Why Do I Have Sagging Skin After Losing Weight?


question-icon-newI’m 6’4″ and 294 pounds. I’m doing 30 minutes of cardio 6 days a week. I want to know if I do not incorporate weight training in my overall fitness routine and I’m still able to eventually reach my ideal body weight of 215 pounds, will I have any issues with loose and sagging skin?

answer-icon-newThere are many ways to prevent skin from sagging but a lot depends on how much loose skin you currently have. The amount of loose skin can also depend on how fast you’re losing weight, weight fluctuations, your age, and your past and present daily exercise and nutritional habits. These factors can all influence your skin’s elasticity when shedding body fat. When the body needs to lose a significant amount of weight, cardio training unfortunately is not enough to prevent sagging skin. The skin is a very important part of the body that needs care and attention. With proper exercise, healthy balanced nutrition, hydration, and daily skin care, you can keep your skin young and more pleasing to the eye.

If the goal is to lose weight and avoid loose skin, there are a few ways to promote tighter, toned skin. Most important is a workout that incorporates resistance training at least 4 days a week. This will maximize your efforts in building and reshaping your muscles resulting in an overall improved body composition and weight loss. Resistance training can include free weights, machines, and calisthenics (body exercises that use your own body weight). There are many different approaches to resistance training for people who are interested in losing weight and who want to avoid sagging skin. With a knowledgeable trainer, you can create a weight resistance routine that will target areas of the body that need tightening using a variety of exercises. Including a core strengthening and flexibility program is just as beneficial in keeping the body firm, agile and strong.

lifting-weights-tight-skinSeeking out a certified fitness trainer who has accurate facts about weight resistance training, as well as strength and conditioning, will help you get on the right track to promote a leaner body and self-confidence. A trainer will enable you to have a better understanding of proper form and technique, as well as the appropriate exercises to avoid sagging skin. A customized, well prepared fitness workout can also assist with the prevention of significant injuries that can sometimes happen, especially starting a new routine. A professional can give you a more efficient and effective workout plan so there is less time wasted in the gym.

Another important thing to consider is to refrain from losing too much weight too quickly. Aiming for a healthy weight loss of 1.5 to 3 pounds per week will be more fruitful. You may be tempted to try to lose fat quickly and may think it is better to do so, but this is not the case. Mentally and emotionally this may be tough to accept but it will pay off in the long run giving you a smaller, toned body with smoother skin. The skin is made up of collagen and elastin, the proteins that keep the skin tight and toned giving that supple appearance. When a person loses fat too rapidly the skin won’t have enough time to restore itself and can be overstretched.

Consistent weight resistance training and the proper amount of cardio combined with quality nutrition is of key importance. Cardiovascular exercise is a great way to burn a lot of calories and achieve a more desired physique, but combining this with a calorie deficit that is too low can have the opposite effect. This is potentially where muscle tissue can decrease (atrophy) and compromise metabolism and strength. Instead, opting for 2 or 3 days of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be a lot more rewarding. You can burn a lot of calories in a lot less time, preserving more of your muscle tissue. This type of workout is also ideal for a person on the go with a busy schedule and requires no equipment.

Correspondingly, doing too much cardio in one session can hinder fat loss, causing the body to go into a catabolic state and burn your hard-earned muscle. The loss of muscle tissue will slow down your metabolism, as well as decrease strength. A slower metabolism means it will be much harder to burn body fat which is something you want to avoid at all costs. Instead, promote the body to be in an anabolic state by helping lean muscle tissues stay well-nourished and hydrated with good quality nutritional energy. Lean muscle increases metabolism which makes the body more efficient in burning fat.

You need to make sure your body is fueled with the proper protein nutrients and energy before and after each workout. Your body requires sufficient protein and carbohydrates 1.5 to 2 hours before and after workouts. Muscle tissue does not grow or develop during the workout but only when the body is at rest and has had time to recover. In fact, the largest amount of growth hormone is released into your body when you are sleeping. This encourages the body to rebuild its anabolic state.

healthy-fat-foods-salmonA quality balanced nutrition plan is necessary for optimal healthy weight loss and firmer, clearer skin. As the skin is always in need of the proper essential minerals and vitamins, it is also important that the body receive the proper macronutrients and micronutrients to maintain a healthy, toned body. The body and skin need to be provided with essential fats or EFA’s (essential fatty acids) to achieve a healthier, firmer looking body and skin. Making the mistake of discounting fats from the diet can also hinder weight loss efforts. Good fats support the breakdown of unwanted body fat and give the body and skin what it needs to repair muscle tissues, reduce inflammation in the joints and heal cell damage due to stress and free radicals.

Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are the healthiest fats you can feed the body. A great source would be seeds, nuts, olive oil and avocados. In addition, a diet that ranks high in quality proteins, and good sources of unrefined carbohydrates such as ancient grains (kamut, spelt, quinoa, amaranth), which are now readily available locally, will give you a leaner body and more attractive skin. Foods that include minerals and essential vitamins A, C and E will ensure the skin and body get what they need to look supple and healthy. Dark leafy greens, spinach, kale, collard greens, broccoli, high beta carotene fruits and vegetables along with tropical and citrus fruits are excellent sources. The benefits of feeding yourself unprocessed quality nutrients will be revealed in your body, skin, hair and nails, as well as keeping you operating at your best.

Hydration is also vital to the health of your body and skin. The benefits that come with drinking water daily are hugely underestimated. Drinking water provides a number of advantages to the body. One major advantage is that nutrients are effectively carried throughout the body helping the skin and body to function better and be more efficient in cell repair. Our bodies are made up of 70% water and the more you weigh the more water you should try to encourage yourself to drink. Also, drinking good quality water from a filter watered source or bottled water is imperative. Quality water allows the body to cleanse naturally and get rid of unwanted toxins and extra sodium. It also boosts metabolism and keeps skin hydrated, encouraging repair.

Focusing on consistent healthy food choices and fitness goals that are attainable and realistic with the right exercise plan will ensure a leaner body and improved skin tone as well as increased vitality and self-confidence.

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About Author

Teresa Funk

I am a Certified Fitness Trainer with CFES (Canadian Fitness Education Services), working towards completing a higher level of holistic nutrition. My personal guidance is what brings my clients an optimal level of energy, a healthier desired body composition and a great quantity of fitness and nutritional knowledge.

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