Free Shipping for orders over $59

September 23, 2016

Ostomy Fitness – Life in the Gym with Weight Lifting Limitations?

Inner Good’s mission is clear. We intend to help you live an extraordinary life. That applies to all aspects of your life, be it within your career, on your travels, and in your fitness. When it comes to physical fitness, many have questions about the potential for limitations in the gym. Can you lift weights when you have an ostomy? If so, will you be relegated to the 20 lb and under rack?

We’ll get right to the point. Yes, you most certainly can return to (or adopt) a regular fitness regime in the weight room. Does this regime come with a unique set of challenges for those living with an ostomy? Yes, and no. Read further to learn more.

What You Need to Know About Weight Lifting when Living with an Ostomy

Accept When it’s Too Soon

If you’re asking about potential weightlifting restrictions for ostomy patients then you’re likely about to undergo a procedure, have recently received one, or know someone who has. Anyone who has had a recent colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy should not be hitting the weight room soon after the procedure. But guess what? That rule applies to anyone who has received a major surgery.

Given the significant nature of your surgery there most certainly is initial concern regarding the sensitivity of your stoma and the scar tissue surrounding it. You must wait until you have fully healed before lifting weights. Your stoma is located at your abdomen and your abdomen is key to your body’s core. Your abdomen is put to work when in the gym. Wait until you have received a clean bill of health from your physician before heading to your local fitness facility.

Build Up Your Overall Fitness First

Ostomy Fitness – Life in the Gym - start with easy going cardioOnce you’ve received the go-ahead from your physician, you can begin a more intensive training regime. But this must be done with care as well. Before you get back into weight lifting, build your path. This includes getting your body ready to take on weight by doing cardio, yoga and pilates, and calisthenics. Once you get your body is used to going through the motions you will have set the table for a successful weight training regime to come. And again, this is the same advice that goes out to anyone who has received a major surgery. This is not exclusive to ostomy patients.

Find a Qualified Fitness Trainer

Ostomy Fitness – Life in the Gym with Weight Lifting Limitations

It’s a good idea to consult with a fitness trainer who specializes in post-op fitness rehab. They will be more knowledgable and sensitive to the constraints placed on working out when healing and muscle atrophy are or may be involved. Trainers can introduce untraditional strength building exercises that help you reach your fitness goals without causing injury or a setback. Physicians often have these contacts in their rolodex, so ask before going online to find one on your own. Worried about the ongoing expense? You don’t need to have a trainer on retainer to manage your time in the gym. An initial consultation, a detailed plan, and a few one on one sessions can serve you well and set you on the path to a successful weight training schedule.

Follow a Customized Nutrition and Supplement Plan

Those living with an ostomy have unique nutritional guidelines to consider to account for common vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Those who lift weights also have unique nutritional requirements to help them build lean muscle mass. Thus, workout buffs with an ostomy must pay careful attention to their nutritional intake, not only to manage the potential for nutritional deficiency, but to maximize their potential to grow that sought-after lean muscle mass. Again, this is something that anyone who is looking for success in weightlifting performance and the physical gains that come along with it will consider. Your dietary plan simply needs to account for one more element. View nutritional supplements to help you maintain your gym-fit life here.

Wear Supportive Ostomy Gym Attire

Ostomy Fitness Apparel - protective clothingWhen working out with an ostomy you must be mindful to not damage your pouch. You also want to ensure proper form when working out, especially if you are just getting back into the swing of things. Both can easily be managed by buying fitness attire, ostomy/hernia support belts, and accessories to protect your pouch. And while we hope to forever remove any stigma felt by anyone with an ostomy, there are concealing workout garments that will hide any sign of your pouch when working out in a public setting.

Find Inspiration in Ostomy-Fit Success Stories

It’s human nature to look for inspiration elsewhere, especially when it comes to sports and fitness. We look to Roger Federer for inspiration on the tennis court, Jason Day on the green, Kelly Slater in the surf. Their stories and relentless efforts on their version of the “playing field” inspire us in ours. When it comes to excelling (not just living) with an ostomy there are amazing stories all over the world. When it comes to the gym and weight training, the likes of Blake Beckfod have shown what is possible. Find relatable stories that motivate you to train again, and one day your story may be the one to inspire the next generation of ostomy athletes, and gym rats, to come.

Share this article:

2 Replies to “Ostomy Fitness – Life in the Gym with Weight Lifting Limitations?”

  1. Do you have actual links for the ostomy fitness attire, ostomy/hernia support belts, and accessories to protect your pouch mentioned in the article? Looks like links were intended, but not getting anything to link to. Thanks!

    1. Hi Bob,

      Thanks for reaching out. We updated our site not too long ago and some of the links went dead – thanks for letting us know!

      As for fitness attire, we are recommending apparel made by Nike or Lululemon (or others similar to them) depending on the activity. Let us know if there are particular products that have been working for you so we can share your feedback with our Inner Good community.

      Thanks again,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *