I have always had a love-hate relationship with Spring. On one hand I welcome the end of dark and dreary wintry nights; on the other hand it also means that there’s no more hiding of those extra pounds piled up over the festive season with thick woolly sweaters. It’s time to squirrel yourself out of hibernation come Spring for the fashion gods will not give a hoot if you have flabby arms or chunky legs as they dictate sleeves to be dropped and hemlines to be raised. Unless you are trapped on no man’s land, it’s best for you to take note of RSB’s top 5 ways to get those arms ready for Spring!
Before we go on, let’s have a little lesson on anatomy. Your arms are made up of two major muscles namely, the biceps and the triceps. The biceps are situated at the front, between the elbow and shoulder and allow you to bend your elbow and move your hand. As for the triceps, they are situated behind the biceps, between the elbow and shoulder. The triceps are responsible for the bending movement of the forearm. In women, fat tends to build up and skin tends to get flabby around the triceps giving rise to ‘batty wings’ or ‘bye-bye arms’. To avoid this, it’s important to use them regularly and intensively, especially as you get older. In a nutshell, to get nice, toned arms, you will need to work those muscles and strip the fat.
Tone Those Muscles
The best looking arms are toned and firm like those of Charlize Theron, Halle Berry and Michelle Obama, with nice definition but not overtly muscly. To achieve this look, the trick is to use lightweight dumbells and work your muscles at high repetition till fatigue. The key to success is to be consistent in your workout routine so plan out something that you can handle and you will be more likely to keep to it.
To tone your biceps, perform these two simple exercises in the sitting and standing positions.
1) Sit on a high chair with your legs open and back flat. Take a light dumbbell in your right hand and bend your right forearm, keeping your right elbow close to the side of your body at all times. Raise the dumbbell slowly, as high as you can, and then take it back down as you breathe out. Do 3 sets of 12 reps, alternating between right and left.
2) To perform the exercise in a standing position, lean against a wall with your arms stretched by your sides and firmly fixed against your body. With a light dumbbell in each hand, lift your hands up towards your shoulders keeping your elbow close to the sides of your body. Bring them back down as you breathe out. Do 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps and alternating between both arms.
To shape your triceps, you can do so with and without dumbells.
1) To do it without dumbells, sit down on the edge of a chair with your hands positioned on each side of your bottom. Squeeze your shoulder blades, lift your bottom from the seat and lower yourself way below the front of the seat by bending your elbows as much as you can, then push upwards and breathe out. Do 3 to 4 sets of 12 repetitions.
2) Sit on a chair with your back positioned against a support. Hold a light dumbell in both hands and stretch your arms upwards above your head, then bend your forearms behind your head so that you lower the weight to the nape of the neck. Your elbows shouldn’t move, only the forearms. Breathe out as you lift the dumbell back up slowly above your head, arms stretched. Do 2 to 3 sets of 15 reps.
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Strip the Fat
A number of ladies already do have toned arms but for the majority, all the definition is hidden under a layer of fat. In order to show off nicely shaped arms, you will need to strip off that blubber. Nothing beats cardiovascular exercises when it comes to overall fat loss, especially when done concurrently with your muscle toning exercises. Cardiovascular workouts can be jogging, biking, rowing or more fun activities like skipping, swimming and dancing. Switch around to keep your interest going and you will be more likely to engage in them in the long run. Aim to complete at least 30 to 45 minutes sessions, 3 to 5 times a week. Interval training which is short burst of furious activity followed by longer periods of low activity has been shown by scientific studies to be more effective in fat burning.
However, there’s an unfortunate lot that no matter how hard we try, it seems impossible to get shredded. Fortunately, there’s now hope for spot reduction of unwanted deposits of fat with Coolsculpting.
Coolsculpting also known as cryolipolysis is essentially ‘fat-freezing’. With the addition of a 6.2 suction cup that is suitable for placement on narrower body parts that require treatment such as the thighs and arms, the device is applied precisely to such target areas before it starts reducing the temperature to attain the right coldness to selectively target the fat cells here. Extensive studies done and presented show a 22% of fat reduction with this FDA approved technology which translates into centimeters lost in arm circumference.
Smoothen the Skin
After putting in all the hard work to shape up your arms, it’s time to make them look better. Nothing is more alluring than a pair of smooth, silky arms that beg to be caressed. Start off with a good body scrub to exfoliate away all the grit that had built up over the colder months. “Try the Sloane Inc. Microdermabrasion Cream to remove dead skin, fine lines, blotches and small scars,” advised Noelle, a trained beauty therapist with The Sloane Clinic @ Marina Bay Sands. “This heavy duty yet gentle microscopic magnesium crystal cream works wonders as a dream scrub to revitalize dull and lacklustre skin.” Finish off with Sloane Inc. In The Nude Body Milk, an excellent body hydrator containing botanical oils, natural butters and vitamins that sinks deeply and instantaneously to nourish and lock in moisture without the feel of grease. Both products are available exclusively from sloaneshop.com.
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To complement a pair of toned arms, do not neglect your armpits. To get rid of unsightly body hair, waxing has a slight edge over shaving as the latter is the single most common culprit of darkened armpits. Underarms become dark due to the growth of thick hair under the skin and shaving makes your hair growth thick which leads to dark armpits. However, skin irritation secondary to waxing strips are fairly common. A far more superior method of hair removal will be with IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) or Laser therapy. In my opinion, this is by far the best beauty investment I had made this year. Laser and IPL hair removal are the most advanced, most effective, and safest treatments for Permanent hair reduction of both lighter and darker skinned individuals. The number of sessions you require for best results will depend on the density, thickness and color of your hair. Most patients would need an average of 4 to 6 treatments, at approximately 4 to 8 weeks’ intervals. Opt for Pigment Laser Therapy to even out the skin tone of dark armpits. Depending on the extent of your pigmentation and the treatment level, you may require anywhere between 2 to 6 sessions for good, visible results that are long lasting.
Colour me Beautiful
Last but not least, the final step to get your arms ready for Spring is to give your skin a healthy sun-kissed glow. Before you book yourself an appointment at the solarium, think carefully and consider the long term repercussions. The sun with its UV rays is the single most important factor of premature aging. The bronzed goddess today is most likely to be dry as a prune in her latter days. As the saying goes, if you can’t have it, fake it! Join the line of celebrities such as Hedi Klum and Kate Hudson and get a spray on tan done professionally. If you have a budget constrain, there’s a plethora of self- tanning lotions on the market to choose from. With better formulations and careful application, it’s less likely for you to end up with arms looking like carrots but do practice and assess yourself carefully in a full length mirror with good lighting before you head out for your hot Spring date!