Chris Wharton, co-owner and director of the Better Body Group, revealed losing belly fat and toning arms are a popular demand by his clients.
Speaking to Express.co.uk he said: “Not a day goes by where I’m not asked the question ‘how can I tone my abs and get rid of these?’, whilst the client pinches and jiggles their so-called ‘bingo wings’.
“Sadly, it’s impossible to spot reduce body fat like this. If it were that simple, we would all have cover model bodies in perfect proportions.”
So how can we sculpt more desirable guns and a trimmer waist?
Chris said: “Firstly, it’s important to understand that the whole concept of ‘toning’ is a bit of a misnomer. For argument’s sake let’s say that those looking to ‘tone’ their arms are aiming to firm up the areas that are covered in a layer of fat.”
According to Chris this can only be achieved by combining the following:
Create a calorie deficit
No amount of dips and bicep curls will ever get rid of the fat on your arms – or any other part of your body for that matter – unless you are creating a calorie deficit. I sound like a broken record when I tell people this, but it is literally impossible to lose body fat without burning off more calories than you consume on a consistent basis.
The easiest way to achieve this is by lowering your food intake and moving more. Set yourself a calorie target and focus on eating nutrient rich whole foods – including vegetables, lean meats and fish, and some complex carbohydrates around workouts. Also aim to avoid drinking too many calories, dodge the lattes, smoothies and booze where possible as they are guilty of pushing you over your calorie target with very little nutritional value.
Include resistance training
Another common misconception is that ‘toning’ is achieved by endless repetitions of an exercise using light weights. Incorrect.
Muscles themselves do not ‘tone’ or get more firm, they simply shrink or grow in size. To achieve a more ‘toned’ look you must include some resistance training. At this point a lot of people – particularly women – are concerned that lifting heavier weights will cause them to bulk up. This is simply not true. Women possess a fraction of the testosterone of their male counterparts, and as such will find it much harder to get ‘big’. What’s more, if you are training while achieving a calorie deficit it’s even harder to bulk up. The good news is that lifting heavy weights is the quickest way to achieve the toned physique you are looking for.
Aim to train with a resistance that causes fatigue between 8-12 reps. If you can do more than 15 reps with a weight, it’s simply not heavy enough!
Also include exercises that hit every muscle group rather than just smashing the arms every session. Compound lifts such as squats, pull ups, deadlifts and lunges will help boost overall calorie burn, they target multiple muscle groups, increase total fat free mass, and improve your resting metabolic rate.
Whilst it’s true that you cannot choose where you lose your fat from, it’s still wise to focus on working the arms to fatigue with a variety of exercises 2-3 times per week as part of your overall training plan.
Here are a few of Chris’ favourite arm exercises to get you started:
Diamond press up
- Get into a press up position and place your hands close together to form a diamond shape with your index fingers and thumbs.
- Bend your elbows and lower your chest down to the ground.
- Stop just before the ground before powerfully pushing yourself up to the starting position.
- Keep abs and glutes tight throughout.
Tip: If this feels too difficult, try starting with your knees on the ground.
Prone hammer curl
- Lay flat on your front on a bench with your chin just over the top.
- Hold a dumbbell in both hands with palms facing each other.
- Curl the weights up to your shoulders and pause, squeezing the biceps.
- Slowly lower the weights back to the starting point and lock your arms out by squeezing the triceps.
- Sit on the edge of a bench or chair with your legs straight out in front of you and grip the edge of the bench with both hands.
- Slowly lower your bum to the ground whilst flexing at the elbows.
- Pause just before you touch the ground then push yourself back up to the starting position.
- Be sure to squeeze the triceps at the top of each rep.
Tip: If this feels too difficult, try bending the legs and bringing your feet a little closer to your body.
Chris added: “In summary the only way to achieve the fitness holy grail of a flat belly and sculpted arms is to follow this simple advice: create a calorie deficit and lift some heavy weights as part of a whole body workout. The caveat is that the transformation won’t take place overnight. However, if you really want it, make the commitment to stick to the rules above and really go for it, it can be achieved.”
Chris Wharton is the Co-owner and Director of the Better Body Group, a chain of gyms in the South East that specialises in body transformation, injury rehabilitation and improving fitness performance, all delivered by graduate-level personal trainers. Find out more on the website www.betterbodygroup.co.uk/