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How to Lose Upper Body Fat

By S.F. Heron

Whether you are a man or a woman, the sad fact is that your body stores fat in your midsection for basic survival. Love handles, a protruding belly or jelly arms result from a combination of genetics and lifestyle choices. But a healthy diet, exercise and personal commitment can help you lose upper body fat.

Reexamine your diet. Replace fatty foods such as fries and burgers with vegetables and fruits like carrots, leafy greens, celery, berries, grapes and apples. You'll have more energy from the increase in vitamins these foods offer. Add lean protein sources such as fish and chicken to your regimen. Bake these meats instead of frying them. Rather than using calorie-filled sauces and condiments to flavor your foods, flavor it with lemon pepper or garlic instead.

Tone the muscles in your belly. Crunches performed on the floor with your feet up on the exercise ball engage the core muscles of the lower back, hips and abdomen. Sit on the exercise ball, lean back with your arms crossed across the chest, and perform multiple sets of crunches. Start out with 20 your first week, then add more as your abdomen grows stronger. Watch out for excessive pain that might prevent you from continuing your exercise plan.

Use exercise bands to target the fat stores on your back. Seated or standing row exercises target the love handle areas. Start out by sitting on the floor with your legs together and straight out in front of you. Place the center of the resistance band over the soles of your feet. Cross the band in front of you, holding one end in each hand. Keep your arms straight as you gradually pull your hands back to a meeting position at the center of your chest with your elbows pointed outward. Return to the starting position with slow, measured movement. Complete 10 repetitions, working up to multiple sets of 10 as you become stronger.

Target the upper body fat with slimming and toning exercises. Push-ups focus on strengthening the upper arms, reducing the unsightly fat on the back of the arms. Remember that you won't be burning fat, but rather toning the muscles underneath the fat.

Incorporate cardiovascular exercise into your routine. Whether you choose to walk, ride a bike, use a stationary bike or swim, get in cardio workouts three to four times a week for one hour each. Your body burns fats as your metabolism increases, and there's no better way to increase your metabolism than regular exercise. Regular exercise also helps your body burn calories even while resting. As you burn off fat with cardio exercise, you'll see a difference as your toned muscles appear more.

Drink plenty of water to flush toxins from your body. Water consumption is often overlooked as an integral part of a complete fitness plan. You need to drink 80 oz. of water each day.

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