Should I Get in Shape Before Gynaecomastia Surgery?


Dr Bernard Beldholm

Do you need to get in shape before male breast reduction? The answer is yes. Losing weight before gynaecomastia surgery is a smart move. This article talks about how to calculate your BMI, weight loss hacks, and reasons why you should get in shape before gynaecomastia surgery.

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Being healthy is always a good idea

Good health is important, regardless of whether you are having surgery. All men should eat well and maintain a standard exercise routine. Take care of yourself. Quit smoking. Take your vitamins. Lose weight if you need to. Overweight patients have a higher risk of complications. Patients in good health may have a better recovery.

Tips for healthy living

These are the basics of a healthy lifestyle:

  • Drink water
  • Quit smoking
  • Create a diet and exercise plan
  • Count calories to lose weight
  • Try a daily multivitamin for men
  • Eat fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens
  • Exercise 3x per week
  • Avoid using steroids to get fit

Should I lose weight before gynaecomastia surgery, or after?

It is better to lose weight first. You want to be near your ideal weight before surgery. Your gynaecomastia results will look better. If you are in the process of getting in shape with diet and exercise, keep at it. Three reasons to trim down before surgery include:

Better chest definition

Doctor Bernard’s gynaecomastia surgery with liposuction reduces chest fat. Losing weight before surgery helps him more precisely treat the remaining fat. More time can be spent on shaping your chest during surgery, instead of suctioning out excess fat. The result is a leaner and more defined chest wall.

Better upper body proportions

If you have extra fat in your belly and chest, it makes sense to lose weight before surgery. Men with belly fat sometimes look out of proportion if they don’t lose weight before gynaecomastia surgery. You want your abdomen to match your new flat chest.

Safer procedure

Getting fit is not just good for your health overall. It could mean a safer surgery. Healthy patients have a lower risk of surgical complications. If you are overweight, that is not healthy. Visceral fat is the “bad fat” around your organs.

How much weight should I lose?

Losing kilos is recommended if you are overweight. The point is not to get shredded or become very thin. You just need to get healthy and fit so you have a good recovery.

How is ideal body weight determined?

Your ideal body weight is determined by your BMI. BMI provides a snapshot of your health at a glance. According to the Australian government, “BMI is a good indicator for the health and lifespan of adults – not necessarily for an individual, but for a group of people who have the same BMI”.

What is BMI?

BMI stands for body mass index. This is a number that is assigned based on your weight and height. BMI quickly tells you whether you are at a good weight for your height. As a general rule, the higher the BMI, the more body fat a person has.

How is BMI calculated?

In Australia, your BMI equals your weight (in kilograms) divided by your height (in meters). Note that the United States BMI formula is different due to the metric system. You can find out your BMI using this BMI calculator.

What is a good BMI?

You have calculated your BMI. Now, you need to know what the number means. These guidelines are for

  • BMI less than 18.5 — Underweight
  • BMI 18.5 to 24.9  — Healthy weight
  • BMI 25 to 29.9  — Overweight
  • BMI 30 and above  — Obese

Exceptions to the BMI rules

The BMI guidelines above are general. However, they don’t apply to everyone. First, the BMIs listed above are for adults only. Children will have a lower BMI. Asian patients may also have a lower BMI than what is listed. Patients of Polynesian descent are healthy at a slightly higher BMI than what is listed. The same goes for older patients.

Professional athletes and bodybuilders also tend to have a higher BMI. That is important to note. Bodybuilders make up a large percentage of gynaecomastia patients.

Is thinner better?

Not necessarily. Being thin does not equal being healthy. It is not the same as being fit. People that are underweight can have serious health problems. Thin people are also not immune to illness or disease, just like people who are overweight or a normal weight. It is possible to be thin and still have visceral fat. This is a harmful type of fat that surrounds the organs. Poor diet is often the cause. Getting in shape is not just about looking good in the mirror. It’s about improving your health.

How often should I exercise before gynaecomastia surgery?

It depends. If you are a bodybuilder, then just continue your routine. If you are overweight and don’t exercise, start working out three to four days per week. If you have an average build like most men, don’t try to shred or get down to a really low weight before surgery.

“That could actually hinder more than help,” Doctor Bernard says. “Just stick to your regular exercise routine”.

If your gynaecomastia results inspire you to join a body-building competition, you can shred and do all that after healing from surgery.

When should I start working out to prepare for surgery?

The sooner, the better. If you need to lose weight before surgery, the answer is as long as it takes. While you may be eager to have male breast reduction, the reality is most men don’t get surgery right after the initial consultation.

Most patients need time to plan ahead for surgery. They want to choose a convenient time when they are not busy with work or school projects. They want to lose weight and get healthy first. They want to save up to pay for the cost of gynaecomastia surgery.

You will have plenty of time before surgery to start getting in shape.

Should I start a crash diet?

It is a bad idea to go on a crash diet. Fad diets just don’t work. You may lose a lot of weight fast, but it won’t last. You don’t want to crash diet and gain it all back after surgery. If you gain weight, your chest may get bigger. That could undo the results of surgery, wasting both your time and money.

A crash diet helps you shed kilos. It doesn’t teach you how to make lifestyle changes that last a lifetime.

Losing weight is smart if you have a few kilos to spare. However, a crash diet isn’t the way to do it. Instead, create a sensible diet and exercise routine. There are no shortcuts. Weight loss that is gradual — and weight loss due to making healthy lifestyle changes — tends to last longer.

You may need to break some bad habits. For example, you may need to stop snacking on unhealthy foods and watching TV instead of going to the gym. Quitting bad habits is not easy. Weight loss takes hard work. The rewards are worth it, and you CAN do it.

Having a positive goal such as gynaecomastia surgery may give the push that is needed to start a new, healthy chapter in life.

Don’t just lose weight; Maintain it

For gynaecomastia patients that struggle with weight fluctuations, losing weight is not enough. You should not only reach a healthy weight, but also maintain that weight for at least six months.

Proving to yourself that you can maintain a stable weight ensures you won’t undo the results of surgery with future weight gain.

Surgery is an investment. Protect your investment by maintaining a stable weight long term. Some men say a chest reduction inspires them to go to the gym more. A fit physique, toned arms, and abs look great with a flat, manly chest.

Who should not lose weight before gynaecomastia surgery?

Not everyone needs to lose weight. Have you reached your ideal body weight? Then just maintain it with your normal diet and exercise plan. If you are too thin, you may need to gain weight before surgery. Overweight patients should lose a few kilos. The end goal is the same: Reach your optimal body weight so you can have a safe surgery and recovery. Use the BMI calculator above to determine your ideal weight.

Skinny guys have told Doctor Bernard something interesting ….

Doctor Bernard has been told by some of his gynaecomastia patients that excess fat helps hide the breast gland. Thin men lack body fat. Without fat, an enlarged gland may be obvious. The gland is located behind the nipple areola complex. A lot of men with gynaecomastia have puffy nipples. Therefore, some patients intentionally gain weight just to hide the gland.

While that is understandable, reaching a healthy weight before surgery is important. If you gained weight just to hide the gland, make sure you lose weight before the procedure. That may mean a few months when the gland looks more obvious than you would like. However, this is temporary. Gynaecomastia surgery removes the gland. After the surgery, you won’t have to worry about it anymore.

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Weight loss tips to prepare for gynaecomastia surgery

If your breast enlargement is caused by too much body fat, here are some tips to lose weight:

Try black coffee instead of energy drinks

Energy drinks are loaded with sugar, calories and unhealthy ingredients. If you need a caffeine fix, choose tea or coffee instead. Sugar-free iced tea or coffee is much better than an energy drink.

Limit sugar intake

If you’re trying to cut empty calories, sugar is your enemy. Sugar is not the worst ingredient in the world. However, sugary food and drink are usually not very nutritious. These foods are often loaded with fat and excess calories.

Drink water instead of soda

Water is one way to quench your thirst. If you crave the mouth feel of soda, try flavored, unsweetened seltzer. Any sugar-free drink is better than soda.

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Leafy greens and vibrant colors are what you should shop for at the market. If you’re not a salad guy, there are plenty of ways to sneak more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Cherry tomatoes make a great snack to leave on your desk. Grab a juice on your way into the office. Slice up a banana to add a sweet kick to cereal or low-fat yogurt. Add chopped veggies to pasta dishes. Fresh is preferred, but frozen is fine. When it comes to salads, choose low-fat dressing.

Reduce animal fats in your diet

Cut down on butter, whole-fat milk and cheeses, and fatty meats to get in shape before surgery. Medical research shows that eating saturated fats cause visceral fat to build up around organs.

Visceral fat is perhaps the most dangerous kind of fat you can have. Not only does it increase your heart attack risk, it also disrupts hormones. True gynaecomastia is caused by an overactive breast gland. Hormonal problems are often the culprit.

That is not to say that animal fats cause gynaecomastia. But limiting intake of saturated and trans fats can help you lose weight before surgery.

Do cardio 3x per week

If you are trying to lose kilos fast, cardio workouts are important. Cycling, jump rope, power walking and jogging are easy cardio exercises you can try. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise three times per week.

Getting in shape may fix gynaecomastia without the need for surgery. And if you still need surgery, improving your diet and workout routine could make surgery safer and more effective.

Don’t use steroids

All this talk about working out…Imagine if there was a drug for that? If male breast enlargement is the result of a recreational steroid use, you will need to stop before surgery. Steroids cause gynaecomastia by messing with hormones. Hormonal shifts are one of the top reasons male breasts develop in the first place. If you are serious about getting rid of man boobs, quitting steroid use is a must — both before and after surgery.

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30 Belmore Rd
Lorn NSW 2320


This website contains adult content. You must be 18 years or over to read. All surgery carries risks. You should seek a second opinion before proceeding. Results vary from patient to patient. See our disclaimer.
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