[By Luha Hendrawan]

I have always had a love-hate relationship with summer. 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 as the temperature rises, for the fashion gods united 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 some summertime’s lovin’! 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 dumbbells 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 dumbbells.

1) To do it without dumbbells, 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 dumbbell 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 dumbbell 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 Coolshaping. Coolshape, also known as cryolipolysis is essentially ‘fat-freezing’ with advanced German Zimmer technology.  With differently sized suction hand-pieces including those 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 scientific studies done and presented show a 20 to 23% of fat reduction with this FDA- approved technology, translating into genuine physical measurement of centimeters lost in arm circumference.To further enhanced results achievable with Coolshaping, pair it with Exilis Body Magic. The only body contouring device of its kind, Exilis uses two of the most popular energies harvested for body shaping in today’s market. By engaging radio-frequency and ultrasound to systematically heat up skin to various depths, Exilis Body Magic effectively reduces fats, improved upon the appearance of skin texture and tackles loose, saggy skin for overall skin tightening. A built in Energy Flow Control System ensures high precision of the exact amount of energy delivered to the treated areas, with an integrated cooling system preventing overheating, thus minimizing the risk of burns while “whipping” those arms into summer perfection!

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Smooth as Silk

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 and up the ante of your game with Aqua.dermabrasion to remove dead skin, fine lines, blotches and small scars.” Advises Vicky, a trained professional beauty therapist with the SW1 Spa @ Paragon Medical Suites.

Aqua.dermabrasion is an improved and highly efficacious treatment to gently exfoliate the epidermal layer and promote a thicker healthier dermis while smoothing and refreshing the skin. Working differently from your traditional microdermabrasion, a spiral shaped tip with multiple abrasive edges replaces the usual flat ones, allowing better exfoliation several times over as the tip is moved on skin’s surface in a planning motion. The gentle jet of accompany fluid not only reduces friction to increase the comfort level of the procedure, continuous moisture application softens the skin and sebum; making it much easier to extract impurities and blast them away. Affordable and pain-free, Aqua.dermabrasion immediately leaves the skin clearer and brighter, with no complicated special post treatment care to take note of nor any significant downtime that will hinder your daily routine, leaving your arms smooth as silk can be.

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Say Nay to Hairy Pits

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, and skin irritation secondary to waxing strips are fairly common. Soprano ICE Laser Hair Removal is a great long term investment that is by far the most complete permanent laser hair removal device on the market to safely remove unsightly body hair, avoiding and tackling the issue of ingrown at the same time.

“The number of sessions you require for best results will depend on the density, thickness and color of your hair.”  Explains Dr. Toby Hui, senior medical consultant from the SW1 Clinic (formerly with The Sloane Clinic).“On the average, 4 to 6 treatments done regularly at approximately 4 to 8 weeks’ intervals will give appreciable answers to your hairy woes, either as a standalone procedure or as part of the Removal & Revival Program, combined with Quattro Toning and Skin Smoothing Peel Masks for if depigmentation of uneven skin discoloration is desired.”

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Color me Beautiful

Last but not least, the final step to get your arms ready for summer 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 till you make it”! Join the growing list of savvy celebs including supermodel/entrepreneur Heidi Klum and all-American beauty 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, careful application, and thorough assessment in front of a full length mirror under good lighting, you’ll be all set before spring is over and summer descends….

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