We thought it might be useful to address an issue that affects a number of our Fitterbody Bootcamp Ladies. That is, the subject of how to eat over the upcoming Islamic period of religious observance known as Ramadan.
Ramadan doesn’t need to wipe out your fitness and nutrition gains, you can be healthier than when you started. This year it falls between Monday 6th June and Wednesday 6th July. In the UK, this is set to be the ‘longest’ Ramadan in 33 years, meaning fasts can last from 16 to 20 hours depending on your location.
Guidance for maintaining fitness and minimising a metabolic shutdown over Ramadan:
1) Don’t use Ramadan as an excuse to not exercise.
It is crucially important that you do some gym work over Ramadan in order to maintain the results you’ve worked hard for leading up to it.
2) The best time to hit the gym.
The best time to hit the gym during Ramadan is either early in the morning, after your first meal of the day, or after your first meal post-fasting. This is so your body is well fuelled to generate the intensity levels required for a good training session, as well as to ensure your muscles have some nutrients to recover from training.
3) Ensure that your Ramadan ‘breakfasts’ contain easily digested protein and, depending upon your goals, some complex carbs and essential fats.
By breakfast, we literally mean the two meals following a fast, one following sleep or opening the fast, and the other following the day’s fasting. If you are due to follow one of these meals with a hard workout, something like a whey shake with essential fats, an apple and a handful of nuts would be great.
4) Don’t go seeking personal bests in the gym during Ramadan.
Try something new so that you don’t feel down in any way about a noticeable decrease in physical performance, and try to make the workouts as fun and varied as possible.
5) Keep your workouts short.
Get in and out of the gym in under one hour – preferably aim for 45 minutes of hard work. If you normally take much longer don’t worry, you can still get an awful lot done in 45 minutes.
6) Hydration, hydration, hydration!
During the time that you are allowed to drink, this is extremely important. Maintaining 2 litres of water between dawn and sunrise.
7) Don’t panic.
Some people go into Ramadan thinking that they will lose all their hard earned gains as it is impossible to benefit from good nutrition, supplementation and exercise during Ramadan. This isn’t so, and with a bit of organisation and thought there is no reason to take a big step backwards. In the short window available, 3-4 nutritional meals are very possible, and this alone should be enough for maintenance, and maybe for the very lucky ones, even some small improvements.
8) Take some supplements.
There are a few specific supplements that would definitely help ease the metabolic challenges of Ramadan, powder, multi vitamins and a magnesium supplement.
In summary, the discipline of Ramadan need not prevent proper nutrition and exercise. Yes, it will be challenging and require both discipline and moderation, but that is obviously what part of the whole process is about.
Have a great day 🙂