I would like to know how to reduce my chest fat with exercise rather than resorting to surgery. I’m overweight but I see other chubby guys at the gym that have less chest fat than me? What can I do to get rid of this flabby fat from my chest?
You ask a very important question about reducing the fat surrounding your chest wall and/or the fat within your breast tissue. The fat surrounding the chest wall can be reduced when you lose weight. However, the fat within the breast tissue is usually surgically removed. You may have a condition called “gynecomastia” which can occur in both boys and men. The condition is commonly caused by an imbalance of the hormones estrogen and testosterone. These hormonal changes can occur naturally, such as during puberty or during a reduction in androgens as men become older. A change in hormones can be triggered by medications that are used to treat pain, arthritis and certain anti-inflammatory medications, as well as during the consumption of drugs, or alcohol. In overweight and obese men, gynecomastia is common.
Treatments for this condition vary, including liposuction of the breast tissue to remove the fat. Other less invasive treatments include weight reduction to achieve a normal BMI range. You stated that you are overweight. It is important that you reach a BMI of 25 to 30, which categorizes you as overweight, or a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 which is normal. Prior to your workout program, measure your percentage of body fat. Concentrate on those exercises that will help you lose 10% to 15% of body fat. Monitor your overall percentage changes in body fat. Tracking your body fat will allow you to see your progress and help keep you motivated to continue.
Establish a regular exercise program that includes both cardiovascular exercises and strength training exercises. Some cardiovascular exercises may include using equipment such as the treadmill, elliptical machine, stair stepper and the bicycle. Aerobic exercise should be done for a minimum of 20 minutes which includes a 5 minute warm-up and a 5 minute cool down for a total of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercises. The cardiovascular exercises are important in helping your body burn energy. These exercises will increase your metabolism and thereby helping you to lose weight. Slowly increase the intensity and duration of these exercises as you become more fit. Be sure to get a medical release before you begin any exercise program.
The major chest muscles to focus on are the pectorals major and the pectorals minor. Some strength training exercises for this muscle group may include training the upper chest, middle chest and lower chest. Here are some exercises to include in our chest workout:
- Incline Barbell Bench Press
- Declined Push-Ups
- Barbell Pullover
- Isometric Chess Presses
- Exercise Ball Push-ups
These strengthening exercises will help to improve your posture, straighten your back, and give your chest a more defined appearance. You may want to consult a personal trainer to help you establish specific exercise goals to strengthen your chest.
Many studies suggest that a high fat diet is associated with a higher percentage of body fat. In rat studies, groups that were fed a high fat diet, gained more body weight, had more fat accumulation and had higher blood lipid levels. Rats that were sedentary and rats that were trained both gained weight. In human studies, involving obese 8 to 11 year olds, the obese children had a higher fat intake than the non-obese children. Limiting your fat intake is important in achieving a reduction in your body fat.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend a total fat intake of no more than 20-35% of your calories and they should come from oils other fats. That means you should include lean beef, poultry, pork and fish. You should limit your added fats such as oils and dressings as well as your trans fatty acids. You should avoid fried foods and commit to eating foods that are baked, broiled or grilled. You should include more fruits and vegetables as well as nuts and seeds. The fruits and vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber. These high fiber foods will help provide energy to replenish your glycogen stores pre and post workout. Avoid high sugary drinks and foods. They are low in nutrients and high in calories. Water is the best beverage to drink for hydration. Including nuts and seeds is a good snack; however, large portions can lead to excessive calories. The total amount of calories from protein should be approximately 20%. An adequate protein intake will assist in building muscle as you lose fat. Your main energy source should consist of complex carbohydrates. Approximately 50% of your diet should consist of carbohydrates. Other sources include whole grains and cereals. Select grains that contain the highest amount of fiber and the lowest amount of sugar.
It is important to understand your daily calorie needs or your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure). This number is derived from your basal metabolic rate and multiplied by your activity level. Your goal is to stay below your TDEE by 500 calories each day in order to lose 1 pound of fat in 1 week. Consult with a registered dietitian to help you establish a meal plan that will help reduce your weight and your percent body fat.
If you follow a consistent exercise and meal plan, you can achieve a normal BMI, reduce your percentage of body fat, increase your lean muscle mass and strengthen your core. When you lose excess body fat, you may also lose your breast fat. Just remember that it is very important for you to be consistent with your workout program and stay on track.