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Gastric sleeve, heavy lifting, calorie intake and over-training.



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PWMDMD,

I'm late to the thread, but yes, everything you said in your original OP! I'm 6ft 3in and 225 lb, and was in that same awkward boat where my bariatric nutrition didn't know what to do with me. They were wanting me to eat about 1500 calories a day for maintenance, and that was just not going to happen as I could not stop losing weight at those calories. Once I got down to about 220, I was trying to GAIN weight (muscle), and they just could not comprehend a post-weight loss surgery patient wanting to GAIN weight. In fairness, they deal with mostly women who have no interest in gaining muscle, and also a majority of their patients never actually hit their weight-loss target, so never get out of "weight loss" mode. At the same time, when I was talking to trainers at my gym, they were recommending I eat like 4000 calories a day to gain muscle, and that also wasn't happening with me just because of physical limitations of my sleeved stomach.

What I ended up having to do, it's just a whole lot of trial-and-error myself. I found that I maintain weight at about 2800 calories a day. I did end up putting on about 5 lb of muscle weight, but it took me almost 7 months to do that while eating about 3200- 3300 calories per day and 160-180g of protein/day. It was slooooow going.

I was not a weightlifter prior to bariatric surgery, but got into it big time about six months after the sleeve. I lift weights 6 days per week, and have gone through a few different programs at this point. My lifts went up quickly over the first 9 months or so, and then progress came much slower, which is normal for someone first getting into weightlifting I suppose.

I haven't been able to lift in about 4 weeks because I had plastic surgery to remove loose skin. Surgeon says no weight lifting until 8 weeks post plastic surgery. When I left off, my one rep max was bench-205, squat-320, deadlift-315. My bench has always lagged significantly behind my squat and deadlift.

But yeah, it seems to be a very limited number of people in our boat who are post bariatric surgery, but trying to get into bodybuilding / weightlifting. The bariatric offices don't seem to know what to do with us, and neither do the traditional trainers / nutritionist who have never worked with bariatric patients.

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Oh my....finally......i have found my people!!!!!

So... i had surgery in 2016 (sleeve). Went from 356 to 179. At 179 my doc told me to hit the gym (probably 8 months post). I too found the guru that is Jim Stoppani and started following his programs. I started putting on weight and got terrified. I added 30lbs!!! But wait....my waitsline didnt change...WOOHOO!!!

So yes, i doo agree that dieticians and nutritionists have no idea what to do with those of us who train for strength but have a physical nutritional restriction. So thats where we have to help each other! Since surgery i have run over 10 obstacle course races (Spartan, Tough Mudder, etc) of lengths from 3 miles to 13 miles. I also participated in my first half marathon.

But now....I am a powerlifter!!! My lifts currently are bench-215, Squat-315, DL-405. I eat a ton!!! 3000 cal a day. Its a job in and of itself as i probably eat 7 meals a day as well as supplementation with shakes. Its not easy, but to build the size and strength i need, its neccessary.

We should totally start a group for bariatric lifters / bodybuilders.

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16 hours ago, NurseMichael said:

Oh my....finally......i have found my people!!!!!

So... i had surgery in 2016 (sleeve). Went from 356 to 179. At 179 my doc told me to hit the gym (probably 8 months post). I too found the guru that is Jim Stoppani and started following his programs. I started putting on weight and got terrified. I added 30lbs!!! But wait....my waitsline didnt change...WOOHOO!!!

So yes, i doo agree that dieticians and nutritionists have no idea what to do with those of us who train for strength but have a physical nutritional restriction. So thats where we have to help each other! Since surgery i have run over 10 obstacle course races (Spartan, Tough Mudder, etc) of lengths from 3 miles to 13 miles. I also participated in my first half marathon.

But now....I am a powerlifter!!! My lifts currently are bench-215, Squat-315, DL-405. I eat a ton!!! 3000 cal a day. Its a job in and of itself as i probably eat 7 meals a day as well as supplementation with shakes. Its not easy, but to build the size and strength i need, its neccessary.

We should totally start a group for bariatric lifters / bodybuilders.

Is so weird to have surgery to restrict eating, to then need to increase eating for training 😆😆 I lifted something easily that weighed more than me the other day, seriously broke out the happy dance, my trainer looked at me sideways lol only a former big person could get how freaky that is.... certainly couldn't lift anything heavier than myself a year ago!!

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Thanks for all the replies! Sorry, it's been a little while since I've checked the forum.

I'm at about 2200 calories (2500 on lifting days and 2000 on rest days) and doing ok but really feel like the tank is empty after a heavy lifting day. I have no problem with the actual lifting but later that day and into the next day feeling exhausted. Right now I just power through it but as my working set weights go up I think I'm going to have to increase calorie intake. There is some weird mental block as far as increasing calorie intake...I'm trying to just be logical about it.

The surgery program dietitian has been great. I went for a follow up recently and after the look of total disbelief that I was eating 2000-2500 calories per day (surgeon's recommendation is no more than 1300) she said I'm one of the best looking post-op patients she's ever seen and there's no data on calorie requirements for people like me and to keep doing what I'm doing. She was eager to share my case with the surgeon both for the benefits of lifting heavy and higher caloric intake.

I may bump up to 2500-2800 calories and see what happens.

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Just an update. In April I moved from Strong Lifts to Madcow and now I'm doing the Wendler 531 with the four day split and the optional Big But Boring sets. Basically divides lifts into four separate days of overhead press, deadlift, bench and squat. I like this program because you only do each compound lift once per week compared to Strong Lifts and Madcow where you are squatting every workout. The core lifts are not too bad but the Big But Boring (BBB) lifts for squat and deadlift SUCK! You basically go to failure on the last set of the core lift for that day and then deload to a lighter weight but do 5 sets of 10 reps. So for Monday I'll deadlift 330lbs as many times as possible until failure, give myself about 3 mins of rest and then reload to 195lbs and do a 5x10. It's brutal and I just finished the first cycle and I'm on day 6 for a "rest week" before starting the second cycle.

This rest week coincides with vacation and I was starting to feel really run down with some minor but nagging aches and pain (tennis elbow in left elbow and left knee stiffness). Six days in those aches and pains are all gone but man I still feel fatigued and tired. I figured by now I'd be dying to get back to the gym but to be honest I have no desire to go at this point - I'm very surprised by this. I'm also consuming about 3000 cals per day now and I've changed my macros to 230g of Protein and 250g of CHOs. Still eating well - mostly Whole Foods and complex carbs. Since April I've put on about 10lbs but my waste size is the same - waste size is basically the only measurement I take on a regular basis.

I've definitely put on significant size in the past 3-months and I'm stronger but I still feel like I'm tippy toeing on the overtraining line and based on this rest week I think I've clearly fallen into overtraining. I really thought by day 6 of this rest week I'd be dying to get back it. The weird thing for me is I have ZERO issues at the gym - I feel strong and motivated when I'm there and bang out these workouts no problem. This is followed by the post-workout euphoria feeling for the rest of the day and it's not until the next day that I feel profound fatigue (some muscle soreness but minor) - drained - empty in my core.

Any guidance is appreciated! I know, I know...reduce volume, reduce intensity or reduce both....

Edited by PWMDMD

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