Pecs and moobs look different, move different, function differently, and occur for different reasons.
Pecs are taut, firm, and elastic. They’re the result of training your pectoral muscles so that they’re well developed and are very attractive.
Whereas moobs (man boobs) are slack, jiggly, and wobbly. They’re the result of a high amount of fat tissue in your upper chest, caused by an excess calorie consumption and high estrogen levels. Most people find moobs unattractive.
Pecs are intentional and are the result of hard training, whereas moobs are unintentional and are the outcome of an unhealthy lifestyle.
Are Moobs More Common Than Pecs?
Moobs are a lot more common than pecs.
Pretty much every obese male has moobs, so when you consider that around 40% of male American adults are obese, it’s evident just how common moobs are.
Whereas to get pecs, you need to follow a disciplined workout routine that targets your chest muscles and eat a healthy diet that’s high in protein.
How Do You Know If You Have Pecs or Moobs?
The easiest way to know if you have pecs or moobs is to touch and feel your chest.
If your chest feels firm, then you probably have pecs. Whereas if your chest feels soft and jiggly, then you likely have moobs.
Another way to tell whether you have pecs or moobs is to measure your body fat percentage.
If your body fat is 15% and below, and you have quite a muscular physique, then you likely have pecs. Whereas if your body fat is 20% and above, then chances are you have moobs.
In short, if you’re overweight and carry a lot of soft, jiggly tissue around your chest, then you have moobs. Whereas if you’re a healthy weight and carry firm, muscular tissue within your chest, then you have pecs.
Why Do Your Pecs Look Like Moobs?
There are 2 possible reasons why your pecs look like moobs.
High Amounts of Subcutaneous Chest Fat
When you eat more calories than you burn, your body stores the excess calories as fat.
In metabolically health individuals, this fat is stored under the skin and outside the muscle wall (called subcutaneous fat).
Now, where this subcutaneous fat is distributed within the body depends on numerous factors, including your genetics.
Males tend to store subcutaneous fat around their waist and chest, whereas females tend to store subcutaneous fat around their thighs and buttocks.
If you have a lot of subcutaneous chest fat, then there’s a large amount of fat tissue sitting between your skin and chest muscles. As a result, your chest will feel soft and may appear like moobs.
Gynacomastia (gyno) is where your testosterone to estrogen ratio is too low, which causes your breast tissue to grow.
It’s a common side effect of steroid users.
It’s important to note that the appearance of gyno is different to moobs. You can have very low levels of chest fat while still having gyno.
So, if you’re of a healthy weight and still have what appears to be moobs, it might actually by gyno.
If that’s the case, you should speak to a medical professional who will advise the best course of treatment.
How To Turn Your Moobs Into Pecs
You’ll be pleased to know that if you have moobs, you can turn them into pecs with some discipline. There are 2 key strategies that you’ll need to follow to do so.
Lose Chest Fat
Firstly, you’ll need to get rid of your moobs by losing chest fat.
In order to lose chest fat, you’ll need to be in a calorie deficit over a period of time. A calorie deficit means that you’re consuming less calories than you’re burning.
To achieve a calorie deficit, you can either reduce your calorie intake or increase your energy expenditure.
(Or do both.)
It’s argued that reducing your calories is more effective since exercise burns less calories than you might expect.
To put this into perspective, let’s say you swap a large McDonald’s Big Mac meal (1320 calories) for a Chicken Caesar Salad (470 calories).
This means you’re reducing your calorie intake by 850 calories.
Whereas if you followed the exact same diet but started to run on a treadmill for 30 minutes each day, you’d be burning under 500 calories.
It’s also important to point out that you can’t choose where the fat will be burned from. I.e. if you’re in a calorie deficit, you may start losing fat from your belly before your chest area.
As a result, you may need to stay in a calorie deficit for longer until your chest fat starts to reduce.
Increase Pectoral Muscle Tissue
Once you’re at a healthy weight and have lost your moobs, you should start looking at increasing your pectoral muscle tissue.
To do this, you should start a workout routine that includes chest exercises, like bench press and push-ups.
If you do this routine consistently while following the principles of progressive overload, your chest muscles will get bigger over time.
(Progressive overload means that you need to be working your muscles harder with each workout. You can do this by increasing the weight, or by increasing the number of reps you do per set.)
It’s important to eat a high-protein diet while following your workout routine as protein is essential for muscle growth.
How Long Does It Take To Turn Moobs Into Pecs?
Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to this question as it depends on multiple factors, including:
- How much chest fat your carry
- How big your chest muscles are
- The size of your calorie deficit
- How hard you train your chest muscles
Let’s take a look at these factors in more detail.
How Much Chest Fat You Carry
The more chest fat you carry (i.e., the bigger your moobs), the longer it takes to turn them into pecs.
This is because the more chest fat you have, the longer you’ll need to be in a calorie deficit in order to lose this chest fat.
Whereas someone with smaller moobs will typically lose their moobs much quicker as they have less fat to lose.
How Big Your Chest Muscles Are
As covered earlier, another component of turning moobs into pecs is developing your chest muscles.
If you have moobs, but also have a lot of chest muscle, then your pecs will become noticeable as soon as you lose your chest fat.
Whereas if you have moobs but have very little chest muscle, you’ll need to lose your chest fat first and then train your chest muscles for a period of time before they become visible pecs.
Genetics cannot be overlooked when it comes to changing your body composition.
If you’re genetically lucky, then you’ll lose fat and gain muscle faster than the average Joe, so it will take less time for you to turn your moobs into pecs.
Whereas if you’re genetically less fortunate, then you’ll lose fat and gain muscle slower than the average Joe, meaning it’ll take longer for you to get pecs.
The Size Of Your Calorie Deficit
The bigger your calorie deficit, the faster you’ll lose fat, and thus lose your moobs. Whereas the lower your calorie deficit, the slower you’ll lose your moobs.
That’s not to say you should go for a massive calorie deficit. If you’re overweight and go from 3000 calories a day to 1500 calories a day, you’ll feel extreme hunger and so are more likely to cheat on your diet.
You should always aim for a calorie deficit that you know you can follow consistently.
How Hard You Train Your Chest Muscles
Typically, the harder you train your chest muscles, the faster you’ll build pecs.
If you train your chest twice a week at a high intensity, then you’ll build chest muscle much faster than someone who trains their chest once a week at a low intensity.
I wouldn’t recommend training your chest more than twice a week though, as you increase the risk of overtraining, which has myriad of side effects.
Will Chest Workouts Get Rid Of Moobs?
Chest workouts can help get rid of moobs. When you train your chest, you burn calories which can help reduce body fat, and you’ll also increase your chest muscle mass.
Both these factors are important in getting rid of moobs.
- Moobs are when your chest is soft and flabby and is the result of an unhealthy lifestyle.
- Pecs are when your chest is lean and muscular and is the outcome of training your chest consistently while eating a healthy diet.
- It’s possible to turn your moobs into pecs if you first lose weight then gain some muscle in your chest via chest exercises.
Hope this helped!
I’ve been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve gained 30 pounds of muscle, written hundreds of articles, and reviewed dozens of fitness supplements. As for my educational background, I’m a currently studying for my Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.