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Minimising Weight-Loss During Illness

Hey all. I’m a newbie, only started training and eating properly four or five months ago. Have put on 15 pounds in that time (though I’m still a skinny bastard with a very long way to go).

Just as I was settling in to lifting heavy and eating big, I fell ill. Been out of action for almost a week now, barely able to eat anything, so I’m losing what little weight I have at a scary rate. To those of you who’ve been in similar situations, what advice do you have? Could you suggest some high-calorie foods which would be alright on a fragile stomach? Couldn’t find anything in the articles about this, though they’ve been incredibly helpful for everything else. Cheers,


Do everything in your power to get well as fast as possible.

Drink creatine daily (5g).

The creatine will help a little with cell volumization by trapping water inside the muscle cells (at least, as far as I know). It will also help you recover your gains once you start lifting again.

The rest, you’ll just have to suffer through. You won’t drop a year’s worth of gains in a week. Think big picture.

I’ve read a few studies showing that glutamine (powdered or capsules) all but stopped muscle loss in bed ridden subjects. If I recall, one of the studies took 60 “well trained” male subjects and split them into 2 groups…

The control had no supplementation, and the diets for both groups were identical. The other group was given 15g of glutamine 3 times/day for the duration. Both groups were in bed for 30 days.

At the end of the study, again, if I remember correctly…the control group lost an average of 4.5 lbs of leg muscle, but the glutamine group only lose an average of .75 lbs. I’d say if you’re too sick to train, glutamine it up for the duration.

Thanks for the suggestions, though I don’t currently have any creatine or glutamine, nor enough money to afford them. Only supplement is fish oil for the time being, seems cheap and effective.

Definitely recovering now, so will go back to lurking 'til I’ve gained another 30 pounds.

All good advice. I’ll also throw in that if you are ill for a week or so due to gastro problems and the like, then most of your weight loss will be water anyway.

When you recover and start to hydrate again the weight will come back very quickly.

As Otep said - creatine will help your cells hold on to some of that water. I suspect this might be good to help you through the sickness and into recovery too as you may not get as dehydrated in the first place due to the illness.

If you can’t afford glutamine, megadosing the fish oil for that time could be helpful as well. The fats would likely help protect actual muscle from being eaten up. Would definitely still lose water weight though, which can be replenished almost instantly.