Arm Fat? Surefire ways to get rid of it without sagging skin
This post was most recently updated on July 30th, 2019
Have you always felt awkward wearing sleeveless dresses, tank tops or shirts? No! I’m not getting anywhere to armpit hair or darkened underarms due to shaving, like the ads call out. Let’s get real here about that stubborn ARM FAT which makes your arms wobble even when you’re just reaching out to turn the light switch on! 🙁 And the fat is often so much that our armpits hardly have any ‘pits’ there. RELATE TO THAT?
I’ve been there too!
And today I’m going to tell you how I worked on my arm fat in terms of cutting down a lot of flab out from there & my continual journey towards gradual but steady toning of my forearms. To be honest, I still have a lot of toning remaining to get even somewhere close to the arms of Michelle Obama or Deepika Padukone!
And like seriously, if I’ve been able to get towards leaner forearms, let me tell you, ANYBODY CAN.
That’s because I have a metabolism which is REALLY slow. And there’s nothing I can do about it except for working out regularly & eating mindfully to maintain my weight or lose some body fat. So, it’s because of this reason that I gain weight like crazy & look as bloated as a whale if I stray away from working out for even more than a week or eat a few extra scoops of commercial ice-cream!
Why Women deal more with Arm Fat than Men
Coming to arm fat, women dealing with jiggly forearms are more in number than men with flabby or saggy arm fat.
That’s because women make Estrogen which is also connected to a more biological need to store fat, required to be used during different phases of their life; be it pregnancy, postpartum, breastfeeding & peri-menopause as well. Lower levels of Testosterone, the male hormone that aids in building lean muscle mass, also suppresses the natural ability to reduce fat around the arms in women.
Does reducing Arm Fat mean ‘Spot Reduction’?
Well, here’s a Thumb Rule that I derive from my own experience with fighting fat forearms:
- SPOT REDUCTION will never happen, if you’re talking about losing arm fat (UNLESS it’s a fat-reduction surgery as in morbid obesity).
- The right way to reduce/eliminate arm fat is reducing your overall body fat while doing arm toning workouts SIMULTANEOUSLY.
So, how to reduce your overall Body Fat?
No matter how weird your metabolism is, the GOOD NEWS is, you can always lose fat.
Your metabolism will only decide how long you will take to lose so many pounds/kilos of fat. Now this has a lot to do with your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) before you blame it all on your slow metabolism! Again, your BMR depends largely on the following factors:
- BODY COMPOSITION: Taller people have more muscle mass & can burn more calories, even while being at rest, compared to shorter ones.
- SEX: Men tend to have less body fat & more muscle than women of the same age & weight. As a result, men are capable of burning more calories than women with the same amount of exercise effort. This is also why primarily women easily gain fat around different parts of their body than men.
- AGE: With age, your muscle mass tends to decrease & fat starts constituting more of your weight, thus challenging your calorie-burning capacity further.
- MEDICAL CONDITIONS: Conditions such as PCOS & Diabetes can also slow down your calorie-burning capacity.
Dumping the Sedentary Lifestyle
Any kind of body movement causes you to burn calories & help cut fat. Hence, if yours is a lifestyle which has you sitting for most of the day, just begin with BABY STEPS. Get moving. If your work requires you to be on the phone for long times, start talking while being on call. No worries, if you don’t have a treadmill at home (neither do I!) or have no gym membership for whatever reasons, you can even walk or jog inside your home. Climb stairs wherever possible. That’s the EASIEST way to break from the inactive life. Measure your efforts by either installing a step-counting app or getting a Smart Watch.
I personally use the Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro smart watch which has been working great for me for over a year.
Okay, if you’re not sure if buying a smart watch is worth or not, you may want to read this.
Maintaining a Calorie Deficit
Fat loss is technically nothing but burning more calories than ingested.
Deficit = Calories burnt – Calories ingested
For example, if you need to burn at least a 500 calories per day to lose fat & your diet is a 2500 calories one, you have 2 options to shed those 500 calories to burn fat:
- Burn 3000 calories with EXERCISE & eat up to a maximum of 2500 calories. Deficit = 3000 – 2500 = 500 calories
- Eat 500 calories less than your permissible calorie intake. So if you’re allowed to eat 2500 calories, you eat only 2000 calories. Deficit = 2000 – 2500 = -500 calories
Now, though Option 2 will still cause you to lose ‘weight’, you’re not sure whether you’d lose fat or some essential muscle weight. You’d lose weight, but not necessarily the unwanted fat. As a result, you become prone to weakness, lethargy & lower immunity to infections. That’s the biggest vanity people deduce from a LOW CAL DIET.
Seriously, people abuse this basic concept just to support their excuses to not exercise. Why? Because everyone loves shortcuts & quick fixes & fad miracle diets! Just like the GM, Keto, Paleo, Military diet etc. Meh! 🙁
REMEMBER – Unless you don’t workout to lose fat, none of your weight loss transformations will last long. In short, if only eating a certain way is your strategy to weight loss (ideally, fat loss), I’m sorry. You will suffer from Yo-Yo diet effects (losing weight & regaining all the weight very soon), muscle loss, other body changes like premature ageing, loosening of skin (saggy skin), wrinkles, headache, changes in menstrual cycle etc.
And sadly, even if you lose a few inches from your arms, don’t think you killed your arm fat. Your arm fat will still leave its traces in the form of saggy skin around the forearms.
Not to ignore you’d not be able to even lift your grocery bag or push a full shopping cart without letting out a sigh!
Drinking between 3 to 4 liters of water (well, that’s just 12-14 glasses for the entire day!) is absolutely mandatory for fat loss. Ridding your body from toxins & fat through urination is very essential.
So, PLEASE. Drink like a fish! 🙂
Reinvent the way you Eat
- Cut down on processed foods, refined carbohydrates (like refined sugar, ready-made cereals & carbonated beverages).
- Consider healthier replacements. Like switching from sugar to jaggery/honey (like I do), refined flour (Maida) to wheat/millet flour, refined oil to Olive/Coconut/Mustard oil & so forth.
- Include probiotics like yogurt & fermented foods in your meals which strength your gut health & support your digestion. You, thus, become more efficient at digesting food & burning calories easily.
- Let protein & fiber be an integral part of your diet. You can even begin with simple steps such as including pulses, lean meat & eggs (if you’re an omnivore), simple salads,green veggies with every meal of yours.
- Eat everything in MODERATION.
To summarize this point, DO NOT GIVE UP THE FOOD which has been part of your diet since childhood.
As I mentioned at the start, losing overall body fat & toning of your major muscles (like the arms, legs & core) should happen SIMULTANEOUSLY if you’re aiming to lose arm fat or that extra fat around your tummy, thighs or buttocks.
And this is possible ONLY with a balanced combination of:
CARDIO + STRENGTH TRAINING
CARDIO includes all activities that increase your heart rate. Like walking, jogging, jumping jacks, skipping, running & swimming.
I’ve written quite a lot on why we women must be Strength/Weight Training & why we still will not bulk up like men.
While all that is true, I cannot stress more on how the following weight training workouts help you burn fat around & tone your bicep & tricep muscles.
I’ve been doing all of these regularly (thrice a week) alternately with days of walking/running between 5000-7000 steps. And the results have been remarkable!
Which Workouts help in cutting down Arm fat?
Stand upright with a dumbbell in each hand at arm’s length. Keep your elbows close to your upper half & move the palms of your hands facing forward. Now, keeping the forearm stationary, breathe out & curl the dumbbells to contract your biceps.
Hammer curls are a variation of the bicep curl only with the dumbbell position held as though hitting a ‘hammer’ having heads at both the sides (the dumbbell shape).
TRICEP DUMBBELL KICKBACK
This involves you to either stride-face along a bench or assume a half squat position while traversing your arms with the dumbbells towards the back.
OVERHEAD TRICEP EXTENSION
DO NOT do this if you’ve had injured shoulders or limited mobility of shoulders.
This requires you to lift your dumbbell or kettlebell in the backward direction.
This is ideally done while standing with legs a little apart. You raise your dumbbells straight up from a racking position until the arms are locked out overhead.
Hold your dumbbells with an overhand grip, bend your hips & knees, and lower your torso. Let the dumbbells hang at arm’s length from your shoulders. Then bend your elbows & pull the dumbbells to the sides of your chest. Hold for a few seconds & then slowly lower the dumbbells.
In this, you raise both your arms lifting the dumbbells or cables to the level of your shoulders & raised and gracefully lower them down.
- ALWAYS warm up with a little walking/jogging or stretching every time before doing weights. A very undermined activity, but this helps you prevent injuries of muscles or ligaments.
- To do all of the above exercises, begin with a pair of small weight dumbbells of about 2 KGS EACH. Before I started weight training, I bought mine from here. These AURION dumbbells are made of PVC material, are very easy on grip & extremely smooth for beginners. They’re equally sturdy too.
- Always focus on maintaining your form more than the number of repetitions. A wrong form is sure to give you injuries & can permanently discourage you from exercise in future.
- Never SWING your arms with weights & do not ever drop the weights while descending your hands down.
This was me doing a lateral raise with these dumbbells about 3 months ago:
However, luckily, our bodies start getting used to the resistance offered by the weights & with regular workout, there comes a point when you feel you can easily lift that 2 KG dumbbell & it doesn’t challenge your arms anymore.
That’s when you need to graduate to the next bigger weight. So I switched to this adjustable dumbbell set. This one has adjustable weights & I’ve been doing them with each dumbbell (2.5+2.5 rings) of 5 KGS.
Use weights that keep challenging you with time if you want to lose the stubborn arm fat & tone your arms & chest (pectoral) muscles too.
Besides using weights for strength training, doing pushups, full planks, side planks & normal planks also help a tonne in reducing arm fat.
DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase a product by clicking on them, I earn a tiny commission at no extra cost to you. If you do, I’m all thanks! 🙂
By the way, I recommend only those products that I’ve used, loved & found helpful.
The opinions expressed in this post stem from my own experience & I’m only a fitness & fat loss enthusiast. Facts with accurate citations have been referenced below.
So, are you geared up to lose all that jiggly fat around your arms, pretty lady?
Or have you been working on toning your beautiful arms? Do drop in your comments about that. I’d love to hear.