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Training Template During Ramadan

How to Train During Ramadan 

By NoelGRSr

Daytime: Fast
Sundown (Either after Maghrib or Isha): Begin training while sipping your intraworkout drink. Do not train dehydrated.
Iftar: Serving of protein, followed by carbohydrates/sugars, then fat. 1 litre water.
Suhoor: Higher fat + fibre meal with 60-100g protein

It’s that time again for maximum muscle retention with minimum intrusion to the spiritual aspect of Ramadan.
Photo:Supplied

Ramadan…
A period for mental resolve and spiritual benefit.
If you’re in the same situation and faced with the question of how to train in Ramadan, this article is definitely for you. If not, you can still learn from it by taking the principles of adapting your diet and training to a typical circumstances.
The physical requirements of Ramadan are simply no food or water during daylight hours.
Fasting in Ramadan can also have several benefits:
– Improved mental discipline.
– A chance to allow training/diet to run in the background and to focus on higher priorities.
– The potential for restored insulin sensitivity and nutrient partitioning.
– Higher growth hormone output during the fasts.
FACTS
– Ramadan is a time to focus inwards. You should not be training 5x per week and stuffing yourself at night, nor should your mind be too occupied with things concerning diet/training.
Ideally, these should take a back seat while doing the bare minimum to maintain your strength. Equally, you don’t want to lose all your hard work by losing too much strength/size.

So here it is:

The Optimal Ramadan Strategy:

1 – Forget trying to eat clean, and eat with the following two purposes in mind:
a) Adjust evening food choices to match your appetite:
There are two types of people in this world. Those who gain weight during Ramadan, and those who lose weight. This mainly depends on appetite, although the more common outcome of a short eating window and stomach-shrinking is that people tend to undereat and get run-down as a result.

Therefore: aim for more calorie-dense foods (Rice, whey, chicken, fatty cuts of meat, pastries, sweets, fruit, ice-cream, whatever you need) and avoid foods that might normally bloat you up, e.g. overdoing the oats or dairy.

However, if you’re the type that can tend to overeat: begin your Suhoor with lean protein and fibrous vegetables to curb appetite before moving on to the direct carbohydrate sources.

b) Getting sufficient protein: Eat your protein first, aiming for 2g/kg bodyweight daily, followed by carbs, then fat, to satiety.

c) Protein goal, calorie goal: Don’t aim for specific macros during the month – hit a protein goal (2g/kg) and calorie goal (maintenance) made up from any combination of carbs and fats.

d) Prepare a tray of food and a multivitamin during the day with a ready­ made protein shake to cover your bases. Don’t be afraid to rely on whey to hit protein targets.

2– Don’t deliberately aim for a calorie deficit.
If calories are too low, you’ll be worn down and under-recovered from the training program below. The only fitness goal you should realistically aim to pursue is maintenance during this month. You will find that you lose fat naturally from the fast, provided that your calories are sensible, but this is not the time to try to force it. Remember, portions can be misleading when eating a day’s worth of food over a short period.

3 – Stay hydrated at night. Aim for at least 2.5 litres.
– Try to spread this out throughout the evening, so you don’t flush it all and end up thirsty the next day.

4 – Forget the ‘no carbs at night’ claptrap.
Carbohydrates at night is actually more muscle-sparing and fat burning than having a larger breakfast.

Photo:Supplied

5 – You won’t ‘go catabolic’ during the fast.
The potentially catabolic part is too large of a WEEKLY CALORIE DEFICIT and INSUFFICIENT PROTEIN. This won’t be a problem if you follow the above guidelines. While fasting is technically a catabolic process, you’ll offset any muscle loss by eating sufficient calories and signalling your body to retain muscle with the training program.

6: Train at night, 2-3x/week with the low volume strategy given below.
Ideally you can find a 24 hour gym nearby, which are surprisingly busy 11pm-2am in Ramadan! You should avoid training fasted: the dehydration increases risk of injury and will inhibit performance + recovery.

Even if you train after Iftar, train at a slightly lower percentage of your max: you will not be optimally hydrated. Avoid deadlifts during the month, as it is the movement that carries the highest risk when dehydrated.. I’m speaking from experience unfortunately.

Photo:Supplied

7: Intra-workout nutrition:
Careful not to let evenings turn into rampant bingeing!
Example Day:
7am: Awake – fasting until 7pm
6pm: Depending on your working hours, 4pm-7pm might be a good time to catch some sleep.
7pm: Iftar:
Serving of rice & chicken, and dessert. 1 litre water
8pm: Taraweeh
8PM-Midnight: Begin training, sip intra-workout drink (See below)
1am: Suhoor (pre-fast meal). Should be similar to your iftar, but with more fibre and fat. This will slow digestion and help to maintain satiety during the fast.
1.30am: Sleep

Photo:Supplied

Intra-Workout Drink:
Cellular dehydration is catabolic, so be sure to keep the cells hydrated during your workouts. I use 1 scoop MP Exceed in 2 litres of water and (optionally) up to 50g maltodextrin or haribo, to ensure adequate fluids, electrolytes, blood aminos, and insulin, all of which will improve cellular hydration and performance.

Training Template

Goal of training during Ramadan is strength maintenance/gain,. We advise a low to moderate volume split that can be done 2x/week, using straight sets.
By treating Ramadan as an extended deload, you can increase your training volume and intensity in the weeks leading up to the month, using this time to recover and restore anabolic signalling.

————————————————-
Monday:
A) Seated shoulder press: 10×3 @80% 1RM
B) Bench: 10×3 @80% 1RM
C) Weighted chin ups: 5×6
D) Hanging leg raises: 5×12
————————————————-
Friday:
A) Squat: 5×3 @80%
B) Close grip bench: 5×5
C) Seated V-­bar row: 3 x 10
D) Rope face pulls: 3×20
E) Calves/Abs 3×25
Make sure to spend slightly longer warming up hips and lower back before squats.
————————————————-
Summary:
Daytime: Fast
Sundown (Either after Maghrib or Isha): Begin training while sipping your intraworkout drink. Do not train dehydrated.
Iftar: Serving of protein, followed by carbohydrates/sugars, then fat. 1 litre water.
Suhoor: Higher fat + fibre meal with 60-100g protein
Photo:Supplied

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q – Should I do cardio?
A – No.  Unless you’re training for endurance, the only use for cardio here would be to offset a calorie surplus eaten during the night, in which case remember the Hadith ““Enough for a human being to have luqaymat (a few mouthfuls) that prop up his spine and, if he must have more in his stomach, then one third of food, one third of water, and one third of air.” Use the opportunity to exercise self control instead.
Cardio to deliberately create a calorie deficit is a recipe for fatigue. The only training goal during this period is the minimum stimulus to maintain muscle mass.
Q – Will BCAAs break my fast?
A – Yes, they will. No food or water must pass the lips during the fast.
Q – My gym shuts before maghrib (sundown), so I can’t have some BCAAs and then train. What can I do?
Another option would be pushups and chinups at home in the evening, or to train early in the morning, preferably when your gym opens.
However, keep the rest periods LONG to reduce sweating and dehydration. Remember the goal of the training is strength maintenance, not to run yourself into the ground.
Q – How should I train after Ramadan ends?
A – Because of the probable calorie restriction you have undergone during Ramadan, there’s a fantastic opportunity to rebound and gain some good size and strength in the few weeks following Eid, should you so wish. Gradually increase calories and volume to a higher level to take full advantage, perhaps using this template. You will experience decent muscle and strength gains and potentially loss of bodyfat at the same time if you time this correctly.
Gradually increasing calories and training volume after a deload period creates a favourable metabolic and hormonal environment for muscle gain
 Bodybuilders take advantage of this brief rebound after competitions to make their best gains of the year.
Conclusion
So, enjoy Ramadan this year, maximise your spiritual benefit, and use these guidelines to take a load off your mind when it comes to training and diet.