My goal is to build muscle while losing fat. I’ve done this before so I’m familiar with the routine combining weight lifting with cardio and eating a standard weight lifters clean diet (chicken brown rice broccoli etc). For the first two months of this plan I stuck with chicken etc, and for the last two months have switched to nearly 100% Huel.
I started 265 lbs 33ish% body fat, 6’4”, 43yo. My macros are roughly around 220ish carbs and protein. I have a difficult time eating so much chicken etc and was really hurting on carbs. Ironically that was hurting my gains and fat loss progress. Huel seemed a great way to get more carbs and not have to do any food prep anymore.
While it was a bit weird at first I quickly acclimated. Call me crazy but I love the ultra quick meal, spare time, very few dishes to wash, food delivered easily to my door, and nothing in my fridge except drinks. I keep some frozen meals and misc for guests.
I blend and chug each meal (standard vanilla)…I don’t “drink” it. A few ice cubes chills and makes Huel easier to drink. The aftertaste can be unpleasant so I chase with diet soda. I have four 500 calorie (3-scoop) meals about 3-4 hours apart, and often will go have 1/4 or 1/2 pound grilled shrimp at the local grill late night, finishing with two scoops casein and a little whey for overnight. I shoot for 2250 calories to aid fat loss while getting what I need to maintain and build muscle. At 255 now solid muscle gain good weight loss. And it’s picking up steam…I’ll be 235ish in 2-3 months.
I work out most every day. Two days weights one day cardio; push, pull and leg weight routines. I usually add another cardio on pull day. I like to work out at lunch and aim to have Huel about one hour prior to weight workouts. Then I have another about 20m after the workout. It works very well for pre workout carbs and protein, and does just as good a job for post workout recovery. I add a multivitamin daily and creatine to before and after shakes for weight days, as well as preworkout for energy. Other than that I don’t use any other supplements.
I’m very satisfied with the results. I feel great overall although a smidgen tired, though I suspect that has to do with a small carb deficiency and caloric deficit. I fuel my body more consistently than I ever could on the standard clean weight lifting diet. Let’s be clear though…that’s due to MY laziness and lack of appetite. There is nothing at all wrong with a clean standard diet. It’s just that Huel is just as good, and way easier for me to meet my nutrition goals. And it’s not like I “have” to always have huel either. I can replace with meals around grilled chicken, salmon, steak, crab legs etc whenever I want and still stick well to my plan. Huel is sustainable to me…and that’s exciting because I could stick to this nutrition plan a long time. And when it comes to not just losing the weight but keeping it off…sustainability is key. Oh and let’s not forget cost. If it’s $2.50 per meal I spend $10 for about 90% of my day’s nutrition. Where else can you eat so well for so cheap? No where…not even making the food yourself bulk buying chicken breast tilapia etc. When you really think about the benefits…Huel is a pretty amazing product.
I welcome tips from other weight lifters on combining huel with weight lifting/cardio for fat loss and eventual maintenance and gains.
I’m on my second week of 4 shakes a day and so far I’m loving it. Meal prepping had always been a struggle for me, and my work made eating regularly difficult. The only difference between us is I’m trying to gain weight, but I use it for the same reasons. It’s nutrition is way better than what I was getting before, I can chug 500 cal and ~24 oz of water down in a minute, and anything I eat on top of my 2000 cal of Huel is all just a plus.
I was a little worried about the amount of Vitamin C I’d be taking in with the 4 shakes (and if I stick with the plan for a month I’m thinking of upping to 6 shakes a day) but even with 6 a day its still well under the 2,000 mg (about 500mg) upper limit per day. I’m just starting to get back into the gym after recovering from a shoulder injury, and this seems like the perfect fuel for before and after work outs. Huel won’t completely replace solid food for me (I’ll still shoot for one meal a day), but knowing that I’m getting a certain amount of calories in a day from something extremely nutritious is what makes the product so great. The fact that their customer support is so helpful, and they generally want to see a healthier population (unlike Monsanto and their recent Round-Up scandal) is what put it over the top for me, and why I suggest it to anyone who will listen.
Huel has already made a great impact on my life, and I’m excited to see the results that lay ahead.
Hi @Z23 and @chris945 Congrats on being such goal getters! We’re glad Huel has been so helpful for you two. It sounds like you guys really get what Huel is all about and we’re stoked to have you on board! If you ever have any questions, feel free to reach out here or firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey Chad - thanks for giving us some input on your routine. I too have the same goal - increase or maintain muscle mass while leaning up. I’m thinking about going back to Huel nearly exclusively to accomplish this goal. I have a couple of questions about your routine.
I also work out at lunch, but was confused when you said that you “aim to have Huel about one hour prior to weight workouts. Then I have another about 20m after the workout”. I’m assuming you don’t mean 2 full 500 calorie portions of Huel (pre and post) - so how do you split it up?
I’m also curious about general energy level during the day and for workouts. I’m on a 2-day on, 1-day off schedule for weight training, and I’m worried that by going to mainly Huel I won’t have energy to get a good weights workout and for the cycling I do for cardio. You mentioned feeling “a smidgen tired” - just curious as to how your workouts are going.
Thanks and good luck with your goals!
Hi Bruce. Both meals are 500 calories. I take the first an hour before to let the carbs digest. General rule of thumb is a a bowl of oatmeal an hour before workout and a fast acting protein like whey about 20m before working out. I substitute that with the Huel meal. The after meal ends up about 2.5 hours after the pre meal, so that’s just a bit quicker than the normal 3-4 hour schedule, and general rule of thumb is eating a full meal and whey shake 20-30m post workout. I substitute that with the Huel meal. On cardio days I just do the 3-4hr schedule.
In general I feel great throughout the day. My challenge is getting energized for the workout, although even days I don’t feel “energized” I still have a good workout. You just sorta keep going and power through. When it comes to cardio, I’m working hard the first 10m and it’s smooth sailing after that. I do 26m hiit sessions and sometimes do a bit more.
I’m carb deficient about 40ish g carbs so that shouldn’t be a huge deal but may be driving a part of my fatigue. Caloric deficit probably doesn’t help much either. I’m mostly full but occasionally get hungry. There’s also a some decent snacks to supplement hunger (like quest chips and protein bars). I’m really pushing the caloric deficit so I’m skipping some of those snacks and just dealing with some hunger and fatigue for now.