EVERYTHING ARMS Episode | Upper Arm Toning 911| Women Over 50

Upper arm toning on your wish list? Welcome to the everything arms episode, this is Debra Atkinson you’re listening to flipping 50 where I address, your top struggles and concerns and I share what to eat, how to move and how to change your mindset. So you can have the energy and the vitality that you want need and deserve in the second, and better half.

If there’s one question that I’m asked most often, it’s about core or abs. But frankly, question number two, a very close runner up is arms… bat wings, bingo arms, whatever you endearingly or not so endearingly call it. That is the question and that is the topic of the day.

Upper Arm Toning Exercise Won’t Help Every Problem

There are a couple things that we need to address when we’re talking about arms.

First of all, let’s talk about the problem and being able to identify that because we can’t jump into a solution, unless we actually have the problem.

So, number one, you’ve got to first be able to distinguish what the problem is?

Is this really a lack of muscle, lack of tone?

Is this loose skin? Is it crepey skin?

Or is it fat?

And I know you, if you’re out there thinking you need a box where you can check “all of the above.”

Loose, Crepey, Under-Arm Skin

I’ll spend the most time talking about muscle. And fat but before I do I want to discus the lose, crepey skin.

That’s most likely from a change in collagen, and possibly weight gain then loss. That’s something that exercise won’t necessarily help you change.

Skin Needs Food

So you’ve got to tackle that from inside out from both that direction of eating more antioxidant rich foods that are great for your skin and getting things on topically so if you’re not regularly hydrating and, or if you’re allowing skin to chase. Say you frequently are going for walks or runs. And you notice that your underarm gets rough and irritated because your arm is rubbing say against your jog bra, or t shirt it’s rubbing against a seam, or might be just rubbing against you and your underarm.

That’s a different kind of problem, more inside out, again, from your food. You’ve got to really tune up and dial up your diet, and the second to that is getting things on the skin that are truly hydrating don’t have any toxins in them so you don’t just want to be picking up any lotion and slapping it on.

Did you know that if water is listed as the first ingredient a lotion is drying ultimately, not hydrating?


You want to make sure that you’ve got lotion that potentially has a small bit of Retin A in it, not the same high dose that you might want on your face, but something that can go on your skin.

I believe it is flipping 50 TV episode, 18, and I know that because I referred to it so very often, where my good friend, Dr. Anthony Yoon, who is America’s holistic plastic surgeon gave his advice because he’s my go-to on all things for skin. So, I’m going to direct you to that I’ll link to that too in the show notes as well as to where you can follow Dr. Youn.

Fat Arms or Fine Arms?

And let me tell you an easy way to discover the third possible problem, and that is that you’ve got too much fat.

You’ve got what we call subcutaneous or pinch-an-inch fat on the top of the muscle, you’ve got some muscle, you’ve been lifting weights you’ve been eating adequate protein and getting all those antioxidants, however, you have too much fat.

You can do a really easy do-it-yourself, test, right here, right now. Reach back and pinch your arm. So if you can very easily and separate the muscle from the fat, you kind of grab around the middle of the arm and then you slide your fingers off till you’re still pinching but you can tell you’re only pinching fat you don’t have muscle fibers in there, and it hurts a little bit if you pinch it hard. I’m demonstrating for the purpose of demonstration I’m actually taking one for the team.

Pinch Much?

So, if you can kind of pinch-a-half-an-inch or more you have enough to say that this is not just skin that has to cover the top of your body of any part. But as literally you’ve got a little bit more fat there. Okay, sister. So, a couple of things, you are going to need to listen to the exercise advice that I give you coming up, but to, you don’t have as much room to play with a “moderate diet.” If you want to get rid of that you have to lock down on your extra-curricular carbohydrates. Your upper arms kind of Batwing body fat won’t respond as well to exercise alone as visceral belly fat will.

You actually have to be a little bit tighter in control of your carbohydrates. Now, I’m not saying carbohydrates are bad but if you’re doing extra-curricular carbohydrates, you’re having more of them, say you’re drinking wine every night you’re probably going to struggle with getting tight toned arms again. So, it’s not quite the same as it used to be and that’s because of what your hormones are doing right now. If the rules have changed, have to change the strategy.

Improving Everything Arms with Muscle

Is it truly a lack of muscle? Maybe you have not been hitting the weights like you should been and instead were doing lots of cardio, or maybe no cardio at all, and never thought you needed to, and now suddenly you do. You’re losing muscle tone, probably, that’s due to entering menopause, getting close to the end of your perimenopause or beginning of post menopause, and you simply have reduced amount of estrogen, and that’s inhibiting your ability to hold onto muscle.

So you need to start lifting weights for your full body, and I’ll come back to that one as well as for your arms, so they’re going to be included but they cannot be the sole focus and stars and I’ll explain that why again in a bit.

Making this Everything Arms Mistake?

So, number one thing is people ask what exercises can I do for this right here? That’s the question that you ask. That’s not the question that I wish you would ask. The question that I wish you would ask is more so, what can do about this, how can I see more tone and definition in my arms?

That’s not from an arm exercise.

So, if you’re starting your exercises with only arm exercises, if you’re focusing on doing those first, you’re missing out. Because what you’ve got to do is usually two-fold: gain lean muscle AND burn fat all over.

Whole Body Focus Leads to Everything Arms

You want to do an all over strength training program and my preference for women in midlife without hours to spend – and who can’t afford to trash their hormones spending hours exercising… is a full body (upper and lower body) workout twice a week.

Only the very last part of it should cater or specifically involve arm exercises and the reason is your biceps and your triceps, that occupy the space between the, the elbow and your shoulder are relatively small muscle groups.

Arms are Major Muscles

We still include them among major muscle groups, but by comparison to what you sit on -your gluteal muscles – your chest muscles your back muscles, the top of your thigh those quadricep muscles the back of your thigh your hamstring muscles. Now you can see your biceps and your triceps are relatively small, they impact and influence your metabolism, so much less.

Body Fat Can’t Be Isolated

So, if you really want to change your percent body fat, improve your body composition so you can reduce the fat so you can see the pretty muscle underneath, you’ve got to be bumping your metabolism up using those larger muscle groups. So any exercise that involves the chest and back, like a chest press a push up, or the back, a pull up a bent over row a bent arm pull over seated row if you are at the gym or a rowing action. If you’re using a rowing machine potentially against a lot of resistance, or if you’re using tubing and cables to pull something towards you.

Those are major muscle groups for your upper body and yes you want to include your lower body even though you want to work your arms.

Major Muscles

You’ve got to start with the major muscles so you want to be doing things like squats and lunges, if you can tolerate it for your joints. If you can’t, you still want to be incorporating things like bridges, I like bridges with a ball so there’s the balance component hamstring curls, you don’t have to have a machine or be at the gym to do that you can use a ball to do that.

And you can do standing legwork putting tubing around above your knees, which is safest for your lower back and for your knees and moving side to side or doing what I call monster walks forward and back. All of those things are gonna work those major muscles in your legs, to some degree, and ultimately change your body composition which is going to help reduce overall fat, you cannot spot reduce fat.

Think, Big Picture

So, you may have fat at the upper arm, and you’re going to lose that too by changing your body composition and do that a whole lot faster. And in fact, it may not even be possible if you’re only targeting your arms using arm exercises. It just doesn’t work like that you can spot tone will tone the muscle underneath, but we may never see it, unless you’re doing the appropriate things to stimulate your metabolism, all over.

Cardio? Yes, But Not What You Think

Now, last but not least, you do need to be doing a little bit of cardiovascular work but by that we lump a lot of things in there, including high intensity interval training and long slow walking. The thing that’s going to help you burn fat, the most, and the quickest is going to be using high intensity interval training, one, two or three times a week.

But here’s the deal. When I say one two or three times a week that’s not really more minutes per week. If you’re doing more days per week. Think of it this way you’ve got about 45 minutes of high intensity interval training to spend, and no more than that, if you’re a beginner, start with 10 or 15, per week no more than that.

Everything Arms and More

But if you’re more advanced you’ve been doing it AND you feel good… you’re not suffering from exhausting fatigue daily… That might be 15 minutes of high intensity intervals three times a week say Monday Wednesday Friday, or 20 to 25 minutes. Monday and Thursday.

So, you get the idea. Why 45 minutes? Because that’s the line where really that threshold as soon as you start doing more than that we start seeing more breakdown and more injuries, especially in women as your estrogen goes down, you are more prone to injury, there’s a correlation roughly.

Safe, Not Sorry with Upper Arm Toning

Okay, there isn’t research to show this but there is a big increase in injury rates among women in midlife. Personal trainers and physical therapists can almost all attest to this, that there are more cases of plantar fasciitis, there are more cases of carpal tunnel syndrome of elbow tendinitis what’s called tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow.

All of those things are much more likely to happen when you’re in midlife partially due to hormones, we don’t know exactly what the correlation or connection is, but we do know it to be true so if you’re pushing harder and harder and you’re thinking I want to get results faster and faster you may just be accelerating your speed right to an injury.

Plan Safe Progression

So do the right amount do an amount they feel like you can do easily, but no injury, because you don’t want to be in the best shape of your life, right before you got hurt. Because then most likely you’ll take three steps back.

Okay, So we’ve clarified there may be multiple reasons why you have those bat wings.

  • lack of muscle – you have to do strength training work if you want to age optimally if you want to see that beautiful muscle and change your body composition, too.
  • crepey skin – you’ve got some muscle under there but you’ve got loose and baggy skin then nutrition adding antioxidant rich foods and also lotions on the skin
  • subcutaneous fat- you need to change your body composition – and a three-pronged approach is necessary (strength, interval training, and quality nutrition changes)

Upper Arm Toning Exercises Baffle You?

If you want help with the exact exercises to do that will help you when you do get to the arms section of your workout. I’m going to put a link to a challenge, where I talked a little bit about arms earlier, and I will show you through a cheat sheet. 10 exercises that you can do for arms at home. So, you’ve got tons of variety, you got tons of way to put them together.

So, you’ll never get bored and your muscles will never stop changing because you’re going to continually challenge it. I posted this early last year. And what I’m going to do is put the link in the show notes, and that’ll be at flipping fifty.com, forward slash everything arms.

What are you waiting for, let’s go grab those toned arms right now?

I’ll link to 10 Arm Exercises and to an Arm video in YouTube… but remember… the real success will come from an approach that includes three goals:

  • Build muscle, lose fat, and take care of that skin
  • You’ll want to include
  • Strength training and HIIT
  • Tons of veggies, cut down on sugar, poor carbs, and alcohol
  • Add Retin-A rich skin care

Resources mentioned today:

5 Day Flip

Flipping 50 TV Episode 18

10 Arm Exercises Cheat Sheet

MY TEDx Talk


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