TRAINING THROUGH RAMADAN
11th May 2018
Ramadan can be a strenuous time due to lack of food and energy. However, there is no reason why you have to give up training during this period. You just need to plan it around fasting and be prepared for it to be a little tougher.
During Suhoor (the pre-dawn meal) be sure to drink plenty of water, eat a good balance of protein, carbohydrates and essential fats. Carbohydrates are strongly encouraged to boost energy levels. Whilst having protein after breaking the fast helps the body to rejuvenate.
Iftar (sunset meal) is a key time for rehydration. Eating dates and drinking water helps you to rehydrate much faster due to the nutritional content, with high levels of potassium and a special carbohydrate blend. Drinking coconut water is also a great option for rehydration as it is packed full of electrolytes to help replace salts lost throughout the day.
If you choose to, this would also be a good time to train. It is recommended that you exercise 90 minutes before sunset (Iftar). This time is ideal because you’ll be breaking your fast soon afterwards and replacing the energy and glycogen you lost when exercising. Avoid super intense cardio, opting for slow or moderate exercises such as brisk walking, slow jogging, cycling or any other light machine exercises. Research suggests that fasting for 30 consecutive days without exercise can result in a regression of strength and fitness. Therefore, doing some light exercise while fasting can be really beneficial to your health- it helps to keep the system working and blood circulating.
Your body will maintain muscle mass during fasting, as long as it is being used. It is a lack of exercise combined with a low-calorie intake that can cause muscle loss. Eating small meals at night can trick your body into speeding up its metabolic rate. Your body loves homeostasis and wants to maintain a certain balance- you literally have to shock it constantly to lose fat and gain muscle over the long run.
Muhammad ikram, an avid trainer through Ramadan, told us about his experience, training through this period: “If you really want to lean up during Ramadan, train fasted. I personally just train 3 hours after waking up. If you want to maintain as much strength and size as you can, train after you open your fast and have your first meal.”
"A lot of it comes down to mentality and motivation", as Muhammad explains, “Ramadan and timing I would admit makes things difficult because you can open your fast late at night and close it early morning. You would need to drink and eat all your total calorie intake in that window of time as well as getting your 8 hours sleep. My best suggestion is to focus on what you can control, drink your 5 litres of water and consume your target calories so you will be good the next day."
Above all, eating a balanced diet and taking in an adequate amount of liquid is necessary for maintaining a healthy routine during the month.
It is important to listen to your body and not push yourself to the extreme during this period. However, challenging yourself to workout while fasting could certainly be beneficial.
Planning ahead is essential. Prep your meals and plan your workouts in advance and you will breeze through Ramadan. When you have been fasting for so many hours, you are understandably going to be very hungry. When Iftar comes around it can be very tempting just to eat everything in sight. That’s why meal prep is essential to sticking to a healthy diet plan and your fitness plan.
Remember, if you choose not to use the gym over Ramadan, you are able to freeze your membership with us and resume when you wish to. Meaning that you don't have to give up on your health and fitness all together!