How to lose your bingo wings
Having bingo wings can be extremely upsetting for many women. In this article I’m going to tell you how you can lose your bingo wings for good, by outlining an effective way to lose fat and the best exercises to shape your arms.
The bingo wing (excess fat in the upper arm) is one of the areas of the body about which I receive the most questions. In fact, I’d say that at least once per week for the last 10 years I have heard the following…
“What can I do to get rid of my bingo wings?”
First off, you must understand that there are no specific exercises that you can do which will eliminate fat from your upper arm. There are plenty of exercises that you can do to add shape and tone (more on this later), but just as you can’t shift belly fat by doing lots of sit ups, you won’t do a set of dips or press ups and magically lose fat from your upper arms.
Often the issue is a lack of tone to the arm. The arm appears or feels soft to touch, due to both an excess of body fat and a lack of lean tissue.
So, how do we go about banishing the bingo wing for good? Well, there are 3 main things to consider:
How to lose body fat effectively
First, you first need to work on lowering your overall levels of body fat. It is very unlikely (in fact so unlikely that I have never seen it!) that you will be lean everywhere else and just hold body fat in your arms. It just doesn’t work like that. If your arms are your problem area, then it’s likely that you’ll be happy with other areas, so take the positives!
How much do you need to lose? Well that depends entirely on where you’re starting from, but you should set yourself mini-targets and note down how you feel/look with the improvements.
For instance, your first target might be to lose 7lbs. Once you reach this point, can you see more definition in your arms and do they appear/feel firmer? If the answer is no, then you need to keep going, everybody will be different.
“But how do you lose body fat Nikki? I’ve tried everything”.
Good question, this should help:
In order to lose body fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit, so if your weight isn’t shifting then you either need to eat a little less, exercise a little more, or a combination of all three.
I have an easy way for you to work out how much you should eat to lose weight, it’s a simple method that requires a small amount of maths and use of a calorie counting app such as My Fitness Pal.
In order to do this, your weight must have been stable for 2 weeks. If it is fluctuating up and down then this isn’t for you, this is for people whose weight loss has stalled.
- Step 1: Record everything that you eat for a week in My Fitness Pal. Be as accurate as possible.
- Step 2: Add up the total number of calories you have eaten that week and divide by 7 to give you a rough average of what you are currently eating per day.
- Step 3: Aim to eat 5% less calories than this number each day. After one week of eating this number of calories your weight should have decreased… Congratulations, you’ve broken through your plateau!
If, however, your weight doesn’t shift, then decrease the number by another 5% and consume this new number of calories for another week. Keep using this approach until you meet your target.
- Average calories eaten per day = 1624
- 1624 x 0.95 = 1542.8
As your total body weight/levels of body fat come down, you should see that your upper arms start to lean out.
NB Please note that I only ever reduce calories by a very small percentage each week, I do not believe that crash diets are good for long term weight loss or health.
The best exercises for bingo wings
Part two involves adding some muscle to your arms. Please don’t freak out, I know that a lot of people reading this will have had a huge intake of breath then.
“But I don’t want massive arms”.
If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard this I’d be sitting on a beach somewhere very tropical sipping on a Long Island Iced Tea or five.
Just as eating a couple of salads won’t turn you into a Victoria’s Secret model, neither will a few sets of triceps extensions give you arms to rival Arnie.
It’s important to understand that whilst we need to build muscle, the amount needed for you to be busting out of your t-shirt is unlikely to ever happen naturally. Most women lack the levels of testosterone needed to add lots of muscle, the ones you see with bulging arms are likely to have had a lot of “assistance”.
Building muscle is important when it comes to dealing with bingo wings. If you have no muscle in your upper arm, it will appear shapeless and soft to touch, which is the main complaint I hear.
So, which exercises should I be doing? Well here I’ve outlined my five favourite exercises in order to firm up those triceps:
Press Up On Knees
DB Triceps Extensions
- I have included two versions of the press up, please pick the one which matches your strength levels. If you can’t do full press ups then you can do them on your knees.
- If you don’t have the strength to do full dips, then you can use a resistance band to help you.
How would you incorporate these exercises into a routine? Well as I’m nice, I’ve written you a 6-week training plan that you can follow. You’ll do each workout twice per week.
- A DB Press 4 x 6-8
- B Dips 4 x 6-8
- C Triceps Pressdowns 3 x 8-10
- A Press Ups 5 x 10-12
- B Dips 4 x 10-12
- C DB Triceps Extensions 4 x 12-15
The most important factor for losing your bingo wings
You’ll probably know from reading my articles that it takes time to get in shape. Yes, you’ll see lots of people who have lost loads of weight in 8 or 12 weeks, but in all honesty, the majority of people take a lot longer than this.
Give yourself time, but more importantly, learn to enjoy the process. I’ve trained hundreds of women and one of the main things I see change once they begin weight training (other than their body) is that they acquire a genuine love for exercise.
In the beginning, most will exercise as a necessity to lose weight, but as soon as their strength starts to increase and they start to actually feel better, weight training becomes very gratifying and something they do for pleasure, rather than a punishment.
Use the 2-3 training sessions you’ll do per week as “your time” to unwind from the stress of work, being a Mum or just life in general. Start to incorporate exercise into your life like you would other weekly tasks, so that it just becomes part of your routine. When you can adopt positive habits such as weight training into your life and do it for a prolonged period of time, you’ll start to see some amazing results, not only will your bingo wings disappear for good, but you’ll find a new level of confidence and self-worth that holds much greater value than any aesthetic changes.