Carrying excess upper body weight, especially in the belly area, can be dangerous for your health. It's understandable to want to lose the weight fast to decrease health risks and feel better about your appearance, but a loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week will help you get in shape and stay there. Cardiovascular exercise combined with strength training and healthy eating can help you lose upper body weight, along with lower body weight, and achieve a more toned physique.
Exercise and Diet to Lose Weight
Track your normal caloric intake for three days to see how many calories you eat on average. Reduce that amount by 250 to 500 calories daily to lose 1/2 to 1 pound weekly, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Pay close attention to the size of your portions, recommends Harvard Medical School, to avoid overeating that leads to excess weight gain. Eliminate trans fats and sugary foods from your diet, while eating lean protein, lowfat dairy and plenty of complex carbohydrates, such as fresh produce and fiber-rich whole grains.
Consume several small meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism boosted to promote weight loss.
Perform aerobic exercises each day to lose an additional 1/2 to 1 pound per week. Go for a brisk walk, horseback riding or take a yoga class for one hour daily to burn 250 calories. Alternately, you can ride your bicycle, use a rowing machine or go swimming for the same length of time to burn 500 calories.
Boost your body's ability to burn fat in your upper and lower body by adding intervals into your aerobic workouts, suggests the Mayo Clinic. Alternate one minute of higher intensity activity with five minutes of moderate intensity activity, such as jogging for one minute after walking for five minutes.
Slim and Tone the Upper Body
Weight machines (optional)
According to the American Council on Exercise, focusing your weight loss efforts on one area of the body is not possible. Rather, overall weight loss will help you lose weight in your upper body, too. Get health clearance from your doctor before you begin a weight loss program.
Perform modified bench presses to tone your chest and arm muscles for a slimmer upper body. Lie on the floor with a dumbbell in each hand, held by your chest. Push the dumbbells toward the ceiling using your arm and chest muscles; hold for a count of two. Lower to the starting position with control to complete one repetition. Do 12 to 24 repetitions, three times per week. You can also perform these on a regular weight bench, if you have one.
Do 12 to 24 deadlift rows three times per week to work your arms, chest and back. Stand with your feet about 3 feet apart while holding one dumbbell in front of your abdomen with both hands. Bend forward at the waist and extend the dumbbell toward the floor in front of you while keeping your knees soft. Lift your torso to return to a standing position while pulling the dumbbell up to your chest, while your elbows point out to the sides.
Sculpt and tone your upper body muscles by doing eight to 24 pushups. Do modified pushups with your knees bent and resting on the floor, if needed. Challenge your body, when you're ready, by balancing your lower body on the balls of your feet and your toes, instead. Place your hands three or four inches outside of your shoulders; lower and raise your body with control while maintaining a straight line from your upper back to your feet. Avoid compromising form for quantity; it's better to do one really good pushup and build from there, than 10 with poor form.
Things You'll Need
- Harvard Medical School: Abdominal Fat and What to Do About It
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Common-Sense Strategies for Long-Term Weight Loss
- American Council on Exercise: Why is the Concept of Spot Reduction is Considered a Myth?
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Dieting that Works
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity
- Mayo Clinic: Rev Up Your Workout with Interval Training
- Georgia State University: Upper Body Strength Training Exercises
- Fitness Magazine: Right to Bare Arms-- Upper Body Workout
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.