Let’s face it, “Man boobs” aren't the ideal thing most men want to have. It can make you feel self-conscious and cause you to have lower self-esteem. We are going to help you lose those man boobs by helping you understand how you got them in the first place, identifying simple changes in your diet to help fight your fat, and then looking at the most effective exercises to build that chest and get rid of those man boobs for good!
What Causes Chest Fat?
Chest fat can be caused by two things: A buildup of excess fat on the body and genetics. In men, excess fat in the chest is known as pseudo-gynecomastia, which essentially translates to “fake female breast growth”. This can be can be caused by several things.
- Lack of exercise or daily activity
- Increase in high-calorie foods like fried foods, fast food, sugar drinks, and packaged foods
- Lack of sleep
- Increase in bad stress
The good news is most of these things can be controlled and you can reduce, if not, eliminate excess chest fat!
How to Get Rid of Chest Fat
There are two things you need to do to get rid of chest fat: eat at a calorie deficit and consistently practice weight-burning exercises that target your chest. While it sounds simple, eating at a calorie deficit requires precision and some exercises can target your chest better than overs.
Let’s take a look at how to create a calorie deficit and then we’ll go into some great chest exercises after!
How to Create a Calorie Deficiency
Creating a caloric deficit is one of the keys to success in fat loss! A caloric deficit is consuming fewer calories than your body is burning OR burning more calories than you consume. If you think about how much energy it takes to lose a pound of fat, one pound of fat equals about 3,500 calories. If you aim for a caloric deficit of 500 calories per day you’ll lose 1 pound per week! This may not seem like a lot but in 10 weeks, you have lost 10 pounds of FAT!
Make sure you don’t starve yourself, though. Your body needs a certain amount of calories to sustain the muscle mass and basic functions of the body. This is called your Basal Metabolic Rate(BMR). If your BMR is, let’s say, 1,500 calories, you’ll need to eat at least that much to function normally with decent energy. In order to have a healthy sustainable weight loss, you’ll want to add roughly 300 calories to your BMR, so 1,800 calories. Now you’ll need to burn 500+ calories in that day working out to reach that caloric deficit. At the end of the day, you should be around 1,300 calories consumed minus the total amount of calories burnt doing workouts.
The best combo of exercises for weight loss is a combo of strength training, sustained cardio, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). With the right balance of workouts, mindful caloric consumption, and dedication you will start to see your excess fat start to melt!
Best Diets for Calorie Deficits
There are many diets you can follow that will help you lose fat and reach that caloric deficit. Some popular diets in recent years are:
- Keto Diet - high fat, high protein diet focused on burning fat as full instead of carbs
- Paleo Diet - A Paleolithic diet that eliminates most grains, sugars, and dairy to eat like our ancestors
- Plant-based Diet - eliminating or minimizing all animal products and highly refined foods and focusing on only eating whole foods
- Intermittent Fasting - restricting calories to a certain window in the day and refraining from eating outside of that window to help promote fat loss.
Whichever diet you choose, be sure that you can stick with it. Find one that has reasonable guidelines that fit your lifestyle and that makes you feel confident about completing it, not just the one with the “quickest results''. Consistency is the key, the longer you can stay with a diet the greater the chance of losing the excess fat!
Weight-Burning Exercises For Your Chest
Now that you know how to create a calorie deficit and have a few different diets you can try out, it’s time to take a look at some great exercises you can do to burn weight off your chest.
Here's some gear you can use:
The pushup may be the ultimate chest fat-reducing exercise! You can do them anywhere and you can always make them more challenging!
- Begin in a high-hand plank with your neck, shoulders, hips, and ankles aligned
- Lower your body to the ground by bending your elbows so your forearms stay vertical
- Maintaining your plank, push your body away from the ground and return to the top
You can always make this more challenging by bringing your hands closer together, putting your feet up on a chair, or lowering down and up as slowly as you can!
This is a great exercise that can target the upper chest as well as your upper back, building muscle and helping burn fat, a win-win!
- Begin by laying on your back on a bench, feet firmly on the floor, and hips in a bridge position holding your dumbbell above your chest.
- Squeezing your dumbbell tightly, lower the dumbbell over your head keeping a slight bend in your elbows
- Once the dumbbell is overhead, keep squeezing and pull the dumbbell back over your chest
The key to getting the most out of this exercise is for your chest to maintain that squeeze of the dumbbell all the way through the movement.
The cable crossover is one of the premiere cable chest exercises, targeting the chest and shoulder muscles. This adds variety while burning extra calories at the same time!
- Begin with your back to the machine, holding onto the handles
- Stand with your feet in an offset position ( one foot in front of the other, about hip-width apart) arms out parallel with your body
- Keeping your elbows slightly bent, begin by squeezing your chest and bringing your hands together in front of your body, crossing your hands one in front of the other making an x
- Return by slowly extending your arms back out to parallel your shoulders
Be sure to choose the appropriate weight not going too heavy to reduce the risk of shoulder injury.
Parallel Bar Dips
Dipping into calisthenics, this exercise will help build your chest and shoulders muscles as well and burn some serious calories!
- Begin by standing in front of the bars and slowly press your body above the bars
- Next, inhale and lower your body down by bending your elbows and tilting your chest forward
- Then return to the top once you feel a stretch in your chest by exhaling and extending your elbows to return your shoulders over your wrist
Be aware not to dip too low and if you start to get tired, stop and rest before your next reps.
When you want to really challenge your strength and build muscle–all while burning that chest fat–the bench press is an oldie but a goodie! This exercise covers the entire pec, but it's also great for targeting the inner chest.
- Begin by laying on your back underneath the bar with your back flat on the bench, core braced, and feet flat on the ground.
- Grab onto the bar so your hands are about shoulder-width apart.
- Then push the bar off of the rack and bring it centered over your chest.
- Then breathe in and lower the bar to your chest
- Then exhale as you press the bar away from your body returning the bar back to the rack.
Benching should be done with a spotter. If it's too heavy or you get tired, the spotter can help save you from serious injury. A great alternative to this is the chest press.
Learn more about the difference between the two exercises: chest press vs. bench press
Steady-state cardio (20 minutes or more of consistent pace) combined with strength training is the optimal way to help build muscle and lose that chest fat. Here are some cardio options to consider!
- Fast-pace walks - walking at a comfortably uncomfortable pace.
- Biking - choose a safe flat area to bike that requires you to pedal more often than coasting.
- Running - finding an enjoyable place to run that has a good balance of hills and flats will help break up the pace and give you an extra challenge.
- Swimming - total body, low impact, cardio exercise that you can do all year round.
- Rowing machine - full body, higher intensity, demanding cardio exercise that if you're short on time will get you a lot of bang for your buck!
Try these exercises and more at the TRX Training Club:
Other Weight Loss Tips to Reduce Chest Fat
With a focus on your diet and exercise you’ll be on your way to losing those man boobs for good, but there may be some other things to consider that may hinder your success.
Some other things that could contribute to excess chest fat can be excess consumption of alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption can promote fat storage and inhibit the growth of muscle. If you are going to drink alcohol be aware of how much you are drinking. Liquid calories can add up quickly! Try choosing seltzers or clear liquid drinks and avoid heavy-lager beers and sugary beverages.
Lack of sleep could lead to excess fat storage due to lack of rest causing your body to constantly output adrenaline. This can lead to elevated levels of cortisol. Excess cortisol levels in the body promote fat storage. And lack of sleep will hinder your energy levels to work out or be active for the day. If you’re looking to achieve a caloric deficit you’ll need that energy for the day!
Lastly, try to manage your stress from day to day by taking time to eliminate screen time on your phone or laptop. Take a walk outside, turn off all electronics, and focus on your breath, or listen to a guided meditation to allow your mind to unwind.
Lose Chest Fat Today
You don't have to be embarrassed about your man boobs anymore! With these solutions, you’ll be able to walk around shirtless again with confidence! Remember consistency is key and results take time, don't give up until you're satisfied!
Liangpunsakul, S., Crabb, D. W., & Qi, R. (2010, September). Relationship among alcohol intake, body fat, and physical activity: A population-based study. Annals of epidemiology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2921229/
Corliss, J. (2022, September 1). Hybrid exercise training. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/hybrid-exercise-training