Exercise is crucial following bariatric surgery. It’s very important for maintaining the weight loss and staying healthy.

Some people struggle though because they don’t enjoy going to the gym. Often this leads to skipping exercise in general, or just doing it sparingly.

It helps to have someone supporting you, a partner or coach that can keep you disciplined. That’s why we recommend using personal trainers, especially because Oklahoma City has many well-qualified ones.

We also see that not everyone wants a trainer, or may not have the budget to keep one for awhile. That’s quite normal. We’ll give some other alternatives: simple options besides gyms and trainers that will help you keep the weight off and have you feeling active and energetic.

The most important part is that, after your bariatric surgery, you stay active and exercising. These tips will help you do that.

How long do you wait to exercise after weight loss surgery?

Before investing in a personal trainer, it’s important to make sure you’re ready to exercise.

The day you have surgery we get you up and walking around that day, generally for about ten minutes every hour.

The recovery period lasts about 3-6 weeks, which can also vary depending on the patient (less invasive procedures like laparoscopic gastric sleeve or lap band surgery generally bring shorter recovery).

Once you have finished the recovery period, we recommend engaging in more forms of exercise, including:

  • Strengthening, such as with resistance bands or a light pair of weights
  • Flexibility, such as light stretching or even Yoga
  • A bit more endurance, such as time on elliptical or stationary bike

It’s generally towards the end of recovery that a patient will start training and exercising more vigorously. This is when they consider working with a personal trainer.


What it’s like to work with a personal trainer

A trainer is especially helpful for people just getting started on an active lifestyle. A personal trainer can teach you the correct form for moves in your routine. If you’ve never worked with free weights, for instance, a trainer can show you how to safely make the most of resistance training.

Personal Trainers Offer Insights Into Your Fitness

Fitness has many facets, and it helps to specify your goals. For example, do you want to lose weight? Build muscle? Become more flexible? Increase stamina? A personal trainer can help narrow these and also map out a route to your goals. Your trainer will assess your fitness and adjust workouts to match your progress. A trainer’s practiced eye keeps you from getting burnt out or bored by your routine.

Personal Trainers Look For Long-Term Results

The main benefit you get with a trainer is the relationship. Trainers want clients to reach their goals. They may send you reminders, motivational messages and advice for sticking to your workout schedule. This can get you going on days that you might otherwise take off. Their goal is to get you into the healthiest shape possible.


Is The Cost of Hiring a Personal Trainer Worth It?

Many people think personal trainers are only for the rich. Trainers charge by the hour, and are typically associated with upscale gyms. Not for the average joe, right?

Not necessarily.

In Oklahoma City, trainers work at both private clubs and private gyms. Individual sessions with a trainer are more accessible now than they have been.

Personal Trainers Are More Affordable Than You Think

Individual training costs more than a standard gym membership, but you get a lot for your money.

The national average is between $60-$70/hour, which is somewhat standard in Oklahoma City. You could find newer trainers who charge lower, like $25/hour, or even more elite trainers who can charge upwards $100/hour.

Only you can decide if the expertise and motivation offered by personal training is worth the expense. Investing in a personal trainer could be nickels compared to the health and financial implications of being inactive.

If a personal trainer is not for you—which may very well be the case—then you have other great options for staying in shape.


Build the Perfect Home Gym

Having a home gym can be a great alternative to having a trainer or gym membership. Even if you have a gym membership, home gyms are great for rainy days or when you don’t want to leave the house.

Here are some at-home exercises as well as some equipment that should prove helpful in building your perfect home gym. example of a home gym

Establish a space

If possible, it’s great to have a dedicated area for your workout equipment. A spare room or a portion of the garage work well for most.

Wherever you decide, you want it to be comfortable yet energizing. Some people outfit it with motivational pictures or sayings. Installing a great sound system isn’t a bad idea, either.

Walk and move

A treadmill or stationary bike are also great investments. They encourage constant motion and you can even watch TV or read a book while you exercise. This can make working out much more enjoyable for you.

No need to spend hundreds or thousands on a new piece of equipment, either – you can oftentimes find gently used treadmills or stationary bikes at garage sales, estate sales, or on local sites such as Craigslist.

You may also want to buy some supportive shoes, something which many people overlook.

Free weights and other inexpensive equipment

Barbells and dumbbells aren’t very expensive and you can use them for a ton of different workouts. Search Craigslist, flea markets, classified ads, and other friends and families that may be getting rid of their sets.

Resistance bands

Resistance bands are great for building strength and flexibility – they’re also easy to store and inexpensive as well.

Stability balls and BOSUs

These are prime pieces for strengthening your abs, which improves balance. If you don’t have room for these pieces, balance discs are great too.

Online Exercise Videos

Once you have your equipment, you might need some instructions. Online workouts are a booming industry. People love them because they are thorough, tested, and entertaining.

Even better, there are so many websites out there that offer subscriptions, and a good amount that offer FREE exercise videos.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Walking away the pounds: Leslie’s website has all of her videos on there. They are great for those initial recovery months when you need simple and non-strenuous exercises. If you are looking for a fun low-impact exercise, this is the place to go.
  • Sit and Be Fit: A lot of the time we think exercise needs to be hard in order to get results, but that is not true. Consistency is the biggest key! So whether you can run 10 miles or not we still have to be consistent in whatever we do. Sit and Be Fit is great for encouraging slow but steady progress.
  • Denise Austin: Denise has a lot of different videos, ranging from dance cardio, strength training to yoga. She has a ton of experience in the fitness industry and her participants see great results.

So don’t think because you don’t have gym membership or a treadmill at home that all hope is lost! The Internet is your friend here – there are many options for you.


How Much Should You Exercise?

There’s such a thing as “too much” exercise—and certainly truth to there being “too little”—so it’s important to know the right amount for you.

The amount of time you exercise each week depends on your goals: do you want to lose weight, maintain weight loss, or just stay healthy?

Any choice is fine, most just want to maintain a healthy state after weight loss surgery.

Whether you’ve undergone gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, lap band, duodenal switch or another procedure, the following guidelines will help you know how many hours a week you should be spending on your workout routine.

  • Everyone comes in at different fitness levels. If you can do 5-10 minutes of exercise at a time, that’s a great place to start. Add a few minutes to your workout every few days with an end goal in mind.
  • In general, try to exercise for an hour a day, five times a week.
  • The American College of Sports Medicine urges adults younger than 65 years of age to exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week at a moderate intensity. This helps keep the strengthen the heart, muscles and bones. It may also reduce the risk of some diseases.
  • Light to moderate exercise is very effective as it keeps your heart rate in a low to moderate range. Walking is great for this.
  • If walking is not an option due to previous injuries/health reasons, our exercise physiologists can provide a customized stretching routine and other light intensity options for exercise.
  • Higher-intensity exercise should be reserved until you are ready to maintain weight or build muscle mass. Discuss adding higher-intensity exercise with your exercise physiologist before starting a new routine.

This lifestyle change requires dedication. If you can’t exercise for an hour at one time every day, it’s okay to break it up into shorter sessions. Break up your workouts into 10 minute increments if you have to. You can work out on your lunch break, before work or after work.


How to Stay Interested in Exercise

One of the hardest things about exercise is staying interested. It’s important to keep it fresh and engaging. Otherwise it gets stale.

In either case, staying on the exercise wagon is essential, especially for weight loss surgery patients. The following tips will help keep you on track.


Set a Goal

Want to be able to walk a 5k, or ride a bicycle with your kids or grand kids? Be able to take the stairs at work? Fit into your old skinny jeans? Maybe you simply want to go to the grocery store without being winded. Your goals can be quick ones or long-term ones; either way, setting them gives you something to strive for, a tangible result to achieve. 


cyclist enjoying a bike ride


Scheduling your workouts

By scheduling your workouts, you are making it a priority. You are also stating to your partner and your children that you prioritize yourself and your health – all powerful messages for children to hear and observe. It is ok to take time for yourself.


Temptation Bundling

Temptation bundling refers to tying together two activities: one that you know you should do, and one that you usually want to do because you enjoy it so much. One common example of the “should do” is exercise; the “enjoyable” activities are things like watching a TV show or listening to a podcast. So next time you’re going to the gym, is it Game of Thrones while on the elliptical? Maybe The Walking Dead while on the treadmill? The choice is yours!


This was demonstrated successfully in a study by Dr. Katherine Milkman at Penn University.


Have Fun!

This comes down to science – your brain needs fun. Play and activity is a huge boost to improving your mental and physical health.

Choose activities that spark your interest and inspire you, whether that means biking, swimming, hiking or lifting weights in a stunning park or other natural setting, or cardio yoga sessions that stretch and strengthen your body.

You can even treat yourself to some attractive workout clothes: when you feel good about the way you look, you are much more likely to feel excited about your fitness time.


Get Support

Ever worked out with a buddy? Exercising with a pal can help you stay focused, feel supported, and get extra bonding time with a pal.

WeightWise offers excellent support groups where you can meet like-minded individuals who have also experienced weight loss surgery and share your hopes and struggles. Our exercise physiologists are also happy to answer any questions you may have and suggest fresh routines to keep you motivated.

Getting excited about your workouts need not be a struggle. By finding activities that you love and making time to do them, working out becomes more than just effort: it’s pleasurable!


Special Considerations & Tips for Gastric Bypass Patients


As a whole, weight loss surgery has a very low complication rate (<1%), and patients that undergo bariatric surgery in Oklahoma City at the WeightWise campus have reported a tremendous improvement in their overall happiness, health, and quality of life.

In complement to your surgeon’s recommendations, we have a team of exercise physiologists that can guide you towards the healthiest recovery.

Whether it’s a session with a personal trainer or a recommended fitness routine at your home, one of our exercise physiologists can work with you to implement a training plan that is just right for your physical composition and stage of recovery.

To schedule a session with one of our knowledgeable exercise physiologists, contact Lauren Doyle at lauren.w@weightwise.com.


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