It is yet another time that our Muslim brothers are observing a period of fasting for religious reasons. Ramadhan is a divine time as it gives all those observing it a chance at introspection. It allows them time to strengthen their spiritual bonds. If you are Muslim and also work out, this period could put a strain on your goals and make training more difficult. The good news is that you don’t have to give up the gym altogether.
Forget About Adding New Muscle Mass
This fasting period is far from the ideal time to be thinking about adding new muscle mass. It will be incredibly difficult to timely provide your body with the nutrition it needs to achieve such a goal. Rather use this time to focus on maintaining your current muscle mass. Your body won’t spiral into a permanent state of catabolism. The body uses protein for energy during starvation and since Ramadhan allows nighttime eating, you won’t necessarily lose muscle. You might lose some body fat though.
When you are breaking your fast in the evening, your meal plan should be really elaborate. Your plate should have a large serving of proteins and carbohydrates, as well as healthy fats. Having a large serving of carbohydrates won’t lead to weight gain, since you will be essentially restocking your glycogen stores. Eat several meals during this eating window, and take a protein supplement if possible.
You should stay away from any new fitness programs at this time. Your body will be less able to adapt to a new routine. Similarly, avoid cardio as it will encourage greater dehydration. Abandon heavy volume training at this time, as it demands more resources from your body. Instead, concentrate on light intensity training, and reduce your training days to around 3-4 times in a week. Your goal should be to maintain your strength until the fasting period is over.
You typically have three options- Train before sunrise; train fasted, or train after breaking your fast.
- Training before sunrise is thought by some to be the most opportune time. Ideally, you should train 2 hours before your pre-dawn meal. You will have enough energy from the night for the workout, and a chance to provide nutrition to your muscles after.
- Training fasted in the evening is less ideal. Your will be dehydrated and fatigued, and are unlikely to train very well.
- Training after breaking your fast interferes with your refeeding window.
As you observe this month of fasting don’t let your fitness fire dwindle out. The tips offered above should be of great help.
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