Getting lean and looking shredded is a great feeling. You get to burn off all of your body fat and show off your hard-earned muscle.
However, you will unfortunately lose some muscle when you cut. Your arms will be one of the last body parts that gets smaller during a cut.
Will My Arms Get Smaller When I Cut?
Luckily your arms are a pretty small body part and are one of the last areas on your body that put on fat. This means that you will usually lose size from areas such as your stomach, back, legs and chest way before your arms. I’ll discuss all the ways that you can keep as much muscle as possible while cutting and make sure that your arms do not shrink.
Which Body Parts Get Smaller First When Cutting?
Typically, you will first lose size in the largest body parts that contain the most fat. This the chest, stomach, and glutes for most people.
Note that everyone is different, and some people just genetically store more fat in certain areas. Everyone also has different metabolisms. If you’re looking to boost your metabolism so that you can burn extra body fat, check out this post.
It’s also important to know that there is no way to spot-reduce fat.
By eating in calorie deficit and doing cardio, you will lose weight equally over your entire body. There is no way for you to only burn belly or leg fat but keep it in other places.
Generally, the places that you put fat on first are going to be the ones you lose it from first. If you notice that your mid section and chest are the first areas that get chubbier as you put on weight, then those are probably the ones that will get smaller.
Now this is a good thing if you are worried about losing arm size. The arms being a lot smaller than your chest, legs, and back mean that they will barely lose any size. They are also an area of the body that does not carry a large amount of fat.
Think about it, the most common areas where fat is held is the stomach, mid section, glute area, and lower back. Your arms are one of the last to put on and lose size.
Also consider that women and men carry fat in different areas. Women tend to have larger hips, thighs, and buttocks to support pregnancy and child birth. This means that they will usually tend to have more fat in these areas.
While it is true that your muscles may get slightly smaller when cutting, it will also create the illusion that you look bigger. Sounds strange, right?
By losing fat off your body, your muscles will actually pop more. Think about bodybuilders when they hop on stage. They are actually so lean and light that they look smaller than a normal person.
However, their muscles are all that is showing as their body fat is so low. You can see every vein and striation rippling through their chest and arms, making the muscle appear a lot larger than they are.
Bodybuilding is very much an illusion and losing body fat will make the illusion work in your favor. Learn more about this process here.
How To Keep Arm Size While Cutting
When we reduce our calorie intake in an effort to lose body fat, the body must compensate for lack of energy. It does so by breaking down fats and proteins.
Eating adequate protein is a very important factor when you are cutting back calories. It will stop your body from breaking down as many proteins and instead mainly burn off fat.
Eating enough protein also ensures that your muscles are still effectively able to grow and rebuild after a workout. You can actually eat more protein when cutting than you usually would.
Try to aim for 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Try to spread this protein intake out throughout the day so that your body always has available protein stores.
You also need to be eating carbohydrates to ensure that you have enough energy to get through your workouts. Carbs are converted into glycogen in the muscles and are used as fuel. If you cut out your carbs, it will be even more difficult to complete a demanding workout.
You will already have slightly less energy when cutting back on food, so don’t miss out on your carbs.
Make sure to stick to complex carbs such as oats, rice, whole grains, and vegetables as they will provide long-lasting energy as they are slower digesting. Simple carbs such as candy and processed foods provide a short burst of energy that will fade out quickly and leave you feeling gross.
Running low on energy is already an issue when cutting, so make sure to not make it worse by eating simple carbs. Stick to complex carbs so that you can have as much energy as possible for your difficult training sessions.
This allows you to train harder and keep as much muscle as possible on your arms.
How much weight should you aim to lose per week to ensure that you keep on as much muscle as possible?
Losing about a pound a week is a great way to keep on hard-earned muscle and still reach your weight loss goals. So if you have 10 pounds to lose total it would take your about 2 and a half months to do so while keeping on most of your muscle.
Remember that you can always adjust your calories depending on what the scale shows. If you are losing weight too quickly, simply up your calories. And vice versa. Finding out the amount of calories you should be eating is all about experimenting and finding what works best for your body.
You must also keep training heavy when cutting if you don’t want to lose muscle. If you start lifting lighter weights as your strength and energy decreases, then your muscles are more likely to shrink.
You won’t be able to increase weight for your lifts while eating in a deficit, but you should be able to keep most of your strength. Note that it is normal to lose a little of strength when cutting down weight.
How To Grow Your Arms
Note that your triceps make up two-thirds of your arm and is made up of three different heads. The biceps only take up the remaining third and are made up of just two heads. This is why the triceps are bigger than the biceps. You can train your triceps harder than your biceps and with more weight.
If you want bigger arms, make sure to focus on the triceps. Specifically the long head as it’s the largest head that runs down the back of your arm. Training it will make your arms look a lot thicker.
Movements such as close grip bench press, skull crushers, and overhead dumbbell extensions are all great ways to overload the long head and blow up your arms.
Triceps can be overloaded with heavy weight but it’s still important to make sure you are using correct form before going too heavy. Otherwise, you risk seriously injuring your elbows or wrists.
Start with lighter weight and work your way up. Focus on proper contractions instead of just getting the weight up.
Don’t forget about the biceps! The biceps are a lot easier to train as all you can really do for them are variations of curls. The barbell curl is a great way to overload the biceps.
Hammer curls or reverse curls are good for hitting the brachii and you should incorporate some sort of preacher curl to build your bicep peak.
Progressively overload your arms by either increasing weight, reps, sets, or intensity every workout. This ensures that your strength will gradually increase over time and your muscles will continue to face new stimulus, forcing them to grow.
Don’t forget about nutrition and proper recovery. Your arm muscles need adequate protein and carbs to grow and rebuild. Staying hydrated is also very important as water will deliver nutrients into your muscles and help with getting better contractions.
You also should be getting at least 7 hours a sleep a night for your muscles to recover properly. Protein synthesis and growth hormone release while we are asleep. This will allow your muscles to rebuild and grow back stronger.
Blood supply to the muscles is also increased while we sleep.
Leave any questions or comments below and I’ll get back to you!
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