ASK A TRAINER: 'How Can I Get Rid of the Jiggly Underarm Fat?'
"How can I get rid of my jiggly, underarm fat?"-Amanda K., Syosset, NY
Ah, yes, this old gem. I cannot tell you how many times a woman at a party or a bar or on line at the bank, after learning that I am a personal trainer, has started flailing her arms around, grabbing the skin under her triceps and asking me, "How do I get rid of this?" The male corollary is when a dude in a social setting finds out what I do for a living lifts their shirt up and starts grabbing their love handles, "How do I lose this?" To which my reply is usually something like, "Uh, sir, please put your shirt down. We're in the middle of The Food Emporium." Thank you for submitting this question, Amanda, as now I can simply refer people to this link when it comes up.
The answer to your question about reducing the accumulation of fat around the triceps and how to lose fat in the midsection is the same: YOU CANNOT SPOT REDUCE FAT. The areas of the body in which fat tends to accumulate varies from person to person, but the only thing anyone can do if they want to lose what one of my clients refers to as "bat wings" or lose a spare tire, is to reduce your overall body fat composition. Now how do you do that? The answer isn't exactly sexy or novel; if you want to reduce your body fat percentage, you need to burn more calories than you take in.
Now when I give this response, the person I am speaking to will keep pressing. It's not that they don't think I'm a credible source, it's that they don't want to believe that there isn't an easier fix for what they thought was a very simple, specific question. When I pick up on a reluctance to accept my answer at face value, I offer that, although there may not be a non-surgical way to target arm fat, there are some wonderful strength training exercises that will give the appearance of tighter arms.
The follow-up question when I offer the strength training advice to a woman is often, "But I want smaller arms. I don't want big, bulky muscles." The good news on that front is that most woman don't produce enough testosterone (naturally) to support big, bulky muscles and that, since the goal is to reduce fat and you will be expending more calories than you are consuming, you will not be taking in enough food to build what Hulk Hogan refers to as "24-inch pythons."
If you want to lose the fat in your arms, you are going to need to work your entire body. The end goal is to burn more calories that putting some lean muscle on the body will elevate metabolism all day long. That being said, when working the triceps, you are going to want to do exercises in which you elongate the triceps as much as possible. Exercises such as dips, skull crushers (scary, ugly name for a really awesome exercise), bent over triceps extensions, and behind-the-head triceps extensions, will not only strengthen your triceps but will also make the back of your arms look hot. Other exercises that will also build sexy tris in which the triceps function as the secondary muscle group such as push ups and rows will also aid you in your quest to tone the back of the arms.
You can do it, Amanda. Let me know how it goes.