Want to get leaner and fitter, but you're concerned about your breasts? Contrary to popular belief, you can lose weight without losing your boobs. Strength training combined with a balanced diet can help tone your breasts and maintain their youthful appearance while preventing sagging.
It's not always possible to get leaner without losing breast size. Your breasts are largely made of fat. As you slim down, they may begin to shrink.
Luckily, there are a couple of things you can do to keep your breasts firm and toned during weight loss. Regular breast massage, strength training and a diet rich in vitamin C can make all the difference.
Breast Anatomy 101
People who are assigned female at birth (AFAB) are naturally prone to carry more fat, especially in the lower body. This is known as gynoid fat distribution, and it's largely due to estrogen, the sex hormone. Breasts are largely made of fat, too. As people AFAB age, their estrogen levels decrease, which in turn, increases abdominal fat mass, according to a March 2014 review published in BioMed Research International.
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Estrogen is also responsible for breast development. Your breasts consist of adipose tissue, lobes, milk ducts, blood vessels, nerves and more. Underneath them, there is muscle and fibrous tissue.
The fat in your breasts is like any other type of fat, so it will melt away as you get leaner. One way to lose weight without losing your boobs is to strengthen the pectoral muscles.
Strength exercises, such as the bench press and push-ups, can make your breasts appear larger by toning the muscles beneath them. Resistance training also reduces total body mass and fat mass, bringing you closer to your weight loss goals.
Unfortunately, there's no way to spot-reduce fat. Likewise, there's no way to prevent fat loss in a certain area, such as the chest or buttocks.
Expect your breasts to gradually shrink in proportion to the rest of your body. What you can do is to keep firm and healthy through regular exercise.
Work Your Chest Muscles
One way to lose weight without losing your boobs is to incorporate chest exercises into your workouts. The incline dumbbell press, the barbell bench press, cable crossovers and push-up variations are all an excellent choice. You may also try the following:
- Decline bench press
- Weighted push-ups
- Stability ball push-ups
- Dumbbell flyes
- Parallel bar dips
The incline chest press, for example, engages your pectoral muscles and shoulders. Plyometrics, such as the push-up, increase muscle strength, power and agility while burning fat, according to the American Council on Exercise.
For best results, start your workout with compound movements like the bench press and parallel bar dips. Next, perform isolation exercises, such as the cable crossover. This approach can increase workout efficiency, allowing you to get the most out of your gym time. Exercise order has a direct impact on hypertrophy (muscle growth) and strength gains, according to a review published in the journal Sports Medicine in March 2012.
Read more: The "Burn Fat Faster" Workout
Massage Your Breasts
Weight loss affects breast size and shape. As you get leaner, your breasts may begin to sag and lose their firmness. Exercise can minimize the damage, but it's not the only way to keep your bust line attractive. Regular breast massage can make a world of difference.
This type of massage may reduce the appearance of stretch marks, which are common during weight loss and pregnancy. However, you may also develop stretch marks because of rapid weight loss or weight gain. Breast massage won't completely remove stretch marks, but it can make them less noticeable. Just make sure you use quality massage oil.
A study posted in the Journal of Clinical Nursing in May 2012 assessed the effects of bitter almond oil and massaging on stretch marks in pregnant women (the language used in the study). Participants who massaged their skin with bitter almond oil for 15 minutes daily experienced greater improvements in stretch mark appearance than those using almond oil alone.
Massage your breasts once or twice a day using olive oil, almond oil, avocado oil or coconut oil. Make a habit out of it in order to fully reap the benefits.
What you eat matters, too. If your diet lacks essential nutrients, you may lose muscle and experience sagging skin. Eat foods rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, protein and essential fatty acids. Vitamin C, for example, stimulates collagen synthesis and protects your skin from oxidative stress, which in turn, may improve breast appearance.
- Journal of Lipid Research: "Determinants of Body Fat Distribution in Humans May Provide Insight About Obesity-Related Health"
- NCBI - BioMed Research International: "Estrogen Deficiency and the Origin of Obesity During Menopause"
- National Breast Cancer: "Breast Anatomy"
- The New England Journal of Medicine: "Aerobic or Resistance Exercise, or Both, in Dieting Obese Older Adults"
- ACE Fitness: "Incline Chest Press"
- ACE Fitness: "Heart-Pumping Plyometrics Workout"
- Springer Link - Sports Medicine: "Exercise Order in Resistance Training"
- Wiley Online Library: "The Effect of Bitter Almond Oil and Massaging on Striae Gravidarum in Primiparaous Women"
- MDPI: "The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health"
- NASM.org: "Back to the Basics: Hypertrophy"
- NHS: "Stretch Marks"