How To Get Rid Of Man Boobs: 4 Surefire Steps For Success

It’s pretty well established that there’s a lot of pressure from the media to look a certain way or attain a specific ideal physique.

For women, there’s a pressure to be super thin, which is sometimes said to contribute to the prevalence of eating disorders among teenagers and young women.

But, there are also pressures for men, who see models of their gender sporting only the most rock-hard, muscular bodies with carved abs, defined arms, and a chiseled chest.

Men often look back at their own reflection flexing in the mirror and see somewhat scrawny legs, a soft belly with a bit of a pooch, and “man boobs.”

Also, it’s important to emphasize that your value and worth are not tied to your appearance in any way, and all shapes and sizes of bodies can be beautiful. With that said, many guys decide they’d like to look into how to get rid of man boobs.

In this guide, we will to look at:

  • What Are Man Boobs?
  • Can You Get Rid of Man Boobs?
  • How To Get Rid Of Man Boobs: 4 Bulletproof Steps

Let’s get started!

A person on a cardio machine, working on how to get rid of man boobs.

What Are Man Boobs?

Man boobs are essentially breasts on a male body—soft, somewhat flabby tissue consisting mostly of adipose (fat) rather than muscle fibers.

Although man boobs do overlie the pectoralis major muscle of the chest, the excess body fat may make the chest appear more breast-like than pec-like.

In most cases, man boobs are caused by having a high body fat percentage.

All men do naturally have some breast tissue, though as long as your hormones are properly balanced, once you hit puberty, testosterone levels increase, and estrogen levels are so minimal that this breast tissue doesn’t enlarge into prominent breasts.

However, if you have a lot of excess body fat, some of this fat tissue will be distributed in the chest, thus making the appearance of man breasts.

There are also medical conditions that can cause the growth of breast tissue in men, such as gynecomastia, which is an enlargement of the breasts in men due to an excess of estrogen.

A person eating a salad.

Can You Get Rid of Man Boobs?

The good news is that for most men, it is possible to get rid of man boobs.

As long as you don’t have a medical condition such as gynecomastia or other hormonal imbalance that increases your levels of estrogen, you should be able to make steps towards getting rid of man boobs.

Man boobs are essentially excess body fat on top of your pectoral muscles, so by losing body fat and building muscle, you can change the appearance of your chest and get rid of your man boobs.

How to Get Rid of Man Boobs: 4 Bulletproof Steps

The best way to get rid of man boobs is to take a three-pronged approach—lose body fat through diet, lose body fat through exercise, increase the size and strength of the muscles in your chest (your pectoralis major and pectoralis minor), and optimize your hormones.

Let’s look into each of these four ways for how to lose man boobs:

A salad, weights, a note book and a pencil.

#1: Losing Body Fat Through Dietary Changes

One of the most effective ways to lose body fat and thus shrink your man boobs is by reducing your caloric intake and eating a clean diet.

You need to create a caloric deficit if you want to lose body fat. 

For example, to lose one pound of stored body fat, you need to burn 3,500 more calories than you consume.

If you think about this number of calories in the context of losing one pound of fat per week, this would entail generating a caloric deficit of 500 calories per day.

This can be created by eating less, exercising more, or both.

From a diet standpoint, focus on whole, natural, unprocessed foods that are filling and high in nutrients, fiber, and water. This means that the foods are nutrient-dense but not energy dense.

A diet that supports fat loss isn’t just restricted from a caloric standpoint but also limits processed foods, sugar, sodium, and unhealthy fats.

Focus on vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, legumes, eggs, low-fat dairy, and smaller amounts of seeds and nuts for healthy fats.

A person taking a step.

#2: ​​Losing Body Fat Through Exercise

When most guys are looking into how to get rid of man boobs, they focus solely on specific chest exercises that they imagine will target the excess fat on the chest.

Unfortunately, you cannot spot reduce body fat, meaning that doing a bunch of exercise for one area of the body won’t disproportionately reduce fat tissue from that region.

For example, doing thousands of crunches and sit-ups won’t get rid of belly fat and give you visible six-pack abs unless you do so many thousands that you lose enough total body fat that your belly flattens and your abs appear, but then so too would you lose a comparable amount of body fat in your thighs, arms, and rest of your body.

In other words, doing a bunch of chest exercises won’t be a successful way to lose the body fat associated with man boobs any more so than doing a bunch of crunches would.

Chest exercises will strengthen the pectoral muscles underneath all of your body fat, but unless you lose the overlying fat, you will not see much of an increase in the size and definition of your chest.

And, as just mentioned, chest exercises aren’t going to shed man breast tissue fat effectively.

So, what type of exercise can get rid of man boobs?

Spinning bikes.

The good news is that any type of aerobic exercise can help you lose body fat, and there’s even evidence to suggest that consistent, total-body strength training programs can also cause fat loss.

Exercise burns calories, so when you think about the relationship between the number of calories you are consuming and the number of calories you are expanding, any physical activity or deliberate workouts that you perform will increase the number of calories you are burning per day.

The higher you can drive up your daily caloric expenditure, the easier it will be to generate the caloric deficit you need to lose weight.

Basically, the more calories you can burn through exercise, the more body fat you will lose as long as you aren’t compensating by eating more calories.

The key to losing weight through exercise is consistency. Doing a long bike ride or an occasional run won’t have an appreciable effect on your caloric balance or your metabolism.

Instead, you want to make sure you’re exercising at least 4-5 days per week for a minimum of 30-45 minutes, and potentially up to 60 minutes, depending on the intensity.

A person doing a reverse fly.

Cycling, running, walking, hiking, elliptical machines, climbing stairs, Zumba dancing, swimming, rowing, playing sports such as tennis or basketball, jumping rope, and rollerblading are all examples of good exercises to help you lose body fat and thus, a good way of how to get rid of man breasts.

Additionally, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be an especially effective means of reducing body fat. Not only is it more time efficient, enabling you to get an equivalent workout in about 40% less time compared to traditional steady-state moderate-intensity exercise, but it also increases your afterburn, or the number of calories you burn once the workout is over.

Known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), this increased metabolic rate after HIIT workouts is due to the body’s additional energy needs that must go into restoring homeostasis after such an intense workout.

By stoking your metabolism, HIIT training can help you burn even more body fat once your exercise session is over.

Additionally, as mentioned, resistance training can also be an effective means of reducing body fat. 

Although your weightlifting workout may not necessarily burn as many calories as a long bike ride or a hard run, by building lean muscle mass, you will increase your overall metabolic rate (reflected in an increased BMR), and therefore, you will burn more calories throughout the day even at rest.

Over time, this will help you lose weight faster because it will be easier to maintain a caloric deficit.

Moreover, strength training can increase your testosterone and growth hormone levels, which both aid in boosting your metabolism, reducing body fat, and increasing muscle mass.

A person doing chest press.

#3: Perform Exercises That Target Your Chest Muscles

Although you can’t “spot reduce” body fat, you can target specific muscles with certain exercises.

In this way, you can perform exercises that strengthen the muscles in your chest, namely the pectoral muscles.

Here are some of the best exercises to strengthen your chest:

  • Push-Ups: Vary your hand placement (standard, wide, narrow, staggered) to target different heads of the pectoral muscles and progress or regress the exercise as needed based on your fitness level. For example, start with wall push-ups, then kneeling, then regular push-ups. As you get stronger, progress to decline push-ups, push-ups with a weighted vest, clapping push-ups, etc.
  • Chest Press and Bench Press: Use dumbbells for the chest press or a barbell for the bench press. Alter your grip width, and change the angle of the bench (flat bench, incline bench, decline bench) to target different muscle fibers in the pectoral muscles
  • Chest Fly: This is a great exercise to isolate your pecs.
  • Inverted Rows: Inverted rows can be performed with suspension straps or from a bar on a squat rack.
  • Kettlebell Swings: This total-body exercise also strengthens your chest while boosting your metabolic rate.
  • Dips: Dips primarily target the triceps, but they also work your pectoral muscles. 
A variety of fruits and vegetables.

#4: Remove Endocrine Disruptors

If you want to nerd out on all of the possible ways for how to get rid of man boobs, you can also look into removing any endocrine disruptors from your life.

Maximizing your testosterone levels and minimizing estrogen as much as possible is the best way to prevent any extra enlargement of your breast tissue.

We’ve already discussed that strength training can increase testosterone levels, but there are additional ways to decrease estrogen.

There are various environmental endocrine disruptors that can increase estrogen production. 

For example, BPAs in canned goods, cheap plastic packaging surrounding food, trans fats and pesticides, and processed soy foods can potentially be estrogenic.

Try to avoid heating foods in plastic and eating a lot of soy. Where possible, consume organic fruits and vegetables.

Alcohol also can disrupt your hormones and increase fat storage, potentially contributing to man breasts.

Following these four steps can be a very effective approach for how to lose man boobs. 

Be patient, be consistent with your diet and exercise, and enjoy the body composition journey. You’ve got this!

Ready to get cracking? Here’s a workout that will target your chest: The Best Chest Workouts To Do At Home

A person on an exercise machine.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, and contributes to several fitness, health, and running websites and publications. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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