If you're doubling up on pull-ups, quadrupling your curls, and still not seeing your arm fat disappear, there may be something else keeping you from reaching your goals. Many women struggle with losing arm fat due to an unexpected aspect — their hormones. If you think you might be one of them, fear not — we've rounded up some of the best ways to blast arm fat once and for all... including how to hack your hormones for a better figure.
Hack your hormones
Can't get rid of those "bat wings" no matter how hard you push yourself at the gym? Try taking a look at your hormones for clues. According to SHAPE, "flab on the back of the arms can be indicative of low-testosterone levels. Testosterone is one of the main 'lean hormones' for both men and women — though it's often overlooked in the fairer sex."
So how do you combat what you can't control? SHAPE suggests changing the most easily isolated variables first: Up your protein intake, since women are often guilty of not consuming enough protein, but be mindful of where it's coming from. Many commercial meats and dairy products (normally thought of as a good source of protein) are full of hormones, which could actually work opposite of the intended effect. Look for hormone-free meats, and boost your overall protein intake with other natural sources of protein like beans, greens and some eggs (check these for hormone-free certification, too).
These changes are easier to make than some other common sources of hormones, like birth control pills, which can often require an arduous guess-and-check method to change. As John Monson, emeritus professor of endocrinology at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry told the Daily Mail, "For women, that can be particularly challenging because female hormones such as oestrogen make it easier to convert food into fat, which is why those on the Pill need to decrease their calorie intake to maintain the same weight."
Amp up your antioxidants
Something else that could be standing between you and toned arms? A lack of antioxidants. According to The Center For Medical Weight Loss, flavonols can help you improve your heart health and reduce inflammation, which in turn makes it easier to lose weight. Other common antioxidants called anthocyanins, can help with overall weight management, too. To work these antioxidants into your diet, turn to fruits and veggies such as bananas, strawberries, grapes, pears, prunes, parsley, onions, peppers, and celery, and be sure to add green tea to your daily routine, as well, according to a new study in the journal BMJ. The best part about adding antioxidants to your diet? You can find them in red wine and dark chocolate, too — not that we needed any encouragement to eat and drink our favorite things.
Increase your cardio
Chances are, if you're trying to get rid of arm flab, you're already making cardio part of your weekly routine. But you can still amp up your cardio by doing more high-intensity sessions to burn fat. While toning is also an essential part of getting sculpted arms, you'll need to alternate between resistance training and cardio to really get the full effect. Try some of our favorite forms of cardio that specifically target your arms.
Revisit your resistance band
Our favorite way to tone arms? Using a resistance band for a go-anywhere workout. "Resistance bands are an easy, portable way to target more arm muscles simultaneously," Refine Method founder Brynn Jinnett told Fitness magazine. Plus, you can combine bands and weights for a more custom workout. "Experiment with different band and hand weight strengths, finding a combo that tires your biceps by the 12th rep," suggests The American College of Sports Medicine, in order to have the most efficacious workout. Work your triceps through a variety of band exercises, like this seated tricep press, to truly tone your arms.