An interesting subject for a blog I agree, but I bet that title made you smile!
Why do women get bingo wings?? Why do we get saggy, flabby arms… it seems so unfair doesn’t it? One of the biggest requests I have as a trainer is to reduce arm jiggle or it’s the most frequent request “slim my arms down” or “tone up my arms”. I’m not a big fan of the words ‘tone up’. I prefer to use the words ‘strong’ and ‘gain muscle’ because essentially that’s what you need to do to lose your niggle about your jiggle…
There are a couple different things going on with bingo wings. One, if you’re a woman, you naturally have a little extra fat in the upper arms. If you’re older, over 40 or so, your skin is probably starting to get looser as it’s losing elasticity. But the big one is going to be muscle definition. As in previous blogs I have written about sarcopenia or muscle atrophy from the age of 30 and it just so happens that one of the first areas it starts is in the arms. (Genetics may be a factor too).
A lot of people don’t like to hear it, but it is mostly about muscle. Unless you’re significantly overweight, the extra layer of fat isn’t really an issue, and if you are a younger person the “loose skin” thing probably isn’t happening either. If you hold your hand up and wave and the back of your arm waves too, or it might even wave a couple times after your hand stops… you need to think about strengthening your arms, your shoulders and your chest muscles. Saying this, I have slightly flabby arms, and I lift weights regularly. I have to work really hard to maintain muscle in my arms and that’s probably due to my genetics – I think I have short bicep insertions but that’s probably a little too technical for this blog! I’m not overweight enough to use any excuses, and I really don’t want to, but I’m actually pathetically weak when it comes to upper body strength. I work my arms regularly and am currently stuck on lifting the same weight for quite a few months, and my biceps are pathetically small for the amount I lift. The good thing is I get underestimated in the strength department all the time! So when I see women with well defined and sculpted arms, I know how hard they have worked to get there.
To get to the reason why this is a bigger problem for women than men has a little to do with the extra fat, and a lot to do with lack of muscle. Most of the time most women have less physically demanding jobs than most men (this does NOT mean women don’t work just as hard, it just means most women have less physically demanding jobs than most men). Fewer or softer demands on your muscles means less muscle, less muscle means flabby arms.
So what to do? Firstly, look at how many carbs you’re eating. A high carbohydrate diet causes fluid retention (it is in the name carb0-HYDRATE). Reducing your carb intake will help you lose fluid retention as will cutting down on your salt intake. Sticking to the 170 nutrition plan will have your calorie intake at a deficit so you’ll be losing body fat and be eating lower carbs. Ask yourself though – are you sticking to it? Am I being honest with my portion sizes? Do I stick to my snack options or is the odd extra or three creeping in?
Secondly, work those arms. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount but enough to keep your shoulders moving, your boobs perky and your triceps firm – triceps are the jiggly bit underneath your arm that will help to work the opposing muscle, biceps. Grab a couple of dumbbells and everyday give your biceps 2 sets of 15 curls. Not only will this get rid of those bingo wings it will help to keep your shoulders healthy and mobile. Plus, maybe keep those bingo wings waving a little less once your hand stops moving…