How to Get Rid of Man Boobs (And Common Causes) - Old School Labs
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Home » OSL Blog » How to Get Rid of Man Boobs

How to Get Rid of Man Boobs

August 21, 2019

Key Takeaways

  1. Man boobs can be embarrassing and unsightly for some men, but as much as 60% of men will deal with them in their lifetime.
  2. Finding the cause of man boobs can help determine the right course of action.
  3. Diet and exercise are the main ways to get rid of man boobs, but there are other ways as well.

Do you have excess chest fat, even though you go hard at the gym and focus on your chest?

Have you tried to get rid of your man boobs, but they still persist?

What if we told you that there are a few things to try to get rid of your man boobs?

Well, then make sure you read through this latest Old School Labs article today.

man boobs
Men with different fitness levels can have man boobs.

No matter what you call them – man boobs or moobs – they can be extremely embarrassing for some men. Especially those who work out in the gym, but still have them. 

Even bodybuilders in the Golden Era were not immune to this condition. Some greats like Ronnie Coleman, Franco Columbu, and Lee Haney all dealt with man boobs.

You may think that there’s nothing you can do to get rid of them, but that’s just not true. Today, we’re going to learn about man boobs.

  • What they are
  • How you get them
  • Ways to get rid of them – what works and what doesn’t

What are Man Boobs?

First, let’s take a look at what man boobs actually are and why some men get them and why some don’t. Some people say that moobs are genetic, but that’s not really the case.

Man boobs are actually a condition called gynecomastia. This condition can affect infants, young boys, as well as adult men. The breast tissue swells and can sometimes be painful, and for many, unsightly and embarrassing.

man boobs
Gynecomastia is caused by an estrogen & testosterone imbalance.

What is the cause of man boobs? It’s an imbalance of estrogen and testosterone levels in males that causes this condition. In this case, there is too much estrogen hormone in the body which blocks or reduces testosterone production.

This actually makes a lot of sense, considering moobs look a lot like a young woman’s developing breasts.

What do we know about estrogen and testosterone, and their role in excess chest fat in males?

1. Estrogen

This is one of the main female sex hormones. In women, estrogen is mostly found in the ovaries. Once a female hits puberty, estrogen promotes the growth of :

  • Breasts
  • Pubic hair
  • Underarm hair
  • Creates the menstrual cycle

Men have some estrogen in their bodies as well. What does estrogen do for both sexes?

  • Helps control cholesterol
  • Is important for healthy bones
  • Promotes the healthy function of the brain, heart, and tissues

Men who have too low estrogen in their system might notice a low desire for sex. It can also be attributed to having too much stomach fat.

On the flip side, too much estrogen in men can lead to 

  • Infertility
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Gynecomastia

Now, let’s see what role testosterone plays.

2. Testosterone

The main male hormone, testosterone creates a number of changes in men at the onset of puberty. Those changes include:

  • Voice changes and becomes deeper
  • Hair production increases on the face, body and in the pubic region
  • The testes and penis grow
  • Promotes sperm production
  • Increase in height

Not surprising, women have less testosterone than men. The role of testosterone for women increases:

  • Muscle strength
  • Bone density
  • Sexual desire

Men have the highest levels of testosterone in their 20s and it starts to taper off by the time they reach 35. Like estrogen, men can have too much or too little testosterone. Too much usually causes boys to hit puberty at a younger age.

If you have too little testosterone, it can:

  • Decrease your sex drive
  • Lower your sperm count
  • Negatively affect erections
  • Cause gynecomastia

Now we know that too much estrogen can cause man boobs. But what other causes are there? 

Causes of Man Boobs

It turns out, there are quite a few things other than high estrogen levels that can cause gynecomastia.

alcohol
Alcohol use is one of the factors that can cause man boobs.
  • Drug and alcohol use – drinking alcohol is a cause, as well as using marijuana, heroin, methadone, and amphetamines.
  • Medications – there are some medications that can cause excess breast fat in men:
    • Anabolic steroids
    • Some antibiotics
    • Cancer medications
    • Anti-anxiety meds
    • Anti-androgens
    • AIDS medications
    • Heart meds
    • Ulcer medications
  • Plant oils – the use of tea tree and lavender oils can also create more estrogen activity in men.
  • Health conditions – certain health issues can have gynecomastia as a side effect. Aging and being overweight are factors, as well as:
    • Hypogonadism
    • Hyperthyroidism
    • Malnutrition
    • Pituitary, adrenal, or testicle tumors
    • Treatment for kidney failure
    • Liver failure
    • Cirrhosis of the liver medications
lavender oil
Lavender oil can create an increased estrogen activity in men.

As you age, it’s natural that your testosterone levels will decrease over time. But knowing some of the other factors to look at can give you more reason to live a healthy lifestyle. You can prevent a lot of the health conditions listed above by making healthy choices.

  • Don’t drink alcohol or take drugs
  • Don’t take steroids
  • Choose a healthy lifestyle so that you age well and reduce the risk of the health conditions listed above

Gynecomastia in Youth

It is actually really common for young men to have man boobs. Even infants can get it if enough estrogen is passed by the mother. Luckily for them, it usually resolves in a few weeks once they hit their first growth spurt.

The same can be true for youth who haven’t yet hit puberty. Adolescent gynecomastia usually resolves itself without any intervention. Once they hit puberty or their next growth spurt post-puberty, it should resolve on its own.

Adolescent gynecomastia
Adolescent gynecomastia is common & it usually resolves itself without any intervention.

So if you know a 13-year-old who wants to know how to get rid of man boobs, they shouldn’t worry. And if it is a problem that doesn’t seem to go away, diet and exercise should help. 

So far, we’ve discussed what man boobs are and how you can get them. Now, let’s take a look at what can be done to get rid of them.

How to Get Rid of Man Boobs

First things first, there is no “get rid of man boobs quick” scheme out there. We can’t tell you how to get rid of moobs in a day. It’s hard to lose chest fat in a week to 10 days time, even for males who work out consistently. 

calendar
Having a plan & following it consistently is key to get rid of moobs.

What we can offer are some things you can do that can help over time. Let’s take a look at some of the tried and true ways to get rid of man boobs. Before we begin, we have to say this. 

If you haven’t already, make sure you consult a doctor to find out what is causing your gynecomastia. 

Knowing the cause can help determine the best plan of attack to reduce your chest fat. Whatever your game plan, run it by your doc so they know what you are doing.

1. Exercises

There should be no surprise, as an Old School Labs reader, that certain exercises can help reduce chest fat. We figured we’d highlight these first so that you can make sure you are incorporating them into your workout routine.

While you can’t target fat loss, you can do specific exercises which will increase chest muscle size. The fat will burn as you exercise and help promote muscle gains. Hopefully, this happens right where you are targeting.

These exercises will show how to get rid of moobs at the gym or at home, depending on your setup. For all of them, you’ll want a weight that allows you to do the reps with proper form until completed.

Bent Over/Bent Forward Cable Crossover

You’ll likely need to go to the gym for this one unless you have a cable machine at home. Set the weight equally on both sides. If one side is bigger than the other, you can go slightly heavier on that side.

bent forward cable crossover
Unless one side is bigger than the other, it is best to set equal weights on each side.

How to do it: Once you’ve got your weight set, stand in the center of the cable tower facing away from the machine. Grab a cable in each hand and bend forward at the waist, not quite 90 degrees. You want the cables to be in line with your chest muscles to focus the energy there.

Keep your back flat throughout and engage your core for stability. In one controlled motion, exhale and pull the handles together and continue until your hands cross over each other. Inhale as you return to the starting position.

bent over cable crossover
Keep your back flat throughout and engage your core for stability when doing crossovers.

Complete 8 – 12 reps for a total of three sets. Take up to a 30-second break between sets if needed.

Barbell Bench Press

Whether at home or at the gym, you can do this exercise with a bench using a barbell. Keeping the bar at mid-chest level will target the chest muscles.

barbell bench press
The barbell bench press exercise targets the chest muscle.

How to do it: Lie flat on the bench and grab the barbell with an overhand grip. Hold the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart. Raise the bar above your mid-chest until your arms are straight.

Inhale as you slowly bring the bar down to just above your chest. Exhale as you raise the bar back up to the starting position. It should take twice as long to lowe as it does to raise the bar back up.

Complete three sets of 8 – 12 reps, taking up to a 30-second break in between sets as needed.

Push Ups

This exercise will help get rid of moobs without weights. We assume you know how to do a proper push up, but if not, here’s how it works.

push up
Push ups are a classic body-weight exercise that activate the chest muscles.

How to do it: Start facing the floor, legs straight out and feet hip-width apart. Hands should be shoulder-width apart and in line with your shoulders.

Keep your back straight and core engaged throughout the exercise. Exhale as you lower yourself down almost to the floor. Inhale on the way back up to the starting position.

Complete 10 – 12 reps for a total of three sets. Take up to a 30-second break if needed between sets.

Cardio

Sometimes, you get so focused on building muscle mass that you forget about cardio. But, it’s important when you are a male (or female) looking to reduce chest fat.

According to the Depart of Health and Human Services (HHS), Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans include:

  • Between 150 – 300 minutes (2.5 – 5 hours) of moderate-intensity exercise per week
  • Between 75 – 150 minutes (1.25 – 2.5 hours) of vigorous-intensity exercise per week
  • Two days or more of muscle-strengthening exercises for all muscle groups of moderate or higher intensity per week
Cycling is one of the various cardio exercises that you can enjoy.

Some examples of cardio exercise are:

  • Running
  • Powerwalking
  • Swimming
  • Zumba
  • Jazzercise
  • Cycling
  • Rowing
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Jumping rope
  • Stair climbers
  • HIIT
running
Running one of the most common forms of cardio.

The great thing about adding cardio to your workout routine is that it has a host of other health benefits, including:

  • Improves your heart health
  • Reduces the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes
  • Decreases your chance of stroke
  • Boosts oxygen supply, which helps improve muscle mass
  • Increases circulation
  • Helps arthritis
  • Reduces the risk of bone fractures
  • Increases energy
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Helps you sleep better

2. Change Your Diet

Changing your diet can also help you to get rid of man boobs. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – you can’t out-exercise a bad diet.

Before you make any changes though, consider tracking your eating habits if you aren’t already. That way, you can see what you are eating and where you need to change the foods you consume.

We can’t offer a way to get rid of chest fat in 10 days or even a week. Like exercise, this is a change that will happen gradually over time. Consistency is key, and what works for some might not work for you.

Think about it, you likely didn’t get your moobs overnight, it took time for it to happen. And if you did get them overnight, you better run to see your doctor! So, it will take time to get your body healthy enough to lose the fat and increase muscle mass.

balanced diet
A balanced diet is essential to get rid of man boobs.

Once you’ve tracked your food, you’ll need to review how much fat, carbs, and protein you are eating. These are the macronutrients that you are eating in your daily diet. To figure out what you should be eating, consider this step-by-step guide we’ve created to help.

As your activity levels change, you can adjust your macros to change with it. Then, you’ll really start seeing the fat fall off and being replaced with muscle. Imagine how good you’d look with a defined and chiseled chest without the moobs!

3. Talk to Your Doctor

Did you talk to your doctor to find out what could be causing your moobs? If they said it could be a side effect of medication, ask if you can change it.

Depending on why you’re taking the medication, it could be an option to consider. This is another reason why we stress to talk to your doctor first. 

doctor and patient
Always check in with your doctor about the cause of your moobs first.

It could be something as easy as swapping your meds to help get rid of your man boobs. If it’s not, then at least you know and we’ve already provided a good plan for you to follow.

4. Get Rid of the Stimulants

Depending on your social circle, you might be around drugs, alcohol, and/or steroids regularly. Considering what you’ve learned so far about their effects on man boobs, it might be something to opt out of.

We know it can be hard to give up your vices, and especially true for steroids if they help with gains. One thing you can consider as a replacement is taking supplements instead.

Here at Old School Labs, we’ve done the research and created the best supplements to help bodybuilders. We’ve taken the guesswork out of the equation, so you just have to find what is best for your goals. 

Take a look around our supplements shop and we bet you can find the perfect substitution for steroids.

supplements

There is a reason that all major fitness competitions follow the World Anti-Doping Agency’s guidelines to make steroids disqualifying.

Consider an alternative to substances that can offer some of the same effects:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mental health therapy
  • Spending more time in nature
  • Supplements
  • Finding a healthier and more holistic-minded group to spend time with

We understand that man boobs are a physical quality you want to get rid of. But, bettering your mental health can also help you as well. A healthier mindset can make you happier in the body you are in and also help you meet your goals.

Consider this mixed with more pointed exercises and possibly a diet change. You could do wonders for your physical and mental health while reducing the risk of later health conditions.

5. Surgery

If you’ve tried all the options above and you’re still dealing with moobs, then there’s one last option. You can get plastic surgery to remove them, but know the risks involved before you consider this an option.

Man Boob Surgery
Surgery is one option you can adopt as a solution for man boobs.

There are three types of surgery that you can get to remove your gynecomastia:

  • Liposuction
  • Tissue excision
  • Breast reduction

Another factor to consider is that this type of surgery is considered cosmetic and usually isn’t covered by insurance. It can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $8,000 depending on where you get it done and the type. 

As with any surgery, there are risks involved with getting surgery to fix your moobs. Here are just a few:

  • Noticeable and unpleasing scarring
  • Infection
  • Necrosis (tissue death)
  • Cardiac or pulmonary complications
  • Temporary or permanent breast or nipple sensitivity or numbness
  • Pain that lasts longer than it takes to heal, could be permanent
Gynecomastia surgery complications
Gynecomastia surgery has cardiac complications as one of its risks.

If you’re desperate to get rid of your gynecomastia and you’ve tried all the other options without success, this might help. But find a reputable doctor, know the risks, and make sure you’re prepared before you do.

The Bottom Line

Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all approach to getting rid of man boobs. If you are a sufferer, then hopefully this guide has helped you find a way to reduce your chest fat.

We know you aren’t alone, and there is no need to suffer in silence. If you’re up for it, consider posting in the comments section about it. You never know who has had the same issue and found success with one of these methods.

A healthy diet, a good workout routine, and a positive mindset are a great way to start your journey.

Are you one of the unlucky men who are dealing with man boobs? Did you have them at one point but used one of our methods (or one not listed) to get rid of them? Share in the comments so you can help other moob sufferers!

Disclaimer: None of the individuals and/or companies mentioned necessarily endorse Old School Labs or COSIDLA Inc. products or the contents of this article. Any programs provided for illustration purposes only. Always consult with your personal trainer, nutritionist and physician before changing or starting any new exercise, nutrition, or supplementation program.
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