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The topic has been covered on our blog before, but one of the most common questions that people ask is whether the HCG diet and exercise go together. The answer is simply no, you don't want to exercise only during Phase 2 of the HCG diet, but before Phase 2 and after Phase 2 you can certainly start exercising again. During Phase 2 you simply don't have enough daily calories to sustain any kind of exercise program outside of the normal activity that you do for your job and other daily activities. Even people with an active job may need to be careful about their calorie intake and may need to increase their protein intake while on the diet slightly (with the approval of a medical doctor). The VLCD portion of the diet is designed to lose weight without any extra effort on your part which makes the diet much easier than others.
In general, if you exercise during Phase 2 you can shut your metabolism down and make it even more difficult for your body to burn abnormal fat. Your muscles will start breaking down because your body will turn to them as a source of energy before fat when you are exercising and don't have sufficient calories. In short, it is potentially very dangerous to do any exercise during Phase 2 of the diet and there is simply no situation where it is warranted or recommended. Your medical provider at Nu Image Medical will always warn you about this before starting the diet, but you should avoid other diet protocols that may not have the same advisory information or the VLCD diets that advise you to exercise while on them. There's no way to speed up the weight loss on the HCG diet other than following the protocol to the best of your ability.
Phase 2 of the diet only lasts for three to six weeks; after this you can increase your calorie intake to about 800 calories per day or so. Some people increase their calorie intake to an amount that is even higher than this, which is normally okay if it is approved by your medical provider, but you will still want to be on a calorie deficit compared to your calorie intake when the diet is completely over. Just pause your entire exercise plan during the VLCD and plan on resuming it as soon as it is over. The three or six weeks that you take off from exercising won't affect your health or weight loss at all, and it will let the hormone work at its best to speed up your fat metabolism and get you ready to resume working out.
After you start your workout plan again you may notice that you lose weight a lot faster than ever before. That is because the diet restores your natural fat metabolism, which can often be shut down as a result of your diet or other lifestyle factors. In a way, it "unlocks" your fat reserves to be metabolized even after the diet is over, and you will often get much faster weight loss results from less exercise than you've ever done before. It is well worth the brief pause to stop your workout plan because you will have a much better workout efficiency in the future and you won't have to spend as much time in the gym.
If you've ever worked out with a weighted vest or jogged while carrying a medicine ball, you know how difficult it is to add just 10 to 20 pounds to your weight while doing a physical activity. You will be amazed at how much easier it is to work out once you've lost 10 to 40 pounds. The HCG diet literally removes dead weight from your body, reduces pressure on your joints, and frees your muscles and skeletal system to perform at their best during your workout. You will also likely have lost anywhere from 10 to 40 pounds on the three or six week diet, and physically it will be far easier to work out, so you will get even more from your exercise program and you will be able to put more effort into shaping and toning your body rather than being held down by excess weight.
Don't just jump right back into your regular workout routine as soon as you hit Phase 3. Remember that during this phase you are gradually adding foods back into your diet, monitoring your weight and ensuring that you don't add foods that are going to cause weight gain. It is more important for you to focus on your diet and calorie intake instead of exercising during this phase, and you need to get back into your regular workout routine gradually. If you start intensely exercising as soon as you hit Phase 3, you won't really know whether it is your diet or your exercise that is keeping the weight off, and it may end up causing a slip up later on down the road if you slow down your exercise intensity.
During Phase 3 you will still be at a calorie deficit, and your body will be using plenty of water to metabolize its fat reserves. As a result you will need to make sure you are properly hydrated, and you should continue to drink anywhere from a half gallon to a gallon of water each day. Try to drink only filtered water and you can also drink unsweetened tea. You should avoid sports drinks and electrolyte drinks because of their sugar or artificial sweeteners; get your electrolytes from fruit and vegetables, the best and most natural source. Also be sure to increase your protein intake relative to your workout intensity, but remember that you will want to gradually scale up your workout intensity. You might want to start at anywhere from 30 to 50% of your normal workout, and then start gradually increasing it as you start to move out of Phase 3 and get back into your regular eating pattern (minus grains, processed foods and junk foods of course).
People who have an active job need to consult with a medical provider before starting a very low calorie diet because some of the diet's requirements may need to be adjusted. An active job can be just like exercising, especially for laborers and people that naturally burn a lot of calories each day through their work. You may need to increase the calories per day slightly for your diet, but you should never do this on your own without medical approval. There may also be another option available to you for weight loss. No matter what you should never try the 500 kcal per day diet on your own by purchasing a program from an unlicensed provider, because it can be even more dangerous than it normally would be. If you have any questions at all about the HCG diet and exercise, and how you should start and stop your routine during the diet, click here to speak to a medical provider now.