Ramadan 2018 is right around the corner and the most common thought people have goes a little something like this…
“Won’t I lose all of my gains if I can’t lift or eat for the entire day?!?!?!”
Relax… Those hard earned gains won’t just disappear!
Studies show you can go up to a maximum of 3 weeks of not training before you’ll start noticing any changes in your muscle mass and strength, but I wouldn’t advise pushing it to that extent.
Focus on strength training instead:
In this month, you would benefit more by focusing on maintaining and even increasing your strength on core lifts. (Bench Press, Squats, Deadlifts etc.) This might be the ideal time to switch up your workout to keep those muscle guessing. “Bro splits” taking up days a week are probably out of the question, instead we’d recommend you try adhering to a full body routine 3 times a week which will ensure you incorporate these key lifts.
There is this ongoing concern that you cannot maximise your muscle gains if you don’t consume a post workout meal. However what matters is your total calorie intake throughout the day. But if you must eat immediately following your workout, push the workout to later into the day, closer to sunset (Maghreb) where you can eat shortly after your meal. If not, the next optimal time to train would be just before sunrise (Fajr) as you can hydrate during your workouts and will be fuelled with the food you consume during this eating window.
Ultimately it is about enjoying your calories in a way that suits your Dystinct Lifestyle.
Diet & Protein intake:
As tempting as it may be, avoid excessively indulging in the unhealthy fatty foods associated with Ramadan. For the most part try to eat a good balance of macronutrients (macros – carbohydrates, protein and fats). Don’t neglect the micronutrients found in fruits and vegetables too! (Eh skip em). Protein at this point is probably most important macronutrient of the 3. Personally if you focus on primarily on your protein intake, the others, for the most part, will fall into place. Quality whey protein will prove very beneficial during this month as consuming sufficient protein in such a small eating window can be difficult. You should be familiar with why whey protein is important as part of a balanced lifestyle.
Cardio during Ramadan:
This one can be tricky. I’d advise something low intensity such as going on a brisk walk for about an hour during your fast. Many people neglect how beneficial simply walking more can be.It willl give you time to to mediate and reflect a on your life which is after all is one of the premises of this blessed month. So why not kill two birds with one stone? If you’re more suited to HIIT cardio then save it for once you’ve opened your fast so you are able to rehydrate.
Losing weight during Ramadan:
To lose weight you have to eat at a caloric deficit (eat less than your body expends for energy). Throughout the year it may be difficult to do so but luckily fasting can really help. As you have such a small window to intake these calories, it’ll be easier to eat at a deficit. So, figure out your maintenance calories, subtract a fair 300-400 calories from this number and tweak it where necessary. Don’t overcomplicate it. 🙂
Bulking during Ramadan:
Muscle and strength maintenance should be your primary focus with regard to your physique and it may not be ideal to try and bulk during this month.
All in all, don’t get too caught up on your physique and forget to engage with the true meaning of Ramadan. It’s a time that places emphasis patience, prayer, fasting, and charity. The self-accountability learned in this blessed month will no doubt resonate into your daily life, year around if you keep stress low and do things right.