Of course the right upper-body exercises are crucial for shaping slim and sexy arms, but it’s only one part of my integrated program for creating the arms and body of your dreams. You must also “feed” your arms so that you’re building muscle while burning off the fat. Here are my top six nutrition and exercise tips from Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy that you can put into action today for trim, toned arms.
Diet tips for enviable arms
Drink up for dynamite arms
Be sure to drink eight or more glasses of pure spring water in between meals to keep your appetite at bay, support metabolism and burn fat. Don’t drink more than a few ounces with your meals, because too much water during meals can dilute stomach acid and impair digestion. Drinking pure spring water throughout the rest of your day will also help balance your stress hormones, which can increase even if you are just mildly dehydrated. Sodas, coffee and sugary sports drinks pretending to be water do not count as your daily water intake.
Eat breakfast for lean, mean arms
Research shows that people who eat a substantial, balanced breakfast of clean, lean protein, high-fibre carbs and healthy fat lose more weight and keep it off. Make the time in the morning to indulge in a satisfying meal that will keep you going for hours. Keep in mind that you don’t need to eat “breakfast” for breakfast. If you want a turkey wrap for breakfast, then enjoy!
Refuel your muscles after every workout
Lean proteins and high-fibre carbohydrates are key for replenishing your tired muscles. The amino acids from protein support muscle growth and recovery, plus your body uses carbs to refuel your muscle stores of energy (glycogen) to set you up for success during your next workout. Please skip the sports nutrition bars, which I always dub “adult candy bars.” And remember: Just because you worked out does not mean it’s OK to saddle up to the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream bar.
Exercise 1: Bent-over row
Works back, biceps, rear deltoids and core
Start position: Hold a dumbbell in each hand, and hinge forward at your hips with your arms extending to the floor. Keep your knees soft and back flat.
Movement: Row your elbows to the ceiling, squeezing your shoulder blades down and together without shrugging your shoulders toward your ears. Lower and repeat.
Exercise 2: Upright row
Works upper back, shoulders and biceps
Start position: Stand tall with your feet hip distance apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
Movement: As you keep your core muscles engaged, lift your elbows until they are level with your shoulders, bringing the weights together and up to your chest level. Lower and repeat.
Exercise 3: Chest press on ball
Works triceps, shoulders, chest, core muscles, glutes and legs
Start position: Position yourself on the ball so your upper back and head are supported by the ball, with your lower body supported by your legs in a bridge position, hips lifted. Bring the weights to your chest, elbows bent.
Movement: Press the weights up toward the ceiling, squeezing your chest muscles as you straighten your arms. Lower and repeat.