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How to Tighten a Flabby Chest

By Kim Nunley

The flabbiness at your chest is excess body fat that your body is storing in your upper body. While it’s not possible to spot reduce and lose fat in a specific area, you will see improvements at your chest as you lower your overall body fat. To lose fat, you need to exercise regularly and follow a healthy eating plan. Cardiovascular exercise and diet helps you burn more calories than you consume, which creates the caloric deficit needed for fat loss. You can also incorporate strength-training workouts, which will build tone in your chest muscles. This muscle tone at your chest will become visible once you lose the flab.

How Many Calories You Should Consume

Losing fat is only possible if you burn more calories than you consume over a period of time. To lose a pound of fat, you have to create a caloric deficit of 3,500. Therefore, the amount of calories you take in makes a significant impact on your fat-loss success. To figure out how many calories you should consume every day, first estimate your basal metabolic rate and then multiply that value by an activity factor. Basal metabolic rate, or BMR, is how many calories you burn at rest. Women estimate their BMR with the following equation: 655 + (4.35 X weight in pounds) + (4.7 X height in inches) - (4.7 X age in years). Men use this equation: 66 + (6.23 X weight in pounds) + (12.7 X height in inches) - (6.8 X age in years).

Once you've estimated your BMR, multiply it by the appropriate activity factor to account for the calories you burn with physical activity. Multiply your BMR by 1.2 if you don't exercise or exercise very little. Multiply it by 1.375 if you exercise one to three days per week and 1.55 if you exercise three to five days per week. If you exercise six to seven days per week, multiply your BMR by 1.725, and if you exercise six to seven days per week and also have a physically-taxing job, multiply it by 1.9.

Lowering Your Calorie Intake

Once you have estimated the approximate number of calories you burn daily, you can adjust your diet as necessary. To create a caloric deficit for fat loss, you have to take in fewer calories than the estimated calories you burn. Consider keeping a journal to track the foods you eat and how many calories you're consuming. To lower the number of calories you take in, reduce your portion size at every meal. Your meals should contain primarily fruits, vegetables, non-fat or low-fat dairy products, lean protein and whole grains so that you limit your calories while still getting the nutrients you need. Cut out or severely limit sodas and alcoholic beverages. Also be sure to drink plenty of water.

Cardio Burns Calories

By adding cardio workouts to your routine, you increase the number of calories you burn and thus help contribute to the creation of a caloric deficit. How many calories you burn depends on the type, duration and intensity of your workouts, as well as how many pounds you currently weigh. A 180-pound person, for example, burns about 13.9 calories per minute jogging, 11.6 calories per minute swimming and 9.7 calories per minute walking, and these numbers increase as the intensity of the workout increases. In addition, according to the American Council of Exercise, high-intensity cardio workouts keep your metabolic rate elevated after you’re finished, so you continue to burn more calories. To significantly increase your caloric deficit, fit in at least three days of 20 to 30-minute cardio activity every week and pick a type of cardio you enjoy so that you’re more likely to be consistent with your training.

Targeting the Chest With Strength Training

You can build tone in your chest muscles with strength training. The major muscles in the chest include the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor, which originate at your sternum and then fan out in both directions to cover your chest and eventually insert at the front of your shoulders. Schedule two or three chest strength-training workouts every week, allowing one to two days off in between. For a workout designed to build tone, pick three to four chest exercises and do three to six sets of six to 12 reps of each. Use a weight that allows you to complete six reps, but no more than 12. Be sure to warm up your arms and chest with dynamic movements like arm circles before you begin.

Chest-Specific Exercises

The pectoral muscles are responsible for bringing your upper arms together, or adducting your shoulder joints, and are typically worked with exercises that involve pushing with your arms. Select from bench presses, dumbbell chest presses, incline presses, pullovers and chest flyes. If you don’t have access to weights, you can do body-weight exercises like pushups and chest dips. If possible, regularly change up the exercises you employ to help avoid hitting a training plateau. For example, for two weeks do bench presses, pullovers and incline presses using a barbell. For the next two weeks, do dumbbell chest presses, chest flyes and pushups.

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