Ramadan is almost here, and it’s time to think that how we can make this month healthier and fit. The overwhelming priority of most people during Ramadan is to decide what to eat and when. However, for those with an active lifestyle food is just half of the equation. Ramadan is the perfect opportunity to make significant changes to your fitness and well-being. To make the most of this month we have sorted out few tips regarding training during Ramadan, both for losing weight and gaining muscle mass.
Common Mistake during Ramadan:
Before digging into the main course let’s look on our common mistakes. The first most common slip-up is that we do not plan our trainings. We lack in the understanding of how beneficial a workout plan can be. Planning is the first initiative towards your goals and is the best way to ensure you are making progress rather than wandering aimlessly at the gym. Moreover, start with the mindset of staying fit by working out, right or wrong workout is another debate and it should be for later.
Tips on Training during Ramadan
Training to lose weight during Ramadan:
If we say that during this month it’s easier losing weight, it would not be wrong. However, from a training perspective, there are few things to keep in mind so you don’t mess it all up. Even if you are losing weight, high-intensity cardio is not recommended, especially if you are working out while fasting. The important thing to remember is not to go too intense this month, as your body is already under a lot of stress and weakness. Your body already loses a lot of fluids during this time and you are better suited to doing slow, longer lasting cardio to burn calories; cross-fit exercises such as wall balls, box jumps, along with abdomen workouts like, sit-ups and leg- raises will be an excellent way to burn fat.
Now the main question arises is that when should one train? The ones whose focus is to lose weight, the best timings for them are right before and after Iftar. Before Iftar, your body is more flexible and loses plenty of mass (both fat and muscle). You can compensate the loss of muscle mass at Iftar by piling up on high protein foods and shakes. If you train after a light Iftar, you can use the energy from that meal to work out and perhaps push yourself a little harder. Keep in mind you would have to take another meal (preferably high in protein, again) to allow your muscles to recover.
Training to gain muscle during Ramadan:
Now coming to the second part that is gaining muscle. This part is slightly difficult as gaining muscle requires you to take a sufficient number of calories. Your digestive system in Ramadan becomes a little distraught, and it has to digest adequate amount of food in a short period of time. Those trying to gain weight should limit the amount of cardio they do and focus on powerlifting, weight and strength training. Try not to over burden yourself this is not the month to be trying your personal-bests, so keep your aims slightly lower, focus on classics such as bench press, deadlifts and squats. Maintaining muscle mass will be a massive achievement, and if you eat right, fat can still be lost, which will result in a leaner and more toned body, something we all demand for.
Question, when to train? For gaining, it is quite obvious that training before Iftar is not the greatest idea, although you will lose fat, but you will also lose a bit of muscle mass. You also will have very little energy to lift the kind of weights you need to gain muscle mass. So, for this purpose timings are fixed, and that is after Iftar. The meal you take in Iftar can help you to do your type of training, make sure to take a good amount of protein afterwards.
Supplements during Ramadan
Protein shakes during Ramadan
Protein shakes, an excellent option, during Ramadan. Why? This is because as mentioned earlier, our digestive system comes under extreme stress and must work overtime because there is a lot of food intake in a short period of time. Protein shakes act as a form of liquid calories which are less stressful and convenient way to get your required protein intake, something you need irrespective of your goal. Slow digesting protein such as Casein protein can be taken at night before going to bed along with whey protein after workouts. Please ensure your water intake is at its highest level this month as your body is constantly battling dehydration.
BCAAs during Ramadan
Why not take a supplement whose primary role is to prevent the loss of muscle mass? BCAAs work by ensuring that there is a positive protein balance, that is, the rate of protein build-up is greater than the rate of breakdown. Amino acids are basically the building blocks of protein and muscle. They can be consumed by both weight gainers and weight losers because nobody wants to lose muscle mass, and BCAA works to prevent this loss. They are easy liquid calories (less stress on digestive system), and can be consumed, before after or during workouts. This is a smart addition to your Ramadan diet and workout plan.
P.S: Ramadan is not a diet. It’s not a time to try and lose weight and it’s not the best time to kick start a brand new exercise regime. Keep it steady and keep it safe.