So summer is just around the corner, and you’ve been hitting the gym for five days a week, eating chicken breasts and broccoli, and ready to put on your A game for summer 2019. But just before you can walk on the beach and enjoy your best body yet, one month is threatening it all, Ramadan.
The problem with training and dieting in Ramadan is that no matter your level of experience, you’re still left with questions and doubts unanswered. Today, on The Daily Crisp, we’ll be going over when to train, how train, and what to eat to achieve your goals throughout Ramadan. So if you’re just getting started or have been training for a couple of years now, here’s all you need to know.
Hi!! I’m Yousef Soudan, an AFPT and ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer, a coach at BeFit 360, and a food enthusiast. I’ve been training and dieting for about 3 years now and I’ve seen all the ups and downs you can imagine, so let’s make this easy, simple, and enjoyable!
Let’s Start with Pre-Iftar Workouts
What happens when you’re completely fasted? Fasting is one of the healthiest protocoles you can implement to see results. Not only does it promote a process called autophagy – where your body literally breaks down unwanted or weak cells and recycles them into stronger cells, but it also promotes extreme fat loss. On average, a person can lose up to 3 times the amount of fat while fasting compared to an unfasted state.
When fasting, you’re body needs water, but because we’re not supplying any, it has to create its own water. It uses Hydrogen found within saturated fats stored in the body, breaks it down, and releases the Hydrogen to the bloodstream. Hydrogen is then combined with the air we breathe to create 1 Hydrogen molecule and 2 Oxygen molecules, or H2O, a.k.a, water.
So here’s how we can use that to our advantage in Ramadan.
Do Low to Moderate Intensity Cardio While Fasted
If your main goal is to lose weight in Ramadan then you should be focusing on nutrition, which we’ll come too, but you should also be doing low to moderate intensity cardio. Here’s some options you can choose from:
- Brisk Walking ( 30 minutes – 1 hour)
- Cycling ( 30 minutes – 40 minutes)
- Swimming ( 30 minutes – 1 hour)
Low to moderate intensity is a professional way of saying you shouldn’t be gasping for air and feel completely burned out after your workout. A good way to measure that is seeing if you can complete a full sentence or conversations without needing to stop and breathe!
What about Post-Iftar Workouts?
If You Strength Train to Build Muscle, When Should You Train ?
A good time to train for muscle gain in Ramadan is after Iftar, when you’ve already had your meal, rehydrated, and have energy to exercise. That doesn’t necessarily mean that training before Iftar is unhealthy or bad for you, but it only means that your body is in a better, more optimal state, after you’ve eaten. In addition, you’ll have more energy to push for a better workout.
So I would recommend staying on track with your workouts in Ramadan, there’s no reason to change an entire workout plan, especially if you’re training after Iftar. On the other hand, if you’re just getting started and looking for a good workout plan to build size, here is a full body sample workout you can do 2 – 3 times / week:
|A.||Bench Press ( BB or DB )||3 Sets x 10 – 12 Reps|
|B.||Back Squats ( Goblet Squats If Form & Technique Is Difficult )||3 Sets x 10 – 14 Reps|
|C.||Lat PullDown / Machine Row||3 Sets x 10 – 12 Reps|
|D.||KB Good Morning / RDL||3 Sets x 10 – 14 Reps|
|E.||Machine / DB Shoulder Press||3 Sets x 10 – 12 Reps|
If you want a good arm pump next to that, you can add this superset at the end of the workout:
|F 1.||DB / Cable Bicep Curl||2 Sets x 8 – 10 Reps|
|F 2.||Tricep Extensions / SkullCrushers||2 Sets x 8 – 10 Reps|
This is a very general workout that any beginner can implement, I would recommend doing movements with caution to minimize risk of injury. ***
How To Do It Right
So How Can We Do It Right in Ramadan ?
Well, it’s really simple, just keep doing what you’re doing. If you’ve been training for a while and are seeing good results then just continue doing that. There’s no reason to over complicate things. Just be aware that pre-Iftar training won’t be ideal for muscle gain and you probably won’t be able to push as hard as you usually do.
If you want to lose weight during Ramadan there’s one thing you need to focus on. NUTRITION. Yes, you can do low to moderate intensity cardio while fasted, but that’ll only truly help if you’re already following a good eating plan. So what does good eating look like in Ramadan ?
To me, good eating is a lot of outings, homemade food, and konafa!! But with moderate servings and a general idea of how much I’m supposed to be eating. So here’s your guideline to knowing how much you should eat:
- Multiply your body weight ( in KG ) by 22.
- Multiply the result by how active you are
|Multiply By 1.3 – 1.4||Sedentary ( Little Activity Throughout The Day)|
|Multiply By 1.5 – 1.6||Lightly Active ( Light Activity Throughout The Day)|
|Multiply By 1.7 – 1.8||Active ( Active Throughout The Day)|
|Multiply By 1.9 – 2.0||Very Active ( Very Active Throughout The Day)|
The result number is the base number of calories you need to eat, in order to stay exactly like you are. Without losing weight or gaining weight.
For me, that would be:
74 KG * 22 = 1,600 → 1,600 * 1.9 = 3,000 Calories
Next step is to be in a caloric deficit – burn more than you consume – so we subtract 200 – 300 ( Deficit )calories from our total number of calories.
3,000 Calories – 300 Calorie = 2,700 Calorie.
If I eat around 2,700 calories, I will be losing weight. Whether I’m eating homemade healthy food or Konafa, as long as I’m within the 2,700 calorie I’ll lose weight.
You can find out the caloric information of most foods through the internet, you’ll be averaging it out so don’t worry about being 100% accurate.
Example: “ How many calories are in 100 grams of white rice ? “
Another commonly asked question is – when and what should I eat during my feeding window ? That really depends on your preference. I for one like to have a big, hearty Iftar where I eat my proteins, carbs, veggies, and dessert. This makes me feel satisfied and ready for a workout or an outing. You usually should wait around an hour up to two hours just so you don’t feel nauseous and heavy while training. However, aside from that, it’s completely up to you.
That’s about it, all you need to know when it comes to gaining weight, losing weight, and training in Ramadan. My general piece of advice would be not stressing and overwhelming yourself with eating or training. Ramadan lasts for 30 days, very little things can go wrong in this short period. I’d recommend taking Ramadan as it should be, a time to be in touch with family, friends, and your own spirituality.
Ramadan Kareem !