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How to Maintain and Build Muscle After Gastric Sleeve

A very real and common challenge for postoperative gastric sleeve patients is building muscle. Firstly, this challenge may come with age — muscle tone decreases and as anyone over the age of 40 knows, it becomes more challenging to build muscle. Second, because of excess weight, most patients have not exercised properly in years. This can often mean that muscles have atrophied due to underuse. Lastly, patients will be consuming far less food than they did previously, which makes fewer calories available for burning during vigorous exercise.

While it may seem like a struggle, the gastric sleeve, and bariatric surgery in general, actually offers the opportunity to build muscle more efficiently than if the patient were pursuing a diet and exercise regimen alone.

How Does Gastric Sleeve Help Build Muscle?

The postoperative bariatric diet consists of a great deal of protein. Protein is essential for muscle building. As our patients begin to lose weight and eliminate high-carb and high-fat foods from their diets, the body begins to look for alternate sources to burn. Oftentimes, this is not only fat, but also muscle. However, by consuming the appropriate amount of protein after surgery – somewhere between 60 and 80 grams each day, lean muscle tone can largely be retained, leaving fat to be burned throughout the day.

Next, it stands to reason that by losing weight, our patients will be more motivated and more likely to exercise. The postoperative exercise regimen is not limited to cardio, however. Strength training, in the form of weightlifting, builds muscle, allowing for a more consistent and longer-term fat burning mechanism.

Finally, there is nothing to say that someone can’t build muscle in the later years of their life. To be sure, it is much more difficult, however building muscle isn’t just for the young – prioritizing muscle mass maintenance in mid- and advanced age can help ward off many significant illnesses and keep you healthier for longer.

Developing muscle is a challenge much in the way that losing weight is as well. Muscle maintenance and muscle building is something that you must dedicate yourself to and become passionate about. Luckily, the benefits of increased muscle mass are very tangible in the form of body tone as well as being able to lift progressively heavier weights.

As with anything, there is the potential for overdoing it. Pushing too hard for weight loss and muscle building often leads to injuries that can sidetrack your progress for weeks or even months. Therefore, we always want you to work out within your physical limits and if you ever feel pain due to your exercise regimen, you should stop, or at very least, slow down to a more manageable level. There is plenty of time to pursue your muscle mass increase goals and it certainly does not need to be rushed.

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