United-States flag


Tips on preserving muscle after surgery?

I'll be having surgery next month and I'm really nervous about losing muscle.

I won't be able to do kettlebell swings or lift weights for 6 weeks. (!!) 8-)

Any advice for trying to preserve as much muscle as possible and not getting fat?



The Best Answer

United-Kingdom flag

The Pagg stack help prevent muscle breakdown but is also a anticoagulant so check with surgion before resuming but stop before surgery for the same reason.

recovery is quicker if you give your body everything it needs and that means a possibility of overeating other foods and possible weight gain. weight gain should reduce the ammount of muscle waistage though so don't be too hung up about this!

The quicker you recover, the quicker you can get back to training but its down to what you put as your main priority. I would choose recovery over weight gain and get back on my regime asap.

If you can still work your legs and abdomen then this will help maintain the hormone environment you need for muscle maintainance. quads, glutes, and the rest of your posterior chain cause growth hormone and testosterone to be released when worked.

  • CynthiaK commented Dec 4th 2011:

    I definitely agree with you that recovery is more important than training. I don't want to mess anything up and have to go back in for more surgery!!

    Thanks for the advice :)

All Answers


Ireland flag

Eat. A lot!

Can you exercise any muscle group whatsoever? I was going to suggest a toned down version of occam's where you exercise one muscle, to failure, twice a week but i'm not sure if this is an option for you......

Otherwise, perhaps some supplements that increase glut4 activity on muscles might be good? See the chapter on PAGG. Also possibly creatine, and maybe some others from the leangains supplement list.

Hope this helps


  • CynthiaK commented Dec 3rd 2011:

    I won't be able to lift anything with my arms, but I'm thankful that I'll be able to do leg/abdominal work (unless it involves lifting anything above 5-10 lbs at all)

    I can see myself doing TONS of squats and ab stuff. I'll look like this (http://insanemusclegirls.com/assets_c/2010/06/Sample177O0310-thumb-400x599-306.jpg) but with normal arms.



United-States flag

I wasn't allowed to lift weights for a month, but the surgeon gave me the thumbs up for riding a bike as soon as I felt up to it. My surgery was abdominal, and probably I pushed the limits of what she considered normal bike riding, but at least if you keep your butt on the seat instead of standing up it's not so much stress on the stomach.

Talk to the surgeon about any supplements you're taking. Mine made me go off everything a week or so before surgery. Some things like fish oil are good for your heart because they keep your blood thin - but that's exactly what they don't need during an operation.

Side note - I REALLY wish someone had warned me to buy dresses before the surgery. I had stitches at three different heights on my stomach, so there was no kind of pants (low waist, medium rise, momjeans) that I could wear that didn't rub on them. I ended up going to salvation army and buying a couple dresses to get me through the week. But even putting on pants and trying on clothes there with the stitches sucked.

  • CynthiaK commented Dec 3rd 2011:

    Yikes, your surgery sounds like it was pretty intense.

    How long did it take for you to fully recover?

    I'll have to stop taking my fish-oil supplements before the surgery. The fish oil also helps with my acne, so I feel like I'm going to look like a wreck for a while for this.

  • Jake commented Dec 4th 2011:

    The recovery wasn'tbad, they gave me prescription painkillers and I took them the day I got home, but that was it. I spent a few days on chicken soup and jello (to heck with the carbs, I had to eat something), and I think I was driving on day 3. I would have been biking then except the bike shorts elastic on the stitches wasn't working for me. The stitches were the biggest problem, and the weight restrictions were annoying because I was itching to work out. Otherwise, I was back to normal in about 5 days or so.

    That's interesting about the fish oil, I stopped taking it because I feel like I'm popping a thousand pills with the PAGG, magnesium, etc ... but maybe I'll add it back in if it's good for skin problems - thanks!

  • CynthiaK commented Dec 4th 2011:

    Fish oil definitely has definitely helped my acne!

    I had really bad skin last year and someone referred me to acne.org.

    I followed their regime for a couple of months and my skin looks SO much better now. The site talks about supplements you can take as well as products (not necessarily their own brand) that you can use topically. I used to have to wear a lot of makeup just to cover up the redness, but now I'm pretty clear.



United-States flag

eat a lot of protein.



  • CynthiaK commented Dec 3rd 2011:

    I haven't been taking BCAAs so I'll have to order me up some. :)

  • justin commented Dec 3rd 2011:

    you don't really need BCAAs if you're eating enough protein. I'd figure out how much protein you need to build or at least maintain muscle and go with that. Probably better to spend the money on grass fed beef and organic eggs.


Canada flag

Depending on the surgery you might be allowed to do isometric contractions of non affected (by surgery) muscle groups...ask your MD for sure! :)

  • CynthiaK commented Dec 4th 2011:

    Makes sense. I'll be sure to ask before the doc! :)

Like this post? Share it!

Join the 4 Hour Body Superhumans!

Join our community and be a part of the superhuman revolution!