The Holy month of Ramadan is here — a month filled with blessings, giving and fasting. In Ramadan, particularly, it is important to bear in mind that we need to eat healthy, nutritious, balanced meals and take care of our bodies. Fasting is an excellent opportunity to strengthen our digestive system and help adjust our blood sugar and triglyceride levels.
1- Stay hydrated;
Choose fluids that are neither sugary nor contain lots of caffeine. Now is the time to drink lemon, ginger, cinnamon or turmeric water. Do not drink all your water at once, as that might cause an imbalance in your body’s electrolytes.
2- Avoid fried foods;
The same food could taste just as delicious when cooked with just a little oil.
3- Try to make dessert a treat once or twice a week;
If you really must eat dessert daily, a portion of two tablespoons per day is supposed to be satisfactory when you practice mindful eating.
4- Find a schedule that works for you;
If you don’t like to wake up to eat, then eat before Sehri, as long as you keep your energy up.
5- Use of Fruits;
Be sure to include some fruit in this meal.
6- Try not to eat salty or sugary food at Sehri;
Because this will cause extra thirst and hunger throughout the day.
How to Exercise While Fasting During Ramadan
When to work out
The time of your workout is just as important as what exercises you do. Choose a time when you are fueled but still have an opportunity to fit in a post-workout meal. The best options are after breaking fast but before your main Iftar meal and just before Sehar if you can face getting up that early. If you’re used to training on an empty stomach, then just before breaking your fast will also work but lack of hydration could be an issue.
What to Eat
Before and after training you want to top up your depleted energy (glycogen) stores by taking in some carbohydrates. Choose healthy options such as vegetables and wholegrain alternatives to pasta and rice, also add in protein (for muscle repair) through lean meats, beans, lentils or protein shakes. And don’t forget to hydrate before, during, and after training.
As well as using the body’s stored carbs for energy during fasting, it is likely that your body will also turn to protein stores; this can lead to loss of muscle mass. Resistance training helps to preserve muscle mass, so opt for body weight exercises such as squats, lunges and push-ups or add in weights for dead lifts, shoulder press, chest press and rows. Check out the Arab News legs, arms and abs at-home workouts for ideas.
Keep cardio low intensity during fasting as the high intensity will eat up glycogen stores and force the body to use protein for energy. If you want to do some cardio during the day, a walk just before Iftar is a good option to safely burn some calories.
Maintenance and Recovery
Ramadan is not the time to try to gain muscle — fasting makes this near on impossible. So think about maintaining fitness instead with regular and effective resistance training or use a week or so to think about recovery. Every workout regime needs rest built into it — this could be the time to take a step back for a week or two so you can start strong after Ramadan.