A: You might be surprised to hear that your workout routine probably isn’t the primary factor affecting this area of your body. If the fat on your arms and back is particularly stubborn, there might be more to the story! It’s a situation that Dr. Brooke Kalanick, (co-author of my book Ultimate You) and several other medical doctors know well.
So what’s the real issue? Flab on the back of the arms can be indicative of low-testosterone levels. Testosterone is one of the main “lean hormones” for both men and women–though it’s often overlooked in the fairer sex. Females already have much lower testosterone levels than men, but many women can have even lower than normal levels due to stress or other common pitfalls, including:
- Inadequate protein intake
- Not lifting heavy enough weights
- Not training intensely enough (i.e. doing long-distance, moderate-intensity cardio vs. interval training with bursts/sprints)
- Lack of quality sleep
- Increasing estrogen exposure by eating hormone-laden meat and dairy, drinking out of plastic water bottles, medications like birth control pills, and using cosmetics that contain parabens (common preservatives)
If leaner arms are on your wishlist, first focus on reducing your stress level and addressing some of the other previously mentioned mistakes (Some helpful resources are listed below.). I’m confident that you will see a reduction in your arm flab, but if you’re still not happy with your results, talk to your doctor about the best strategy for your body and lifestyle.