Call them what you will – moobs, man-baps or gynecomastia – the excess flab that some men carry in their chest area is, shall we say, a growing problem.
47% of men in the UK hate the appearance of their chests
A recent study by the Belvedere Clinic found that 47% of men in the UK hate the appearance of their chests, and there was a 44% increase between 2007 and 2011 in the number of men who actually opted for cosmetic surgery in order to tackle the problem. Blimey.
So, what causes moobs, and how do you get shot of the wobbly swines without resorting to going under the knife?
With around two-thirds of British men now tipping the scales into obesity, the vast majority of moobs are simply caused by being overweight. However, excess flab is not always the issue – you could be dealing with a hormonal imbalance.
Lowered testosterone and elevated levels of the female hormone oestrogen can cause male ladybump-growth. But the two are not always mutually exclusive. “As your ratio of fatty tissue to lean tissue raises, the body produces more oestrogen hormones and less androgen hormones," says Dr Robert D. Galiano, MD, a plastic surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
“Should elevated levels of oestrogen be the issue, a doctor should be consulted to advise you on how to rebalance your hormones, and whether or not you need surgery."
If that all sounds a bit much, the vast majority of man boobs can be tackled with a few simple lifestyle changes...
1. Buff those boobs away
Endless bench pressing won’t budge your boob bulge, but it will certainly help to reshape the muscle underneath which will help to improve the look of the area. “The more muscle mass you have, the more efficiently your body will burn fat, and the end result will be a more masculine chest," says personal trainer Will Purdue.
Bench pressing won’t budge your boob bulge, but it will improve the look of the area
“To maximise your muscle gains, don’t just focus on your chest area. Concentrate on big muscle exercises such as squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, bench presses and rowing to activate large muscle groups and achieve big results."
2. Stand up straight – quit slouchin'!
Don’t underestimate the importance of your posture when it comes to managing your moobs. Working your back and core muscles can go a long way to successfully creating a good posture and helping you to stand tall and straight.
Strengthening your muscles can set your metabolism roaring into action
This small tweak can dramatically affect the way your chest looks (and let’s be honest, slouched shoulders are never a good look anyway).
“Strengthening your back and core muscles can set your metabolism roaring into action, and it’ll also improve your overall physique and stature," says Will Purdue.
3. Push that fat below 22%
Sadly, it’s not possible to spot-reduce fat, but hitting the gym a little harder will certainly help to lower your body fat percentage and decrease the size of those moobs.
“A healthy body fat percentage for most men is considered to be 22% or less," says Will Purdue. “Achieve it with a balance of cardio and weight training, which should include around three to five HIIT (high intensity interval training) sessions a week to kick-start your metabolism and accelerate your fat-burning potential."
4. Make your exercising as regular as clockwork
Want to keep your testosterone levels high and keep those jigglin' moobs at bay? Then make sure you’re exercising regularly, or your moaning just isn’t allowed.
A recent study by Massachusetts General Hospital found a significant relationship between testosterone levels, body weight and waist circumference. Overweight individuals who had low testosterone levels were able to raise them significantly over the course of a year by doing 150 minutes of exercise per week (alongside modifying their diets).
5. Quit starving yourself
Depriving yourself of adequate nutrition is a sure-fire way to see your testosterone levels drop, whereas your oestrogen levels won't be affected. And skimping on food and then returning to a normal diet is actually one of the most effective ways to get yourself a pair of he-baps.
Men liberated from World War II prison camps grew breast tissue within a few weeks
Commonly referred to as refeeding gynecomastia, the phenomenon was first noted in 1945 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, when half-starved men liberated from World War II prison camps grew breast tissue within a few weeks of resuming an adequate diet.
So, do keep eating – just make sure your diet is healthy, or be cursed with moobs for all eternity.