Why Do I Have Man Tits? Causes and Solutions

12 min read
a man with man tits is holding his male breasts
David J. Sautter post Reviewer
The article is verified by David J. Sautter
NASM Personal Trainer, NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist, ACE Sports Conditioning Specialist, NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist, BA in Professional Writing

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Moobs, man boobs, man tits: these are only a few of the names given to guys when they are unintentionally showcasing feminine-like breasts. In medical terms, this is called gynecomastia, a condition that can lead to a series of health problems outside of the obvious unwanted aesthetics. 

If you think you may suffer from it, you probably have a list of questions running through your head. What causes it? Is gynecomastia bad for you? 

In this article, we will discuss what causes gynecomastia to develop, the different forms of man boobs, and some solutions that may help mitigate the problem.

What Are Man Boobs?

It’s not the most flattering nickname, but when a guy’s chest becomes enlarged and looks more like women’s breasts, we usually call it man boobs or man tits. 

Why Do I Have Man Tits? (Is It a Disease or Just Fat?)

Man boobs usually appear for two reasons: excess fat in the chest area or gynecomastia.

Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia is the medical condition more commonly known as man tits.

It is a condition affecting males due to hormonal imbalances between androgens and estrogens, with higher ratios of the latter over testosterone than physiologically required. 

It is important to note that both men and women secrete these hormones, but the ratio between the two makes a difference, as males need more testosterone while females require higher amounts of estrogen. 

Gynecomastia is what happens when men have too much estrogen, a female-dominant hormone, and not enough testosterone.

Gynecomastia promotes the overdevelopment of glandular breast tissue on one or both sides. The inflammation can result in pain, although this doesn’t always concur with the swelling. 

Pseudogynecomastia

But is it possible that there’s just too much fat in the chest area? Yes, this is pseudogynecomastia. 

Men who carry higher amounts of fat in their chest and overall may be affected by pseudogynecomastia. Although it looks similar to gynecomastia, this condition occurs due to fat accumulation rather than hormonal imbalances. 

Who Is Affected by Gynecomastia?

This condition is more common in teenagers than in older adults, as the former are more exposed to changes in hormonal levels due to puberty. 

However, it can also occur in older men, in overweight or obese males, or even at birth, due to physiological conditions that lead to higher estrogen levels. 

There are also many bodybuilding athletes with gynecomastia, as man tits can also result from steroid abuse. [1] [2]

Is Gynecomastia Bad for Me?

Male breasts caused by gynecomastia are unlikely to be a threat to your physical health.

However, it often has a great impact on the emotional state of men who are affected by it. 

Gynecomastia can cause men to feel self-conscious and distressed while lowering their self-esteem. 

It is, therefore, important to address the root cause to find psychological relief and improve self-confidence. Medical intervention is the best solution as a medical professional can offer insight as to potential medications or treatments outside of diet and exercise. [3]

Speaking of diet and exercise, here are some of the best exercises to reduce chest fat along with helpful dietary tips to help with fat loss.

Exercises to Reduce Chest Fat and Build Muscle

If you have pseudogynecomastia, your man tits are the result of high amounts of fat on your torso. The best solution is to increase the muscle in your chest and reduce body fat

Exercise enables you to build muscle tissue while losing fat in your man boobs and improving the overall look of your chest. Below, we’ve listed a few simple yet effective exercises to target your chest muscles.

Dips – Chest Variation

a man is performing chest dips on a captains chair_why do i have man tits

Dips are great for working the entire upper body. Depending on how you execute them, they may target your chest more than your triceps. 

Chest dips are great for working the Pectoralis Major and Pectoralis Minor, the primary chest muscles. To start, you can use an elastic band for more support and to enable the execution of the exercise in a full range of motion. 

  • To perform chest dips, you will need two parallel bars. 
  • Stand between the bars, one foot slightly in front of the other. 
  • Place your hands on the bars at shoulder width apart and slowly lower yourself down until your elbows are bent to 90 degrees. 
  • Use your pectoral muscles to push yourself back up again and repeat as many times as you can without losing form.

Flyes

a man is performing flyes on an incline bench_why do i have man tits

This exercise is very versatile, as it can be performed either from standing or from lying down with dumbbells, cables, or elastic bands, and some gyms also have a specific machine for this.

It predominantly works the pectorals and deltoids, which are instrumental in developing a well-balanced chest. Here are two variations: one for the bench and one for the cable machine.

Dumbbell Bench Flye:

  • To perform dumbbell bench flyes, you will need a flat bench and a pair of dumbbells.
  • You can do this exercise by starting with the dumbbells in each hand on your thighs. 
  • Lie back holding the dumbbells just above your chest. 
  • Straighten your arms directly above your chest. Now, lower your arms to your sides, controlling the motion. Don’t let your arms just fall.
  • Breathe out as you bring the dumbbells together until they are directly above your chest again in a hugging motion. 
  • Repeat until you have completed all of your repetitions for one set. Then, rest and repeat.

Cable Flye:

  • To perform cable machine flyes, you will need a cable machine with two separate handles on either side.
  • Take one handle in each hand and step out from the center of the machine.
  • Bend your elbows slightly and then bring your hands in front of your chest with the handles parallel to each other. Imagine you are giving an over-exaggerated hug.
  • Slowly return to the starting position, then repeat the motion.

Chest Press

a man is performing chest press on a chest press machine_why do i have man tits

The chest press is one of the main exercises for the pectorals.

It is done using a bench and barbell, but you can also use a chest press machine. That’s what we’ll focus on here. This makes it easier to perform as it is an assisted exercise, where the machine promotes a linear execution with limited space for errors (i.e., uncontrolled movements that may cause injury).

  • Begin by adjusting the height of the seat and shoulder pad according to your body size and preference. 
  • Next, select a weight that is appropriate for your fitness level and experience using this type of machine.
  • Carefully position yourself on the chest press machine with your shoulders directly over the seat and place your feet flat on the floor. 
  • Grip both handles of the chest press and slowly begin moving them out until they are parallel with each other and fully extended. Do not let your elbows flare out.
  • Slowly bring the handles back down, keeping your arms straight and elbows tucked in as you do so. 

Barbell Bench Press

a man is doing bench press_why do I have man tits

Similar to the chest press exercise but with free weights, such as dumbbells or barbells, it is performed from a lying position on a bench. 

To target different areas, you may also incline your bench to focus on the upper chest and deltoids or decline it to train the lower part of the pectorals. 

  • To perform barbell bench presses, lie face up on a bench with your feet firmly planted on the floor. 
  • Line up the barbell so that it’s directly above your eyes. Grab the bar just outside of shoulder width.
  • Start the exercise by lifting the barbell off of the rack and holding it straight over your chest.
  • Gently lower the bar to your chest, keeping your elbows at an angle that isn’t flared out but also not tight to the sides of your body.
  • Press the bar back up in a controlled manner and immediately move into the next repetition.

Push-Ups

a man is doing push-ups_why do I have man tits

This is one of the most popular and easiest ways to target your chest, as you can perform it virtually anywhere. Not only does it not require any equipment, you can also adjust the intensity based on the angle of your body. 

Just like with dips, each variation can affect the development of different muscle fibers of the pectoral muscle, so a good way to get a full chest workout is to incorporate a few of them. 

  • Get into a downward-facing plank position with your palms flat on the floor beneath your shoulders and your arms straight. 
  • Keep your elbows close to your body as you lower yourself down until your chest nearly touches the floor. 
  • Hold for one second, then push back up to the starting position. 

These exercises should be performed and tracked routinely to allow progression and see improvements. The Muscle Booster workout planner app is a great way to organize your workouts based on your goals. 

Dietary Changes to Reduce Man Boobs

While training with weights helps develop muscle, taking care of your nutrition is essential for losing fat and improving the overall look of your chest. 

Calculate Your Energy Requirements

To lose fat, you must be in a calorie deficit, which means you should be burning more calories than you consume each day.

With that said, there’s a delicate balance between a healthy caloric deficit and restricting too many calories. Unless advised by a doctor, you should never reduce your calories to fewer than 1,200 per day. And even that number is not enough for most people, even if they are trying to lose weight.

So, what is the number of calories you should eat if you’re trying to get rid of man boobs?

In order to lose weight healthily, you must follow a sustainable diet with a deficit no greater than 10 to 20% of your maintenance calorie requirements. 

Most importantly, we highly advise you to ask a dietician or nutritionist to calculate your energy requirements to get an accurate calorie target for your goals. [4]

Eat Plenty of Protein

While you should focus on reducing your overall calories, there’s one macronutrient that you should be eating more of and that’s protein.

This macronutrient is essential for improving muscle growth while protecting muscle from breaking down on a fat-loss diet plan. 

If you eat too few calories, your body will turn to muscle protein for fuel. In other words, your body will consume muscle protein in order to function. You don’t want that to happen! 

An adequate protein intake can limit or totally eliminate this process, which means your hard-earned muscle mass will be protected.

Protein can also help reduce hunger when on a diet, as it takes longer to digest and decreases your levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. [5] [6]

Focus on Nutrient-Dense Foods to Curb Hunger

If you are on a diet, you may experience hunger, especially in the beginning as your body is adjusting to your new way of eating.

One way to decrease your appetite and make the diet more sustainable is to eat nutrient-dense whole foods that make your stomach feel full. In other words, eat natural foods that are packed with plenty of nutrients like lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, along with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.

Satiety is a determining factor when it comes to diet perception. By consuming more lightly-processed and nutrient-rich foods, such as vegetables, fruit, grains, or nuts, you can easily add more volume to your meals without adding too many calories while also packing on nutrients. 

Highly processed foods, on the other hand, are calorie-dense — not nutrient-dense — and provide a high number of calories in smaller amounts. [7]

Eat a Balanced Diet

In order to provide all the nutrients your body needs, it is essential to eat a bit of everything and vary foods as much as possible. And while you should always have a preference for nutrient-dense foods, you can still include some calorie-dense foods! 

Having a balance in your nutrition allows you to find more joy in your journey and makes it more sustainable since you won’t feel as restricted. [8]

You can find multiple ways to create a deficit and lose weight healthily. 

Reminder: Chat With a Nutritionist

We are all different and have varied lifestyles and requirements, so the suggestions above are only a guide and you should always ask your doctor or nutritionist about specific meal plans or dietary interventions. 

If you want to learn more in the meantime, here is a list of 20 easy tips to make your diet healthier now. 

Consult a Doctor if Your Chest Hurts or is Swollen

If your chest starts hurting or swelling, you should seek advice from a doctor immediately. 

The advice provided in this article is only aimed at addressing pain-free gynecomastia or pseudogynecomastia and improving the appearance of your chest. That said, it is not intended to be used as a treatment or to replace a doctor’s orders.

Always consult your practitioner to treat gynecomastia. 

Final Words

Gynecomastia and pseudogynecomastia are not life-threatening, but they can cause distress in those affected. Below are the key take-home messages:

  • Some men have man boobs, which is essentially when a man’s chest resembles women’s breasts due to an enlargement of the area.
  • While gynecomastia is prompted by a hormonal imbalance between the levels of testosterone and estrogen that causes the glands in the breasts to swell, pseudogynecomastia is caused by excess body fat in the chest area.
  • Gynecomastia mainly affects young males in puberty, although it can also occur in older men or newborns. 
  • Pseudogynecomastia presents mainly in men that carry more fat on their chest.
  • If you have man boobs due to an excessive amount of body fat, you can lose weight and improve the look of your chest by exercising and following an appropriate diet.
  • If you suffer from gynecomastia and your chest starts hurting or is starting to swell, contact a doctor as soon as possible to discuss your symptoms.

The information provided on the site is for educational & informational purposes only. If you seek diagnosis, treatment, or medical advice or want to make significant changes in your diet and health-related routine, please, consult a medical professional or healthcare provider.

Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!



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