Training After Bariatric Surgery

Training After Bariatric Surgery

Once someone has undergone any surgery, there is an initial fear of starting to work out in the gym again, or in some cases, for the first time ever. In this article we will talk about how much Bariatric surgery has made an impact on the fitness world and how to start your training to get the strength and happiness everyone desires.

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In the United States we are known for one main attribute. 34% of American adults were obese and another 33% were found to be overweight in 2008. The main culprit for this is the change in caloric intake. U.S. adults have increased their calorie consumption by 300 plus daily. This could be okay if the calories being consumed were from beneficial protein and carbs, but unfortunately that is not the case. Such as it is, there was a need for extremely/severely obese patients to have a bariatric surgery to help them change their life for the better. Bariatric surgeries have increased by 800% since 1998 to 2004 (Sorace.2010.pp. 97) This isn’t to say that anyone can go under the knife. There are five different factors that will make you elligible to undergo the surgery that are very in-depth and require much research on the potential patients health and fitness history.

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There are three different types of Bariatric surgery- the adjustible gastric band, the Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass(RNY) and the Veritical sleeve Gastrectomy- this removes part of the stomach.

bariatric suregery, types of surgery, gastric bypass,


After this surgery is finished and the patient is all healed up, it’s then time to think of what fitness and health goals are you going to start implementing. All of this can be extremely scary and seem like a daunting task. That’s why there are personal trainers who have the knowledge and skills needed to keep a consistent regimine of exercise and nutrition habits. Before the surgery most patients have tried to workout before and found it impossible to stay motivated by doing it all by themselves. Those who had personal trainers before, found it hard to even show up to sessions and eventually quit. Post-op the patients experience more motivation because they can already see an extreme change in their bodies. Yet, even after surgery most find it hard to continue the excercise needed. Personal trainers are more than happy to help those who have taken the first, massive, step to living a healthy lifestyle for the rest of their lives. They know that there can be extreme side effects with clients who have undergone any of these three surgeries. These are:

  • Roux-en-Y gastric bypas
  • Dumping syndrome (nausea, weakness, sweating, faintness, and sometimes diarrhea after eating), results from food moving through the small intestine too rapidly
  • Stomal stenosis (narrowing of the stoma or gastrointestinal opening)
  • Staple line disruption
  • Gastrointestinal leak
  • Marginal ulcers
  • Internal hernias
  • Dilation of the bypassed distal stomach in the event of a small bowel obstruction, which can lead to rupture and death
  • Nutritional deficiencies (e.g., protein, iron, vitamin B12, folate, calcium, fat-soluble vitamins)
  • Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (lap band)
  • Gastric band prolapse
  • Gastric band erosion and necrosis
  • Stomal obstruction
  • Esophageal and gastric pouch dilation
  • Access port problems

There are also the general risks of surgery, which include complications with anesthesia, incision complications (e.g., infection) and death.

Information modified from (Buchwald.pg.2)

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When it comes to actually implementing the workouts with your trainer, there is crucial information that is definitely a “need to know”. Most surgeons don’t suggest physical activity except walking until after 30-90 days post sugery. All excercise needs to be low-impact even after about 120 days when the patient is mostly healed. There is always caution with weight loss surgery patients due to their bodies rapid weight loss from the surgery itself. Abdominals and lower back regions are not typically excercised until 6 months after surgery. There are many ways a trainer can create dynamic and fun exercises to further ones’ fitness goals.

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The benefits to working out and continuing exercise after surgery are:

  • Continued weight loss post surgery
  • Enhanced cardio and respiratory endurance
  • Increased muscular strength
  • Increased caloric intake (because you excercise you can eat more, healthy calories)
  • Improved ability to perform daily activities
  • Reduce excess loose skin
  • Improved management of certain diseases
  • Enhanced range of motion for joints and improved flexibility

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Bryant, C X. “ACE Fit | Fit Life | After gastric bypass surgery, are there specific exercise precautions I should take?” N.p., 8 Sept. 2010. Web. <http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/healthy-living-article/60/896/after-gastric-bypass-surgery-are-there/>.

Sorace, Paul, MS,A.C.S.M.R.C.E.P., C.S.C.S.D. and LaFontaine, Tom, PhD, ACSM RCEP,C.S.C.S., N.S.C.A.-C.P.T. Personal training post-bariatric surgery patients: The surgery basics and exercise benefits. Strength and Conditioning Journal 32(3), pp. 97-100. 2010. Available: http://0-search.proquest.com.library2.pima.edu/docview/870319502?accountid=13194.



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