Getting the balance right between looking toned and looking bulked up can be tricky, especially when it comes to arms.
But did you know that getting defined arms is more about diet than heavy lifting?
Here’s my advice on how to get a shaped body the healthy way:
My 2-step approach to getting defined
1. Focus on 2-3 meals per day – but no snacking.
2. Don’t over exercise – have shorter workouts.
Step 1: Focus on 2 – 3 meals per day, no snacking
- Aim for two meals a day, or three – these should include lots of greens, good quality fats and smaller amounts of protein.
- Leave at least 4 hours between meals to let your stomach empty between meals and keep your metabolism high. Ideally practise intermittent fasting which includes a 14 to 16 hour interval between two of your meals – usually dinner and breakfast.
- Your body and mind function best on nutrients – eating whole foods helps regulate your hunger naturally, whereas focusing on a low-calorie diet will leave you unsatiated and prone to snacking.
- The reason that snacking is to be avoided is because it can spike your insulin – a fat storage hormone that you want to reduce as much as possible throughout the day for optimal fat burning.
- When you begin to understand the effects of insulin, the importance of rest and whole foods and NO sugar you will realise just how insignificant counting calories is
Step 2: Don’t over exercise
- Exercise should be used for health and not weight loss
- The reason why big workouts can leave you looking bulky instead of shaped, is because workouts can increase your appetite, resulting in over-eating.
- Two or three 10 to 20-minute high-intensity sessions each week is more than enough for the average woman to keep her metabolism on track.
- Women are also very sensitive to excessive exercise (stress) coupled with restrictive eating – it’s potentially a recipe for hormonal issues and weight gain.
- Increase your NEAT!
What is NEAT?
NEAT stands for ‘Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenisis’ and refers to the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise.
Studies have found that a more effective way of burning fat is to be active throughout the course of the day, as opposed to killing yourself at the gym for 1 hour.
Rely more on shorter daily bouts of strength and length-work, coupled with more walking throughout the day. Lift up some heavy things twice a week (bodyweight or free weights) and perhaps couple that with restorative exercise such as Pilates or yoga – these are especially beneficial for women.
In 2018, a study conducted by the American Heart Association indicated that there is no form of exercise that can undo the detrimental health effects of sitting 8 hours a day – and most Americans do way more than that. Stand more throughout the day, 150 minutes per day is ideal, and it doesn’t need to be consecutive.
The bottom line
You can’t out-exercise a bad diet, nor can you fast and binge and expect fat loss.
The best thing to do is to eat correctly, sleep more, focus on more movement throughout the day.