Ramadan Training & Nutrition - Tips and Recipes
With less than a week away from the holy month, it is easy sometimes to get carried away with all the family gatherings, the yummy sweet Atayef and the wide selection of food you only get to eat during Ramadan as part of tradition.
Therefore it is best to set up your schedule and adjust your mind set now on how you will tackle this blessed month without getting off track from your nutrition and training schedule.
Throw your excuses out the window right now!
Some people see this month as an opportunity to lose body fat, while others actually do gain body fat.
This year fasting will last for around 14 hours. The best option we have is to try to maintain a well balanced diet and training schedule to prevent losing muscle mass as well as avoiding gaining body fat.
You could gain fat by eating way too many high caloric fatty and sugary meals while hardly doing half the physical activity you did before Ramadan. You can also lose muscle mass by not eating enough! What we will do is try to maintain.
There is no perfect time to exercise during Ramadan, it’s all about what works for you. As I also fast myself, here are some of my tips that you can follow:
Training BEFORE Iftar - My preference!
Train right before Iftar if you can
If you are training before Iftar, don't over do it and take rest as needed.
Do 15 minutes of higher intensity body weight workouts that include brief but explosive cardio boosters, followed by 30 minutes of weight training (no going for max out lifting).
Performing fasted workouts immediately prior to your meal will help to maximize post-exercise protein synthesis and recovery, and since body temperature and peak protein synthesis are both going to occur in the later afternoon or early evening anyways, this is a better time to be doing this workout compared to squeezing it in after breakfast and shorting yourself on sleep.
Training AFTER Iftar
If you train AFTER Iftar, break your fast with a couple of dates (meaning only two) for energy and sugar as well as 1 litre of water (add electrolytes) then train.
Once you are done with training (before or after Iftar), head home and have a big meal. Again, each person is different and you must find what works best for YOU, so listen to your body.
Check out these tips below:
It is crucial to stay hydrated! DRINK!
You can break your fast by blending water with BCAA's, glutamine and essential fats like coconut oil even if you have trained before breaking your fast.
Adequate fluids, electrolytes, blood glucose and aminos will improve cellular hydration and performance.
Stay away from overly salted food and sodium so it doesn't dehydrate you the following day.
Sample Menu for Suhour
Pick one option from the below:
4 eggs cooked in 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil, half an avocado and/or large handful olives, spinach, sea salt, black pepper, onions, garlic, cayenne pepper and turmeric. You may also lower this to 2 eggs and instead include 4-6oz of a breakfast meat, such as turkey bacon, or chicken Include 1 piece of fresh raw fruit (not fruit juice).
8-12oz full-fat yogurt mixed with 1 large handful almonds or pumpkin seeds, 4-6 Brazil nuts, and 2 handfuls dark berries (blueberries, blackberries, or cherries) Include a side of roasted or steamed vegetables.
3-4 scoops of protein powder mixed to desired texture with almond milk or coconut milk, include 1-2 handfuls unsweetened coconut flakes or chia, 1 handful almonds or pumpkin seeds, 4-6 Brazil nuts, and 2 handfuls dark berries (blueberries, blackberries, or cherries)
Sample menu for Iftar
Pick one option from the below:
8-10oz tuna or salmon steak, with 3-4 cups green vegetable salad with olive oil/vinegar dressing, 1 cooked sweet potato/regular potato/yam, OR 1 cup cooked wild or brown rice. Salt, pepper, lemon and spice liberally to taste. OK to include 1-2 tablespoons full fat yogurt or butter, teaspoon honey and sea salt on potato.
10-12oz beef or chicken , with 3-4 cups roasted vegetables cooked in coconut oil or olive oil, and 1 cooked sweet potato/regular potato/yam or 1 cup cooked wild or brown rice. Salt, pepper and spice liberally to taste. OK to include 1-2 tablespoons full fat yogurt or butter, teaspoon honey and sea salt on potato.
Very large green vegetable salad with olive oil, avocado, olives, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, chopped tomatoes and flaxseeds. For dressing, use ½ cup full fat yogurt stirred with a finely chopped cucumber, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Include 1 cup cooked rice/quinoa/amaranth/cous cous prepared with butter, olive oil and desired spices.
Finally - get enough sleep! A lack of sleep puts the body through stress, which causes it to cling to body fat.
Have a blessed month ahead with your friends and family! Stay fit!