Okay, so you’ve lost weight but now you face another issue – loose skin.
Can you tighten loose skin with exercise? Or do you need to book yourself in for some surgery?
This is a subject most people find difficult to find a straight answer to, due to the amount of sales hype out there from individuals trying to sell you their latest body wrap or miracle pill.
Because let’s be honest, there’s a lot of money to be made from this problem.
So today I’ll be answering this question for you with real advice that you can apply in the gym.
The Big Issue
If you’ve dropped body weight and now feel embarrassed to have loose skin, the first thing I want to say here is don’t be.
Honestly, this is something I am asked about in my gym on a weekly basis.
You’re nowhere near as “alone” as you may feel.
But I totally understand the frustration it causes.
You bust your ass in the gym and finally shed the weight you’ve been trying to get rid of, only to be presented with a problem of a different nature. And a million people telling you a million different things you need to do about it.
The Great News
The great news is that you can definitely correct this issue.
Your skin is a working, living organ. Don’t think of it as a lifeless piece of rubber which covers your muscles, because it’s really no different to your other organs.
And just as it adapted to your larger figure by expanding as you grew bigger, it will also adapt to your new smaller frame – it just takes some time.
Here are three things you can do to correct your loose skin issue and guess what – none of them include “miracle pills”!
1. Avoid Fad Diets From Now On
Fad diets are by far the biggest culprit for loose skin issues.
Have you ever known someone who lost a ton of weight in a very short space of time on a fad diet, then suddenly piled the weight straight back on almost immediately?
After losing weight very quickly, the fat cells which have been stretching their skin are shrunk but also lose the elasticity which holds the skin against the body.
Fad diets and excessive exercise are major causes of this issue in the first place. And due to their strange popularity in celebrity magazines as the nation transfixes itself with the search for an overnight weight loss diet, this is a very common problem.
So now that you’ve lost the weight you were trying to lose, focus on eating a sensible diet and ignore the one-food diets, zero carb diets and super-strict clean eating nonsense.
2. Eat More Protein
Not only is protein great for building lean muscle, it will also provide your body with two vital ingredients for your skin.
Those two ingredients are elastin and collagen.
It’s not going to fix the issue overnight, of course, but it’s something which is incredibly easy to implement and will certainly improve your results.
Further still, if you’re working hard in the gym then increasing your daily protein intake is a good way to improve your recovery rate and lean muscle growth.
Think milk, legumes and cottage cheese and you’re on the right track!
Not sure about the right daily intake to support your training? Watch this video on how much protein do I need to build muscle.
3. Hit The Weights!
The common tendency with individuals I encounter with this particular issue is to spend way too long on cardiovascular machines in the gym.
That’s because cardio and severe calorie restriction are often what they’ve been doing in order to drop the weight, so they stick to what they know worked for them.
Society seems to brainwash people into believing that hitting the treadmill is for weight loss, while lifting dumbbells is for bulking you up.
But in reality, resistance training is hugely effective for burning unwanted body fat.
Anything which is going to promote lean muscle building should be considered a crucial part of your training program, so high intensity cardio and weights are the way to go in the gym.
Don’t get sucked into the belief that you must do tons of pointless isolation exercises with high reps to “tone up”, either. No, you should be focusing your weight training routine one the biggest, baddest lifts of them all – think squats, deadlifts, presses and rows – because compound (aka multi-joint) exercises will provide you with biggest muscle-building bang for your buck.
Folks are normally familiar with what weight training is, but not so much with high intensity cardio. Read this article on high intensity interval training for more info.
4. Drink More Water
Water is really important, but in this situation it plays an even more valuable role.
And much like increasing your protein intake, it’s something which everybody who is training regularly should be doing anyway!
You see, one of many great benefits of a healthy water intake is that it improves the elasticity of your skin.
Gven that water is free and widely available, don’t overlook it. My clients aim for 3-4 liters of water per day.
Consider surgery as an absolute last resort.
The mistake many people make is to immediately go down this route then regret it later on.
If you are simply bouncing back from a pregnancy, or your weight gain was quick and severe, then you will notice that your skin still possesses the ability to snap back into place relatively easily over time.
In fact, in most situations the problem can be auto-corrected via the steps above.
However, it you have been severely overweight your entire life then you may face a more difficult task than most.
Why don’t I recommend surgery higher up the list?
Well, the technology in this particular area isn’t at the level of others and some of the side effects make it a risky business. There is also a sizable risk of weight gain during the rehabilitation phase, as crazy as that sounds.
So there you have it. Use the first four tips, and the fifth only if you must.
Can you tighten loose skin with exercise? Absolutely, it just takes time and effort. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, share it with others who may find it helpful.