Life Time Fitness has introduced plans for a program to prescribe weight loss injections for members through in-house medical teams, including Ozempic, according to Life Time president and COO Jeff Zwiefel. The company would be the first gym to join the semaglutide trend that has been dominating the weight loss industry.
The announcement has experts in the fitness industry concerned about the direction gyms may head in and the ethical nature of pharmaceutical drugs entering the fitness sector in an official capacity. According to Google Trends data cited by garagegymreviews.com, searches for Ozempic for weight loss purposes have outgrown searches for traditional weight loss methods and continue to grow while traditional weight loss terms decrease.
Semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy) is a glucagon-like peptide 1(GLP-1) that decreases appetite and increases satiety, leading to decreased caloric intake. It also causes decreased gastric emptying, leading to the sensation of being fuller longer after meals, which typically decreases calorie intake.
Ozempic has been all over the medical aesthetics industry this year, changing the way people look at weight loss. The drug is approaching mainstream status, which has led to supply shortages and alternatives flooding the market, along with plenty of Tik Tok trends along the way.
The FDA has approved Wegovy for obesity and the medication can be helpful for obese patients, especially if they have weight-related medical problems. Ozempic has FDA approval for improving blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes in combination with diet and exercise. But the medications should not be the only method patients use to try to lose fat.
The Long-Term Impact on Gyms
With the drug now breaching the fitness industry, there are concerns about its potential long-term impact on health, wellness and the pharmaceutical industries. Destini Moody, RD, CSSD, LD, a registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in sports dietetics, told Garage Gym Reviews that Ozempic would be bad for the culture of the fitness industry because it satisfies a desire for quick fixes and instant gratification.
Moody points to the long-documented history of steroid and prescription drug abuse and its connection to the fitness industry to predict the potential issues of incorporating Ozempic & GLP-1s into gyms and fitness centers. By attaining quick results from Ozempic injections, consumers will not learn the habits to keep the weight off and will continuously come back to buy the drug instead.
This sentiment is echoed by Tracie Haines-Landram, CSCS*D, a certified strength and conditioning specialist with distinction from the National Strength and Conditioning Association, who believes normalization and advertisement of weight loss medications in gyms will affect the established perspective that exercise is the primary driver of weight management.
Life Time Fitness
Life Time Fitness assures that they won’t easily issue the medication and will carefully regulate Ozempic prescriptions through “extensive blood panel analyses and FDA requirements of increased physical activity.”
Experts question how the gym chain will exercise the medical responsibility and moral obligation of prescribing the medication properly. It was also suggested that incentives, commissions or kickbacks for getting gym members to use these services could present an additional moral dilemma that challenges the integrity of its personal trainers and gym staff.
Garage Gym Reviews reports that while early predictions of Ozempic's impact on gym activity will seem positive, gym memberships would eventually go down as people choose to stay at home and obtain the medication in other capacities.