Healthy Byte: Man Boobs

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Man boobs can creep up on anyone. Although usually a direct result of carrying excess body fat, they can also happen when your testosterone levels dip too low and your estrogen levels get too high, a medical condition called gynecomastia. That’s why even lean guys can get big breasts. In most cases, though, these two causes aren’t mutually exclusive. “Excess adipose fat produces aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to the female hormone estradiol, which can cause man boobs to form,” says Pete McCall, a personal trainer and spokesman for the American Council on Exercise.

Regardless of why you have man boobs, the best way to get rid of them is through exercise and other lifestyle changes — not with Low-T drugs. “One reason we see so many ads for testosterone-replacement gels and creams is it’s much easier to use one of these products than to do the work,” says McCall. But given all of the negative health effects linked to Low T drugs — namely increased risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke — try these eight natural solutions instead.

Get moving.

If you’re not currently getting intense cardiovascular exercise at least three days a week, that’s the very first thing you must change. Once you’ve committed to regular running, cycling, or any other type of cardio, McCall says you should start losing flab all over, which will also help shrink your doughy chest.

Ramp up your workouts.

If you’re already hitting the gym yet you’re still sporting boobs, crank up the intensity of your workouts. “So many guys get too busy and only go to the gym just a few days a week, doing the same routine every time without really pushing themselves,” McCall says. “You need to go hard — to the point of fatigue, to where you’re out of breath. That will signal to your body that it needs to produce more testosterone to help repair muscles.” Generating more testosterone, in turn, will get your hormonal balance back where it should be to help zap those man boobs. McCall recommends interval training such as alternating sprinting and jogging on the treadmill or taking a challenging cycling class.

Hit the pool.

Any kind of intense cardio can help, but swimming can be particularly good for guys with man boobs because it’s more of a total-body workout than, say, using the StairMaster. “Any time you can get all of your muscle mass involved with an exercise, the total amount of energy you burn goes way up,” McCall explains. He says the breast stroke and freestyle can be especially effective.

Lift more, lift longer.

McCall says strength training also generates testosterone to help with your boob situation. If you already lift, chances are you’re not hoisting heavy enough weights or going until you can’t possibly do one more rep. “Break out of your normal routine by increasing the amount of weight you lift each time and not stopping until you’re fatigued,” McCall says. “This will cause more damage to your muscles and tell your body it needs more testosterone to help with repair.”

Get off the bench.

Rather than bench presses or other lifting exercises for which you lay or sit down, McCall recommends standing workouts with heavier weights, such as barbell squats, deadlifts, and bent-over barbell rows. When you stand, you recruit more muscles throughout your body to help hold you up, which will produce more testosterone. McCall says this is the main reason why CrossFit devotees are so ripped.

Do pushups.

McCall also suggests push-ups for whittling away man boobs because they too involve many muscles and require you to support your own body weight. He says using a TRX or other suspension device to do these will engage even more chest muscles than doing push-ups on the floor. Change up your grip pattern — a wider grip will target more of your chest fibers while a narrower grip will hit the triceps and shoulders.

Try a standing cable fly.

This exercise targets the pectoral muscles specifically. Stretch out your arms to either side, grab the stirrups or handles on a cable, bend forward slightly, and squeeze your hands together toward the middle of your chest. You can also try an alternate-arm cable fly. “Hold your right arm straight out in front of you and slowly draw your left arm out to the side and back to the middle, then switch arms,” says McCall. “Be sure to go slow with each movement because that’ll keep the muscle under tension for longer and signal more repair to that site.”

Get more sleep.

“We produce testosterone when we sleep, so if you’re consistently stressed out and getting only five hours, like many men do, your body won’t make enough testosterone,” McCall says. Make sure you’re taking time to de-stress in the evenings, minding your booze intake, and laying off the caffeine after noon so you can get ample good-quality slumber.

Originally Posted HERE

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