THE TRUTH ABOUT CHEST FAT…
Did you know that second to the abdomen, the chest is where men store most of their body fat?
If you’ve got chest fat, you probably hate it.
When men store excessive body fat in the chest, it can show up as man boobs.
The good news is that there are workout routines, exercises and nutrition tips that can help you learn how to get rid of man boobs and lose the chest fat once and for all!
However, here’s an important fact for you. There are two very different kinds of chest fat, two different causes, and two very different ways to fix it! While most chest fat is caused by overall excess body fat due to nutrition and lifestyle factors, there is another type that is caused by a medical condition.
It’s important to know what causes man boobs so you can find the right solution. We’re going to start out with a discussion of the two main factors that can cause man boobs. And if you’ve got the more common type of chest fat, I’ve got a 3 step plan of attack to help you get rid of man boobs fast!
man boobs: OVERWEIGHT OR HORMONAL PROBLEM?
There are two possible types of chest fat. One is related to a hormonal imbalance based medical condition while the other is lifestyle related. Which one do you have?
Let’s take a look at a couple of pictures and scenarios.
The man in the picture below is 34 years old, 5’11” and 210 lbs.
You can see that the excessive body fat is distributed not only in his chest, but that he has belly fat and arm fat as well. He is generally carrying excess weight, most likely due to a sedentary lifestyle and less than healthy eating habits.
Now let’s look at the second photograph. You can see that this man has significant fat storage in his chest, but that he has a very different chest appearance compared to the guy above.
This man is 5’10” and 190 lbs.
In other words, he’s of average weight.
So what is causing the accumulation of fat in his chest?
This guy is suffering from gynecomastia, which is a hormone imbalance medical issue. If you’ve never heard of gynecomastia, let’s begin with a definition:
What Is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is the abnormal breast growth or excess breast tissue in boys or men due to an imbalance of hormone levels in which levels of testosterone and estrogen levels are affected. It can affect one or both sides of the chest, sometimes unevenly. It can be caused by fluctuations in hormones due to natural causes, but is also a common side effect of anabolic steroids use.
Gynecomastia is driven by an over conversion of our androgens (male hormones) to estrogen (female hormones) and it makes it look like we’ve developed excess breast tissue. Sometimes a man can have both excess body fat and clinical gynecomastia. So how do you know which of these two is what’s accounting for your man boobs?
CHEST FAT VS. GYNECOMASTIA
The best way to determine whether gynecomastia is the root cause of your male breasts problem or if it’s just excess weight is to compare the signs.
I’ve laid out an infographic to help you figure out exactly what’s going on in your own body so that I can help you fix the problem. Let’s take a quick look at each one of the factors for gynecomastia vs. extra weight.
HOW CAN YOU TELL IF IT’S CHEST FAT OR GYNECOMASTIA?
- Firm vs. Soft: Body fat is typically saggy and soft to the touch. If the fat in your pecs is more firm that might be a sign of gynecomastia. If they are tender or sore, that could be another indicator of gynecomastia.
- Hormonally Driven vs. Diet Related: As we’ve previously mentioned, gynecomastia is a hormonally driven health condition causing an increase in breast tissue, while regular chest fat is diet and lifestyle related. If you have excess body fat in the belly, back or other places on your body and if you know that your diet and exercise need improvement, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with regular chest fat.
- Specific Ages vs. Anytime: When it comes to gynecomastia there are a couple of life stages where men are especially susceptible to hormonal changes. Gynecomastia can be more common when you’re a developing teenager or when you’re an older guy going through andropause, which is the male equivalent to menopause. Someone who is simply overweight could have chest fat at any age.
- Nipple-Centric vs. Diffuse: Men who are dealing with gynecomastia will find that there’s an enlargement of the nipple and the sagginess of the chest is focused in the nipple. Someone with excess body fat is going to have a diffuse distribution of chest fat in the overall pectoral region.
Now that you’ve examined these differences, if you think you’ve got gynecomastia you should talk to a medical professional about treatment options to get rid of the excess breast tissue.
Anyone who says you can just do lots of pushups and killer chest exercises to get rid of it is not telling the truth!
Most often gynecomastia treatments involve surgical intervention to get in and remove those masses and give you the opportunity to start developing your chest normally.
However here’s the good news!
Most often chest fat is NOT gynecomastia.
The truth is that 92% of guys with flabby chests have a very fixable issue. I’m about to lay out a step-by-step plan for you to help you reduce chest fat and get strong, defined, squared-off chest muscles!
HOW TO GET RID OF man boobs – 3 STEP PLAN
Assuming you fall into the category of guys that are just dealing with excess body fat, let’s see what we can do from a fitness and nutrition perspective to help you learn how to lose man boobs fast.
In order to lose chest fat you have to lose weight by prioritizing your food choices. There is simply no way to burn chest fat if your diet plans aren’t on point.
No matter how many pushups or bench press reps you do, you will not be able to spot reduce the fat surrounding your chest by building up muscle mass in the pectoral muscles.
It’s just that simple guys.
I don’t care what YouTube bro science ‘guru’ you watch, if somebody is telling you that’s possible, they’re not telling you the truth.
That said, I’ve got a combination of diet and training tips to lose fat and help you improve the look of your chest if you apply them with dedication and consistency!
STEP 1: FIX YOUR NUTRITION
The first thing you need to focus on is getting that balanced diet dialed in.
And I’m talking about DIET as a noun and not as a verb.
I believe that ALL diets are all temporary, because being ‘on a diet’ means you’re eventually going to be off of it and that’s not going to help you in the long run.
A good diet plan starts with one that you can actually stick with for the long term. It does you no good to follow a fad diet that helps with temporary fat loss, only to gain it back a month later and lose all the definition in your pecs that you were hoping for in the first place. The ATHLEAN X-Factor Meal Plan is a nutrition plan that you can stay consistent with so that you can lose that chest fat and keep it off for good.
STEP 2: DON’T SKIP THE CHEST
Second, some guys make the mistake of not training their chest with weights because they’re afraid that doing chest exercises will only make their already big chests look bigger.
That couldn’t be further from the truth!
The fact of the matter is, muscle tissue is much more dense than fat tissue.
In other words, fat occupies much more space than muscle tissue does. This means that when your chest is developed, your pectoral muscles will be smaller and more defined than they would be if they remained simply as chest fat.
STEP 3: ATTACK IT FROM ALL ANGLES
Third, if you’re going to strength train your chest then you’d better attack it from all angles!
You may have heard me talk previously about how there is separate nerve innervation between upper chest and lower chest, and there are also incomplete muscle fibers that don’t span completely from attachment origin to insertion.
This means that there are ways that we can preferentially engage more fibers and muscle motor units in our upper body workouts by using different exercises. So you have to have a complete arsenal of exercises in your chest workout if you want to see the best results! My Perfect Chest Workout is the ultimate example of the type and variety of chest exercises with weights that I would include in a complete chest workout.
Dial in your nutrition plan and start applying this knowledge to your chest workouts and you’ll be well on your way to that chiseled chest!
If you’re looking for a step by step, day by day program that will help you to get to a chest that you’re happy with, let me be your coach. Let me inspire you to get into the best shape of your life! Check out our ATHLEAN-X programs and start seeing how to lose chest fat fast while developing athletic muscle from head to toe.
- There are two possible reasons for chest fat: being generally overweight and a hormonal medical condition called gynecomastia. There are things you can do to minimize both types of chest fat, but first you have to be able to identify which issue you’re dealing with.
- There are 4 main criteria that you can use to determine whether your chest fat problem is related to overall body fat or gynecomastia (a problem with balance of hormones). These factors are how the mass feels to the touch, whether the issue is hormonally driven, your age, and the look of the chest fat.
- If you believe your issue is gynecomastia you should see a physician. Usually the only way to remedy it is through surgery so that you can begin developing your chest normally.
- If you believe your chest fat is due to excess body fat, I’ve laid out a 3 step plan of attack to help you blast away chest and overall body fat which includes focusing heavily on nutrition, NOT skipping your chest workouts and ensuring you hit the chest from all angles.
HOW TO LOSE CHEST FAT FAQS
Since spot reduction isn't possible, the best way to lose excess chest fat naturally is by losing body fat in the entire body through nutrition and strength training. You must lower your overall body fat percentage to lose chest fat. Focus on lifestyle modifications like a healthy diet to achieve a caloric deficit, avoiding consumption of alcohol, training the chest muscles with effective exercises and increasing energy expenditure through moderate-intensity cardio.
It is not possible to lose chest fat in one week because this requires maintaining a healthy lifestyle including a nutrition and training plan for the long term. The best way to lose chest fat deposits is to improve your fitness level and nutrition (focusing on high protein diets to help you build muscle). If you have a lot of chest fat to lose, consult a medical professional before you change your diet or fitness plan.
How many months it takes to lose chest fat depends on your level of chest fat stores. If you have a small amount of body fat to lose, you may be able to achieve a decrease in body weight and body fat along with an increase in chest muscle mass within just a few months. If you have a lot of excess body weight, it could take longer to achieve your goal. Focus on proper nutrition to decrease caloric intake, avoid excessive alcohol consumption, train your chest muscles with effective strength training exercises and supplement with high-intensity cardio exercise.
In some cases chest fat can be caused by gynecomastia which is male enlargement of breast tissue due to changes in testosterone levels, but this is not a common condition. The most common reason for excessive chest fat is an overall excess of body fat. The best way to lose chest fat is to change your body composition by adopting a nutrition plan full of healthy foods, begin training the chest with the best strength training exercises and increasing metabolic rate with cardiovascular exercise.
Jeff Cavaliere M.S.P.T, CSCS
Jeff Cavaliere is a Physical Therapist, Strength Coach and creator of the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs and ATHLEAN-Rx Supplements. He has a Masters in Physical Therapy (MSPT) and has worked as Head Physical Therapist for the New York Mets, as well as training many elite professional athletes in Major League Baseball, NFL, MMA and professional wrestling. His programs produce “next level” achievements in muscle size, strength and performance for professional athletes and anyone looking to build a muscular athletic physique.