The Power of Exercise for Weight Loss: Contrasting GLP-1 Medications, Ozempic and Mounjaro with Physical Activity

Expert Insights From Dr. Pope


In the pursuit of weight loss, many individuals turn to pharmaceutical interventions such as GLP-1 medications like Ozempic and Mounjaro. While these medications have shown promise in achieving weight loss goals, it is important to consider their potential risks and limitations. In contrast, exercise offers a natural and holistic approach to weight management, providing numerous benefits that go beyond mere numbers on a scale. This article aims to highlight the advantages and drawbacks of GLP-1 medications while underscoring the superiority of exercise as a sustainable method for weight loss and overall well-being.

Benefits and Risks of GLP-1 Medications for Weight Loss: GLP-1 medications work by regulating blood sugar levels, increasing insulin secretion, and suppressing appetite. This combination can lead to weight loss in some individuals. These medications have been shown to reduce body weight and improve glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes or obesity-related conditions (1). They can provide a jump-start to weight loss efforts, especially for those struggling with metabolic challenges.

However, it is important to consider the potential risks associated with GLP-1 medications. Research suggests that pharmacologically induced starvation can result in loose or sagging skin due to rapid weight loss (2). Additionally, when individuals discontinue the medication, there is a higher likelihood of weight regain, as the underlying lifestyle factors contributing to weight gain may not have been fully addressed (3).

The Superiority of Exercise for Weight Loss: Exercise offers a range of benefits beyond weight loss, including improved cardiovascular health, increased muscle strength, enhanced mood, and decreased risk of chronic diseases. When it comes to sustainable weight loss and body composition changes, exercise has distinct advantages over pharmaceutical interventions like GLP-1 medications.

  1. Long-term Sustainability: Numerous studies have shown that exercise, when combined with dietary modifications, leads to more sustainable weight loss compared to medication alone (4). Engaging in regular physical activity helps establish healthy habits and fosters a positive relationship with one’s body.
  2. Enhanced Body Composition: Unlike GLP-1 medications, which can result in loose skin due to rapid weight loss, exercise promotes fat loss while preserving lean muscle mass. This leads to a more toned physique and less sagging skin, contributing to a more aesthetically pleasing outcome (5).
  3. Improved Overall Health: Exercise not only aids in weight management but also reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. These additional health benefits make exercise a comprehensive approach to overall well-being (6).

Conclusion: While GLP-1 medications like Ozempic and Mounjaro may offer short-term weight loss benefits for some individuals, they come with potential risks and limitations. Exercise, on the other hand, provides a holistic approach to weight management that goes beyond mere numbers on a scale. It offers long-term sustainability, improved body composition, and overall health benefits. By incorporating exercise into one’s lifestyle, individuals can achieve sustainable weight loss, a toned physique, and better overall well-being.


  1. Astrup A, et al. Obesity: A novel GLP-1 treatment for weight loss. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2010 Sep;6(9):515-6.
  2. MacLean PS, et al. Biology’s response to dieting: the impetus for weight regain. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 Sep;301(3):R581-600.
  3. Sumithran P, et al. Long-term persistence of hormonal adaptations to weight loss. N Engl J Med. 2011 Oct 27;365(17):1597-604.
  4. Donnelly JE, et al. Exercise alone or combined with dietary supplements for the treatment of obesity. Int J Sports Med. 1998 Jan;19(1):61-6.
  5. Varady KA, et al. Changes in body composition and sagging skin in obesity and after weight loss. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Nov;18(11):2188-95.
  6. Warburton DE, et al. Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence. CMAJ. 2006 Mar 14;174(6):801-9.