It’s time to get ready and you are staring at two options: a sleeveless dress and a kimono-style blouse. Which one will you choose?
If you have a lot of arm fat, you’re probably not going to feel very comfortable wearing that sleeveless dress…
And you are not alone. There are many women who opt out of sleeveless clothing because they’re too embarrassed of their arms.
But the accumulation of excess arm fat is not irreversible, you can get rid of it. And that’s exactly what this guide will show you: how to lose arm fat for good.
What causes it?
For 99.99% of women, their arms look “fat” because of excess arm fat and a lack of muscle tone. So the best strategy is one that burns as much body fat as possible while simultaneously making your arm muscles tighter – in the shortest amount of time possible.
Now if you only focus on reducing calories without exercise, you could end up thin and still have flabby arms. And if you only focus on exercise without proper nutrition, your arms could end up looking bigger than before because of the added muscle pushing out against your arm fat. Not a good scenario if you are just getting started with learning how to lose arm fat.
So the best strategy is to focus on specialized exercise and nutrition.
There are three types of physical activity to consider here when you are learning how to lose arm fat:
- Resistance training
- Cardiovascular exercise
- NEPA (non-exercise physical activity)
Of these, resistance training will give you the biggest return on investment – a single session can increase your caloric burn for 1.5 days, perhaps even more if you train really hard. So if you did a mere 3 sessions per week (no more than 3 total hours of exercise) you would burn extra calories almost every single day of the week.
So how do you decide which types of physical activity to do?
If you have three hours or less per week: stick with resistance training.
If you have more than three hours per week: combine resistance training with cardiovascular exercise.
And do as much NEPA as possible on top of this. Anything that gets you moving counts as NEPA: gardening, walking at a mall, climbing a flight of stairs, etc. Since NEPA is so low intensity it doesn’t have to slice into your productivity – you can take that call while walking around.
This is where things can get unnecessarily complicated. Consider how many different muscles the primary areas of your arm have:
- Biceps = 2 muscles
- Triceps = 3 muscles
- Shoulders = 3 muscles
And for the best results, you have to work all of them evenly. But don’t worry about any of this because we have already made an arm workout that you can do in the privacy of your home:
Looking like the Incredible Hulk
Resistance training will not turn you into a manly woman. Not only is muscle building a very slow process, but the female body has very little testosterone – the primary muscle building hormone.
The only time this can become an issue is if you are a genetic anomaly and have a high concentration of “fast twitch” muscle fibers – highly unlikely.
If you are within the 0.000000001% of the population that falls into this category, simply do 15-20 repetitions for your exercise sets and you’ll prevent any significant muscle building.
Ironically, building a little muscle will actually make you smaller – fat occupies more space than muscle and building a little muscle helps you burn a lot of fat.
Ok, so you have more than 3 hours per week for exercise – how much cardio should you do? Is it better to do marathon sessions on the treadmill or high-intensity sessions that make your heart pound?
Well, despite all the recommendations for high-intensity cardio, it depends.
You see, high-intensity cardio can interfere with your recovery from resistance training, especially if you are just starting out. In this case, more exercise can translate into less results.
Remember, resistance training gives you that 1.5 day caloric burn - and anything that interferes with this is not good. So the best strategy is to have a mix of high-intensity cardio and low-intensity cardio. Listen to your body and find the right combination that doesn’t interfere with your recovery.
Just make sure you don’t hop onto a treadmill and go “all out” if your body is super sore from the resistance training workout you did the day before.
As a side note, if you can do cardio in the water you’ll get faster results. Water pulls heat away from the body 200 times faster than air which translates into more calories burned – but exercise in the water isn’t always practical so only do this if you have easy access.
Here is a sample schedule you could implement:
- Monday: resistance training
- Tuesday: low-intensity cardio
- Wednesday: resistance training
- Thursday: high-intensity cardio
- Friday: resistance training
- Saturday: rest
- Sunday: rest
Or, you could do cardio and resistance training on the same day to save time and consolidate your training:
- Monday: resistance training + low intensity cardio
- Tuesday: rest
- Wednesday: resistance training + medium intensity cardio
- Thursday: rest
- Friday: resistance training + high intensity cardio
- Saturday: rest
- Sunday: rest
Just make sure you do your cardio after your resistance training. And if your blood sugar gets really low, have some supplemental carbs (think: shake) right after.
Ah, diets, there are 1,568,123 options here: the detox diet, the grapefruit diet, the high-protein diet, the cabbage diet, the raw food diet, the liquid-protein diet, the starve-yourself-until-you-gnaw-your-arm-off diet, the caffeine-pill-jitter diet, and the list goes on…
The good news is that you can simplify and focus on two things: lowering your blood sugar and being in a caloric deficit.
An easy way to accomplish this is by assembling your meals with 4 types of food: carbohydrates, protein, vegetables and fat. Doing this will make it much easier to lower your blood sugar and stay in a negative caloric deficit.
Just pick one item from each column every time you make a meal:
Non-fat cottage cheese
Read leaf lettuce
Earth/smart balance spread
*plant saturated fat is healthy and structurally different from animal saturated fat
Notice that there aren’t any whole grains in the carbohydrate column. This is because beans and legumes do a much better job at keeping your blood sugar lower. They also do an excellent job of preventing hunger pangs.
Now the above list is not all-encompassing, but it will get the job done. And the simpler your nutritional strategy is the higher your chances of sleeveless success.
But simple doesn’t have to be bland. Spices, herbs and hot sauces pack a lot of flavor without calories. So experiment here until you find a subset of meals that works for your palate – and then eat these same meals over and over again to streamline your meal prep and reduce time in the kitchen.
Measuring your progress
There are only two things I recommend tracking: the circumference of your waist and the circumference of your arms. Tracking other variables like weight or body fat percentage will have a high margin of error and can de-motivate you – even while making progress.
Here are some guidelines:
- Go to the bathroom right after waking up and then take your measurements
- Measure on the same date every month to avoid “water bloat” discrepancies caused by menstrual cycles
- Measure at the same site every time
- Measure your waist around the area of most fat, usually around the navel
- Measure your arms at the midpoint between your elbow and arm pit
Warning: taking measurements is a double edged sword. If you don’t measure anything, you may not notice how your body is changing. And if you measure to frequently, you may not notice how your body is changing. Both lead to throwing in the towel.
To avoid these, I recommend measuring once a month.
What about surgery instead of learning how to lose arm fat?
Yes, surgery in the form of a brachioplasty or arm lift may be easier than figuring out how to lose arm fat, but consider the following:
- It’s expensive, usually a couple thousand dollars
- Recovery can take months
- There is no guarantee that the arm fat won’t come back
- It won’t make you healthier
- You won’t learn anything or establish new habits
And any sensible surgeon would recommend trying exercise and diet before going under the knife.
This doesn’t mean that surgery doesn’t have its place. It’s a prudent option for some women – usually those who have lost hundreds of pounds and need excess skin removed. But most women reading this guide don’t fall into this category, and even if you do, always try out the advice here first!
Start with the arm workout as soon as possible, right now if you can. Don’t procrastinate if you are learning how to lose arm fat – pull the trigger.
Doing something physical will provide an injection of adrenaline and instant forward momentum. And don’t get bogged down by the details – you will learn far more by doing than reading. So just get going.
Then, start working on your nutrition.
And make sure to leave a comment below if you have any questions or get stuck!
Once you master the techniques in this guide, you can move on to part 2 which has some advanced strategies that can further boost your results.
How to lose arm fat, part 2.
To your sleeveless success!