Overcoming 3 fitness obstacles during Ramadan
Regularly people are fasting this is between the last meal from night to the time they wake up and take the first meal that's why it's called breakfast. During the holy month of Ramadan, our Muslim brothers and sister are fasting for about 14-16 hours sometimes this can be longer depending on their location. There is no doubt that there are dozens of benefits of fasting the most benefit that people look forward is losing weight/fats.
In my experience as a Personal trainer people who are fasting usually lose weight about 3-5 kilos sometimes more after Ramadan. This is because the amount of calories they consume is lesser than what they used to take on a non-fasting day. Remember to lose weight you need to create a calorie deficit and during Ramadan, the opportunity to lose weight is just around the corner.
Truth be told not all of them lose weight/fats during the month of Ramadan some gain weight/fats (blame the sugary foods) and I’ve seen this trend every Ramadan, if you are one of the guys who wanted to lose weight/fats continue reading as I lay out how to overcome 3 fitness obstacles during Ramadan.
1.No Time - The fact is more guys are hitting the gym working out in a fasted state before breaking fast (iftar) while others go after, you might wonder how these guys managed to come, they are the same as you, they have families, they have demanding career too and kids or bills to take care, what makes them goes to the gym is because of priorities, nobody is too busy it's all about priorities. If you wanted to lose weight/fats then make it a priority, everyone knows the benefits of working out.
"Tips on how to make the time"
Consider working out 30 minutes only in the gym or go for a walk before breaking fast assuming you wanted to lose weight/fats, Book appointment with yourself 3 times a week you don't need to train 6-7 times a week unless you are an athlete, make it a commitment like attending important meetings, consider this as your "ME Time" embrace the time that you are away from all your responsibilities this is the time you give to yourself something you look forward of doing it.
2.No energy - My biased opinion is that it's all in the mindset. If you have more fats hanging on your belly, then you have a good source of energy. 24-48 hours your body is still good to go without food. In Ramadan, you are going to fast averaging 16 hours only. In reality the first 2 days your body will be adjusting to the new routine mostly people experience headaches the common culprit of this is the absence of coffee.
"Warning if you have certain conditions ask your doctor first if you are fit to fast."
"Tips to get sufficient energy"
Hydrate yourself by drinking a lot of water during the feeding time window eat whole foods avoid processed and salty foods, eat highly dense protein foods, eat fruits and colorful vegetable it gives you that kind of energy, and emphasize the loading of healthy fats like avocado, nuts, foods rich in omega 3's. You see these are very common tips you probably know already.
There is nothing fancy about it but I am going to highlight taking slow-release protein foods as your last meal before fasting again on the next day. Since you are training in the gym you need a good amount of protein to feed your muscles and also keep you feeling full during the day.
During Ramadan, most people sleepless due to prayers and commitments you should aim at eating quality foods to feel more energetic the next day.
3.Not sure how to workout- During fasting due to lack of food your body is conserving your energy to maintain activity. Your workout should not be as intense as you would as this may cause too much stress in your body. Aim to stay on 60-70% heart rate during your workout sessions, whether you are lifting weights or inclined walking on the treadmill you might be tempted to do more than that but remember moderation is the key here if you are used to working out in an hour consider reducing it to 30-45 minutes only.
I recommend doing full body workout lifting weights moderately with descent resting time after a good warm-up. Although some guys can manage to push more weights they probably are fitter but for someone who just starting to add a workout during Ramadan, the best option is to go easy on it at first and use your best judgment better yet approach a qualified trainer.
"Tips on an ideal workout"
2 hours before breaking fast is the best time for someone who is looking forward to losing weight/fats as this will encourage your body to burn fats as the source of energy.
Your Cardio or Weight training must stay between 60-70% of your heart rate to calculate that use 220 minus your age and multiply it by .6 or .7 for most people this should be around 130-145 heartbeats per minute. You can use heart rate apps on your phone or if you can invest in watches with heart rate monitoring capability.
For guys who wanted to gain muscles and maintain shape ideally 2 hours after Iftar (breaking fast) around is the ideal time for your workouts either for muscle building or simply staying fit. If you find it's really hard to workout before Iftar then you should work out after breaking your fast your workout will be the same as the non-fasting day you can push the intensity either for cardio or weight training. In addition to maximizing your workouts during Ramadan consider taking supplements.
For gaining muscle post-workout protein shake is a must, for losing fat keep L-carnitine and Omega 3's taken during feeding time, Casein powder is great to have as this one helps you feel full during the fasting take this closer to your sleeping time, pre-workout if you need a strong push and BCAA's during workouts these aids in muscle building.
To give you an idea on how I manage my usual food intake during Ramadan, First, I take Laban or beverage of fermented milk for breaking my fast after drinking water, then I have a Dates or Date palm about 3 pieces after 10-15 minutes I usually take lentil soup and then take my green salad before having my main meal which is steam rice with chicken or fish or beef, then I take my multivitamins and omega 3's after my meal.
I prefer mixed fruits or avocado shakes to satisfy my sweet tooth. Have green tea and snacked mixed nuts or bananas if needed and drink more water. Before I go to sleep I put an alarm at 3 am to eat greek yogurt with bananas and drink water again this is how I do it to manage the whole day of fasting the next day, there could be some changes in my main meals but the others stay the same.
I hope this one helps someone out there to deal with working out on this holy month of Ramadan and for people who like to try fasting or thinking of, fasting knows that your body is capable of doing it.
How about you buddy how do you workout during Ramadan you mind if you share your thoughts in the comments below.