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Do you find yourself covering up with a t-shirt, even in stifling weather, to hide those bulgy fat deposits around your armpits? You're not alone. Getting rid of armpit fat is a primary concern for millions of exercisers. Unfortunately, many of them are not going about it the right way.
As a veteran personal trainer, I've guided hundreds of men and women in their fat loss quest. In the process, I've developed a four-pronged approach to unsheathing those upper arms. In this article, I'll lay out each of those four steps to help you get rid of unsightly armpit fat the right way - and keep it off!
Here's a proven approach to eliminating armpit fat that will also slim down the rest of your body.
Contrary to what many people believe, you cannot spot-reduce body fat. In other words, you can't do exercises for a specific part of the body, like the upper arm or chest, and expect to reduce armpit fat. When you burn calories from exercise, those calories come from excess calories that store fat energy from your entire body weight, not just in one area.
Armpit fat is essentially a weight gain problem. Your workout strategy for reduced armpit fat should consist of a combination of cardio and resistance training. The cardio will burn fat cells, helping you achieve a daily negative caloric balance. This means that your body requires more energy in the form of calories than it is being supplied. Therefore, it has no choice but to use stored energy in the form of body fat to function.
The best form of cardio for you is the one you enjoy most and will be most likely to stick with. Look for an activity that allows you to burn around 250 calories in 30 minutes and do it every day.
Here are three effective calorie-burning forms of cardio:
Resistance training will increase your level of lean muscle mass. This will increase your metabolism, making you a better fat burner. I recommend beginning a weights workout program that works all of your major muscle groups two to three times per week.
Check out this full-body workout that's geared specifically toward women.
As stated in the previous section, the key to consistent fat loss is establishing and maintaining a caloric deficit. Cardio exercise will help with this, but the primary way to do it is to eat less food. A pound of fat contains roughly 3,500 calories, so to lose it, you've got to create a 3,500-calorie deficit. The body will then call on 3,500 stored calories to meet the shortfall.
A fat loss of one pound per week is a good goal. You'll have to create a 500-calorie daily deficit (3500 divided by 7 = 5) to achieve that goal.
The first step in achieving this is determining how many calories you are taking in right now. This is known as your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). You can easily find one of these on your preferred search engine.
Now subtract 500 calories from this figure. This will give you your daily caloric goal. If you don't exceed that number each day, you will lose excess fat. That fat won't be drawn from the area around your armpits, but some of it will.
You must monitor your caloric intake to keep within your caloric goal. The best way to do this is to use a calorie-tracking app. There are lots of apps to choose from. Here are three of the best:
Now that you know how to achieve that critical daily negative caloric balance, let's discuss what you should eat. Try to get rid of as much processed food as you can. Replace it with foods as close to their natural state as possible.
Eat plenty of lean proteins (think lean cuts of meat, eggs, dairy, nuts, and whey isolate protein powder), vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats like fatty fish, avocado, and coconut oil.
An ideal macronutrient ratio for fat loss is:
There is a direct connection between stress and weight accumulation. When you get stressed, your body dramatically increases its production of cortisol, which is - no surprise - known as the stress hormone. One consequence of this is the seemingly insatiable urge to eat sweet foods. These foods have become known as comfort food, and they inevitably consist of too much sugar and too many carbs.
So, reducing your stress level will help you control your food cravings. Here are some strategies to help you keep stress under control:
Getting a good night's sleep every night is key to handling stress. Here are eight tips for doing so:
Ask yourself what else you can do to deal with stress. Divert yourself into another activity. Practice a relaxation technique, go for a walk, clean your teeth, or keep yourself occupied in another way.
Poor posture can contribute to armpit fat. When you slouch with hunched shoulders, you accentuate fat folds between your chest and arms. Underarm fat will also be more noticeable.
Here are four cues for proper posture:
The most common postural problem is hunched shoulders, which impact armpit fat the most. Fixing the hunched shoulder issue will help you lose armpit fat.
Here are a couple of exercises that will help you fix a hunched shoulder posture:
Do three sets of one minute with a one-minute rest between sets.
Armpit fat is a fatty build-up between the armpits and the chest muscles. It's also called auxiliary breast tissue, which makes it sound like it only affects women. While it's more common among females, armpit fat can also affect men.
Armpit fat can result in bulgy protrusions, especially when a woman wears a bra. Women are more likely to suffer from armpit fat because they have much higher levels of the female sex hormone estrogen.
Estrogen is a fat-storage hormone. It accumulates fatty tissue in three critical areas of the body: the hips, thighs, and armpits. That's why women tend to accumulate fat in these areas, while men tend to pile it all on the stomach.
Women are more prone to hormonal fluctuations, especially during menopause and when they are pregnant. This also contributes to armpit fat accumulation.
A key message from this article is that armpit fat cannot be lost in isolation. Body fat distribution is non-discriminatory. The armpit fat problem is part of the overall body fat problem.
As a result, you've got to use the same strategies as you would to lose overall body fat to get rid of the armpit fat problem. Those strategies are exercise (both cardio and resistance training), negative calorie balance nutrition, stress reduction, and - this one is unique to reducing armpit fat - improved posture.
Apply these strategies consistently, and you will steadily but surely get rid of that armpit fat for good.
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