Maintaining weight, and gym training can be difficult during Ramazan—especially a hot one. While the physical aspect of fasting is somewhat difficult for gym goers, the spiritual aspect can help improve discipline and rekindle the spiritual connection. Moreover, fasting restores insulin sensitivity of the body and increases the growth hormone output.
Here are a few tips for gym goers that can help during Ramazan:
Limit the cardio:
The goal during Ramadan is to maximise the metabolism. Because fat is the main fuel during the day, you need to preserve and enhance the muscle mass. Therefore, you must restrict cardio to two days per week at most. Cardio can result in negative water balance, and thus limiting it will cause less dehydration as well as the preservation of muscle mass.
The best time to do cardio is after a light aftaar, or before suhoor. Short, high-intensity cardio that takes less time can give maximum benefit with lean muscle preservation and good fat burn.
Don’t train while fasting:
Contrary to popular belief, fasting is NOT the right time to train. Because the body is already trying to maintain blood sugar level, training while fasting will cause muscle breakdown and significant catabolism. In a state of dehydration, training can cause a significant decrease in strength. Infact, research shows that training while fasting can cause more harm than benefit.
The best time to train is—after Taraweeh prayer. By this time of night, you have plenty of water and food in the body. This will help sustain you during the gym time. You can also consume post workout shake or meal at this time of night, to maximise muscle buildup. Even before Taraweeh is a great time to train because the body is sustained with the food from aftaar.
What to eat?
The focus is to preserve the lean muscle—thus the protein intake should be optimal. Good suhoor foods include eggs, protein shake, bananas, chicken breast, raisins, dates, fibrous vegetables, peanut butter (natural). Apart from protein-rich food, also add multi-vitamin and multi-mineral supplements so that minimum daily requirements of key nutrients are met.
At aftaar, focus on rehydration. Dates and water, as advised by Sunnah, offer endless benefits. The high levels of potassium and micronutrients in dates are especially beneficial for people who are training. These potassium levels are much higher than those in other foods like bananas.
Dates are also packed with fructose and glucose that offer both long and short term maintenance of blood glucose. People who are training should eat at least three dates, followed by intake of lean protein. You can opt for protein powder or protein-rich food like skinless chicken for this purpose.
In Ramazan, the key is in moderation—eat and drink, but not to excess. If you need professional help to design a healthy suhoor and aftaar menu for you then, book an appointment with top nutritionists in Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.