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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!

Is Exercising on the HCG Diet a Good Idea?

Is Exercising on the HCG Diet a Good Idea?

Exercising on the HCG Diet

It's counterintuitive, but an important part of the HCG diet actually to avoid exercise for the most part. 500 calories per day, as recommended for the 26 to 46 day very low calorie diet (VLCD), are simply not enough to sustain anything but a light exercise routine. The HCG diet is designed to work without any exercise at all, even for people who work out religiously.

Exercise can actually cause you to slip up on the diet and overeat. Normally HCG would suppress your appetite and you would feel full or mostly full throughout the day, but strenuous exercise will tax your muscles and body and reduce the appetite suppressing effects of the hormone. It can also cause your body to slow down its metabolism which will counteract the fat burning properties of HCG. No exercise is needed at all to lose weight while on the HCG diet, as the fat burning effect of HCG in combination with the calorie restriction is more than enough for rapid and safe weight loss.

Reduce the Intensity of your Exercise on the HCG diet

If you exercise on a regular basis it might seem a bit strange that the diet protocol recommends that you stop, but you really will get better results if you do. If you're adamant on doing some type of exercise, you don't have to stop entirely; you should just reduce the intensity of your routine and limit the duration to 15 to 20 minutes per day maximum during the VLCD phase. Once you get to Phase 3 (maintenance) you can get back into your regular routine.

Don't overexert yourself if you exercise during the VLCD phase or exercise for too long. You don't have as many calories available for energy, and you can easily become light headed, fatigued, and exhausted if you have an intense exercise session during the VLCD phase. You should also limit the type of exercise to only moderate aerobic activities such as brisk walking, light swimming, or yoga. You definitely won't want to do any heavy weight lifting, as lifting weights without adequate calories and energy can be dangerous due to the risk of muscle failure.

People with Physical Jobs Can Consume More Protein

For dieters who have jobs that require a lot of physical activity such as construction or labor work, the diet will work just fine, even though the first few weeks might be a challenge. More calories from protein should be consumed each meal to provide a stable source of energy while keeping under the calorie limit of 500 per day. The fat burned from HCG will compensate for the lack of calories, and physical work can still be performed as usual. Dieters who are used to strenuous labor will be able to adjust to the lower calories of the diet after a week or sooner, even though there may be some weakness and hunger during the first few days. Weakness and hunger can be reduced by drinking more water. Many workers won't experience much of a difference at all because of how good of an appetite suppressant HCG is.

Gradually Get Back into Your Exercise Routine

Exercise is an important part of phase 3 as it will help you maintain and build lean muscle while keeping your body fat percentage down. Although the HCG diet has the benefit of not requiring exercise, just a small amount of light exercise on a regular basis during phase 3 is an important part of maintaining the results that you got from the diet. The exercises that you start with don't even have to be intense, you can walk, bike, jog or swim.   Anywhere from 30-60 minutes per day 3-5 times per week is usually sufficient to maintain your HCG results.

Regular exercisers who are eager to get back into their routine during phase 3 should gradually increase the intensity of their exercise instead of jumping right back into it. Give your body time to readjust to increased physical demand of your normal exercise routine, and you'll have more energy and a more effective workout. The intensity of your workout can be increased over a period of a week or two. Once you get to phase 4 your normal exercise routine will be no problem and you should continue your healthy eating habits.

Don't Start Exercising on the HCG diet

If you haven't worked out before, you definitely shouldn't start when you're on the HCG diet. Wait until the VLCD has been completed and you are in the maintenance stage (phase 3); at that point it's a good idea to consider exercising regularly to maintain the results you get with the HCG diet. Even though it's usually safe to start a new exercise routine after the diet has been completed, you should meet with your physician for a checkup to make sure that you are physically ready for the exercise program you are considering starting.

Avoid Exercise if You Can During the VLCD

Even if you exercise religiously, the best thing to do on the HCG diet is to sit back and let the HCG and diet protocol do its work. The diet is not designed to compensate for the energy that you will burn during an intense workout, and it can make you more tired and weak throughout the day unnecessarily. If you avoid intense exercise you won't have to suffer through unnecessary bouts of hunger and you'll have more energy to do other things throughout the day. If you exercise intensely it can also cause your body to go into starvation mode due to the extra nutritional stress, even though HCG would normally prevent that from happening.

The VLCD phase only lasts for 3 to 6 weeks, and after it's done you'll be able to start exercising as much as you want. Even better, you'll be much leaner by the time that you start exercising again, so the results of your   muscle building will be more obvious to you (and others). Healthy eating is also just as important as exercise as this point, and you'll want to make sure that you still avoiding simple sugars and unhealthy foods along with following the other parts of the phase 3 and 4 diet protocol. So when you're on the HCG diet just relax and allow the diet to work its magic, and don't worry about exercising until you get to the maintenance phase.

About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

5 min read