There's quite a bit of misinformation in this thread that I'd like to correct.
When we say that you can't spot reduce, we mean that; there are NO exercises you can do that will give you leaner arms nor leaner stomach, leaner legs, etc.
Fat loss is a *total body* process. Your genetics are the real determinants of where you will lose weight and when. For most of us, our "trouble zones" are the last thing to go. If you have fat in your arms, all the tricep dips in the world won't reduce them. If you're like me, and have a preggo belly, you can do crunches, planks, situps, etc all you like, but they won't reduce the fat from that area.
When you exercise, your muscles draw their energy from the bloodstream... NOT the surrounding fat stores.
If someone lost 2 inches in their arms doing a certain exercise, that's because they reduce their overall body fat percentage, and were genetically predisposed to doing so. Not because they were doing exercises to work that part. I can prove it! I have great looking arms; most of my weight has come from my arms and legs (my butt looks great!) I have done exercises that target those areas as a part of my overall routine.
But I have ALSO done TONS of core work... nearly every group fitness class I take does some core work, so that's the most worked area on my body. And yet, fat stubbornly clings there. I've got a 6 pack under there, I can FEEL it... but it's hidden byt the keg.
As for not wanting "bulky arms", don't worry about that. If you're a woman, you probably couldn't get them if you tried. Don't be afraid to lift heavy! If you want to bulk up, you have to LIFT like a body builder, eat at a calorie deficit, and do this for hours a day. Skip the "low weights, high reps" nonsense... it just wastes your time, and isn't effective as lifting heavy.
You DO want to do total-body strength training, using challenging weights that fatigue your muscles in 8-12 reps (or fewer.) Doing so will burn MORE fat overall, boost your metabolism, increase "afterburn" (where you burn more calories after you get done exercising), and help the fat you DO have look good. ItT will also preserve the lean muscle you have, as if you do NOT strength train, you will be losing as much as 25% of your weight in muscle, too, resulting in what's fondly known as "skinny fat", where you weigh little, but have a high body fat percentage with little lean muscle.
More info on bulking up versus toning can be found here: www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_artic
Writer, mother, wife, and breadwinner. I love to run, but running doesn't love me, so I'm switching to my low-impact bike.
I'm not pregnant, just fat: My blog. fatnotpregnant.blogspot.com/
| current weight: 187.4