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.
While spot-reducing doesn’t work (more on that below) let’s talk about what does. Let’s get down to the details you need to make this happen!
Here are 7 tips to help you lose arm fat:
- Eat clean
- Strength train
- Focus on overall weight loss, not spot reducing
- Get your cardio in
- Develop a morning routine
1. Eat Clean
Let’s make something clear. 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:
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.
- Added sugar
- Refined carbs
- Trans fats
You know, the packaged foods with a paragraph of ingredients…you get the idea. Use fruit for your sweet tooth.
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
This workout will help to shape your muscles and give you the sculpted, toned arms you’ve been looking for. It’s 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.
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.
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.
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. Focus on Overall Weight Loss; Not Spot Reducing
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.
4. 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.
You know sleeping is important, but did you know that sleep and weight loss share an important link? There’s a few reasons why you need to make sure you’re getting adequate sleep while working to lose arm fat.
The first is that when we’re overtired, we tend to reach for added calories in the form of sugary, caffeinated beverages or processed snacks. Ever hit a wall at work at 3pm? What do you do? Grab a coffee and candy bar. Two things that will not serve you well when you’re trying to lose weight. Plus, a tired brain actually has a harder time saying no to cravings.
The other reason is that when you’re low on sleep, you’re cortisol level spikes leading your body to store fat. Opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish!
6. Increase Water
Drinking water is key for weight loss. It contains zero calories, boosts your metabolism, aids the body in efficient removal of waste and can even decrease your appetite. Drink a big glass of water prior to your meals and you may just find yourself more satisfied and eating less.
And be sure to cut out soda, juice and alcohol. That’s right—eliminate alcohol as much as possible while trying to lose arm fat. You don’t want the empty calories and it won’t make losing weight any easier.
On average, you should be drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water a day. If you exercise regularly, add another glass or two to that.
7. Develop a Morning Routine
The hardest part of losing weight can often be keeping motivation. Developing a consistent routine is key and the most consistent exercisers tend to workout in the morning. The benefits of morning workouts are pretty awesome:
- Consistency: It’s rare that a meeting or conference call can be called at 6:00 a.m., so interruptions aren’t likely.
- Hormones: The hormones that help you build muscle and burn fat are at their peak early in the morning, making early workouts more efficient.
- Eating Better: Morning exercisers choose a healthier breakfast and studies show that those who start with a healthy breakfast eat better all day long.
- Better Sleep: Morning exercisers tend to fall asleep more quickly and sleep better through the night.
- Energy: Morning exercise gives you more energy throughout the day. You might think you’d be more tired, but the opposite is true.
Here are a few tips to develop a morning routine.
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.