If you’ve dealt with excess arm fat before, you know how frustrating it can be to try on so many dresses and tops that are otherwise perfect, except that they don’t have sleeves and you just want to hide your arms! And you are acutely aware of how embarrassing it is that you don’t want to clap in public or wave your arms due to that all-too-familiar jiggle effect.
So it’s time to free yourself from saggy, waving upper arms and tone those babies up. Here’s our comprehensive guide on how to lose arm fat. There’s no magic trick, but if you do this right, you can lose the higgle and uncover strong, toned arms.
Now that you know spot-reducing doesn’t work, let’s talk about what does. Like we said earlier, body fat is distributed in many places on your body and you lose body fat gradually all over as you make good choices to eat clean and exercise using both cardio and strength training. REMEMBER, you can change the shape of your arms as you lose the fat and work on arm strength exercises designed to tone and shape your biceps, triceps and shoulders. When all of these things are happening the sloppy, saggy fat begins to be replaced with toned, shapely arms. Let’s get down to the details you need to make this happen!
Here are 3 tips to help you lose arm fat:
- Eat clean
- Strength train
- Get your cardio in
1. Eat Clean
First things first. You cannot—I repeat you CANNOT—lose body fat without eating a good, clean, nutritious diet. This might be the hardest part for most people to hear, but you’ll never succeed unless you change what goes into your mouth. And while it may seem like a daunting task, it is probably much more simple than you think. The key is to eat real food! Put simply:
DO EAT: With each meal try to fill your plate with lots of veggies, add a lean protein source, and finish it with a portion of healthy whole-grain carbohydrate like brown rice or sweet potato. Use fruit for your sweet tooth.
DON’T EAT: Added sugar, processed foods, trans fats, things that come in packages with a paragraph of ingredients…you get the idea.
DRINK: Lots of water throughout the day as well as coffee and green tea.
DON’T DRINK: Soda, juice or alcohol. That’s right—eliminate alcohol as much as possible while trying to lose fat. You don’t want the empty calories and it won’t make losing weight any easier.
If you want to get more down and dirty details about your eating, check out our Get Started with Clean Eating e-book. This will give you detailed help for everything you need to know when it comes to eating well.
Related: 5 Ways to Simplify Healthy Eating
2. Strength Train
Fat is a freeloader. Body fat sits on your body and takes up space. Muscle, on the other hand, is a workhorse! Not only does it look better, but it actually works to burn calories and helps your metabolic rate. Losing fat is going to be much easier if you strength train and build muscle. Though we are going to concentrate on specific arm strength exercises in this article, try to get a full-body strength training session in twice per week. Not sure how to start? Use this free Beginner’s Guide to Strength Training to get you started!
10 Exercises To Get Rid Of Arm Fat
So now that you know the facts, let’s get down and dirty with some moves that will shape your muscles and give you the sculpted, toned arms you’ve been looking for. This workout is designed to cover each part of your arms—biceps, triceps and shoulders—to give you a solid workout and a toned upper body.
- For this workout you need both a light (5-8 lbs) and heavier (10-12 pounds) pair of dumbbells, however some moves are bodyweight only.
- The lighter dumbbells will be used for moves that take your hands farther from your body like Shoulder T’s and the Elevated Bicep Curls. The heavier weights can be used for things like Straight Arm Press Backs and Yogi Squat Concentration Curls.
- Aim for 10-12 repetitions for each move, then repeat the entire set!
This is an amazing move that tackles your triceps, chest and shoulders! Plus, you’ll be modified on your knees, so you’ll likely be able to do more reps. Click here to learn how to do a Push-Up on your knees.
2. Shoulder T
Beautiful shoulders are on tap when you work on the Shoulder T. Use this move to strengthen your shoulders and move them through a range of motion which also stabilizes your rotator cuff. Click here to learn how to do a Shoulder T.
The back of your arms and shoulders are going get noticed with this awesome move. You’re bound to feel the burn in not only your triceps, but your core and back as well! Click here to learn how to do a Straight Arm Press Back.
4. Tricep Dips
No more arms that keep moving after you’ve stopped waving goodbye! Instead, stop those saggy upper arms in their tracks with tricep dips! Click here to learn how to do tricep dips.
Tone and shape your waistline while you work your arms and shoulders in this multi-tasking move. Click here to learn how to do a side plank with arm extension.
Mid-way through it’s time for a chest and arm stretch. While you are opening the front of your body with this move, you’re also strengthening your glutes and lower back. Click here to learn how to do reverse table top plank.
Biceps work to curl, but the shoulders are stabilizing the entire move. Click here to learn how to do elevated bicep curl.
8. Dolphin Dive
While you’re working those arms and shoulders, forget about your upper back. This move gives you a great stretch, but tackles your upper back and core at the same time. Click here to learn how to do dolphin dive.
Just because you can never get enough upper arm work, right? Click here to learn how to do tricep extension.
Enjoy this final deep stretch in the hips while you concentrate on building beautiful biceps. Click here to learn how to do yogi squat with concentration curls.
3. Get Your Cardio In
Cardiovascular exercise is known to help burn calories and eliminate body fat, so don’t skimp on your cardio! More importantly, make sure your cardio minutes are effective. 60 minutes on an elliptical reading a book is not going to be as effective as 20 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). That doesn’t mean you can’t be on the elliptical, just be sure to make your time worthwhile! When performing cardio you want to make sure you are working hard enough to breathe through your mouth and make you think about what you’re doing. If you can multi-task during the workout, it’s time to change it up! Shoot for 4-5 days a week of effective cardio training! And if walking is your cardio of choice, check out our plan 3 Walking Workouts to Boost Your Weight Loss.
A Quick Note On Spot Reducing
Before we look at what we can do for reducing arm fat, let’s be sure to understand the most common misconception about weight loss that is still floating around out there: spot-reducing. Science says you can’t spot reduce body fat. That means you can’t pick a spot on your body and exercise the fat away. You see, you store fat cells all over your body. Where your fat cells happen to be more concentrated is often a genetic predisposition. Having more fat on your arms doesn’t mean you can lose the fat directly from your arms alone. It means you have to first lose body fat all over, and then work on specifically strengthening your arms to tone them the way you wish.
In other words, just doing a bunch of exercises for your arms isn’t enough. Strong toned arms won’t look any different if they are still covered in a layer of fat. You need to lose the fat AND tone the arms. How? Read on!