Flabby upper arms are a pain because they're noticeable – it's easy to feel self-conscious about arms that look out of proportion with the rest of your body.
Wearing clothes that cover fat arms is an obvious solution, but by doing this you're hiding what the problem is and won't be able to find out why your arms look like they do.
It's important to remember that everyone is shaped differently, and what may work for someone else might not work for you. Usually, there's a reason behind an abnormal fat distribution in one area of the body, and knowing what's causing it will help you get the problem under control.
Why Do Arms Get Fat?
So what are the possible reasons you have fat arms compared to the rest of your body?
Women have stubborn fat on their arms often due to genetics.
One reason women often store fat on the upper arms is hereditary – some people are just genetically predisposed to storing fat in different areas of their body as compared to others.
Flabby Arms Due To Lack of Muscle Tone
Another potential cause for your flabby arms can be a lack of muscle tone. If you're not engaging in regular strength training, you probably won't have much in the way of muscle tone in your arms, so they'll hang a little flabbier than necessary.
Weight training is an excellent way to get toned arms, but it's not the only way – bodyweight workouts can be beneficial as well.
Cortisol – The Stress Hormone
Another reason you may be holding on to fat in this ‘problem area' could be an increased amount of cortisol (the stress hormone).
If you feel stressed out all the time, then the cortisol that your body is producing may be preventing you from losing fat in your arms due to a process called ‘fat memory'. Let's take a little detour and investigate what exactly is cortisol.
Cortisol is a hormone that's released by the adrenal gland(s) in response to physical or psychological stress. It helps us deal with these stressful situations by helping the body produce glucose, allowing our bodies to make energy for immediate action – i.e. fight or flight mode.
A little bit of cortisol is always present in our bloodstream, but a chronic increase in cortisol production has the following effects on our body:
- Increases appetite, especially for carbohydrate-dense foods.
- Decreases muscle mass.
- Increases fat storage around midsection
- Increases fat storage in the face, neck and upper back – creating a ‘buffalo hump'
- Causes water retention in joints.
Chronically high cortisol levels can also interfere with insulin function, which also inhibits the use of fat cells for energy, which means that the body is constantly producing glucose from carbohydrates – especially when you are under stress.
So to sum up, if your cortisol levels are high, then your body will always be using carbohydrates for energy rather than burning fat for energy.
Salt Intake Can Cause The Appearance of Fat Arms
Bloated upper arms can be a side-effect of salt intake. If you're eating a lot of processed foods or fast foods, and don't pay attention to how much sodium content is in each meal, you could end up with some unsightly bloated upper arms.
Overweight = Flabby Arms
If you're overweight, your arms tend to get flabby. In this case, losing weight will solve the problem.
Weight loss always comes down to a caloric deficit – if you're taking in more calories than you burn, your body is storing the excess as fat.
Calories Role In Fat Gain In Your Arms
A caloric deficit is the key to fat loss in all areas of the body. If you want to get rid of that annoying fat around your upper arms, then you'll need to take in fewer calories than you burn each day through exercise and activity.
- “Calories in” means the total amount of calories you take in through food and drink. You can control calories in by adjusting your diet.
- “Calories out” means the total amount of calories you burn through any movement, and your body's natural processes (breathing, blinking, etc.). You can control calories out with exercise, and other non-exercise activities.
Which Diets Are Good To Lose Fat From Your Arms?
Intermittent fasting is a good way to lose fat from your arms because it helps to maintain a calorie deficit. When you're fasting, your body is producing less insulin and therefore burning fat faster than usual because it's using up the previous meal's carbohydrates for energy instead of storing them as fat.
Alternate day fasting
Alternate day fasting is also a good option, but be aware that if calories are too restricted on non-fasting days, your metabolic rate can decrease, making it harder to lose weight.
The keto diet
The keto diet is a good way to lose fat from your arms because you're consuming few carbohydrates, which means that the body has no choice but to burn fat for energy.
High-protein diets are also great because increasing protein intake is satiates you and helps you lose weight. Protein has a high TEF (Thermic Effect of Food), meaning that it takes a lot of energy to digest and metabolize, which means that your body expends more calories as heat.
Protein also helps you feel full for longer periods, which is why many people choose high-protein diets as a healthy way to lose weight.
Fat burning fibrous vegetables
One true ace for weight loss isn't necessarily a diet per se, but an addition you can make to any diet. That is- fat burning fibrous vegetables.
Fibrous vegetables are a great addition to any sort of diet for several reasons.
One thing you hear a lot is that vegetables are low-calorie foods. While this isn't necessarily true for ALL vegetables (fibrous vegetables are best), they do have a much lower calorie density than most snacks and junk food, so if you're trying to lose weight it would be beneficial to snack on them.
Fibrous vegetables are great because they fill you up and they're a good source of fiber.
Fibrous vegetables are also very nutrient-dense while being low-calorie. This makes them great even for people who aren't necessarily dieting.
What Exercises Are Good To Lose Fat From The Arms?
The best exercise for losing fat from your arms (and everywhere else) is weight training. Weight training assists fat burning by increasing your metabolic rate, making it easier to create your caloric deficit.
Weight training also doesn't just build muscles – it makes the whole body leaner by increasing lean muscle mass (ladies- don't worry, you won't look like Arnold) and decreasing fat.
However, spot reduction isn't physiologically possible (e.g. lose weight only in your arms).
A good, basic weight training routine includes exercises for all major muscle groups, including the arms.
Circuit Training For Fat Loss
If you're completely new to working out, try doing circuit training, which involves short bursts of different exercises done in a row without rest.
This is a great type of exercise for beginners because it reduces your risk of injury and allows you to participate in exercise even if you're not in good shape yet.
Circuit training is also more effective at burning fat than jogging (even though it has less cardio involved). These benefits make circuit training a great way to lose fat from your arms.
Bodyweight workouts are a favorite of mine because you don't need equipment, you can do the exercises anywhere, and they take very little time.
Bodyweight workouts are a great way to work out if you're on a tight schedule. All you need is some space and your body weight.
A good bodyweight workout includes squats, push-ups, sit-ups, leg raises, wall sits, bridges, glute contractions (aka donkey kicks), planks and lunges.
High intensity cardio is great for losing fat because it puts your body into its target heart rate zone, which will burn the maximum amount of fat in a short period.
High intensity cardio also raises your metabolic rate for several hours after you're done working out. Combined with weight training, high intensity cardio is a great way to lose fat from your arms fast.
No matter what type of workout you prefer, be sure to challenge yourself and progress as much as possible.
If you do the same weights workout after workout, your muscles will become more efficient and they won't burn as many calories (that's another good reason to switch up your workouts). Once your muscles get used to the same routine, try upping your weights or doing the same workouts with less rest between sets.
Non- exercise activity to burn off even more calories
Non- exercise activity is also very important. This includes everything you do that isn't working out, like walking around and standing at your desk instead of sitting.
Try to stand as often as possible! Having a job that requires standing all day probably won't hurt either.
To have the most effective weight loss results, we suggest you incorporate diet, exercise, and as much non-exercise activity that you can handle.
In conclusion, losing fat from your arms can be a challenge. If you're truly motivated, you can make losing fat from your arms a reality. I've seen people do it! Combined with the tips above, you can transform your arms into the strong, lean look that you want.