The Ozempic Craze is Hitting the Gym Industry

As Ozempic continues to take over the weight loss industry, its use is potentially expanding into gyms with the announcement of Life Time Fitness’ weight loss injections program.
As Ozempic continues to take over the weight loss industry, its use is potentially expanding into gyms with the announcement of Life Time Fitness’ weight loss injections program.
Image by 9nong at Adobe Stock

Ozempic is close to being a household name, and any medical aesthetics professional with their ear to the ground has heard of the semaglutide for weight loss trend. With its increased off-label use for weight loss, it was inevitable that the drug would start flooding gyms around the world.

The catalyst for its injection into the U.S. fitness industry was when Life Time Fitness announced plans for a program to prescribe weight loss injections for members through in-house medical teams, according to Life Time president and COO Jeff Zwiefel1. The company would be the first gym to join the semaglutide trend that has been dominating the weight loss industry.

For those who need a reminder, GLP-1 drugs (such as Ozempic) are a common treatment for Type-2 diabetes, and some have also been approved for weight loss, while others are commonly used off-label for weight loss. Many GLP-1 responders use semaglutide, including Ozempic, Wegovy and Rybelsus, which works by helping the pancreas release the right amount of insulin when blood sugar levels are high.

The drug is attractive for weight loss purposes because it 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 caloric intake.

Life Time Fitness’ new program 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. However, the consumer interest is undeniable. According to Google Trends data cited in an article on, searches for Ozempic for weight loss purposes have outgrown searches for traditional weight loss methods and continue to grow while traditional weight loss search terms decrease.

Back in our April 2023 issue of Medesthetics, we tapped board-certified plastic surgeon and owner of Austin Plastic Surgeon, Johnny Franco, M.D., to tell our readers everything they need to know about the rising use of semaglutide for weight loss. This was before Ozempic skyrocketed in popularity.

According to Dr. Franco, “The weight loss revolution started when drugs such as Ozempic first hit the market to treat diabetic patients. It has been remarkably effective in decreasing HgbA1c and complications associated with diabetes, however it was also found to facilitate weight decrease. Wegovy, the same semaglutide medication, was FDA-approved for weight loss in 2021. In 2022 Mounjaro, the newest of these diabetic/weight loss medications, was found to decrease patients' body weight by 15% a year.”

Now, Ozempic has shown up on TV commercials, as background advertisements at sporting events and even received attention from national media news outlets. 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.

Its latest addition to the fitness industry establishes that the trend is only growing in popularity. 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.


1. “Life Time to Pilot Obesity Drugs for Gym Members,” Fitt Insider, October 2023

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