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The following information is for educational purposes only. Due to new FDA Compounding Guidelines and Telehealth Certifications,
Nu Image Medical no longer offers the HCG Weight Loss Program. GOOD NEWS! We have developed something better and easier: WAYT-less!

How to Burn Fat Without Losing Muscle

How to Burn Fat Without Losing Muscle

Burn Fat Without Losing Muscle!

The worst thing you can do is lose your hard earned muscle whenever you start on a new diet. It takes several weeks to months to put on just one pound of lean body mass, and whenever you go on a cutting routine or use a diet like the human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) diet you want to do everything that you can to preserve your hard earned muscle.

Significant muscle loss is a common consequence of most diets and weight loss plans. This is because they fail to take into account the dietary and metabolic requirements needed to maintain lean body mass while metabolizing fat.

Some diets require exercise while you are limited to low calories or a low carb intake. This is always a bad idea as your body will readily burn muscle once it goes into starvation mode and your glycogen stores are burned up.

You never want to lose muscle when you go on any fat burning routine, including a hormone diet or other diets. The human chorionic gonadotropin diet is designed to maintain your lean body mass because the hormone metabolizes fat specifically and alters your metabolize to prefer stored fat as the main source of fuel.

Be sure to eat  enough protein to burn fat without losing muscle

The HCG hormone diet includes two servings of protein every day and protein is an essential part of the diet in order to maintain muscle mass. Your lean muscle mass is maintained when you add a sufficient amount of protein to every meal.

This is what separates the HCG diet apart from many other diets. Every protein serving is 100 grams in weight, which translates to about 25 to 30 grams of protein per serving, and Nu Image Medical also sells HCG meal replacement packs which can be used for part of your protein intake on the diet. The packs have 26 grams of protein per serving with just 110 calories, so if you were to use them as a meal replacement or a snack it would be helpful for maintaining muscle mass.

Other diets may not have a  sufficient amount of protein to maintain lean muscle mass when restricting calories or carbohydrate intake.

Be sure to stay at least moderately active when dieting

You should never be completely sedentary, even when you are on the HCG diet. Although the diet allows you to lose weight without exercising at all, the recommendation is that you maintain at least a moderate level of activity with walking or light swimming. This level of activity keeps your muscles active and stimulates them to prevent them from breaking down while you diet.

Even though the hormone diet is just a few weeks you can still lose some muscle mass if you don't move around at least a little bit. With other diets it even more important that you exercise a little because you will not have the metabolic benefits that the HCG hormone provides you with.

Other diets may reduce your caloric intake without giving you a supplement like HCG that can help offset the calorie loss or recommending enough protein to maintain your muscle. As a result of a calorie deficit your body starts to burn muscle by converting it into glucose. Basically, if you know that you have a calorie deficit compared to your normal daily caloric intake (you can look this up online based on your body weight and sex), you need to be sure you are eating enough protein and being moderately active.

Don't overexert yourself or weight train

If you overexert yourself and train too hard while dieting, you will inevitable lose muscle mass and get the opposite effect that you would expect. When you break down muscle without having a sufficient level of calories and nutrients, your body doesn't have what it needs to recover quickly. Dieting inevitably reduces the nutrients you have available and your energy levels - when you participate in intensive workout sessions you need carbohydrates protein and fat to supply you with a constant supply of energy

It's just not worth it to work out extensively when you are dieting. You can actually lose strength because your body won't have enough protein to rebuild your muscle. With any training program, even for diets with moderately reduced calories, you should focus on maintaining your muscle strength, not building muscle. Intensive workout sessions are not necessary for you to maintain your muscle.

If you try to maintain your normal workout routine while dieting you'll find that you just don't have the energy to get through your workouts like you normally do. Your reps will be fewer, you won't be able to lift as much weight, and you will feel groggy or even sick throughout the workout. It doesn't sound like fun, and it isn't necessary when you are just trying to lose body fat.

Just stick to a moderate exercise routine; scale down your exercise dramatically if you are on the HCG diet. If you are on a bodybuilding cutting cycle in the majority of cases you should reduce the frequency and intensity of your workout sessions.

Use a diet that doesn't last too long

The human chorionic gonadotropin diet is perfect for fat loss simply because it doesn't last long enough to reduce your muscle mass dramatically, but it is effective enough to reduce body fat in just three to six weeks. If you stay on a diet for an extended period of time, say several months, you are far more likely to lose a huge amount of muscle.

The human chorionic gonadotropin diet is a great option because it lets you get back into resistance training right after the three or six week diet is finished. As soon as you finish the very low calorie diet phase you can begin building your muscle back up again. It's a great option for anyone looking to cut down body fat while preserving as much muscle as possible, and the fact that it takes such a short period of time is a great incentive to start. For more information on the other benefits of the HCG diet, click here.


About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

8 min read