A lot of girls ask me how to get rid of arm fat and how to tone them without bulking up. I’m going to answer those questions in this blog post.
WILL LIFTING WEIGHTS WILL TURN FAT INTO MUSCLE?
First of all, you can’t spot reduce fat from your arms. I see a lot of girls doing tricep exercises to get rid of the fat from the backs of their arms, but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.
Lifting weights won’t turn fat into muscle. You need to get rid of the fat (more on that below), and do resistance training to tone the muscle. One doesn’t turn into the other.
DO I NEED TO DO CARDIO TO LOSE ARM FAT? – WALKING AND RUNNING HELP YOUR ARMS TOO!
The only way you can get rid of the extra fat on your arms is to reduce your overall body fat.
But here’s the good news – when you starting losing fat, you will most likely notice the fat start dropping off your arms first. Women usually usually start to notice results in their upper bodies first, so you might lose arm fat faster than you lose leg or belly fat.
One great way to lose fat is to do effective cardio.
When you do cardio, your body uses stored fat, stored glycogen (carbohydrates) and on occasions, protein to produce energy.
I recommend that you walk or run (both are great for fat loss). In my experience, running really helps to slim down the upper body due to the large number of calories burned.
Make sure you stick with this for at least four weeks. It can take time for your body to adjust to a new routine, so you may not see results right away. It is important that you don’t give up!
HOW MUCH CARDIO DO I NEED TO START LOSING ARM FAT?
How much cardio do I need? It depends on your body type.
For example, women who are naturally very thin won’t need to do as much cardio as somebody who struggles to lose weight.
There are three different body types: ectomorphs, endomorphs, and mesomorphs. Each one should be exercising and eating differently to see the best results!
Take my free body type quiz to learn how to tweak your exercise routine and diet for your body.
IS BOXING IS GOOD FOR ARMS TONING? – BOXING IS A GREAT WORKOUT FOR THE UPPER BODY
I love boxing because it helps me to burn a lot of calories while also toning my arms and even my core. I usually notice results quickly in my arms and abs with boxing.
SHOULD I DO RESISTANCE TRAINING TO GET TONED ARMS?
As I said, lifting weights won’t just magically turn your fat into muscle. But that doesn’t mean you should skip resistance training completely.
Resistance or strength training is extremely important if you want to get toned. And it is also great for helping to reduce overall body fat.
You see, you cannot get toned if you don’t build muscle. And you cannot build muscle if you skip resistance training.
It can be any exercise that builds muscle. Some people do resistance training with heavy weights, while others use lighter ones.
I prefer to do bodyweight training or to do lighter weights/resistance bands with a higher number of reps. I just find it makes me look more slim and lean. It’s just a matter of personal preference :)
HOW TO DO RESISTANCE TRAINING TO TONE ARMS WITHOUT BULKING
I suggest sticking to bodyweight or low weight, high repetition workouts.
I’m a mesomorph body type (which means I can gain muscle quickly), so I typically prefer bodyweight workouts or workouts with very low weight.
I tried lifting weights, but after my back became too broad and bulky for my own liking I stopped. And a lot of women I talked to said they don’t like what weightlifting does to their bodies, particularly in the shoulders and legs.
So if heavyweights make your arms too muscular for your own liking, know that you don’t need to do it to get toned.
If you want to get lean and tone arms but without adding bulkiness, the best way to do it is to do bodyweight training or to do lighter weights with high reps.
I like combining some of these exercises into a full routine:
- push ups
- standing rows
- standing chest fly
- lateral raises
RESISTANCE TRAINING CIRCUITS FOR TONED ARMS
Here are a few upper body workouts that I love and that won’t add bulkiness:
Victoria’s Secret arm workout (here I also talk about how to build your own upper body circuit)
I typically do resistance workouts from my program, but I also like doing pilates, yoga and boxing.
But this isn’t all. In order to lose weight and tone up your arms, you need to be watching your diet too, which brings me to the next point.
IS EXERCISING ENOUGH FOR GETTING TONED ARMS?
Exercise is so important, and it will make a difference for your arms. But it will be very hard for you to lose arm fat if you don’t eat well too.
DON’T EAT TOO MUCH, OR TOO LITTLE
If you want to lose weight, you should eat a slight calorie deficit. But you also don’t want to eat too little.
Learn how many calories you need on a daily basis in this blog post.
Usually for fat loss, you should be in a calorie deficit of around 200-500 calories.
Counting calories all the time can be very time-consuming and tiring, but I suggest you do it for a week or two. It’s best to do it long enough for you to understand how many calories you typically eat every day.
If you want to lose fat, you need to eat enough protein. In this blog post, I’ve talked about why protein matters with fat loss, but here are the basics:
- Protein helps you feel fuller for longer, so you’re less tempted to overeat.
- Protein helps you recover after your workout.
- Protein boosts your metabolism.
If you don’t know how much protein you eat every day, you can learn how to calculate your macronutrients here.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?
Eating well is a big issue, and I’ve written more about my daily diet so that you can get an idea of what healthy eating looks like in real life.
If you want to lose weight, I suggest doing a few things to boost your efforts. Having a good exercise routine and diet make a difference, but doing these things will help you even more:
- Cut out alcohol.
- Cut out processed food.
- Drink plenty of water (2l daily!).
If you want to get toned arms and avoid getting bulky, make sure you:
- Don’t give up on cardio
- Do the right type of resistance training (Boxing is great for toning up your arms without bulking!)
- Exercise for your body type
- Have a good diet
Also, as I mentioned earlier, it’s so important to find out if you have an ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph body type. Then, make sure you train and eat appropriately for your body. If you do this, you shouldn’t find yourself getting bulky. :)
If you find yourself with arms that are bigger and more muscular than you want, read this blog post for tips on how to slim them down.
That’s it, lovelies! You can have toned arms as long as you’re doing cardio, eating well, and including some type of resistance training. I hope this helps answer all of your questions! :)
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Love Rachael xx