I'm not a doctor. I have no interest in whether or not you buy into the new weight loss drug Ozempic.
What I am is a 34-year-old man who tried it for 74 days and wants to give you an important warning if you're like me and prioritize strength and muscle over fat-loss.
Fitness has been a part of my identity since I started working out with my highschool football team at 13. Since then, I’ve lifted regularly 4x-5x per week and I’ve always worked to build muscle and strength.
Typically, I’m one of the more fit people in every room. I’m not “holy-shit-look-at-this-specimen-of-a-man!” fit, but I’m definitely “it’s-nice-to-see-he-has-been-taking-care-of-himself,” fit.
I’m the guy my friends go to for fitness advice.
So yeah, that’s where my Ozempic journey will start.
Before I get into the data (I have a good amount of it) and results of taking Ozempic for 74 days, I want to preface with something important.
Ozempic, despite its army of naysayers and fear mongers, has the signs of being a tremendously positive tool for humanity.
That sounds dramatic, but obesity is the leading cause of death in my country. A drug that has been clinically proven to help individuals combat it can’t be understated.
I took it for no reason except vanity. There is virtue in taking care of your body, but taking Ozempic at my current weight and body mass leaned (no pun intended) more towards a personality flaw of vanity than an necessary health measure.
I recommend that if you’re just using Ozempic to cut those last few pounds or to get yourself to the point of being the thinnest person in your circle of friends, be better than me, and just don’t do it. Not unless you want to lose a good bit of muscle (which is the point of this article and I will touch on in greater detail shortly).
I am not affiliated, compensated by or associated with Ozempic or any weight loss drug or program. I am not a medical professional and this blog post should not be taken as professional, medical advice. Consult with your doctor before taking any prescription medications or taking on any diet and fitness regimine. This blog post is merely a documentation of my personal experience and results.
My Ozempic Before and After (74 Days)
Alright, now for the stuff you probably want to hear.
Being an analytical person and knowing that Ozempic was a drug many people would be interested in, I decided to document my experience and results.
Obviously, my goal was to have a nice thumbnail for this blog post of a dad bod version of myself juxtaposed with one of me being absolutely shredded after taking Ozempic.
My results are far more complex than that.
In 74 days, I lost a TON of weight. More than I anticipated.
Here's a before and after from the front. Oh, and I promise, I am not depressed 🤣 Just didn't remember to smile. Forgot I'd be sharing these.
The only editing I did was removing the background (obviously) and adding the text overlays. You'll just have to take me word on that 😃
Fortunately for both of us, I didn't just take some pictures. I also took a DEXA scan (one of the most reliable body mass scans you can get) at THE Ohio State University on my first and last days of taking the drug.
The results were startling. They made me immediately decide to not take the drug anymore. But don't stop reading just yet! It might be for you...I don't think it's not for everyone.
Below you'll find the Dexa results. Feel free to read over as much as you'd like, but I'll summarize the key info as well.
Ozempic Before and After Statistics (74 Days)
A picture is worth 1,000 words, unless you're someone who cares about the truth! In the world of health and fitness, pictures rarely give the big picture of what's going on. So, here are some key before and after metrics worth noting.
*Visceral adipose tissue is the best type of fat to lose. It is the fat that we store in our abdomens that covers our organs and causes all sorts of bad health consequences. It's "hidden fat" but I am super excited that I lost so much of it.
The first two (weight and fat loss) are awesome!
However, all excitement as lost when I saw the lean mass drop. I lost 15.4 lbs of muscle in 74 days!
Why I Lost So Much Muscle on Ozempic
I've been telling myself a few things to help lessen the blow of losing such a big chunk of my muscle mass.
#1 Creatine and Water Loss
Most of our muscle is made of water. Also, I stopped taking any form of creatine during the 74 days of Ozempic. I was getting a little bit (about 2MG per day of Creatine Monohydrate) through a pre-workout drink. I've immediately started another loading phase of creatine and am hoping to gain back more of that weight. I don't care if it's water or "bloat weight" since that's most of what muscle is anyway.
I wish that I had continued taking the creatine during my Ozempic cycle. I would have likely loss quite a bit less (I can cut 5 lbs pretty easily just by not taking creatine for a month) but I might have preserved some muscle along the way.
#2 Less Resistance Training
You know when you're working on something specific and you put other things on the back burner? I did that with my typical workouts. Although I did still workout quite a bit, I wasn't hitting heavy weights like normal.
I just didn't have the same levels of energy when taking Ozempic as I usually do. I'll cover that in more detail in the side effects portion of this article.
#3 Less Protein
It's just hard to replace all the protein I'd typically consume. Even before Ozempic, I took protein shakes daily, so adding more of those wasn't doing as much as it might seem to prevent muscle loss.
My Side Effects of Ozempic
Like most of you, I read the horror stories about the drug.
For better or for worse, though, I am a believer in modern medicine. I understand drugs can have horrible side effects and that there is corruption in the pharmaceutical industry.
Still though, I am ok with the risk of them when I feel the reward is there.
I have bipolar disorder, and pharmaceuticals saved my life. Perhaps that has made me less cynical and untrusting of the industry.
Fortunately, although I had side effects, they were minimal.
These are the ones I noticed that are worth mentioning.
- Reduced energy. Not all the time, but often I felt the need to just sit and chill rather than find something to do.
- Decrease in desire to exercise. Lots of this was due to the fact I wasn’t eating enough carbs. But I’ll cover much more on this side effect shortly…
- Decrease in desire to create. I am an entrepreneur and content marketing is my bread and butter. Typically, I spend several hours a day doing some form of creative work. I found this more difficult while taking Ozempic. I cut out of work early a few times to go home and find something more engaging, like playing baseball with my son or mowing the lawn. It was still a very successful summer for my business, but this state of mind wouldn’t have cut it when I was first starting out. I didn’t have that “wake up and grind” mentality I usually do.
- Some periods of nausea and dizziness. This wasn’t crippling or far out of the norm for me. I get dizzy and nauseas periodically, and Ozempic seemed to mildly exacerbate this. Perhaps once a week I’d feel a little like this for an hour or so. Nothing serious enough to wave a white flag on the process.
- Bruising at the injection site. I’m 99% certain this was a user error. I lost the benefit of looking good with my shirt off at the beach though since the bruises were large enough that I’d have to explain why I had them to several people.
- Hair loss (maybe). I think other guys my age can relate to the fact that we always think we're losing our hair. I knew that hair loss was a potential side effect so I inspected habitually and felt like I did notice thinning across the board. My wife said that I was just being paranoid, but I think the truth was somewhere in the middle. Hair loss is a side effect of any diet that restricts calories, so I'm not extremely concerned with this. I think the loss was minimal and will come back once I get my calories back up.
That was it. No bloody stool. No projectile diarehia. No night terrors. No deep depression. No desire to eat drywall.
I didn’t love these side effects, but again, none of them were severe enough to throw in the towel on the drug. I knew I’d get off it after I lost my desired amount of weight, so I really wasn’t stressing about these.
How Ozempic Affected My Appetite
Ozempic helped me lose weight because it decreased my appetite significantly.
Significantly is maybe an understatement. I forced myself to eat and needed to drink protein shakes just to get enough calories.
I’ve spoken with several people who have taken it and everyone who said that they didn’t lose weight also said that they didn’t have less of an appetite.
Although it works directly on fat cells, my weight loss was mostly because of the calorie reduction.
One thing that isn’t talked about is that having no appetite is kind of a bummer after a while.
Yes, that feeling of over-indulging on delicious food isn’t great, but its polar opposite isn’t amazing either. I felt a bit of a void. Although I could still go out and enjoy nice meals, it felt different. I didn’t lose all the enjoyment of food, but it felt very much transactional rather than enjoyable.
Why I Do NOT Recommend Ozempic to People in My Position
I shared a bit about who I am and what type of body I want to maintain.
Strong and muscular.
The truth is, regardless of what the fitness magazines want you to believe, you cannot lose weight without losing some muscle. All we can do is work to minimize it.
I did a TERRIBLE job of minimizing muscle loss.
If you fit this avatar as well, avoid Ozempic unless you’re willing to be incredibly mindful about force feeding yourself calories.
Although I lost a lot of weight, I absolutely devastated my muscle mass.
I always like to answer as many questions as possible about the topics I cover, but I don't have the time to really weave all of them coherently into this article. So, here are a few answers to questions I think you might want to know.
Do you regret taking Ozempic?
Yes and no. I'm pumped that I lost so much belly fat but disappointed in how much muscle mass I lost. I'll see where I'm at in a month or two after I've re-introduced creatine and heavy lifting again. In a worst case scenario, I got a first hand experience with a drug that I think is going to play a huge part in society over the coming decades. I still believe Ozempic is a good thing for many people, especially those who are clinically obese, I just won't be recommending it to anyone who is already in good shape and just wants a little more.
Did you take any supplements while on Ozempic?
Yes. I took a B-12 injection called Bio-Boost and I continued taking my typical Omega-3s and unrelated prescriptions medications for my bipolar disorder.
How much did you actually eat while on Ozempic?
I didn't track my meals (I wish I did) but I would say I ate close to half of what I normally did. I typical day for me before was between 2,600 to 3,000 calories (with the occasional outlier of like 4,000+ on days that I went out or had a few too many beers).
I had to have a few hundred calories every morning to take my prescriptions that required food and that was pretty hard because I had no appetite upon waking up. I'd drink a protein shake and eat some sort of fruit (mostly cherries) to get those calories in. If I didn't need to eat, I probably wouldn't be hungry until close to 1 PM. There were a few days I could have gone the entire day without eating if I let myself.
How much strength have you lost taking Ozempic?
This part is brutal. I've always lifted progressively, which means I add weight when I can complete more reps than I did previously for each exercise. Today I did chest and found that my bench press had been totally decimated.
My bench press was up to 300 lbs (higher than I've had it since I was 21) and I was benching 225 lbs for 12 quality reps. Today, I was struggling to get 225 for 3 reps. I think a good deal of it is mental (I feel the muscle loss in my arms, shoulders and chest) but time will tell how long it takes me to get back to where I was.
I haven't measured the other core lifts like squat or deadlift. I'm afraid to honestly...
Anything I missed? Ask me down below in the comments!