A reporter from a very popular national magazine regarding the health of women asked a few questions about how to get rid of arm fat. The questions asked were a little leading and were pushing for very click bait style answers that would trick readers into believing there was some magic arm fat reduction blasting bullet. Rather than stoop to that level I gave my honest answers which needless to say, didn't get published. Thus here is my response to them regarding the illusive arm fat AKA bat wings and bingo wings.
Question #1: Why do women have arm fat? Answer: Fat is stored all over the body and for some, in particular areas more than others such as the arms, legs and hips. We all have arm fat and genetics, age, sex and activity levels vary the degree of how much is stored. Though females tend to not have so much muscle underneath to spread the fat out compared to males.
Question #2: How long does it take to lose arm fat? Please provide an estimated number. It can be something like "It'll take X time if you do X or eat X."
Answer: In short, the same amount of time to lose fat from anywhere else on the body. Generally, our Armoured Muscle PT clients look to lose a few cm's every 6 weeks with consistent training 3-5 x week and a modest but sustainable calorie deficit around 100-250 kcal/day/week. Arm fat won't come off the body any faster than the rest of the body to any significant degree so don't expect to lose arm fat in 7 days.
Question #3: What are some factors that can affect how long it takes to lose arm fat? Answer: Consistency is the biggest factor. Keeping good training and nutrition for a week will be wiped out from as little as 3 days off track. With body transformation being relatively slow in reality, each step backwards prolongs the process. The factors that effect any fat loss from anywhere on the body will equally effect that around the arms as they are one and the same. You will be better served to take small consistent steps instead of trying to lose arm fat fast then end up stopping and being worse of in the same amount of time.
Question #4: Is it possible to lose arm fat without exercise? Answer: Yes, with a modest calorie deficit you can lose fat from the entire body including the arms. However, this process usually shows the excess skin and you may be better off using exercise alongside healthy daily nutrition to help firm the area.
Question #5: What are 10 lifestyle and nutrition changes someone can make to help them lose arm fat? Answer:
Have a plan - how many workouts are you going to do, what calorie deficit do you need etc.
Be just a little bit more active every day.
Cut 1 sugary snack out of your day.
Track your calories.
Track your steps as a measure of activity.
Make a consistent sleep routine.
Take body measurements monthly.
Appreciate who you are.
Don't compare yourself to others.
Question #6: What are 10 exercise and fitness routines that can help someone lose arm fat? Please be sure to explain how these tips can help target against arm fat and how can these interventions help to get the maximum benefits? Answer:
Learn the push up - It's amazing for filling about baggy skin in the arms as well as developing good upper body and core strength.
Do what's fun - If it's Aquafit or Zumba, if it's enjoyable, you'll do it again and staying consistent is paramount.
Work your bicep - Muscle and fat tissue spread around the arm so working the other side will help fill the gap and pull the back of the arm closer to the bone.
Work big muscles in your legs - These need a lot of calories to build and grow which will in turn help take fat off the body including your arms.
Lift more! - Weight training, be it body or iron, breaks down muscle tissue which requires calories to restore. Thus putting you in a calorie deficit to chip away at the arms (and everywhere else).
HIIT - If you're short on time, smash in a quick 10-15 min HIIT session to help prevent regression and keep those arms moving.
Use compound movements - Multi joint exercises work lots of muscles, therefore doing rows or presses work your arms AND major muscle groups to burn more calories whilst developing strength.
Recover - You break down the body in the gym, it builds back up when you rest. Over training won't give your arms chance to adapt.
Go heavy - The more stimulus you have, the more your body responds. More weight means more muscle tears, more nervous reaction, more metabolic response (lactic acid or "burn") and more hormone response. If all these pathways are responsive, your body will adapt faster.
Take your time - At Armoured Muscle we keep clients on 6 week rotations as that's how long it takes to see and feel noticeable results. If you want more than 'just noticeable' you need to put in more time.
Summary Don't be fooled by mainstream 'fitness' journalists. You can't target arm fat specifically. which is obvious where this journalists mainstream magazine employer wanted to mislead it's audience If you want to lose it off your arms you have to lose it off the whole body. Therefore, focus on total body using bigger muscles. For a better explanation of how exercising a specific body part can technically work but is hugely inefficient have a look here. There's no magic workout or special food to get rid of arm fat and if there were, would you be happy with toned arms but nothing else on your body matched? Probably not.
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