I often get asked how to get toned and strong arms without looking too manly. Many women seem to be afraid of developing masculine-like, bulky muscles and tend to overlook upper body workout. The truth is we don’t have enough testosterone to develop bulky muscles. If you workout your arms regularly, you are more likely to develop Michelle Obama’s arms than Schwarzenegger. Here’s how to get you started *.
Improve your diet
We will never repeat enough – A lean body starts in the kitchen. Eat healthy meals and eliminate processed foods from your diet. Your arms will get toner if you have more leans proteins such as chicken, fish, beans along with fresh fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy.
Spread your meals throughout the day. You will be more likely to develop lean muscles if you consume 5 to 6 healthy small meals than having 2 or 3 big meals a day. This will also reduce you likelihood to snack or binge on empty calories food such as cookies or donuts.
Reduce alcohol consumption and replace fruit juices and sodas with healthy smoothies. These are yummy and very easy to make. Find my latest smoothies recipes here.
Do your cardio
Whether it’s running, HIIT training or swimming, cardio will help you to burn fat, slim and tone your arms. Choose an exercise you enjoy and aim for at least two intense 30-45 minutes sessions per week.
Hit the triceps
Triceps dips are my favourite exercise to target triceps. There are so many ways that they can be done. In the gym on a bench or the parallel bar, or in the comfort of your home using a secured chair. Position your hands shoulder-width apart on the stable surface of your choice, palms facing down. Walk your legs out until your buttocks are parallel to the floor while keeping your back close to the chair or the bench. Slowly lower your body by bending your arms as low as you can, then push up to starting position. Repeat for three sets of 10 to 15 reps.
Embrace the barbell curls
Barbell curls are a great way to get started in training your arms and one of the best exercises to target your biceps. Stand feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent to give you better balance. Raise the barbell (palms facing up) towards your chest, keeping your elbows locked. Lower the weight slowly toward your thighs, and return to the start position. Repeat for three sets of 8 to 12 reps.
We all have different bodies. Some women develop toner arms faster than others. This all depends on your fitness level, your fat percentage and how consistent you are with the exercises. If your arms are a big concern for you, try to target them 2 to 3 times a week with a rest day between each session. Keep challenging yourself and the results will come!
* These tips are only intended for healthy individuals with no injuries or medical conditions. Always seek professional healthcare advice before starting a new programme. And remember: all pain is no gain. If you feel any pain while doing these exercises, stop immediately. For more info, click here.