Is the Rise of Weight Loss Medication Killing the Fitness Industry?
The rise of weight loss medications could spell fortune for medical spas, and challenge for conventional weight loss programs.
Medications such as Ozempic, Wegovy, Manjaro, and its basic name, semaglutide, have gained popularity as many people are trying to keep up with the current body trends.
The pendulum of body image trends has swung over the years from curvy, to super thin, to body positive, to thin again.
This time, people are opting for the way most celebrities have been speculated to lose a lot of weight, quickly– weight loss medication.
WHAT IS OZEMPIC?
Ozempic is the most common name used in the media to describe this group of weight loss medications. Ozempic is a once-weekly injection prescribed to patients with Type 2 diabetes to improve blood sugar, and lower risk of cardiovascular events such as stroke, heart attack, and death.
Ozempic is a brand name of the medication semaglutide. It goes by a number of names including, Wegovy, Manjoro, Semaglutide, and GLP-1.
While it is prescribed to Type 2 Diabetics, semaglutide has been approved by the FDA for chronic weight management in adults who meet certain BMI criteria.
Semaglutide works by acting on the brain to decrease signals of hunger and increase signals of satiety.
It comes with a number of side effects including: nausea, GI distress, fatigue, headache, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, abdominal distention, low blood sugar, and more.
It also comes with a warning to not use it if you have a family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma, or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). Pancreatitis can also occur while using these medications.
HOW DO YOU GET SEMAGLUTIDE/OZEMPIC?
These medications are meant to be by prescription only. Physicians prescribe this medication to overweight or obese adults to deal with chronic weight management, or to those who have Type-2 Diabetes.
Recently, however, Medical Spas have made these medications accessible to more people looking for weight loss solutions.
Telehealth and at home injections have made these medications even more widely available, however the price tag is still hefty. Insurance typically won’t cover the cost of Ozempic especially for those who don’t meet a BMI requirement, and don’t have Diabetes.
Through a medical spa, the cost can run from $200-$1000 per month depending on dosage and other factors.
The price tag is another reason these medications have been largely reserved for celebrities, and upper class individuals who can afford the $1000+/month price tag.
DO YOU STILL NEED TO DIET AND EXERCISE WHILE ON SEMAGLUTIDE?
The main purpose of Semaglutide/Ozempic is to decrease the feelings of hunger. It is crucial that users of these medications prioritize protein consumption and resistance training to ensure weight loss comes from fat loss.
If these medications are not combined with healthy eating habits and strength training, users will have a decrease in muscle mass which will lead to long term health problems. Muscle loss causes a decrease in Metabolism, weakness, decreased bone density, lowered energy levels, weakened immune system, and impaired organ function.
It is important to continue to build healthy habits and exercise while taking weight loss medications.
This is good news for gyms and fitness professionals. As people begin their weight loss journeys with medication, they will need guidance on how to change their lifestyle to maintain their weight loss and build/keep their muscle mass.
In fact, fitness professionals should stay on top of these trends so that they can communicate the importance of diet and exercise to their potential clients.
As always, talk to a doctor about what type of exercise, nutrition, and medication is appropriate for you.
COMING OFF OF SEMAGLUTIDE/OZEMPIC
For most, semaglutide is not a life long regimen. Semaglutide can help kickstart a weight loss journey and allow you to build healthy habits without the hunger and food desires they previously had.
So what happens when you stop taking Ozempic/Semaglutide? Some people report weight regain, while others say they are able to keep up with the healthy habits they built while on the medication.
This is another area where fitness professionals will stay relevant even with the rise of weight loss medications.
People will need guidance to build these habits, and keep the weight off while they transition off of the medication.
BEFORE YOU GO…
These medications should be prescribed by a licensed medical professional and used under close guidance. Although there is becoming a de-stigmatization of weight loss medication, it’s still important to recognize these are medications with risks and side effects that should be discussed with your doctor.