Tired of arms jiggling when you wave? Want slender and toned limbs? Arms can be one of the easiest places to tone, here's how to get started.
1. Wear tank tops
Yes, tank tops. If you're self-conscious about your upper arms and how they look, you probably steer clear of tank tops and sleeveless dresses. That's not necessarily the best way to motivate yourself to shed that arm fat says Cat Smiley, professional skier, two-time Canadian Trainer of the Year, and both the brains and brawn behind Whistler-B.C. based Cat Smiley's Fitness.
“A lot of women wait until they're buffed up and tank top ready before they wear them,” Smiley says of her decision to make tank tops part of her Boot Camp uniform. “Some women spend a lot of time covering what they perceive to be faults, but in reality I think it [wearing a tank top] does inspire you to get on with it. I'll start people with a tank top in the Boot Camp class and then I'll see Sally from Seattle in town, wearing a tank top – it shows her body image is improving.”
2. Change your self-perception
If toning your flabby arms is part of an extensive overall weight loss program, you need to shift the way you think of the person in the mirror.
“It's not just about losing weight,” says Smiley. “We get married to the identity we see in the mirror and when we lose weight and tone up, you can really miss the perception of who you are. It can be isolating – the friends you used to go for ice cream with on Sunday might feel resentful if now you want to go for a walk instead.”
It's one thing to lose 30 pounds, says Smiley, it's quite another to change your life. You won't change your life unless you change your mind.
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3. Acknowledge your inner athlete
Smiley's basic philosophy is simple: inside every overweight person, there's an athlete waiting to get out. Acknowledging your inner athlete also requires that you acknowledge your current reality. So, now that you've looked yourself in the mirror and adjusted to the potential reality of new you with toned arms and a sleek body, how can you make the image of yourself match the reality? We thought you'd never ask.
4. Get started with basic equipment
Whether you're toning flabby arms or a more generally flabby body, Smiley recommends starting with four basic pieces of equipment:
• Stop watch
• Two 8-pound or 10-pound weights for bicep curls.
• Yoga mat
• Buy good running shoes – obviously these won't be for your arms, but they will work into your overall fitness program.
5. Do push-ups
You knew it wouldn't all be about mindset and fitness garb, didn't you? Now it's time to sweat.
“Push-ups, three times a week,” says Smiley. “Push-ups are the best upper body work out, working your biceps and triceps, as well as your core.”
If normal push-ups are too difficult for you, start out against a kitchen counter. Start by doing ten sets of ten during television commercials, making sure that your body is at enough of an angle so that you can feel the push-up in your arms. That works your biceps and your triceps, as well as your core.
Once that becomes too easy, progress to the coffee table, on your knees, or the third stair in your home. Before you know it, you'll be doing push-ups on the floor.
There are many other specific exercises to tone your arms. Sign up at a local gym or pick up a copy of Cat Smiley's book, The Boot Camp Workout, for more exercises that target your arms.
6. Reduce your overall fat by paying attention to your diet
“Although you'll maximize results by using resistance training three times a week, the important thing is to reduce the overall level of fat that you have in your body,” says Smiley. She also recommends keeping a food diary, recording everything you eat. “You may be eating a lot more than you think.”
7. Change up your routine to include frequent exercise breaks
Instead of meeting up for coffee with friends, meet for a walk. “Or get a dog,” laughs Smiley.
Your best bet for toned arms is a sensible diet and exercise.
Check out these two quick ways to get a better butt.
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