Building Muscle after Gastric Bypass


I am a 6 foot 160 pound guy and would like to gain 40 pounds of muscle. I had gastric bypass a few years ago and now my stomach is really small. I can't eat much at all.

My question is what supplements should I take to help build muscle? I know of one and it's creatine. I can't take any supplement in pill form. Thank you

Answered By:

Mike Behnken, MS, CSCS ANswers the Fitness Question

Qualifications of Mike Behnken

First and Foremost: Consult with Your Doctor before you Take any Supplements or Alter your Exercise Program after your Gastric Bypass


Your very unique situation is going to be very difficult to overcome.

You mention you cannot take any supplements in pill form but keep in mind that supplements in pill form are just solidified powders.

Therefore you could in theory simply smash up the tablets, empty out the capsules and mix them in water or a liquid of your choice and take them.

Supplements such as creatine could help but they are definitely not your biggest concern...

Focus on Quick Assimilating Macronutrient Supplements

Since your stomach is very small which was helpful in losing weight is going to be a severe detriment in gaining muscle simply because it could be near impossible to intake enough macronutrients and calories to build muscle, especially the 40 pounds which you state as your goal.

Macronutrient (carb, protein, fat) supplements are often easier and quicker to digest than their whole food counterparts so they are likely the best supplements for someone in your situation.

Protein & Carbohydrate Supplements

IsopureFor protein, whey protein isolate is the best choice as it's the form of protein that has the fastest absorption rate around 7 times faster than the best natural source of protein (egg whites). Isopure is a brand which makes whey protein isolate supplements.

As far as carbohydrates go, the supplement of choice is going to be maltodextrin. Maltodextrin is simply a complex carbohydrate derived from corn or rice. It is easily digested and can mix in water without adding any taste.

Maltodextrin is found in a large percentage of meal replacement supplements as well as pre-workout supplements such as carbo gain. The best route to adding the carbs and calories of maltodextrin to your diet is going to be to order the pure form in bulk. You can find pure maltodextrin powder locally but your best bet is to order it online from a bulk food supplier.

Your Training & Nutrition Timing

With a gastric bypass your nutrient timing is going to be the most important factor to get right. Since you cannot each as much per meal you are going to have to increase your meal frequency. You will likely have to measure the amount of time it takes to digest certain meals or supplements so you know when to eat again.

After your weight training workouts is going to be the best time to take your whey isolate/maltodextrin liquid although you can take it throughout the day as needed. Slower digesting whole foods are better later in the day as they will discourage muscle catabolism (breakdown) when you sleep at night.

Other Options for Building Muscle After Gastric Bypass

Another solution would be to go under the knife again and have them at least partially increase the size of your stomach pouch or reverse the procedure entirely. This is obviously not an easy choice to make and depends on how bad you really want to gain muscle.

If you do go this route, eating more will not be the problem but controlling your eating and exercising self discipline to gain muscle weight and not the body fat which caused you to get the gastric bypass surgery in the first place.

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