The month of May for many of our Personal Training Clients, is about to bring about one of the most significant periods of their year – Ramadan.
Ramadan falls in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. During this month, Muslims around the world fast (abstaining from food, drink and other physical needs such as smoking) every day from sunrise to sunset of each day of that month.
Now although this poses some obvious obstacles for clients, many stress themselves out over their ability to ‘keep on track’ with their current exercise and nutrition regimes.
This needn’t be the case. The main things that are required are an element of flexibility and a bit of work re-structuring how things are done during the holy month.
This is all dependent on your working schedule/current training regime and preference. But there are 3 ‘optimal’ options.
1. Train Shortly after Suhoor (Sunrise)
2. Train Shortly after Iftar (Breaking your fast with a small snack first)
3. Train as early in the day as possible after Suhoor.
The third option is heavily dependant on your work schedule flexibility.
The most important thing you can do with your training is to reduce your overall volume. The lack of food and water will directly affect your ability to perform at your best, so the simplest way is to set your self a smaller target during the session.
2 sets instead of 4, 5 mins instead of 15, 8 reps instead of 15 etc etc
Wrap things up in 45 – 60 mins as an absolute maximum.
Water is the first and major concern during the month. And the issue you want to avoid is trying to ‘stock up’ on it.
Water is a diuretic, so the more you consume, the more you lose – this means that by over-consuming it when you can, you dehydrate yourself further by making more bathroom trips.
Keep intake of water at a normal rate for you, when you do consume it – and simply add a touch more salt to your food, to avoid excessive toilet trips. (Good Quality Rock Salt)
2. Slow Release Proteins
During both Suhoor and Iftar, it is advisable to include more Protein in your meals. Slow Releasing Proteins are better, but to be honest any will help. Protein is the food source which will keep you fuller for longer, help maintain the balance with your blood sugars, preventing the inevitable dip in energy levels you will feel. Beef, Chicken, Fish, Eggs, Dairy are your best sources.
3. Avoid Excessive Carbs
The traditional Ramadan meals are heavily Carb dominant, simply mix these with the Protein and Fat sources above to slow down digestion and avoid excessive rises in blood sugar.
4. Maintain Your Sleep
Sleep is your secret dietary supplement – a lack of it will lead you feeling tired, grumpy, hungry and unable to exercise. Avoid excessive water before bed, as this will lead to getting up more at night to make trips to the toilet. Nap during the day if you have the flexibility and feel the need.
5. Keep An Eye On Your Calories.
Fasting is a great way to reduce the overall amount you eat (I use Intermittent Fasting regularly), however don’t be under the illusion that just because you are fasting all day you can’ get away’ with eating whatever you like when you’re not.
Traditional Ramadan meals tend to be heavy on calories and carbs, which is a bad combination if you want avoid over-consumption.
Keep protein a part of every meal to help avoid this.
Don’t let Ramadan be a time of year, where you ‘blow’ all the hard work you have put in for the previous 11 months. There is no reason why you can’t keep improving your health during the month of Ramadan.
The above tips will help you do that.
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