Man boobs: what causes them and what you can do

Are IPAs Giving You Manboobs?

What causes man boobs - and more importantly, how do you get rid of them? We put our questions to fitness expert and PhD ambassador Dan Osman.

See also: What to eat to avoid man boobs

See also: Men and belly fat: Eight ways to bust your gut

What causes man boobs?
"It's important to distinguish the difference between the accumulation of fat deposits around the chest for men which typically make it a targeted area for chest specific exercise, and the medical condition categorised by the formation of actual breast tissue in men, known as gynecomastia," says Dan.

If you're concerned about gynecomastia, see your GP for advice. While a medical issue can be to blame, most cases of fat build-up are caused by weight gain.

Dan says: "Prolonged periods consuming more calories than the body typically burns on a daily basis will cause an increase in body fat. Some men store fat around their midsection, lower back, bottom, etc, but for some it's predominately around the chest area."

How to get rid of them
The best way to target body fat deposits on any part of the body is through a combination of diet and exercise, simultaneously increasing muscle mass and density. First and foremost, watch your daily calorie intake.

Dan explains: "The overconsumption of any nutrient, and ultimately a surplus of calories over a prolonged period of time will increase body mass and fat mass too. In its simplest form; calorie surplus = gain, calorie deficit = loss.

"If your goal is to achieve fat loss, then above all else, (including manipulating macronutrient intake, nutrient timing, addition of supplements, etc.) a sustained calorie deficit is the best way forward."

Keep protein the 'constant' variable
"Generally speaking, 1.4 - 2 kg per kilo of bodyweight is sufficient for muscle retention during periods of fat loss, this should be made up of a variety of high quality protein sources rich in essential amino acids (EAA's)," says Dan.

"Additionally, the thermic effect of food (TEF - the energy required to digest a food in order to get the calories from the food) is up to five times higher with protein than that of carbohydrate and fat. PhD Nutrition's Pharma Whey is a highly digestible, tasty protein powder rich in EAA's making it the perfect source of protein post training."

If in doubt, 'track'
If you've hit a fat loss plateau, try tracking your intake of protein, carbohydrate and fat, as well as overall calories. You might be surprised at what you're actually consuming over the course of a day/week.

"There are many apps and software programs that have the ability to track and collect data based on the foods you consume daily," says Dan.

Wearing a fitness tracking device, such as the Fitbit (from £69.00 on Amazon) can also help you set goals and stay motivated.

Best exercise to get rid of man boobs
A combination of strength training and cardiovascular training will be most effective at shifting fat deposits around the chest area.

Dan recommends the following strength exercises to increase chest strength and size:

o Low incline barbell bench press
o Flat dumbbell bench press
o High cable chest fly
o Press-ups
o Dips

Finally, you may have heard that it's import to increase testosterone in order to avoid man boobs.

"The truth is that a man's natural testosterone production, and the extend to which it can be increased, is determined by genetics," says Dan.

"However, there are some products - such as PhD's Test Matrix - that can contribute to an individuals' ability to 'optimise' testosterone serum concentrations within their natural and genetic capabilities."
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