One of the things I hear quite a bit is "I don't want my arms to flap when I wave. See how they jiggle?"
Fear not my friends, there's a way to help this with the right approach to fitness. I won't guarantee elimination of "the flappers" as one of my clients called them, but this strategy might just point you in the right direction.
Before we get too far along, I know I don't need to cover this, but here you go: YOU. CAN'T. SPOT. REDUCE.
Meaning, you can't do tricep work to tone the triceps (or crunches to flatten the abs for that matter, EVER). So how do these exercises help if that's the case?
They involve the whole body moving at once feet to fingers to use as much energy as possible to move. Its that simple.
Do that, and your chances of your arms continuing to move even after you've stopped waving just might go up a bit. You have to put muscle on head to toe to turn your metabolism up to use more calories AT REST to lean out. Let me say it again: Put on LEAN weight (muscle) and take off squishy weight (fat).
TANGENT TIME OUT
This includes trying to use 3lb weights to try and lose 10. High reps and light weights for fat loss = L.O.L. for sure!!
There are much better ways to lean up than doing this. And yet, this is still the message. Big time face palm on that one.
TANGENT TIME IN
Yes, at rest is when all of the magic takes place. NOT while you exercise and here's why.
"Basically, we are breaking down muscle tissue when we lift. When you are actually working out not much is changing," says my partner in PE Daniella Dayoub and nutrition know how authority. "The recovery of those muscles is where you see the results. So when you hit the gym and break down muscle tissue, you're really setting yourself up to need rest."
Doing everything right, and still not seeing the needle budge in a positive direction on the scale? You might need heaping dose of vitamin Zzzzzzzzzz.
We all know we need to sleep well and eat better. You can't out train a bad diet, and we can in add bad sleep for that matter.
"Just one night of insufficient sleep (less than 7 hrs for most of us) can put you into a pre-diabetic state. Blood sugars will be elevated all the next day," says Dayoub. "You'll find yourself craving carbs, sugar, and caffeine. So you can see that this sets you up for a world of hurt when it comes to fat loss efforts."
Once you dial in your exercise routine, take recovery days and sleep more, you're still no guaranteed results. Especially if you aren't eating correctly.
I asked Daniella what the most common nutrition areas are that people need to improve for fat loss, and here's what she had to say.
"Empty calories. I find that people waste a lot of their calories on things that are simply vessels for sauces or dips: chips, bread, etc. The argument that you need the fiber and/or vitamins in starches like bread, crackers and pasta is simply empty!
There are no vitamins and minerals in those (that aren't artificially added back in) that you can't get from eating a wide variety of veggies and meats. If you are trying to lose fat, make sure that each and every bite of food is nutrient dense and worth your while."
What about if you don't have time to make healthy food options to munch on throughout your day. Can't you just drink a shake or a supplement of some kind?
"Also, don't drink your calories. If I want a client to gain weight, I'm going to put extra calories into liquid form. It doesn't derail appetite at all and is an easy way to load up," says Dayoub. "So if you are trying to do the opposite, make sure you eat your food and drink only water and unsweetened tea/coffee."
Exercise the right way, and your EPOC will run your engine higher for up to 72 hours after a workout. I'll warn you it isn't easy, and you may feel a little cardiovascular as well as muscular discomfort, but the payoff is worth it if you want to tone up.
BUT, for this to happen two things have to fall in line PERFECTLY. Not, perfectly-ish, or sort of not too bad, but PERFECTLY.
First, you need to pick exercises that use multiple limbs moving at once to use as much energy as possible. Second, you need to move fast, and rest very little to let fat loss science work in your favor.
However, BEFORE you think about high intensity workouts, you HAVE to have your fundamental foundational movements dialed in moving slowly. Meaning, can you do the BASIC forms of pushing, pulling, squatting, hinging, lunging and resisting lateral forces the right way at a slow speeds or in static positions?
If you can, get ready to sweat. If not, you better get some help with that or the only thing you'll lose is time at the gym from sprinting before you were able to crawl if you get my drift.
Once you have basics dialed in, here are a few of my favorite head to toe total body moves:
Exercise Band or Cable Pulley Hinge + Row
Kettlebell Goblet Lunges
Rack Position Loaded Carry
monkii bars Mountain Climbers
What do these exercises have in common? They don't directly target the triceps, or "flappers" as one of my clients calls them.
They involve multiple joints moving at once supported through the core, or how we are designed to move. It is very difficult to not do these at the right load at the right pace and not have your heart rate get a wee bit higher.
Now the caveat is, you HAVE to do each one of these exercises with:
The best way to make sure all of those boxes are checked is to get an eval from your physician, trusted trainer or qualified physical therapist. If they green light the project, all systems go!
After they tell you you can "enjoy" these exercises, leave a comment and let me know how much fun you had!