How to Lose Arm Fat

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on January 06, 2023
5 min read

Arm fat is a common and annoying problem for many people. Whether you’re fit and healthy, post-bariatric surgery, or in the process of losing weight, you may have noticed you’ve developed some flab in certain places. Most notably, your arms. 

Arm fat can make you feel self-conscious wearing sleeveless shirts or tanks. You may notice and feel insecure over something like extra skin under your arms that no one else may notice. Even covering it up with sleeves may not be a good solution for you.

So, how to get rid of arm fat? Luckily, there are options.

What is arm fat, exactly?

Arm fat is extra skin and fat located under your arms. However, it’s not black and white. "Fat" doesn’t describe just one type of fat. Rather, it describes two types — visceral fat and subcutaneous fat. 

Visceral fat is the fat stored behind your abdominal muscles which envelops your organs, offering protection. The right amount of visceral fat can be healthy, but having too much can be dangerous and lead to complications such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Subcutaneous fat, on the other hand, is the fat found just beneath your skin, along with the epidermis and dermis layers. Subcutaneous fat sits in the deepest layer of your skin. It has several functions, including providing your muscles and bones with cushion to protect you from injuries, aiding your blood vessels and nerves from your skin to your muscles, and using connective tissue to attach your middle layer of skin to your muscles and bones. While having some subcutaneous fat is good for your health, having too much can cause health issues, including an increased risk for certain cancers, fatty liver disease, gallbladder disease, and more.

In any case, arm fat can be embarrassing, especially when you move your arms and you notice the jiggling skin that accompanies your movements. What’s worse is that even if you do everything right — eat right, exercise right, and reduce your consumption of junk food — your arm fat often stubbornly remains. 

But what causes arm fat, and how do you get rid of it?

Extra skin and fat in the arms can be caused by obesity, significant weight loss, or genetics. Individuals born female are at a greater risk of carrying excess weight in their arms. 

Hormonal imbalances and a stagnant lifestyle can also cause arm fat. Hormonal imbalances can lead to water retention, making your arms look inflated. Stagnation, or a lack of physical activity, can cause you to have extra weight in your arms as well as other areas. This is because you’re not getting enough physical activity to tone your muscles.

The good news is that there are plenty of arm fat treatment options to reduce or completely eliminate arm fat. 

Arm fat natural treatment options. Natural treatment options for arm fat include diet and exercise. Since arm fat is often associated with being overweight or losing a significant amount of weight, the first step is changing your eating habits and incorporating more exercise into your days. 

If you’ve lost weight and have arm flab as a result, then it’s important you maintain a consistent weight while doing exercises to help reduce your arm fat. On the other hand, if you’re overweight and in the process of losing the extra pounds, but are worried about having arm flab when you do, then you should consider incorporating muscle-toning exercises into your routine immediately to help tone your muscles and reduce flab as you lose weight. 

Lastly, you may want to fix your sleep schedule. When you get enough rest, you’ll feel more energized and motivated to work out, which can increase your chances of losing your extra weight. For the best results, it’s important to combine a decent sleep schedule with a well-balanced diet and a vigorous exercise routine. 

Arm fat surgical options. A common surgical option for eliminating arm fat is known as an arm lift procedure. During an arm lift, your doctor will remove any extra skin and fat below your arms. This helps reshape the contour of the arm. Your doctor will then drape your skin back over your arm, thus tightening your skin.

An arm lift surgery is performed under general anesthesia and can take up to three hours. You’ll be required to wear a compression garment to reduce swelling. Recovery time takes around four weeks, but you can resume light activity after a few days post-operation.

While arm lifts are usually the best procedure to undergo, some doctors may recommend both a liposuction and an arm lift. Some patients request liposuction to prevent the scarring that arm lifts leave behind. Unfortunately, liposuctions aren’t as effective and won’t be able to treat arm fat alone.

When it comes to arm fat exercises, there are several you can incorporate into your days to help you shed the extra weight in your arms. Two of the most popular choices are cardio workouts and strength training exercises. Some people favor interval training, too, which can speed up the process of losing arm fat. 

Popular excises to help with arm fat include aerobics or cardio, strength training, and flexibility or balance exercises. Doing some combination of all of these exercises helps keep workouts interesting and helps you avoid becoming bored or unmotivated.

How much exercise you should be doing will depend on you. However, it’s recommended that you aim for 2.5 hours of moderate activity per week, or 75 minutes of intense exercise per week. You don’t want to jump into a moderate or intense workout right away. Start slowly and ease yourself into it. 

You shouldn’t expect to see results right away. In fact, losing stubborn fat can take months of continuous effort. Your progress will depend on you. If you’re already at a healthy weight, it may take only a few weeks to notice results. However, those at a higher weight may not see results for a while. Patience is critical. Stick with your exercise routine — the results will be worth it.