A lack of arm tone can make you really self-conscious about your arms. And of all your body parts, your arms aren’t the easiest to hide.
Besides, do you really want to hide your arms?
Probably not. And many women are just like you – they decide to simply cover up the problem to avoid embarrassment.
The good news, is that you don’t have to endure this. There is a way out. So in the first part of this guide we are going to show the basics on how to tone your arms.
But how did this happen?
For most women, there are two culprits: too much arm flab and a lack of toned muscle. Thus, the most effective approach is to tackle both of these at the same time in the shortest amount of time.
But you have to be careful here because many women only focus on one and end up with disappointing results.
If you only focus on getting rid of the flab with diet, you could end up thin while still having jiggly arms. And if you only focus on exercising your arm muscles without diet, your arms could end up looking bigger – flab plus muscle equals big arms.
So we have to make sure your strategy includes specific exercise and specialized nutrition.
How to exercise
There are three types of exercise to consider here: weight lifting, cardio and NEPA (non-exercise physical activity). I know, technically the last one isn’t exercise – but bear with me.
Now of the three, weight lifting will create the biggest change in the smallest amount of time. You see, a single session of weight lifting – no more than one hour long – will make you burn extra calories for 36 hours. And I suspect that this number can be increased even further if you train at your peak.
Let’s do the math: three weight lifting sessions per week – no more than 3 total hours – can have your body burning extra calories for almost a week.
Combine this with specialized nutrition and you have a recipe for rapid arm-toning success.
How much of each?
Well, this depends on how much free time you are going to have every week:
- 3 hours or less: stick with weight lifting
- More than 3 hours: combine weight lifting and cardio
Since NEPA is so low-intensity, you can incorporate it into your schedule no matter how busy you are. You can walk around while talking on the phone, you can revise documents while gently peddling a stationary bike, you can work from the standing position – the options are endless.
And don’t underestimate NEPA just because it’s low intensity – anything that burns calories is going to help. Also, keep in mind that NEPA will help you recover faster from weight lifting and cardio – it does more than just burn extra calories.
There are a million and one ways to lift weights to tone your arms – and you can get lost among all the different options. And doing triceps extensions all day isn’t going to cut it.
There are two major muscles in your biceps, three in your triceps, and three in your shoulders – but you have to tone all of them evenly or you won’t end up with the best looking arms.
But before your eyes glaze over, rest assured that we have already done the homework for you. Just click on the link below to get an arm-toning workout you can do in your home:
I don’t want to turn into a man!
Don’t worry: weight lifting will not make you masculine. You lack the hormones for this to happen, and muscle building is an extremely slow process.
There is only one rare situation where too much muscle can become an issue: if you were born with a high percentage of type 2 muscle fibers – but this is highly unlikely.
Besides, even if you did fall into this category, all you would have to do is high repetition exercise to prevent muscle buildup – do at least 15 repetitions for every exercise.
Paradoxically, most women who decide to not lift weights end up bigger – a small amount of muscle can help you burn a large amount of fat. Recall that fat takes up more space than muscle.
So why not trade a large volume of fat for a small volume of toned muscle?
So you’ve made room in your schedule for more than three hours of exercise per week – what’s the optimal combination of weight lifting and cardio? Should you spend all day on the treadmill or sprint like a madman?
There is no clear-cut answer here: it depends.
Don’t hop on the high intensity bandwagon just yet – high intensity cardio can interfere with your resistance training. And anything that interrupts that 36 hour caloric burn is not acceptable.
For the most part, you’ll do best with a combination of high-intensity and low-intensity cardio – but you’ll have to pay attention to your recovery to find the best mix.
And don’t be tempted to run your heart out on the treadmill if you are really sore from a previous weight lifting session – this will set you back. More can become less.
Now if you have easy access, consider doing cardio in the water. Water pulls heat away from your body two hundred times faster than air – and this burns a lot of extra calories.
Here is a sample schedule of weight lifting and cardio that you could follow:
- Monday: weight lifting
- Tuesday: low-intensity cardio
- Wednesday: weight lifting
- Thursday: high-intensity cardio
- Friday: weight lifting
- Saturday: rest
- Sunday: rest
Alternatively, you could weight lift and do cardio on the same day:
- Monday: weight lifting + low intensity cardio
- Tuesday: rest
- Wednesday: weight lifting + medium intensity cardio
- Thursday: rest
- Friday: weight lifting + high intensity cardio
- Saturday: rest
- Sunday: rest
Just follow one simple rule: always do cardio after your weight lifting. And if you feel really weak because of low blood sugar, have some liquid carbohydrates – a shake – immediately after.
How to eat
There are 1,986,857,898,253 diets out there. Which one are you going to follow?
Well, we have some good news. You only have to worry about two things: keeping your blood sugar low and burning more calories than you eat.
An effective way to do both is by creating your meals with 4 categories of food: carbohydrates, protein, vegetables and fat. Do this, and the above will be much easier to achieve.
A simple way to implement this is to pick one item from each category below every time you prepare a meal:
White meat turkey without skin
White meat chicken without skin
Non-fat cottage cheese
*coconut fat is chemically different from animal saturated fat
Note that whole grains don’t make the cut here. There is nothing wrong with them, they just aren’t as effective as beans and legumes. The latter do the best job at lowering blood sugar and controlling appetite.
It’s amazing how little calories you can eat while not feeling hungry if beans and legumes are your main sources of carbohydrates.
Now the above mini-list is by no means a comprehensive diet-food list, and it’s not meant to be. After all, the simpler your diet strategy is, the higher your chances of success – and this list is super simple.
Stick to it and you’ll get results, it works.
Tracking the changes
Tracking your progress is a double-edged sword. Track nothing and you won’t notice any changes. Track too often and you won’t notice any changes.
Both lead to disillusion and subsequent abandonment.
To avoid this trap, track changes once every 30 days. The patience will pay off.
And only track two things: waist circumference and arm circumference. Tracking other things like body weight or body fat percentage is too error-prone and can lead to disillusion – even if you are making progress.
So here are some tips:
- Wake up, go to the bathroom and then measure
- Measure at the same time of the month to avoid menstrual cycle variations
- Pinpoint the exact site of measurement every time
- Measure your waist around your belly button
- Measure your arms right in the middle, in between your arm pit and elbow joint
Can’t I just get an arm lift?
You could, and it might be easier, but take into account the following:
- It’s costly, expect to pay a couple thousand dollars
- The recovery period can last months
- The arm flab can come back quickly
- You won’t get healthier
- You won’t learn how to tone your arms
Also, any prudent surgeon should recommend using nutrition and exercise before fixing the problem with invasive surgery.
Now some women will need surgery if they have a lot of excess skin on their arms – this can happen if you’ve lost hundreds of pounds of weight. But even at this extreme, you should always try nutrition and exercise first.
Ok I’m convinced, what’s next?
Take action immediately: do the arm workout as soon as physically possible – don’t delay or create hollow excuses.
Starting off with something physical will flood your body with adrenaline and instant positive momentum – doing an arm workout is more motivating than eating a healthy meal.
Once you do the arm-toning workout, start working on your nutrition – stick with the above food categories and you will get results.
Now if you feel stuck or have any questions, drop us a line below!
And after you master the advice in this guide, move on to part 2 where you’ll get some more advanced techniques for accelerating progress – but do the basics first.
To your arm-toning success!