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Is it easy to build muscle after gastric bypass?


As a matter of fact, building muscle after gastric bypass should be one of the most important goals in your exercise plan. This is especially true if you are in the first year after surgery. 

With gastric bypass or any weight loss surgery plan you will lose a lot of weight. The thing is, part of that weight loss will be muscle mass. Research shows that you can lose up to 33% of your pre-surgery muscle mass within the first year if you don’t add strength training into your plan.  That’s a huge loss! And as you get older muscle mass becomes more important and more difficult to gain. So doing whatever you can to slow that loss should be an important part of your plan.

you can lose up to 33% of your pre-surgery muscle mass within the first year

You may be thinking that well all the extra weight I’ve been hauling around should have given me lots of muscle mass. And you would be right. Yet like with everything concerning obesity there is the negative side to that muscle mass. The muscle mass that you have is considered low quality muscle mass. That is muscle mass that is riddled with fat. Research shows  that excess fat infiltration in leg skeletal muscles is associated with low calf muscle strength, low calf muscle power, and impaired physical function in individuals who are obese.

So in addition to focusing on slowing the rate of loss of muscle mass with a quality strength training program, building muscle after gastric bypass can generate more strength and power and this should be part of your exercise routine. If that isn’t enough there are more reasons to have strength training into your program. 

How do you start with strength training to build muscle ?

If just thinking about adding strength training into life giving you anxiety then first off take a deep breath. Start easy. First off if this is new to you, start with one or two 30 minute sessions per week. This is more important if you just cleared to exercise as your energy level may still be a bit low. Also having a few shorter sessions won’t feel as daunting and therefore getting through it isn’t as difficult. Once you’ve done a few you feel more accomplished, setting yourself up to be more motivated to workout again.

What should you do?

Start with Big Muscles: Legs, Back, Chest

Start with big muscles like leg, back and chest. It’s not like the other parts of your body are not important but with shorter sessions you need to go for as much as you can. If weight like dumbbells and barbells intimidate you then starting with bodyweight can be effective. Just doing 1 – 3 sets of squats (here is a variety of squats if you want more choices), Chair push up can be a good start . if you have one resistance band then adding in rows can be a good addition.

It’s a start but you need a plan to be successful

While starting with those few exercises metioned above will give you a good start to your strength training, you need more complete plan to truly see the changes you are looking for. There are different levels of what this looks like:

A good workout plan will have a few workouts that you can pick and choose from week to week. This will keep some variety in your program. You can get these from many online programs and videos

A better workout plan will have few different workouts where the exercises accomodate some of your limitations. You can get this from a personal trainer or building your own plan.

The best workout plan isn’t a workout plan at all but an all encompassing program that focused on your longterm success.

  • It will have a variety of workouts where all the exercises meet your specific needs and limitations. If you can’t do most of the exercises in the workout then what’s the use.
  • This program will give you access to a specialist that can answer any questions you have about the exercises. Without this you’re setting yourself up for a potential injury and increasing the time it takes to reach your goals.
  • This program will give you the tool to help you master the new food and eating habits that are asked of you. Without focusing on these new habits you’re not going to see the results you are looking for and you are setting yourself up to regain a lot of the weight you’re losing now.
  • And finally the best program to get you to your goals should give you the tools to integrate all of these new habits into your life in a way that works for you.

That’s what the 3 Month JumpStart is, a program that gives you the personalized workouts you need, a weekly bariatric focused meal plan, direct contact with a specialist to guide you through any exercise questions you may have and time with a certified bariatric mindset coach to help give you the tools you need to integrate all of this into your life.

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