Original email for context: Re exercise on P2 –
- What would you advise as for the eating part in order for me not to lose muscle?
- I also drink amino acids before, during, and after my workout. Sometimes I will alternate between plain amino acids and amino acids with extra stuff that helps aid in muscle building, fat loss, recovery properties, etc. I am afraid that adding this to my water I might retain water. Do you have any experience with this?
I can’t be sure but here are a few thoughts. Some of my conclusions come purely from my own personal experience which I understand proves nothing. However it’s my reality and I feel it still has value worth mentioning. Because of my own health concerns, I found that I could not exercise on the hCG protocol at all or I would feel incredibly fatigued. Despite this, as I mentioned, I experienced a high percentage of fat loss based on my hydrostatic bodyfat testing. You can also lose muscle if you work out and get sore muscles and do not provide your body the nutrition and amino acids it needs to rebuild those torn muscles. This is why usually doing major exercise while on hCG will often backfire.
Also commonly misunderstood is that if you are significantly overweight, your body actually has extra muscle for your height in order to accommodate that extra fat, so you can still walk around and do stuff. Just like your body responds to lifting weights at the gym by building muscle, when you walk around 16 hours a day with 30 extra pounds of fat, your body will also gain muscle to make this possible.
A person of a healthy weight your height does not have as much muscle- it’s simply not needed. I say this because some muscle loss IS normal and I’d go so far as to say, required, in order to get a healthy weight for your height if you are significantly overweight. There is a range of muscle that a person of a certain height will have that’s average. Your body will shed some muscle up to a certain point regardless. For instance – the book “the fit or fat woman” by Covert Bailey and Lea Bishop has a chart that shows the average lean body mass (aka muscle – actually not just muscle but everything in your body that’s not fat) for men and women of various heights – these chart statistics are as the author states on page 71, “compiled from my clinic records on the 20,000 people we have tested (rayzel note: hydrostatically). In making the chart, we did not include those people with abnormally high or low body fat. It represents the range of lean (lean body mass) in relatively fit people.”
Women of my height, 5’1”, that were as she stated relatively fit, had a lean body mass of between 73-89 lbs. When I did my initial hydrostatic bodyfat test just prior to doing my first round of hCG when I estimate I was about 50 lbs overweight, I had 111 lbs of lean mass. As you can see, this is 22 lbs more “muscle” than the average fit woman with the MOST muscle my height, and 38 more lbs than the fit woman on the low end of lean mass! This is due to the need for it because of having extra fat, not because I was so athletic. So initially, my first round of hCG, YES I did lose a larger percentage of muscle – this was actually required in order to get a healthy weight for my height and build.
To highlight this, because we often mistakenly hear that any muscle loss on a diet is always a bad thing, let’s say I didn’t lose any muscle at all in my weight loss journey. So I still have my 111 lbs of lean mass. I also need to have some fat on my body. We would all be dead without it. If you take a look at a bodyweight chart, like this one (link: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/obesity/how-much-should-i-weigh.php) you’ll see that a person of my height considered a “normal” weight is between 100-127 lbs. Let’s take the middle of that- say 115 lbs, which is a very common weight for women my height. If I have 111 lbs of muscle still after all my weight loss, and get down to a total scale weight of 115 lbs, this mean I only have 4 lbs of fat on my body, making my bodyfat percentage just over 3%. At 3% bodyfat as a woman, I’m pretty certain I’d be either be dead or on life support. The MINIMUM amount of essential bodyfat for women is listed as 10-13%.
If you take a look at a bodyfat percent chart (link: https://www.builtlean.com/2010/08/03/ideal-body-fat-percentage-chart/) an average bodyfat percent for a woman is actually 25-31%. So all this to say that when you have more weight to lose, I argue that muscle loss is actually a completely normal and required part of the process. You can certainly build more muscle if you choose to through heavy weight lifting, but this will not happen just naturally taking a daily walk with the dog. At some point, as you reach that average range of lean body mass for your height, you will lose less muscle and have a much greater percentage of your weight loss be fat from what I’ve seen of my own hydrostatic bodyfat testing and some of those I’ve interviewed on my blog on the hCG diet.
Lastly, one thing I’d like to add is that a small amount of resistance training during hCG may improve your muscle retention on the protocol- the reason this makes sense to me is that in doing this you are sending periodic signals to your body that ‘hey, I still need this’……’yep, still need this muscle’…..’yep, still. Don’t go anywhere…..’. But again, going overboard while such a low calorie and lower protein diet could have the opposite effect and cause greater muscle loss. This protocol is really more like a cleanse and the focus is on weight loss. After the diet is more the time to focus on building muscle. It’s much harder for the body to focus on 2 very different things at once to me.