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You’re Losing Weight with Ozempic, Mounjaro, or Trulicity. Do You Still Must Exercise?

Latest type 2 diabetes medications are so extraordinarily effective at creating weight reduction that they’ve patients wondering: “Do I still have to exercise?”



The brand new drugs, which belong to the larger family of GLP-1 and GIP/GLP-1 receptor agonists, offer remarkable glucose control and weight reduction for individuals with type 2 diabetes.

  • Dulaglutide (Trulicity) helps the common user lose 10 kilos.
  • Semaglutide (Ozempic) helps the common user lose 15 kilos.
  • Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) helps the common user lose a whopping 27 kilos, a result on par with bariatric surgery.

Tim Church MD, MPH, PhD, believes that these drugs are so effective that they essentially “maintain weight reduction” all by themselves. And meaning it’s time to acknowledge that users of GLP-1 receptor agonists don’t really need to exercise to drop some pounds anymore.

But that actually doesn’t mean that they don’t need exercise — quite the opposite! Exercise’s advantages for individuals with diabetes remain unsurpassed, and physical activity may even have special advantages for patients experiencing rapid weight reduction with a drug like Ozempic.

Dr. Church is the chief medical officer for Wondr Health, and an authority on obesity and weight management. Over a decade ago, he helped lead studies that contributed to our understanding of how the body compensates for calories burned during exercise — and why it’s so difficult to drop some pounds with exercise. Now, he desires to reimagine the aim of exercise in a post-Ozempic world.

Church co-authored a recent perspective published in Obesity, the official journal of The Obesity Society. His letter calls for clinicians to refocus on the numerous holistic advantages of physical activity in patients using these powerful weight reduction medications.

Type 2 Diabetes and Muscle Loss

Weight reduction has incredible advantages for individuals with type 2 diabetes, but one particular concern with drugs like Ozempic is the chance that they might cause an unhealthy amount of muscle loss. Though the information is meager in the mean time, some clinical trial results have appeared to suggest semaglutide users might lose more lean muscle mass than normally expected from diet-induced weight reduction.

Church thinks this may very well be a giant deal for individuals with diabetes:

“Diabetes is a disease of the muscle. What’s the primary consumer of blood sugar within the human body? It’s skeletal muscle. If you discuss insulin resistance, it’s happening within the skeletal muscle.”

“It’s all about muscle — maintaining as much healthy muscle as possible. It’s critical.”

Lifting weights is more likely to enable you retain lean mass at the same time as you rapidly slim down. Many different studies have found that resistance or strength-building exercise helps prevent muscle loss during weight reduction, including in older and chubby people. Resistance training also offers comprehensive health advantages to individuals with type 2 diabetes, including improved insulin sensitivity, lower cardiovascular risk aspects, and mental health boosts.

“You would like to do something to make sure you’re preserving as much muscle as possible.”

“You don’t must join a gym,” says Church. “There’s a bazillion YouTube programs, and also you only need a few dumbbells or resistance bands. We’re not asking you to be Mr. or Mrs. Olympia. It’s actually easier [than cardio]. The people in our study were lifting about twice per week, 20-Half-hour every time. People fell in love with lifting weights. We couldn’t get them out of the gym.”

“When you drop some pounds and concurrently work on making healthier muscle? There’s nothing more essential you possibly can do.”

Exercise Helps You Lose Even More Weight

Normally, it takes an extreme amount of exercise to drive real weight reduction — as much as 300 minutes (5 hours) per week. That’s since the body has multiple ways of compensating for the calories you burn when understanding — it slows down your metabolism and ramps up your hunger. But drugs like Ozempic and Mounjaro change the calculus:

“That each one gets circumvented by these medications,” says Church. “You get no compensatory eating. It’s yet another reason to get a bit little bit of exercise — those calories you burn exercising go straight to weight reduction.”

How Much Should You Exercise?

So how much do you have to exercise if you happen to’re using a GLP-1 or GIP/GLP-1 receptor agonist? Church points on to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) physical activity guidelines: 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and two or more days of muscle-strengthening per week.

“Now’s the time to double down on the federal treatment guidelines for general health, because I believe they’re perfect for any individual who’s taking these medications. They usually’re achievable, by the way in which.”

A study of liraglutide tested the effect of moderate physical activity on people using diabetes drugs for weight reduction. Liraglutide, a GLP-1 sold as Victoza for diabetes and Saxenda for weight management, helped adults without diabetes lose a mean of 15 kilos. But when study participants added moderate physical activity, roughly much like the extent really helpful by the CDC, they lost a further six kilos.

“To me, what’s so empowering,” Church says, “is that because these medications maintain the burden loss, we don’t must tell people anymore that they need 300 minutes per week of exercise. Guess what? That’s rather a lot. That’s a number of work. I like to exercise, but I don’t try this much.”

How you can Work Out, and Why

The CDC exercise recommendations usually are not difficult to fulfill, says Church: “Just get anything. Anything! Two or three days per week, if you happen to can get some walking in, and if you happen to can do exactly a bit little bit of weight training.”

“Find something you like. Is it ballroom dancing? Is it golf? Whatever it’s, embrace it, run with it!”

Even if you happen to’re already losing a few pounds because of your medication, exercise stays an almost unsurpassed therapy for type 2 diabetes and overall health.

“The impact of exercise on type 2 diabetes can’t be overstated. From the standpoint of quality of life, blood sugar control, survival — and that’s with or without weight reduction. Regular exercise reduces your stress. You sleep higher. It reduces the symptoms of depression. You’re just more functional. You’re not leading your best life if you happen to’re not exercising.”

Jakicic et al. Physical Activity within the Latest Era of Antiobesity Medications. Obesity. October 17, 2023.

Villareal et al. Weight Loss, Exercise, or Each and Physical Function in Obese Older Adults. Latest England Journal of Medicine. September, 2011.

Frimel et al. Exercise Attenuates the Weight-Loss-Induced Reduction in Muscle Mass in Frail Obese Older Adults. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. March 3, 2009.

Figueroa et al. Effects of Hypocaloric Weight loss program, Low-Intensity Resistance Exercise with Slow Movement, or Each on Aortic Hemodynamics and Muscle Mass in Obese Postmenopausal Women. Menopause. September, 2013.

Flack et al. Exercise for Weight Loss: Further Evaluating Energy Compensation with Exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. November, 2020.

How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. June 2, 2022.

Lundgren et al. Healthy Weight Loss Maintenance with Exercise, Liraglutide, or Each Combined. Latest England Journal of Medicine. May 6, 2021.

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