Man Boobs, Be Gone! How to Get a Male Beach Body in a Hurry

Illustration by: Evan Hughes

How's a busy Hollywood exec to complete with cam-ready actors and athletes? The Hollywood Reporter has a plan for tackling everything from, yep, man boobs to the "Bro-zilian."

Just because you live in L.A. and hit the gym a few times a week before 14-hour office days doesn't mean you're ready for a St. Tropez, Malibu or Hamptons beach close-up. And come on, gents: The ladies have been getting tankini-ready since right after the Oscars. So you might as well put in a few weeks before pulling on your French Vilebrequin swim trunks. It's not even about a six-pack -- it's about skin tone, color and smoothness, all too visible in unforgiving bright midsummer sunlight.

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There are a few (dramatic) ways to shed extra fat gained from two-hour Bouchon lunches other than six months of training with Harley Pasternak and Gunnar Peterson or going caveman on the Paleo Diet for three.

Body Wrap L.A., with a Beverly Hills location (9887 S. Santa Monica Blvd.), offers infrared body wraps, which they claim burn 1,200 calories in 60 minutes. Jogging takes off only 600 in that amount of time. The idea: Infrared heat penetrates to soften the fat, breaking it up and releasing it back into the bloodstream. "I was surprised by how much leaner I was after the infrared wrap," says a manager in the music business. "It can get you hooked. The effects are staggeringly fast."

At the Rejuvenate Medical Spa in Encino (17130 Ventura Blvd.), spa director Michael Farah says radio frequencies are part of a new radical weight- and inch-loss treatment calledReFit Male Body Contouring. "You have to maintain it once a month," says Farah. "And you can't go home and eat a pizza and expect to see results." Multiple electrodes are applied to the abs under a small infrared dome to impart infrared heat and radio waves. "The patient does this for two hours. They burn 600 calories from the heat, and their muscles get a workout from the electrodes." The treatment, as much as $500 a session, also clears out toxins. "This is the only thing you can do to dramatically lose weight before a wedding or red carpet," he says. "We have models, actresses, actors. With other body wraps, they gain water weight back in 24 hours." As for a treatment at the other end of the temperature spectrum -- cool sculpting, which involves freezing excess body fat -- medical experts say it doesn't work.

Ben AffleckGwen StefaniGisele Bundchen and Liv Tyler all have sprung for We Care Detox Spa (18000 Long Canyon Road, Desert Hot Springs) to lose inches fast by combining a protracted juice fast for days (or weeks) with colonics -- but an eight-day package could set you back eight grand. Hollywood chiropractor Hugh Gordon says the old-fashioned way is the healthiest: "If you want to tighten up, clean up your diet overnight. Go gluten-free, lose all processed food, all sugars, alcohol, do clean fish and chicken, vegetables and fruits, salads with light dressings. Combine that with cross-training, pushing your muscles by exhausting them at a fast pace -- what we call 'the fast twitch.' " (For example, run the Santa Monica stairs, then jump rope for a minute, then do bicep curls and work the weights, all while keeping your heart rate up.) Adds Gordon, "Jogging will never achieve what cross-training can do in a small amount of time."

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"The first thing men think about before they go on vacation is getting their back hair removed," says Dr. Kopelson. More prevalent than ever (the Robin Williams look is yesterday's news), waxing for guys can be found at many locales. Igor for Men at 801 W. Larrabee in West Hollywood offers back, leg, arms, shoulders and chest waxing -- plus what it calls "the back end" (the entire butt for $85) and "the male Brazilian," aka the "Bro-zilian" (full-frontal hairless plus butt for $125 and up). But laser hair-removal is taking over because, as it turns out, when it comes to hot wax on their bodies, men are wimps. "Waxing hurts more than laser hair-removal," says Kopelson, who says lasers feels like a rubber band repeatedly snapping hard on the skin. "And [waxing] gives you stubble and grows back in a month. Even if you get only one or two laser treatments, the time between needing treatments is elongated." Kopelson also recommends going to a dermatologist who understands the subtleties of the varied lasers, as opposed to a laser hair-removal studio. "There are hair-removal lasers that are better for black skin, like the Nd:YAG. That's safe for Hispanics, Asian and black body hair. No laser hair-removal works on blond or red hair." You would think guys might shy away from lasers down there, but Kopelson says they're pretty gung ho: "Straight guys are now fanatical about having no hair near their genitals. They think it makes their penises look bigger. And their wives are sending them for it. It used to be all gay men, but now they want to have hair on their bodies. Laser hair-removal is also great for guys who don't want gray chest hairs." Depending on skin tone, hair thickness and quantity, laser treatments can take 45 minutes for a first-time back-hair removal ($300 and up), and can take as many as 10 treatments (but five or six sessions is the average) for full results, followed by quicker annual refreshers.

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They don't call them Hollywood's crispiest celebrities for nothing. From the tans-gone-wild days of George Hamilton to the occasional Orange Men of the red carpet (Ryan Seacrest, Seth MacFarlane), man tans are rampant and all too easy to achieve with too much sun or product. "Men have no gauge on what is the right color tan to have," says dermatologist Peter Kopelson. "Women understand foundation matching skin tone. Men just don't." The best way to look cowabunga copper without health or aging downsides is the perfected custom spray-on tan, and L.A.'s best practitioner is Fiona Locke, who does most of the major talent for every big awards show (Gwyneth is a huge fan). Now working out of her West L.A. studio, the brand ambassador for Ireland-based self-tanning product company Vita Liberata also does house calls. "A spray tan used to be something the gay community favored, but now straight men are using it because it has zero smell," says Locke. "They won't smell like they're wearing their wife's perfume." A custom spray tan lasts a week and does not stain sheets, clothes or other people ($120 in her studio, $160 for a house call, fiona@fionalockestudio). She adds: "It accentuates a man's muscle tone. They all say they can really see their abs."

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If you're a guy with rounded protrusions in your James Perse T-shirt; if your chest is more convex than concave; if low light and keeping your clothes on seem sexier than ripping your shirt off; or if you feel an inexplicable bodily affinity with Kevin James, well, you might just have that strange anomaly called "man boobs," or "moobs." A subject often swept under the carpet (and loose shirts), cleavage on a man, as opposed to rock-hard pecs, is not so sexy. No guy wants to lose the wet T-shirt contest. And no amount of diet and exercise will take moobs away (unless they're due to being overweight overall). They result from a medical condition called gynecomastia, "an excess of skin and fatty tissue that can happen around age 50," explains Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Lawrence Koplin. "Sometimes guys will fail the pencil test" -- when a pencil is stuck under the moobs, and it stays up -- "and there's a little droop. Our fat distribution changes as we get older, and testosterone drops, which means male estrogen, in effect, increases." The only treatment is liposuction, and luckily, it's extremely effective. The operation takes one to two hours, and one or two tiny openings are made under the moob on each side and fatty tissue is removed until the skin tightens. Afterward, the patient wears an elastic vest for a few weeks under his shirt to tighten the area even more. A new, flatter man can take off his shirt and emerge at the beach in about six weeks after getting off the operating table. The three-millimeter scars fade pretty fast. "Essentially," notes Koplin, "we're changing a life in an hour or two." The younger the man, the faster the recovery.

This story first appeared in the July 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.