The receding hairline, the hairy birthmark, the bald spot, the beer belly… competition to top the chart of men’s least-welcome bodily characteristics is intense. The moob, however, has all the necessary credentials. Socially problematic? Check. Physically unfashionable? Check. Poignantly unmanly? Double check. The gentleman’s bosom lounges on the undercarriage of the breastplate, shifting the nipple’s gaze from horizon to pavement and forcing its recipient’s emotional demeanour onto a similar trajectory.

So what are these unwanted fluffy deposits? From what unholy sanctum do they emerge? And, ultimately, how the devil can they be stopped?

What Are Man Boobs?

Moobs are a non-threatening enlargement of breast tissue and are generally a consequence of being overweight, puberty or an enzyme converting the testosterone (think muscles and drive) into oestrogen (think hips and breasts).

While the condition rarely results in physical discomfort, it’s an obvious trigger for psychological issues, such as low self-esteem, which can translate into poor general health, social functioning and mental well-being.

According to BBC Advice, about 90% of men will notice their breasts enlarging at some point in their life. So if it hasn’t affected you yet, there’s a pretty high chance that at some point it will.

The good news for teens is that in over 75% of cases, the condition resolves itself within a year. The flipside being that swollen breasts become more common among males as they reach middle and old age. Older men tend to be fatter than younger men, resulting in more oestrogen being produced and more boob-like tissue appearing.

In every case, it’s certainly embarrassing. But help is at hand. If you do become the sad proprietor of a set of man boobs – big or small, floppy or pointy – there are plenty of ways to combat them.

How To Get Rid Man Boobs

Six ways to take the fight to your 36Cs and how effective they are

1. Creams

If only it were this simple. Non-invasive treatments that are easy to get hold of on the internet, require no assistance or equipment to apply and can be used anywhere at anytime sound like the ideal solution. But while creams invariably contain the right ingredients to help mitigate fatty tissue, it’s fair to say that outcomes are mixed and, unless combined with stark changes in lifestyle, rarely eliminate the problem on their own.

2. Exercise

Sweating regularly is the key. If you’re not in the best of shape to begin with, start with a low-impact regime, such as swimming or elliptical exercises. Then you can move onto a daily cardio routine to get your pulse racing and your body and mind in tune for an active lifestyle. A regular rowing routine won’t specifically target chest fat but it will tone the upper body. Finally, you can begin a free-weight course that should help balance your muscle and shift the remainder of your bosoms.

3. Liposuction

Comes without the pain (which is usually minimal) and the risk (also minimal) of surgery and the need for general anaesthetic. The unwanted fatty deposits are liquefied and expelled from the body using a basic suction process that can be administered in a walk-in, walk-out basis. Simpler than going under the knife, yet costlier than creams and pills, if your moobs don’t require a large amount of fat to be extracted, then this could well be the solution for you.

4. Diet

The human breast is mostly made up of lipids (medical jargon for fat), so cutting back on your fat consumption is your first port of call. Introducing a low-fat diet will allow your body to turn fat into energy, burn off excess calories and begin the road back to fitness and regular body shape. According to BBC Advice, moobs can also get bigger if you drink too much alcohol, take cannabis or amphetamines and use steroids. So, as hard as it may be, best to stay away from these vices, too.

5. Pills

Delivered to the bloodstream in an easily gulpable format – be sure to find a product that’s devoid of any preservatives or additives – it’s no surprise that pills are currently the most popular form of non-invasive gynaecomastic treatment. Coming at a fraction of the cost of surgery, the results can come much more slowly, which can then make it difficult to stay the course. The key here is selecting the right product, ingesting it alongside a healthier lifestyle and sticking with it.

6. Mastectomy

The obvious upside to this procedure is the instantaneous result. One day you have man boobs, the next they are significantly reduced, if not gone completely. The operation is quick and simple with a short recovery time and is increasingly popular among men looking for a quick fix. However, depending on your bank balance, the procedures remain exorbitantly costly and you’ll need to brave any scarring and risks of infection.

The Moob-Banishing Workout

Shift stubborn body fat, boost moob-inhibiting testosterone and build muscle with this total body workout from transformation specialist Rich Phillipps.

1A Deadlift

via GIPHY

Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 90sec

Hold the bar with hands shoulder-width apart. Start with your arms straight and knees slightly bent. Keeping your chest up and your back straight, drive down through your heels and pull the bar up your legs, pushing your hips forwards to stand tall.

1B Dumbbell bench press

SetsReps 12 Rest 90sec

Lie on a flat bench, holding dumbbells with an overhand grip either side of your chest. Drive your feet hard into the floor and press the weights straight up, then lower them slowly to the start position.

2A Reverse lunge

SetsReps 12 Rest 60sec

Holding dumbbells in each hand, take a big step backwards, being sure you have your balance before lowering your back knee until it is just off the floor. Keep your back upright and your front knee in line with your front foot. Return to the start and repeat, alternating legs.

2B Military press

SetsReps 12 Rest 60sec

Stand with your feet together holding the bar level with your shoulders. Brace your core and glutes to keep your balance and press the weights straight up so your biceps are close to your ears, then lower to the start.

3A Goblet squat

SetsReps 20 Rest 45sec

Hold the weight by the bell with the handle pointing down. Keep your chest up and knees wide as you lower into a squat until your elbows touch your legs, then drive back up to stand. 

3B One-arm row

SetsReps 12 Rest 45sec

Support your knee on the bench with the other leg planted wide for balance. Keep a natural arch in your back and your core braced. Keeping your elbow tucked in, lift the weight to the side of your chest. Pause and return slowly. Complete all reps on one side, then the other.

4A Good morning

SetsReps 12 Rest 90sec

Stand holding a barbell on the back of your shoulders, not your neck. Slowly bend forwards at your hips, keeping your legs and back straight. Bend until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, then rise back to the start.

4B Kettlebell swing

SetsReps 12 Rest 90sec

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and push the kettlebell off your body to start the swing. As you lower, hinge at the hips by pushing your glutes back. When you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, drive your hips forward, allowing the kettlebell to rise to head height.