In recent years the fasting window has been getting longer and longer and this year it is especially tough with the fasting window lasting anywhere from 16-20 hours depending on your location.
For people seeking to improve their body composition or fitness this period of time is something of an uphill battle, we need to put in place some structure to make sure we reduce any negative effects we can.
As we understand them the rules for Ramadan (and please correct us if we are wrong) are a total fast from dawn to sunset. No food or drink at all during the day until prayers in the evening.
As we understand them, the rules for Ramadan (and please correct us if we are wrong) are a total fast from dawn to sunset. No food or drink at all during the day until prayers in the evening.
Over the years we have taken many clients through Ramadan and this is our priority list of rules to apply to yourself if you want to minimise any metabolic damage the month may have on your body.
1. Don't use Ramadan as a reason not to exercise at all
It is very important that you do some work in the gym over Ramadan to make sure you maintain the results you have achieved so far.
2 . Hit the gym after eating
The best time to train is early morning or after the first meal of the day so that you can train at your best.
3. Have a balanced breakfast
This would entail a mix of protein, carbs and fats. The carbs should be complex and therefore slower digesting and the fats should be health essential fats and not fast food
If you are due workout after this then something like a whey protein shake an apple and a handful of nuts would be great.
4. Don't try and complete a personal best during Ramadan
Generally you will be more depleted of energy than normal and therefore shouldn't be expecting your top performance in the gym. I would advice having fun with your workouts during this month and trying new things and not going 100% all our effort.
5. Don't work out for longer than 45 minutes
Generally we advice keeping workouts less than an hour anyway and during this time that rule is even more apparent. It is much easier to maintain strength and muscle than to build it in the first place.
6. Drink Water
You still need to be hitting your daily water target regardless of the time constraint. Which means you'll have to cram it in without your timeframe. This will allow the body to keep a lot of metabolic functions nice and high throughout the day.
Example Training Day during Ramadan
Obviously this plan does not work for everyone in every situation but you will be able to take inspiration from it
9.10pm – Break Fast: Whey, Cream of Rice, Fruit (Raisins/Dates/Apple), Nut Butter, Fish Oils
10.30pm – During Workout – Amino Acid
11.30pm – Post Workout Shake – Whey and a few pieces of Fruit
12.30am – Post Workout Meal – Lean Protein, Rice, Olive Oil
2.30am – Pre Fast Meal – Banana and Oats - Omelette
9.40pm – Whole Food Meal (e.g. meat / fish with healthy fats / carbs)
12am – Liquid Meal (e.g. whey, cream of rice / oats, dried fruit, nut butter all blended)
2.20am – Whole Food Meal (e.g. meat / fish with healthy fats / carbs)
This meal plan isn't ideal but it's also far better than what we know some clients eat at this time of the year. Ramadan need not prevent proper nutrition and exercise. It will be challenged and require discipline but that is part of what the process is all about anyway