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TRUE OR FALSE: Exercise & WLS Edition

#1: Over 60% of post-op bariatric surgery patients do not exercise. And for those that do, 90% don’t do enough.

TRUE. Sadly, this is true. Surgery or not, some people just don’t like to break a sweat. There are so many reasons why people DON’T work out but at some point, those reasons become excuses and before you know it, your muscles are deteriorating, your lungs are getting weaker, and your blood is thickening. I know it sounds so scary lol but it’s true!! (That’s a whole different topic for another blog post!)

#2: You won’t need to exercise after bariatric surgery.

FALSE. Oh yes, you will! (Unless you have true medical reasons not to which your doctor should clarify for you.) All of the research shows that physical activity is a must post-op bariatric surgery. Exercise will do so many things for you that will help you reach your goals, maintain your weight loss long-term, and improve your health. 

#3: You can start an activity program immediately after bariatric surgery.

TRUE! Believe it or not, starting some kind of walking/movement routine is strongly encouraged post-op. You won’t be ready to jump into intense workouts but getting into a gentle walking and movement routine can begin the day you get home from the hospital. In fact, your team of doctors & nurses will have you up and moving IN the hospital! 

You DO need to wait until you get full medical clearance from your surgeon before you start actually exercising and lifting weights. You need to make sure your incisions are 110% healed before you start exercising. If you haven’t already caught on: there is a difference between exercise and physical activity. Read more about that here. 

#4: Exercise isn’t good for WLS patients because it causes overeating.

FALSE! While it is true that adding in more exercise and activity CAN affect your hunger levels, there are things you can do to mitigate uncontrollable hunger and cravings. The first step is to ensure you’re properly fueled and hydrated. Getting in your protein, eating enough carbs & fats, and sipping fluids throughout the day are all crucial when exercising consistently. For bariatric patients, there’s a process to this. In the first few months post-op, you will not be eating enough to do intense workouts. You must be gentle with yourself in this timeframe. Over the years, as you find balance with your nutrition and hydration, your workouts can become more advanced.

#5: Even when your workouts make you feel crappy, push through the pain and keep going.

FALSE! No! If you feel nauseous, lightheaded, dizzy, or severely out of breath, do not continue exercising. Your workouts should make you feel good. You might get sweaty and out of breath but after, you should feel energized and rejuvenated. If you don’t, something is off and you need to find out why.

Top reasons people feel crappy while working out:

The list goes on…I can make this another blog post.

#6: Cardio workouts matter more than strength training workouts.

FALSE! Both cardio workouts and strength workouts are necessary. You also need to do balance/mobility/stretching/breathing exercises as well. A lot more goes into fitness than just being able to run! 

#7: Home workouts are just as effective as gym workouts.

TRUE! Yup! It’s true. You do not need to join a gym to get fit. With some creativity and dedication, you can get fit at home. Or outside! (Park/track workouts are amazing. There are so many free outdoor gyms!) I will suggest investing in some dumbbells/resistance bands to create your own little home gym so you can challenge yourself in different ways. But trust me, you don’t need the fancy stuff.

#8: You need to exercise 7 days a week.

FALSE! Working out every single day is not the goal. Exercising every single day can lead to burnout, injuries, fatigue, and weight stalls. You gotta give your body a break in between workouts. Those rest days are when your muscles grow and become stronger. You can be ACTIVE every day. So things like walking the dog, gardening, playing with your kids, walking around a mall, going to a beach, and swimming in the ocean…MOVE every day but don’t WORKOUT every day. Read more about this here. 

#9: You can gain muscle and strength using light weights.

TRUE! Lately, it feels like the fitness community is pushing: LIFT AS HEAVY AS POSSIBLE. And from my experience, that’s not always true. It does depend on your goals so if you are someone who wants to focus on MAXIMUM muscle strength and gains, yes, you need to go hire an in-person trainer to help you lift heavy. But if you are just the average person who wants to be fit and healthy, lifting light to moderate weight (and even just using your OWN body weight with exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups…) will get you there. 

#10: Bariatric patients have more muscle than they think.

TRUE! Don’t underestimate yourself. You probably have more muscle than you think you do! The trick is to KEEP it and IMPROVE it! Muscle is key to almost all of your goals. Read more about why here.

I hope you found this helpful! :) If you want a personalized workout plan, click here. Or browse my self-paced at-home workout plans here.

Disclaimer: No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.


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