Getting Rid of Flabby Arms: Exercise & Diet Tips
Do you dread warmer weather because it means ditching long sleeves and baring your less-than-perfect upper arms? Both men and women have a tendency to store fat in this region and it’s also a problem area for loose skin. I’m prone to “bingo wings” (ugh, how awful is that term?) myself so I understand the embarrassment it can bring.
Luckily I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks over the years that have improved the situation.
I’m not saying these methods are a quick fix but with perseverance I’ve managed to get my arms into shape and am now proud to show them off whenever I get the opportunity. Read on for the low down on getting rid of flabby arms - exercise and diet tips.
Cause of Arm Fat
I’ve had to deal with flabby arms ever since I lost a big chunk of weight in my 30s. I had been borderline obese before so it was impossible for my skin to escape unscathed. However, even without a drastic body change, flabby arms can appear if you’ve never had them before.
With age, our skin loses elasticity and our body fat can redistribute finding its way to our upper arms. Gravity takes its toll too, worsening the loose skin.
If you’re younger, you’re not off the hook either - excess body fat often causes wobbly upper arms and even at a healthy weight, some people are unlucky enough to be genetically prone to flabby arms.
Take a look at your mom’s and aunts’ arms, if they have this problem too, you’re probably one of these people.
Tips For Getting Rid of Flabby Arms
To attack flabby arms, we need a two-pronged approach. If it applies to you, that extra wobbly fat must be removed from the area. Then, the skin needs to be filled out with some muscle.
These tips won’t leave you with bodybuilder biceps, don’t worry. A little effort can make a big difference.
Diet Tips to Get Rid of Flabby Arms
- Mythbusting - Don’t expect targeted weight loss
As much as we may all wish it, it’s impossible to target weight loss to a specific area. Yes, that means all of those “burn belly fat fast” adverts are not true. The good news is that a small calorie deficit will ensure that you gradually lose weight all over your body if you stick with it. (source)
- Check your BMI
BMI or Body Mass Index is a calculation that tells you whether you’re in a healthy weight range or not. There are plenty of calculators online such as this one. A number between 19 and 25 means you don’t need to lose weight. If this is the case, your arm situation is most likely due to loose skin or genetics so skip to the section on exercise.
- Reduce your calories slightly
If you’ve checked your BMI and it shows that you do have some fat to lose, then the best way is to cut down your calorie intake. Please stay away from crash diets that offer dramatic results with ridiculous methods. Patience is the name of the game, even if you have a lot to lose, you will get there eventually. Crash diets are often lacking in nutrition and too mentally taxing as you are restricting too much.
I recommend downloading an app such as My Fitness Pal, inputting your stats and goals and using it to log your meals. This is how I got down to a healthy weight over the course of a year.
You need a deficit of around 500kcal per day to lose 1lb per week. The app will calculate this for you.
Exercise Tips to Get Rid of Flabby Arms
- Pick something you enjoy
Again, persistence is the name of the game here. You need to pick an exercise routine that you can stick with, ideally forever. There’s no point working really hard for a few weeks to fill out your arms and then stopping and letting it return to its initial state.
Exercises like yoga, boxing and swimming are great for your upper arms and enjoyable too. I try to go swimming a few times a week to keep my body toned, in addition to aerobic workouts and lifting weights at the gym.
- Aerobic exercise
If you’re following the diet tips above to shed fat from your upper arms, adding in some aerobic exercise will make it easier. My personal favourite is jogging - but I stay away from the treadmill. Getting out in the fresh air clears my mind and keeps me in shape.
It doesn’t matter if it seems like you hardly move your arms in whatever aerobic exercise you pick - these exercises are hardcore calorie and fat burners - benefitting the whole body.
- Exercises targeting the upper arms
Luckily, unlike with fat loss, it is possible to target muscle development. You don’t even have to go to the gym or invest in workout equipment. You can add some simple upper body exercises throughout the day while you’re at home.
Instead of weights, you can use bottles of water, cans of food or heavy books. 10 minutes of arm exercise a day is a good start, and always stretch before and after to avoid injury (source)
Aim to do 3-4 sets of each exercise, with 8-12 repetitions each. You can increase both over time as you improve. (source)
Short of getting surgery, it’s not possible to banish flabby arms overnight. However, with the above tips I guarantee you will see an improvement over a couple of weeks to months. It may seem like a lot of work for a single problem area but all of my recommendations also benefit your overall health, so you’ve nothing to lose (except your arm fat!)
Good luck with these techniques, remember to stick with it and let me know how you get on in the comments. If you have any other methods for getting rid of flabby arms - exercise and diet tips - I’d love to hear them too.
Until you get the slim and toned arms of your dreams, try to love the body you have and remember that there are countless others who feel the same way. If it’s hot out or you fall in love with a strapless dress - go for it! It’s unlikely that anybody will care about your flabby arms if you bare them with confidence.