GLP-1's Work


Right now we live in a very exciting time when we have the most science, information, and knowledge ever in the history of the world. We have medicine that actually works to help people lose weight for the first time ever, with no need to change diet or exercise! And, unless you’ve been living under a rock you have probably heard about it, and the best part is that this is actually real. They are generally called GLP-1 agonist medications. And whether you like them or not, they are here to stay. I’m taking the approach of accepting that people are using them. A lot of people are using them actually! We might as well accept that and as a Health & Fitness Professional, I am here to help.

These GLP-1 medications are available for you right now that can be prescribed to you by your doctor who will also make sure your health indicators are at safe levels. That has not ever been possible until about 2016 – so its relatively new. I consider GLP-1 drugs to fall into the same category as TRT/HRT/SARMS/Peptides/Steroids do. Remember, technically GLP-1’s are a peptide. These medications or drugs are basically giving your body a cheat code if used properly and side effects appear to be minimal – so far.

But wait, what if someone used a GLP-1, aka Ozempic or Semaglutide and Exercise together?

What if that person also followed a proper diet as well in addition to combining a GL:P-1 and exercise?

Can you imagine the possibilities? I can imagine those possibilities! And – I can make those possibilities turn into reality. Lets go over all that now. If you’re interested in learning more about the GLP-1 family of drugs please continue reading.


They are a class of type 2 diabetes drugs that improves blood sugar and also lead to weight loss. This class of drugs is commonly called Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonists.


GLP-1 agonist medications currently available on the U.S. market include:

  • Dulaglutide (Trulicity®).
  • Exenatide (Byetta®).
  • Exenatide extended-release (Bydureon®).
  • Liraglutide (Victoza®).
  • Lixisenatide (Adlyxin®).
  • Semaglutide injection (Ozempic®).
  • Semaglutide tablets (Rybelsus®).


These drugs mimic the action of a hormone called Glucagon-Like Peptide 1.

When blood sugar levels start to rise after someone eats, these drugs stimulate the body to produce more insulin. The extra insulin helps lower blood sugar levels. Lower blood sugar levels are helpful for controlling type 2 diabetes. By lowering blood sugar levels individuals can also lose weight.


There are several types of GLP-1 agonists available, which help manage blood sugar levels and promote feelings of fullness to support weight loss. Numerous studies have found that GLP-1 agonists can be effective for weight loss and blood sugar management, especially when combined with proper diet and lifestyle changes. Combining GLP-1 drugs such as Semiglutide and exercise work better than just the drug alone with no lifestyle change.


GLP-1 drugs for diabetes and weight loss have proven to be very effective, but they do have side effects. Among those side effects is “Ozempic face,” where skin on the face sags and wrinkles. “Ozempic face” was coined in reference one of these drugs, although any rapid weight loss could cause it.

I would argue that “Ozempic face” is a result of losing too much weight too quickly and probably not relying on any addition of exercise or proper nutrition habits while using Ozempic or another GLP-1 and simply using a higher dose than necessary resulting in little or no appetite causing loss of fat and muscle. Losing muscle long term is 1 potential huge negative of using a GLP-1.


Ten GLP-1 drugs are FDA-approved to treat either type 2 diabetes or weight loss. Some GLP-1 agonists have the same generic name but are marketed under a different brand name and are approved for a different purpose, depending on the dose and how they are taken. My thoughts are that many celebrities and many in the public eye use a GLP-1 drug. It has definitely become mainstream and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.


Yes and No. Its easy for me to play devils advocate because in my opinion there are always pros and cons to everything. I know individuals who have had success losing weight while using a GLP-1 and definitely many successes of individuals who have lost weight and kept it off without the use of a GLP-1.

I would caution everyone who is considering trying it though. Once you use a GLP-1 and lose weight while using it, unless you have properly adjusted your lifestyle to be more healthy with proper diet, exercise, and overall health management you will almost definitely gain any weight you lost back. If all you do is use a GLP-1 and do nothing else you will lose weight AND you will need to be on that GLP-1 forever to keep that weight from coming back! Also, these medications have not been around a long time. They have been “mainstream” even less, there are NO long-term studies or knowledge about them. That is definitely something to consider if you are wanting to lose just a few pounds.


Have a plan of action set for this. If nothing else it will guide you through the beginning and then can be readjusted. You wouldn’t demo your kitchen without putting any thought into what you want the finished, remodeled kitchen to look like, right? The same goes for this. The following should be considered:

1. Decide How Much Weight You Want To Lose – Is This Realistic?

This should be a realistic, conservative number discussed with your doctor. You will need to understand how much weight is appropriate and realistic to safely lose. Be honest with yourself and definitely speak with your doctor(s) and see what they recommend. Keep in mind the balance of muscle and fat on your body.

2. Set Goals & Stick To Them – What Are My Goals?

Keep in mind that losing 1 pound per week while using a GLP-1 is still a very safe, successful, and realistic pace to lose weight. Don’t get frustrated if your weight loss doesn’t happen right away at the pace you want. Slowly is best.

3. Is The GLP-1 Working?

This seems like a cut and dry question. Its definitely a YES or NO. The one denominator is how much time have you given it to work and how has your lifestyle been during that time?

4. What is my GLP-1 Dosage & Is It Adjustable?

How much of a dose of GLP-1 am I taking? And Why? Is it too much? Not enough? Why am I taking the dosage I am taking? These are all great questions and your doctor SHOULD be able to give you answers and direction. One should want to be taking the smallest dose to get the benefit. More is not better.

  • Example – It should not seem like a one sized fits all plan. If you weight 180 pounds you would probably be taking a smaller dose than a 350 pound person.

5. What Is The Long Term Plan?

What is long term? Is that 3 months, 6 months, 18 months? Either way, what is your plan of action? What schedule are you on for your weight loss and what is your plan to continue or discontinue using the GLP-1? You definitely need to discuss this with your doctor. A couple questions you should consider asking:

  • Can my dose be reduced to maintain or am I using this end dosage forever?
  • Is there a minimal effective dose I can be on? This should result in using less of the GLP-1 and save some money as well.

6 Am I On This GLP-1 Forever?

This could be part of the above “What Is The Long Term Plan” but I think it is worthy of its own category. What happens when or IF someone stops using a GLP-1? Let me tell you what would happen: Chances are good that if you stop, and your diet and lifestyle is not where it needs to be you will gain some, much, or all of the weight back. Diet, Exercise, Sleep, Strength Training, Calories In vs. Calories Out all Matter! Chances are also good that if all of the diet, exercise, lifestyle behaviors are greatly improved that you or anyone else would not gain any weight back or minimal amounts would be gained back based on your habits.

6. Food Journal / Lifestyle Journal?

I always recommend a journal for anyone trying to lose weight, manage weight, strength train, or change their lifestyle. If you haven’t started using a GLP-1 yet start your food journal and if you are currently on medication and not keeping a food journal start today.

Its important to mindfully track how much or how little in some cases you are eating. Eating too little will result in faster weight loss but it will cause the ‘Ozempic face” and cause you to lose muscle instead of fat.

A journal is a great way to view trends of sleep, good days or bad days (like weekends you don’t exercise or eat well – that would be an easy trend to notice and try to fix). You can track your workouts, mood, perceived stress, really anything you want that would make sense to you.

7. Getting Enough Nutrients?

Since you will probably be on a reduced diet, are you getting enough nutrients? My guess would be maybe to probably not. Questions to ask yourself with ideal answers below:

  • Am I eating healthy foods with high nutrient density? The answer should be mostly YES.
  • Am I eating unhealthy foods or fast foods? The answer should be mostly to 100% NO
  • Should I be taking any supplements like vitamins, protein shakes, etc? This is a more individual and situational answer. However, depending on your specifics the answer is mostly YES, with very few exceptions.

8. Is The Weight I Am Losing Fat or Muscle?

Are you losing fat or muscle or both? How will you know? Don’t just be a skinnier, soft weak person. No intelligent doctor will or should be satisfied just with the broad term “weight loss” “Weight” is not the problem. Fat is the problem.

9. At What Rate Should I Be Losing Weight / Fat?

How fast or slow should the weight be coming off? The healthy standard is generally 1 to 2 pounds per week or .5%– 2.0% of body weight lost per week and that percentage does depend on how much you weigh. There are 3500 calories in 1 pound of bodyweight. Also, if someone loses 20 pounds in a month that is essentially cutting out 70,000 calories in that month beyond the amount needed to maintain their weight which is hard to do and continue to be healthy.

10. Where Does Exercise Or Working Out Fit Into The Plan?

Last but certainly not least – Where does exercise or working out fall into the plan? Start with something realistic for you and try to expand on it. This could be as simple as setting a goal to get 150 minutes of cardio in each week. It is definitely up to the individual and their baseline starting point. Exercising while using a GLP-1 is really no different than exercising without using a GLP-1, start slow, make it something relatively enjoyable, and progress. Exercise will only help you to lose weight and keep muscle on your frame. It will also help improve other health factors that are important too!

11. Other Important Things To Consider

  • This seems self explanatory but give it some time once you start using a GLP-1. The weight isnt going to magically go down the first couple of days. Commit to a month before you make assumptions.
  • Make some notes along the way so you can have open dialogue with your doctor or a qualified coach/trainer.
  • Find out how many calories to consume to lose 1 to 2 pounds each week. And make sure you are eating enough nutrient filled foods and calories.
  • Find out how many calories are needed to maintain the goal weight once there.
  • Lastly this can be a little more complicated but definitely worth understanding:
    • How are my macros – What are my carbs / fats / proteins numbers that I am consuming?
    • What should they be?


While exercise is generally safe and beneficial for most individuals, there are some precautions and considerations to keep in mind and take extra precautions when exercising and they may be even more important when exercising while using a GLP-1:

  1. Hypoglycemia risk: Exercise can lower blood sugar levels, and when combined with a GLP-1, the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) could increase. It’s important to monitor your blood sugar levels before, during, and after exercise. If your blood sugar levels are too low (below 70 mg/dL), have a snack or drink with carbohydrates to raise your levels.
  2. Stay hydrated: Exercise and a GLP-1 can both cause dehydration, so it’s crucial to stay hydrated before, during, and after physical activity. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks or excessive caffeine, as they can interfere with blood sugar control.
  3. Adjust medication dosage: Depending on your exercise routine and intensity, you may need to adjust your GLP-1 dosage. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine if any adjustments are necessary.
  4. Be aware of potential side effects: Both exercise and GLP-1’s can cause side effects such as nausea, dizziness, or gastrointestinal discomfort. Pay attention to how your body responds to exercise and medication, and consult with your healthcare provider if you experience any persistent or concerning side effects. If you’re experiencing something not normal its probably associated with the GLP-1.


Starting a GLP-1 is a powerful tool for weight management and diabetes, however it is only one piece of the puzzle. To achieve optimal health outcomes, it’s important to complement this medication with other lifestyle changes. Here are some additional considerations whether you are using a GLP-1 or not:

1. Healthy Eating

A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for managing diabetes. Focus on consuming a variety of whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Limit processed foods, sugar, and refined carbohydrates, as they can negatively impact blood sugar control.

2. Stress Management

Chronic stress can affect blood sugar levels and overall weight and diabetes management. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as practicing mindfulness, engaging in relaxation techniques, or pursuing hobbies that bring you joy.

3. Quality Sleep

Prioritize getting enough quality sleep each night. Poor sleep can disrupt insulin sensitivity and lead to imbalances in blood sugar levels. Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep, and establish a relaxing bedtime routine to improve sleep quality.

4. Regular Check-Ups

Schedule regular check-ups with your healthcare provider. They can monitor your progress, adjust medication dosages if needed, and provide guidance on any concerns you may have.

Tying It All Together

This may seem like a lot to think about when you just want to lose some weight but the more proactive your thought process is, the better prepared you will be. I have helped many navigate both the decision to start using a GLP-1 and helped implement a plan once the individual has been taking a GLP-1 medication. Remember, using a GLP-1 to lose weight is literally like a cheat code – just like using steroids would be to gain muscle. Use the GLP-1 appropriately to boost your success while figuring out ways to evolve your lifestyle into a healthier one! If you have questions or are interested in learning more please don’t hesitate to contact me.

By incorporating a proactive thought process and plan with healthy lifestyle changes alongside exercise and using a GLP-1, you can create a comprehensive approach to managing your weight / weight loss and your diabetes along with improving your overall well-being.

Not confident to create a lifestyle plan that compliments your medication? I can help! I know the questions, and I have the answers. Let me help you maximize your cheat code to healthy weight management and improving your diabetes. Click Here to Contact me at

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