If you’ve turned on any chat show in the last two years you would know that women love Michelle Obama’s toned arms. And trainers all over the world have tried to capitalize on this fascination by teaching us how to get arms like the First Lady. But as I read through a whole bunch of articles about her toned arms I noticed a distinct lack of clear instruction. Sure, there are some amazing pieces that give general tips on how to get toned arms but no one really wrote about what you should do in terms of diet, exercise, etc.
In this post I am going to do an in depth look at how to get toned arms like the very beautiful Michelle Obama. I will try to include as much information as possible so you can begin your workout today.
Toned arms in 4 weeks?
The title of this post indicates that you will have nice toned arms in four weeks time. And while that might be possible for some of our readers it won’t be possible for everyone. It is, however, a very good goal to keep in mind.
Why won’t it be possible for everyone? The fact of the matter is, if you want to have a toned body you need to lose body fat. And this is a very long term affair. Some of you might already be at a level where you can just do a few little tweaks and wind up with the definition you want, others will need more time. So while I want everyone to keep the four week goal in mind, don’t be too disappointed if you don’t see final results in that time.
One thing is for sure, if you do four weeks of proper diet and exercise according to this post, you will be well on your way to success. I’m betting you will be well ahead of your friends who are still dabbling around.
Spot reducing fat from your arms
The first thing you need to know is that you cannot spot reduce fat from your arms. A lot of women out there think that if you want to get toned arms you need to do some magical exercise that will burn fat just off of the arms. It doesn’t work like that. If you want to get toned arms you need to lose fat off of your whole body. If you want to get toned abs you need to lose fat off of your whole body. There is no easy way out.
And that leads us to the first and most important part of this post – your diet.
Dieting for toned arms like Michelle Obama
Without any shred of a doubt the most important part of getting toned arms is your diet. It is what you put in your mouth that determines how toned your arms are, even more so than how much you exercise. If your diet is not on track you will not get the arms that you desire.
The maths of arm toning
In our epic article on how to lose weight for good we talked about the mathematics of weight loss. This is a very important concept that I urge you all to read an understand for it will change the way you think about diet and exercise. I will not explain it all again but here is a quote from the article to give you an idea:
If you have a can of Coke with lunch everyday of the week you are taking in 155 calories x seven days a week. That is 1085 calories a week. Now, there are 3500 calories per pound of body fat. So, if you take in 1085 calories from one can of Coke per day in three weeks you have added a pound of fat. That is 17 pounds per year. Just from your daily Coke.
You can see from this little bit of maths that your diet is going to have a much bigger impact on your weight loss than the exercise that you do. Just one Coke will take you 30 minutes to burn off on the treadmill. So what about all the other excess calories that you eat every day? How long must you need to burn all of them off? It is vital that you get your diet in order if you want to tone up.
What to eat for arm toning
So what exactly should you be eating if you want to get toned arms like Michelle Obama? The most important thing is to stay away from man made processed foods that are full of our three main enemies:
- refined sugar
- saturated fats
These foods are full of empty calories. An empty calorie is basically energy that comes from food that provide no nutritional benefits. For example, if you have a can of Coke you get 150 calories but no minerals, vitamins or nutrients. On the other hand, if you have a salad you get the same amount of calories but a nice amount of protein, fiber, minerals, etc. You need to be avoiding the man made foods that are just full of empty calories. These are a disaster for any woman who wants to lose weight.
A long term approach to short term gains
The main point here is that you don’t want to go on another diet. You aren’t trying to lose weight by eating just lemons. What you want is a lifelong change in your eating habits that will allow you to lose weight, get toned and then stay toned as the years go by. Most women revert back to their old shape and weight. We don’t want that to happen.
Some of the foods you want to be eating on a daily basis include:
- green leafy vegetables
- milk and small amounts of cheese
- unsalted nuts and some seeds
- free range eggs
- lots of fresh fruits, the more colorful the better
I’m not a big advocate of meat but a lot of trainers and dietitians will tell you to take in lean proteins from animals. My personal experience has been that I have lost weight faster eating a vegetarian diet. I also feel better. A lot better. Meat tends to weigh me down and make me feel depressed. It is also a thoroughly unethical industry that I don’t really want to be supporting. But that is another story.
Green tea as a bonus food
Green tea is something that I often talk about on this website as something that all women should be drinking. It is amazing for your health and studies have shown that people who drink green tea daily have a smaller chance of getting caner and heart disease. There is also some evidence to suggest that it can help you burn fat at a faster rate. I strongly recommend that everyone who reads this take up drinking a nice pot of green tea every day and see how it makes you feel.
Exercises to get toned arms like Michelle Obama
Now that we have covered some of the important dietary points we can move on to a bunch of exercises and workouts that will help us get those coveted arms. Remember, when you do any exercise you need to make sure you are doing it with proper technique and according to your level of fitness. I always encourage my friends and readers to meet with a trainer for your first session and learn exactly how to do each exercise so that you don’t end up with an injury that lasts the rest of your life.
Burning fat is the way to toned arms
Let me tell you something that you might know, you might not. You already have toned arms. They are there right now. The problem is that they are being hidden under a layer of fat. So if you want to tone your arms you need to burn the fat that is covering them. That is the point of eating right and that is 80% of the exercise. If you want toned arms you need to exercise so that you are burning fat at a proper rate.
High intensity workouts are the best
One of the things we try to do here at FWF is educate women on the benefits of high intensity workouts. For too long now we have been told the slow jog on the treadmill for an hour is the best way to lose fat and get toned. It isn’t. Not by a long shot. The best way to get into the shape of your life is to workout at an intense pace. Some of the absolute best ways to do this include:
- Kickboxing classes
I know a lot of women will groan at this and think that they will never try it but I guarantee you it is one of the best ways you can burn fat and get toned in a really quick time. Three kickboxing classes a week will absolutely change the way you go about your fitness. When kick a bag you use your entire body; your legs, abs, hips and arms. The same goes for punching. You will get your heart rate up to super high levels and you will find that your body changes very quickly.
Here she goes about the skipping again I can hear you all say. But it really is one of the best ways to burn fat and tone your arms – you get the worst burn! Bruce Lee once said that 10 minutes of skipping was the same as 30 minutes of running and I tend to agree. Get yourself the best skipping rope and go for it!
One of the most intense workouts you will ever do is a circuit. These focus on resistance and cardio exercises and are a great way to get the fat burning and the muscles working. So how do you do them? Simply choose one exercise for each body part and perform them one after the other with no break in between. Once you finish them all, take a short rest and then start again. Try to do the whole circuit as many times as you can.
It is really important not to overdo it though. A high intensity workout should not be done every day as your body needs time to recover and heal. Try and aim for three times a week with a few more gentle workouts in between. If you can do that for four weeks you will see some incredible results.
The importance of weight training and resistance exercises
Women seem to hate weight training because they are worried that it will make them bulky and manly. Well it won’t. I have said it before and I will say it again. Weight training and resistance exercises only help to make you thin and toned and healthy. They will not make you muscly because women, for the most part, do not have enough testosterone to grow big muscles. When you look at women in the gym who weight train they always have thin and hard bodies – never bulky manly ones.
It is time for all women reading this to add some weight training to our regular cardio workout. Mixing weights with cardio has some major advantages including:
- Elevating your metabolism
When you weight train you elevate your metabolism. This is a very good thing because it means you will be burning calories even when you aren’t at the gym.
- Burns more calories
Mixing weight training with cardio actually burns more calories than if you just did one slow cardio workout. The lifting of the weights is a very hard motion and it takes up a lot of energy.
- Your body becomes fitter and healthier
There have been scores of studies that show that weight training makes you extremely healthy and a lot fitter. Basically, without getting too technical, when you weight train you turn your body into a fat burning machine. The more weights the more fat burning.
How often should you weight train?
If you want to get into weight training you should start slowly and work your way up to about three times a week. If you can mix it in with your kickboxing or other high intensity workouts you will be on the way to a very quick set of toned arms!
Getting toned arms like Michelle Obama is a long process. Sure, it can be sped up but please don’t think that it is an easy road. You need to be committed to a near perfect diet and a workout routine that doesn’t quit when it gets boring. Remember, if you have any other tips you can leave a comment below as it might really help someone out there on their journey.