Nutrition-fitness coach offers up an easy, science-savvy (mostly gender-neutral) guide to building great arms for the sleeveless season … and feeling great all year
By Craig Weatherby
Muscular upper arms lately gained the nickname “guns” …as in the saying about sleeveless dresses, “sun's out, guns out”.
The term gained currency when Michelle Obama made a summer 2008 splash with sleeveless dresses that—intentionally or not—showcased her well-built biceps.
Now, top nutrition and fitness coach JJ Virgin offers up a smart, fun, breezy guide to building big guns fast for summer… and staying fit, healthy, and energized year round.
The book's “fashionista” cover and slinky title
—Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy
—is deceiving in a good way, because there's much more substance than you might expect.
In fact, we were impressed with the accuracy and presentation of the food/nutrition portion of Ms. Virgin's program.
JJ Virgin boasts a celebrity client list, served two years as the Dr. Phil show's nutrition expert, and can claim solid professional credentials.
Her recommended exercises are simple, portable, and illustrated clearly with photos of the author using a big exercise beach ball and small hand weights.
And unlike all too many books about nutrition and fitness, JJ Virgin's presents sound advice, succinctly, with no errors or exaggerations.
We found much to like about the clear, quick way she presents the basics of eating for health, strength, and energy.
She takes a modular approach to meals... one that allows for improvisation and individual tastes, and doesn't rely on recipes… though Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy offers some nice ones.
JJ Virgin is also President of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals and a board-certified Nutrition Specialist with the American College of Nutrition... for more info, visit her web site.
Seafood, greens, and more: Arms buildup needs healthy protein, carbs, and fats
Ms. Virgin sets out a simple pattern of eating that starts with plenty of protein… four to six ounces per meal for most women, with the exact amount derived from the rule of thumb she describes.
She promotes protein with healthier fat profiles, such as wild seafood, omega-3 eggs, and grass-fed meats and poultry.
As to carbs, it's simple: get most of yours from vegetables and fruits, favoring ones that rank low on her glycemic index scale – such as berries.
When it comes to fats, she is as pro-omega-3 (and anti-omega-6) as you'd expect based on the evidence on inflammation and disease risk, so she prefers foods that are relatively high in omega-3s and low in omega-6s.
One feature we really like is her lists of “lateral shifts”, where she offers healthier alternatives to all kinds of common foods… for example:
- Have an orange instead of a glass of orange juice.
Use olive oil instead of an omega-6-rich cooking oil (corn, soy, safflower, canola).
Favor wild fish, because the feed given to farmed fish make them high in omega-6 fats.
Further, she offers good, clear advice on drinks, desserts, eating out, and other special topics… all presented in a very efficient but friendly fashion.
We really enjoyed reading Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy... and the author earns big points for giving only advice based on science, while making her lessons very easy to absorb.