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As a competitive bodybuilder, you have a tremendously difficult job leading up to a contest. You have to present a body with maximum muscle and minimum fat. You undertake a strict cutting process in the weeks leading up to show day to achieve the desired ripped mass look. You'll take any advantage you can get that's safe and legal, right?
So what about Semaglutide? As you're no doubt aware, this GLP-1 receptor agonist, as found in Ozempic and Wegovy weight loss medications, is the most popular weight loss medication on the planet. But is it any good for bodybuilders cutting for a contest?
In this article, we go directly to the source to find out. Read on for real experiences, real advice, questions, and answers from bodybuilders who have been and are using weight loss drugs containing semaglutide to get shredded for competition day while maintaining lean muscle mass.
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There are some very lively semaglutide and bodybuilding discussions on such platforms as Reddit and bodybuilding forums. I've spent several hours reading these comments to get a general flavor of people's experiences with the compound.
One bodybuilder tracked his weekly experience with semaglutide injections. This guy's starting weight was 240 pounds, and his goal weight was 215. He went to a clinic once a week and was given a .25 mg injection of Ozempic.
In addition to a weekly semaglutide injection, this guy was taking the following supplements: Men’s multivitamin 10-15 grams of fiber a day (psyllium husk), Whey protein isolate, Fish oil, Vitamin D3, CoQ10, Zinc, and Magnesium.
He was also on the following Anabolic steroids: Testosterone propionate: 350mgs a week, Nandrolone Phenylpropionate: 350mgs a week, Winstrol: 50mgs/day.
At a .25 mg weekly dose, he was feeling the appetite suppression effects for the first three days, but then they wore off, and his hunger cravings returned. After a couple of weeks, he decided, in consultation with his doctor, to increase the dosage to .5 mg. The .25 mg injections did not give him any side effects.
The day after upping the dosage, he had lost three pounds. Twenty days after beginning his semaglutide injections, he had lost a total of 10 pounds, which was more than he had expected.
When questioned as to whether the weight loss might be partly due to loss of muscle, the OP wrote:
My fasted weight is 234.7lbs. I started at 244lbs so I am down almost 10lbs in 20 days.
This is quite aggressive and more than I expected. Some may say it’s muscle loss- it isn’t. I know it isn’t because I consume 225-250 grams of protein a day, plus I’m using anabolic steroids to preserve muscle mass.
I am continuing to keep my diet dialed into a T and I know exactly how much I am consuming every day.
I’m attributing the massive weight loss results to the diet, 30-40 mins of cardio 5x a week, and weights 5x a week.
I will probably only use this for another 2-3 weeks to drop another 7-10lbs. At that point it will be time to let my body rest, get blood work done, and prepare for my off-season and pack on another 20-25lbs to shoot for muscle growth.
After three weeks at a dosage of .5 mg, the dosage was increased to .75 mg per week. He achieved his 15-pound weight loss goal and did not experience any significant side effects.
Semaglutide is a type of short chain of amino acid known as a peptide. It falls within a classification of peptides known as a GLP-1 receptor agonist. These peptides mimic the effects of a hormone called GLP-1, which the body releases into the gut after eating. It makes you feel full, but only lasts for a couple of minutes.
By making alterations at the molecular level, scientists have been able to extend the half-life of the peptide. As a result, when you take semaglutide, you feel fuller for longer after eating. That's because it slows gastric emptying by reducing the speed with which food moves through the intestinal tract.
Semaglutide also affects leptin sensitivity. Leptin is a hormone produced by the brain when you eat. It signals that you are no longer hungry. It appears that semaglutide increases leptin receptor sensitivity. This contributed to the feeling of not being hungry.
A third way that semaglutide helps you lose weight is by promoting additional insulin secretion from the pancreas. It also prevents the liver from releasing excess amounts of glucose. This helps to reduce the likelihood of glucose being stored as excess fat. It also lowers blood sugar levels.
A 2020 Step 1 Trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed significant weight loss results in participants with chronic weight management needs. 1961 obese people were given 2.4 mg of semaglutide or a placebo for 68 weeks.
The semaglutide group lost an average of 14.9% of their body weight, compared with 2.4% for the placebo group.¹
There have been other GLP-1 receptor agonists. The thing that has set Semaglutide part is that, rather than requiring daily injections, it only has to be taken once weekly. That makes it far more accessible and acceptable for many people, leading to the worldwide Ozempic frenzy.
The bottom line is that a Semaglutide weight loss drug helps you feel fuller for longer after eating a meal. As a result, you are likely to consume fewer calories, leading to significant weight loss, especially when combined with a healthy lifestyle.
The main benefit of taking semaglutide is that it will prevent you from cheating on your diet and snacking between meals. If you happen to have iron willpower who would rather dive into shark-infested waters than cheat on your diet, then you do not need semaglutide.
However, if you happen to be like most mere mortals and find yourself tempted beyond restraint in those days and weeks leading up to competition day, semaglutide could be the solution to keeping on track.
As a personal trainer who works with competitive bodybuilders, I've seen guys who become obsessed with food during the last couple of weeks of their cutting phase. All they think about is being able to swap their chicken and rice for ice cream and donuts. Inevitably, they end up cheating.
I've also seen firsthand how taking Ozempic can flip that script. Suddenly, these same people are no longer food-obsessed. They're able to eat their scheduled cut meals and go on with their day, not even thinking about snacking or taking in unscheduled calories.
But I've also seen the side effects of that advantage. These include nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain. That's not what you want to be dealing with when you're peaking for a contest.
If you're a bodybuilder who has decided to take semaglutide during your cutting cycle, you need to make an appointment to see a medical professional. As imposed by the FDA, the criteria are to have a body mass index of 27 or higher along with a weight-related health concern. This could be elevated blood pressure or high LDL cholesterol.
Alternatively, you could have a BMI of 30 or higher with no associated weight-related medical condition.
The medical professional will thoroughly assess your medical history and consider any other medications you're taking that may interact with semaglutide. He or she will also discuss your eating habits and lifestyle to ensure that you are doing everything you need to do to promote healthy weight loss naturally.
If he is satisfied that you meet the criteria for semaglutide for weight loss, the doctor will prescribe a course of treatment for you. This will involve once-weekly injections, which can be done at home. You will typically start with a dosage of 0.25 mg per week. Your doctor will monitor your results, week to week, and may increase the dosage if you are not losing weight.
Semaglutide, whether in the form of Ozempic or Wegovy, is expensive. If you are fortunate, you will be able to claim a large proportion of that cost on your insurance. Otherwise, you are going to be forking over a hunk of cash every month.
The exact price varies according to the specific drug and manufacturer. Here are a couple of typical experiences from Reddit users:
Sup guys, went to my doc and got it for obesity (lol BMI happened to be 30 on the dot (6’1 230) cause I was at the end of the bulk, my fighting weight is about 200.
He subscribed me an ozempic pen and it was 25 bucks after insurance. (This costs literally $1300 in the US without ins). Been injecting .25 per week and it’s working OK. Nausea is annoying, but I’m hoping that subsides.
u/Environmental Rule 525
I definitely want to keep running this after I finish my vial but at ~$1000 for 10mg from Empower Compounding Pharmacy (Marek‘s source) it’s just too much, because the minimum effective dose for me at 1mg/week would be $100. I haven’t found a cheaper source yet so more updates to come.
The question you have to ask yourself is, 'Am I prepared to pay in the vicinity of $300 per week for an appetite-suppressing drug?' Of course, whether you can afford to is another question entirely.
Ozempic, Wegovy, and other semaglutide-based prescription medications are being prescribed for weight loss if the patient is clinically obese. It is up to each insurance company to decide as to whether they will cover these medications.
To be prescribed for these drugs in the first place, bodybuilders will need to be classified as being 'obese.' That's not that difficult. The completely irrelevant obesity scale (BMI) does not take into body composition. As a result, a bodybuilder with a decent amount of muscle mass will be classified as obese, despite having lower body fat levels than 99% of the population.
Semaglutide dosage schedules involve gradually increasing the injection to give the body time to get used to it. There are standard dosage protocols for Ozempic and Wegovy, the most popular forms of taking the drug.
Here's a chart showing the typical dosing schedules for both medications:
So, how does this compare to the amounts that bodybuilders are taking?
There is quite a bit of discussion regarding dosing protocols on the More Plates More Dates Reddit thread. Most bodybuilders seem to begin with a .25 mg dosage. This is taken once weekly by injection. However, quite a few people have commented that the appetite suppression effect wears off after two or three days. As a result, they increased the dosage to .5 mg per week.
Some people have had to increase the dosage to 1 mg for the fullness effect to last for the entire week. Here is one user's experience:
After a few days on the first week the potency of .25mg/week quickly wore off, and the following week I almost barely felt it. I upped it to .5mg, and the effect was also minimal, lasting maybe a few days. This week I went up to 1mg and now I can feel the appetite suppression last for the whole week.
It's interesting to note that Derek from More Plates More Dates personally uses a 2 mg dosage. This did not produce any untoward side effects, though the long-term effects are unknown. This is the dosage he needs to have the appetite suppression effect last for the full seven days until the next injection.
It should be noted that the dosage used in the Step 1 Trial referred to earlier was 2.4 mg, taken as a once-weekly injection. Nausea and diarrhea were the main side effects, though, for most study participants, these went away after two to three weeks.
Keep in mind, too, that you can't arbitrarily decide on the semaglutide dosage you will take. This is a prescribed medication. So, the dosage amount is a decision that is made in collaboration with the medical professional who prescribed the drug to you.
Not everyone who takes semaglutide will experience side effects. My informal analysis shows that about half of commenters on Reddit have no adverse effects when taking the drug. The other half report nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, and increased heart rate as the most common negative reactions.
Here's a sampling of comments from bodybuilders who have been taking semaglutide during their cutting phase:
I also struggle with exercise induced nausea. I keep my heart rate lower, don’t get on my Peloton as much and go a lot slower on hikes. If I get near 170 I get very nauseated and light headed, sometimes have to sit down until it passes. I haven’t pushed it to the point of puking. I’ve maintained lifting 3x week but go slower and not as many bursts to keep my heart rate a bit lower. I don’t think I’ve sacrificed any muscle mass but I’m also don’t thunk I’m building more. Ok with that as I spent the year prior to semaglutide focused on strength rather then cardio and am in a strength place I’m overall happy with.
Good luck with the exercise-induced nausea. I genuinely mean it; it was a pain in the ass for me. It took twice as long for me to get my workouts in. I did notice though with more water consumption it wasn't as bad; however, it was still present.
Watch out for the side effects, they suck. I had headaches for the first month or so and nausea, and that was on low dose (.25mg)- i’m just now on 1mg (actually .75 as i’m just going up 10 ticks on slin pin every few weeks to get to higher dose slowly). Def works fast with appetite suppression initially but i found that you get used to it and i tend to eat more.. but still losing weight and clothes fit better.
From the above comments, we see that these side effects were experienced at dosage levels ranging from a low of .25 to a high of 1 mg. The reactions seem to be highly individual dependant. Just because one person experiences nausea and headaches doesn't mean that you will. The only way to find out is to give it a trial.
Semaglutide is not a muscle-building drug, so no, it will not help you build muscle. Rather, it will help you to stay true to your cutting diet by keeping you full. This will help you to resist the inevitable temptations to break your diet that happen in the days and weeks leading up to a bodybuilding competition.
Whether or not semaglutide affects your workout depends on how your body responds to the medication. Some bodybuilders will experience nausea, headaches, and general malaise during the first few weeks of treatment. This could well affect the ability to work out. Others will not experience any side effects. In fact, they will not be as food-obsessed during the final weeks of contest prep, allowing them to focus more fully on their workouts.
Semaglutide can help you to get ripped by staying strict to your cutting diet. It will keep you full between meals, making you far less likely to cheat on your diet.
Some types of steroids may negatively interact with semaglutide. For example, Prednisone (a corticosteroid rather than an anabolic steroid) may negatively affect semaglutide's ability to regulate blood glucose levels. If you are taking steroids as well as semaglutide, you should regularly have your blood sugar levels checked.
Semaglutide is not a "magic" cutting formulation for bodybuilders. Its key benefit lies in its ability to keep you feeling full between meals, making you less likely to cheat on your diet. If you're one of those rare humans whose determination to eat clean doesn't need any boosting, you don't need it. However, if you're like most bodybuilders who struggle with their diet leading up to competition, semaglutide can definitely help you stay on track.
If you are interested in pursuing a prescription for semaglutide, but aren't sure about the best place to get it, you can read our article on Where to Buy Semaglutide.
If you're a bodybuilder who's been taking semaglutide during your cutting cycle, we'd love to hear how it's been going for you. Share your experience in the comments below.
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