If that headline caught your attention, chances are good you’ve battled with “bat wings,” or upper body flab, or a little extra jiggle in your wave. Well, it’s time to change all that, once and for all. It’s time to embrace your arms. With focused effort, your arms can be your calling card (think about the media attention Michelle Obama’s arms get!).
Our arms seldom get an automatic workout. Any time we stand or walk (which most of us have to do throughout the day), we’re working the lower body, so our legs are a little stronger. Most of us only use our arms when we type at a computer – and we’re not exactly breaking a sweat.
Here are the three basic steps to waving goodbye to arm fat for good:
1) Start to strong-arm your cardio routine.
First things first: You’ve got to do cardio to lose fat anywhere on your body, including your arms. We’ve come such a long way in the fitness and wellness industries since the disco days of legwarmers. But early aerobics did get one thing right: It incorporated full body moves into the workout. Cardio on a treadmill, stationary bike or outdoor jog is great, but they don’t involve much work for the arms.
A great way to ramp up your cardio at home is with my Cardio Knockout or Cardio Fat Burner DVDs. Both use full-body movements while burning calories and focusing on your arms throughout the cardio moves. The combination of moves will also improve your endurance, coordination, and balance, while enjoying an exhilarating rush of endorphins.
If you’re looking for arm-toning gym equipment, some of my go-tos are TRX or CoreStix (pictured on the right).
2) Tone up with the triangle.
This second step is all about toning muscle. Resistance training is a must. Remember, the longer the amount of time that a muscle remains under tension, the greater the propensity for change. Which means, if you slow down your moves, you’re forcing your muscles to work harder, and that’s where the real sculpting starts to happen in your arms and shoulders.
The NUMBER ONE EXERCISE that will help you tighten and tone your arms, is the triangle pushup. A study at the University of Wisconsin showed that this move is the most effective exercise out there when it comes to toning the jiggly areas of the arms. Ready to try it for yourself? See the video above to get started.
3) Find your second skin.
As time goes by (especially during that 40-60 age range), women become increasingly concerned with our arms – not just the tone, but also the quality of the skin itself. Over time, skin begins to lose collagen, causing that area to sag and look “crepey.” By the age 40,most women notice the quality of skin has begun to lose its tone and elasticity. Sunlight, of course, is a major factor here.
So next time you’re exercising outdoors, skip the tank top, and wear something that shades your body and your face. I’m a big fan of Wallarro hats, and of course, sunblock should be part of your daily ritual. Here are a few tips to remember when applying sunscreen:
• There is no perfect sunscreen. Consider the benefits and drawbacks of both “chemical” and “mineral” sunscreens, and check out http://www.ewg.org/2015sunscreen/report/8-little-known-facts-about-sunscreens/ for more information about the best sunscreens on the market.
• High-SPF products tempt people to apply too little sunscreen and stay in the sun too long. Even if you’re wearing a 50+ SPF, limit sun exposure by sitting in the shade or under a beach umbrella when outdoors.
Also, sunshine causes the body to produce vitamin D, a critical function that sunscreen appears to inhibit. Vitamin D, technically a hormone, strengthens bones and the immune system and reduces risks of breast, colon, kidney, and ovarian cancers and perhaps other disorders. So aim to get a little morning sun every day, or think about taking a vitamin D supplement.
Remember, toning your arms isn’t just about the appearance of sculpted triceps. It’s about giving yourself the strength, the confidence and the freedom to do whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it. Whatever you’re doing, chances are good that you’d like to live life on your terms. And, strengthening the upper body is just another way to give yourself a helping hand toward reaching that goal.