HCG Diet and Exercise: recommendations and guidelines

HCG Diet and Exercise: Guidelines, Warnings and Recommendations

Weight gain during HCG is frustrating – this is why we recommend VLA BioImpedance Screenings every week or two so that you KNOW what is going on in your body….  This article explains WHY we can have a temporary weight gain with exercise.  Knowledge is power.  Know what is going on in your body – and then the motivation will continue!

As with most things, there are multiple views on whether exercise should be incorporated as part of the HCG diet. Even among those who do recommend exercise, there is no consensus on the intensity, duration, frequency, and types of exercise that should be included.

On the HCG diet it is completely possible to lose a significant amount of weight with very little exercise, or even without exercising at all. In fact, some clinics and practitioners recommend absolutely no exercise. For many dieters, especially those who detest physical activity, this is one of their favorite features of the HCG diet. Many dieters have been told that told repeatedly that their weight problems are mostly caused by laziness or lack of exercise. It can certainly feel relieving to be “allowed” or advised to avoid exercise.

The extra fat deposits you are trying to rid yourself of through the HCG diet are great deposits of energy. While on the HCG diet, your body will be breaking down these deposits. The presence of HCG allows this breakdown to occur more easily. Vigorous exercise demands quickly available energy. Even though your body will have a lot of potential energy from fat deposits more readily available, the energy from it cannot be metabolized quickly enough to supply heavily utilized muscles.

Most HCG dieters will track their weight closely. Weighing in daily, or sometimes multiple times per day. Increases in weight during phase 2 of the HCG diet can be alarming. How can you gain weight when only consuming 500 calories in a day?! The breakdown of muscles that occurs from intense workouts can and usually will cause inflammation in the affected muscles. Your body will absorb additional water to aid in the repair of these muscles and this extra water can easily show up in increased weight from one day to the next. The weight will almost always level out over time, but the psychological effect of the temporary weight increase can be difficult for dieters.

Dr. Simeons recommended only light exercise such as walking and light biking. This exercise should only be done at low intensity and for fairly short periods of time. He noted the weight gain caused by vigorous exercise in this way:

“…the weight can temporarily increase — paradoxical though this may sound — after an exceptional physical exertion of long duration leading to a feeling of exhaustion. A game of tennis, a vigorous swim, a run, a ride on horseback or a round of golf do not have this effect; but a long trek, a day of skiing, rowing or cycling or dancing into the small hours usually result in a gain of weight on the following day, unless the patient is in perfect training. In patients coming from abroad, where they always use their cars, we often see this effect after a strenuous day of shopping on foot, sightseeing and visits to galleries and museums. Though the extra muscular effort involved does consume some additional calories, this appears to be offset by the retention of water which the tired circulation cannot at once eliminate.”

Dr. Simeons also noted that patients who insisted on exercising vigorously while on the program often overate because of exercise-induced hunger, stalling weight loss or even leading to weight gain. Many practitioners and dieters take this statement to mean that all exercise is forbidden during phase 2.

Exercise is not forbidden but must be undertaken with great care during the strict diet (Core Phase or Phase 2). Deliberate workouts during the HCG diet should be tailored to each individual’s capabilities. Each person will have a different level of fitness, different strengths, different preferences, and different abilities.

A dieter with a body that is already accustomed to intense exercise will be able to handle exercise much more easily than one who is very out of shape. A fit body will not sustain as much intramuscular damage and its associated inflammatory effects from exercise that a non-fit body would.

In general it is good to take a very cautious approach to exercise while on the HCG diet. You will be taking in very little food, very little fuel for your body to use to power your muscles during exercise. Fat will be released and metabolized for energy, but carbohydrates are a much more easily and quickly metabolized fuel. They are the body’s main source of energy especially during very intense and very long duration exercise. Without them, exhaustion and fatigue occur much more quickly, often along with dizziness and shortness of breath. Another side effect of lack of carbohydrates during vigorous exercise is an extremely strong feeling of hunger, usually with cravings for carbohydrate-laden foods. All of this can work together synergistically against the dieter. An exhausted, light-headed person has a much harder time resisting the body’s increased demands for carbohydrate rich foods!

If you are used to intense exercise already, you can try to continue with what your are doing, but most likely you will lack the necessary energy and/or will not recover as quickly as usual while you are on phase 2 of the HCG diet. If you are not used to intense exercise, do not attempt it during the HCG diet!

If you are used to light or moderate exercise, you may continue as before, possibly shortening the duration or intensity of your workouts as necessary. As with intense exercisers, watch for overtraining and energy levels. Dial down your training if you see any signs of it.

If you are not used to exercise, now is probably not the best time to start.

Some Sample Exercises During Phase 2

Low Intensity (OK for everyone, but always monitor for signs of overtraining)

  • Walking
  • Bicycling
  • Yoga
  • Gentle swimming
  • Lawn mowing

    Medium Intensity (Only for those already accustomed to medium intensity workouts monitor for overtraining)

  • Jogging
  • Snow shoveling
  • Lap swimming
  • Moving furniture

    High intensity (Not Generally Recommended for Phase 2 of HCG Diet)

  • Heavy weight training
  • Running
  • Crossfit
  • Triathlons
  • Sprinting
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