Is it easy to build muscle after gastric bypass?

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 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 would be 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. 


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 from your bypass as your energy level may still be a bit low. In addition to that having a few shorter sessions when you start sets you up for success. That is shorter sessions don’t feel as daunting and therefore getting through it isn’t as difficult. Once you’ve done a few you feel more accomplished.

What should you do?

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.

This is of course just one of many many different exercises you could add in,  but this should get you started. 

If you are still feeling a bit overwhelmed, feel free to contact me. I’m more than happy to help you better understand how you should add in strength training into your weight loss journey.