice is yours.
#5. Balance your hormones!
It’s not just men who have testosterone, women have it, too. Produced in small amounts in the adrenal gland and ovaries, it’s what gives us muscle strength and libido. However, accumulating fat on the backs of your upper arms can be a sign that you aren’t producing enough.
You may have noticed that men don’t typically don’t suffer from ‘bingo wings’, thanks largely to their higher levels of testosterone. In fact, after menopause a woman can experience up to a 50% decrease in testosterone between her 20’s and 40’s, which can lead to fatigue and low sex-drive. Fortunately getting your testosterone levels back on track is simple:
BOOST OMEGA-3 INTAKE: You’ve probably heard of the power of healthy fats, but did you know they’re needed for healthy testosterone production? You can find them in abundance in oily fish like sardines, tuna, salmon and mackerel. Aim to eat them at least once a week, along with some white fish varieties twice a week.
DITCH THE SUGAR: Maintain healthy testosterone levels by cutting back on sugar and refined carbohydrates. High blood sugar decreases testosterone production, so swap things like white bread and pasta for their wholemeal/grain alternatives. Things like quinoa, spelt are great as are sweet potatoes, instead of white.
PUMP SOME IRON: We covered this one above, but it bears repeating. Placing your bones and muscles under stress, causes the muscles to signal cells for more energy and testosterone. Get active with weights or your own bodyweight for 30 minutes 3 times a week.