Any physical activity during a VLCD is a struggle, and weight training is nearly impossible and potentially dangerous during this 2-2.5 week period. With that said, there are exercises you should be engaging in to promote lipid catabolism and maintain muscle mass while you are on the diet. Like with any exercise program, you should target complementary muscle groups on specific days, although at a much lighter intensity.
Remember, your blood glucose levels will be lowered, so heavy lifting or exercising with weights should be minimal if not completely excluded from your routine. Your focus at this time should be two-fold; You need to promote lipolysis (fat-breakdown), and you should target problem areas that are easy to train.
To promote lipolysis, you need to get your metabolism fired-up, since relying on ketosis from diet alone can only do so much. We want to maximize fat-loss in a short window of time. This involves light training and supplementation, since finding the energy and motivation to exercise will be an ever-present battle.
The body has natural chemicals that it produces which help trigger lipolysis, Epinephrine, Growth-Hormone, Norepinephrine, and Testosterone to name a few. These four hormones will be the focus of our attention during the VLCD process, and we will find ways to maximize their production through supplementation and exercise. These trigger G protein-coupled receptors, which activate adenylate cyclase, resulting in increased production of cAMP. Cyclic AMP activates protein kinase A, which ultimately activate lipases found in adipose. The fundamental biochemistry of the process isn’t important, what’s important is realizing you need to maximize your output of the hormones mentioned above (Ep, GH, NE, and Tst).
While you can theoretically purchase GH off the black market, or like many of today’s Hollywood celebrities who tout it as the fountain of youth and have it prescribed by a physician, we’ll take the inexpensive and legal route and promote GH release through natural means. This requires the trifecta of GH production, which is Diet, Weight Training, and Rest. Starvation in itself is a natural catalyst for Growth-Hormone release which in turn promotes lipolysis. Weight training also triggers the body to increase its GH output, as it adjusts to the increased demand to develop larger muscle fibers. Finally, rest is probably the most important and overlooked aspect of GH production, as it’s during sleep that our body replenishes GH and releases its slow drip into the system.
Testosterone is an obvious precursor to lean muscle development and lipolysis. It’s the reason men are naturally leaner and able to seemingly shed flab so much easier. It’s also the reason EVERY SINGLE PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE uses “anabolic steroids”. Period. Unfortunately these are illegal without a proper prescription, so again sourcing natural means is essential. The best promoter of natural testosterone production is heavy weight lifting (and abstinence). Like all steroids, Testosterone is produced from Cholesterol, and undergoes a series of structural changes to eventually become the final hormone. While you might be asking how a diet that lacks cholesterol will produce testosterone, you need to realize that the body synthesizes all the cholesterol a human needs to survive by itself. So essentially, what building blocks are needed are picked up and converted through a series of hydroxylations and decarboxylations to eventually form cholesterol, which in turn goes through the structural changes previously mentioned to form testosterone.
Finally both Epinephrine and Norepinephrine promote lipolysis of adipose tissue and are likewise naturally occurring hormones in the body. They’re the fight or flight hormones that get released when you are in a sudden or dangerous situation. Obviously constantly placing yourself in a panic state would be impossible, and frankly if it could happen, it would release other stress hormones that would likely contribute to fat gain. For this reason, supplementation is the only answer.
Now we’re not talking about jabbing yourself with an Epi-pen every couple hours, but using a combination of compounds that create a similar state. I’m talking about the controversial ECA-Stack. ECA is a combination of Ephedrine, Caffeine, and Aspirin, which is scientifically proven to promote lipolysis by increasing Norepinephrine release, which then stimulates activity of cyclic AMP. Caffeine inhibits phosphodiesterase, the enzyme that metabolizes cyclic AMP, and thereby enhances the staying power of the NE. Aspirin enhances NE activity by inhibiting adenosine, which is involved in NE inactivation. So ultimately you have Ephedrine initiating positive release of NE, and the caffeine and aspirin act as inhibitors of the degradation process, essentially keeping the NE around as long as possible.
Legally, you cannot purchase Ephedra-based products in many countries, and rightfully so, as they can be dangerous in the uncontrolled concentrations sold by random Chinese herbal companies. And even if the dosing on the label is safe, you always have the few idiots with preexisting conditions that ruin it for everyone by being completely out of shape and taking an insane amount and dying, which is what happened in the US causing a ban. Ephedrine Sulfate can still be purchased over the counter in pharmacies as a brochodilator under the trade name Bronchaid, and combined with Caffeine and Aspirin tablets to create a stack with a safe ratio of each substance for fat-loss. Even so, like everything in this diet plan, this is just my opinion, so USE AT YOUR OWN RISK and CONSULT A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL before attempting anything.