Let’s talk arms…
People must be feeling spring in the air because I have gotten a few questions about arms recently. Tank top weather is right around the corner so I think our arms are definitely on our minds.
Everytime someone asks me about my arms it is incredibly ironic because we all have those parts of our bodies that we are incredibly self conscious about and for me my arms were always something I hated. Now I’m asked about them all the time.
I didn’t own a tank top. I hated even wearing short sleeves. The invention of 3/4 sleeves was my savior. At my top weight it was always my arms that bothered me. As I lost my weight my sagging skin on my arms was always the first thing I saw in the mirror. I absolutely hated my arms.
Over this process I have “made up with my arms”. I wear tanks and T-shirt’s all the time now. I’m not self conscious any more about them. Are they perfect? Of course not! I still have sagging and excess skin but I’m comfortable with them and that’s all that matters!!!
A lot of people that see me now and know how large my arms were want to know what I did (or do) to tone them.
It’s simple my friends… weight lifting.
Duh right… you know I lift weights… so the majority of questions I get is about what exactly I do… do I lift heavy, how many days a week do I lift, did I have to have surgery etc.
So let’s answer some arm questions…
Did I have surgery on my arms? No I have not had any cosmetic surgery. My doctor did tell me that due to my age my arms would probably not “bounce back” and I would have to have loose skin removed. And I’ll admit I have debated this. However for now the weights have gotten my arms where I’m comfortable. My advice is to try weight lifting for awhile first before jumping into surgery. See what you can accomplish without the knife.
Do I lift heavy? NO!!! This is a common misperception about weightlifting. I am not in the gym power lifting people! I have never bench pressed. In fact most people are shocked when I tell them I lift very light on my arms.
For me I have found success with low weight high reps. Body pump classes and OTF classes use this principle. 5 lb dumbells work great if you are doing 15-20 reps and repeating. You don’t have to lift those huge bars full of scary weights.
My biceps are the strongest part of my arm so I can lift heavier there. I usually lift with 15 lb dumbbells for my biceps but every now and then I go up to 25. But the majority of my arm transformation happened with 5-10 pound dumbbells!! It doesn’t take much!
My triceps (back of arms) is by far my weakest. That is where my excess skin is and I’m just not strong there. So for those exercises I do 5-10 pound dumbbells. Still today I don’t lift much more than 10 for those exercises.
My shoulders also are pretty wimpy so I have always lifted 5-10 pounds on my shoulders. For the longest time I was stuck at 8 lbs for my shoulder exercises. Lately I have bumped up to 15 pound dumbbells but again it doesn’t take much.
What did I do to tone my arms? Body pump classes and orange theory is where I lift weights. I lift weights 5 days a week. When I did body pump I did 2 classes a week.
Do you ever lift without a class? I have before. It’s super simple. Google arm exercises and just buy some dumbbells. I would start by buying 5 and 10 pound dumbbells and then you can add 12 and 15. You don’t need any fancy exercises. Arm curls, upright rows, kickbacks, shoulder presses, overhead extensions… just google a dumbbell arm circuit and there are so many options. You will never get bored.
What arm exercises do you do? I do chest, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. You need to do it all. When I started I just thought if I did arm curls for my biceps my arms would thin out… but there are so many muscle groups in your arms you have to work them all. Probably the most noticeable change to my arms came when my shoulders toned so that is an important muscle group if you want to “see the change”. I also do push-ups which yes we all hate but they work really well. Yes you can do them on your knees… only in the last 3 months have I gotten off my knees for those.
I’m afraid to bulk up… how do you avoid that? Again this is a common misperception… weight lifting does not make you big and bulky. Those people you see in magazines and on tv take supplements to bulk and look like that. They look like that because they wanted to… it didn’t happen “accidentally”. Don’t be afraid of weight lifting. You will thin and tone… you won’t hulk out.
My best advice to you as you lose weight is to lift weights in addition to cardio. It helps you tone and not just drop weight. Now for some of you this means your weight loss will be slow because you will gain muscle… but you will be happier with the results if you do this. You will look toned… healthy!
So let’s work on loving our strong arms!! If my arms and I can become friends you and your arms can definitely do this!