We outlined whether or not you can get rid of loose skin after major weight loss here. But how about what you can do about slightly sagging skin after you've lost 10-20 pounds? What's possible with exercise—and what’s not?
"Your body always adjusts itself over time—that's why 'man' is still here 3 million years later," says Los Angeles-based trainer Holly Perkins, C.S.C.S., author of Lift To Get Lean. It's okay if you've got some arm flab, you're frustrated with your man boobs, and/or don't know what to do about your love handles—that all seemed to appear over one long, hard winter... or one too-fun summer (so many dangerously delicious foods). You have options.
If you're looking to begin a major weight loss transformation, go slow: "Hands-down the best way to avoid loose skin from weight loss is to go slow and steady—at no more than 1.5 to 2 pounds per week," Perkins says.
If you've already taken off 35, 40, or 50 pounds you’ll want to tackle your loose skin from different angles," she says. Your skin will start to pull back and tighten up on its own, but the odds of your results being successful diminish once your weight loss exceeds 30 pounds, Perkins clarifies.
Quick anatomy lesson: Your muscles sit under body fat, which lies underneath your skin. When you lose a good amount of weight, you take away the mass that was once stretching your skin; you're left with a sagging shell of what once was. So, to make this deficit a little less apparent, try to achieve a healthy, sustainable level of body fat—somewhere around 14-22%, Perkins suggests. "This little bit of 'fluff' will make you look great and keep the skin plumped up a bit," she says.
The biggest tool you have in your arsenal—other than cosmetic procedures and surgery—is your near-unlimited ability to build muscle. Adding mass to the muscles surrounding your problem areas will help you hone and craft the physique you're looking for. And, beyond aesthetics, more muscle means better hormones, fewer injuries, longer-lasting energy, higher sex drive, and a well-balanced body composition overall, Perkins says.
Now, your plan for bulking up is simple. So simple, it only involves two moves. Keep reading for the workout.