Don’t Let Your Hard-earned Muscles Shed This Ramadan Season

By Soumik Ghosh

This year the holy stretch of Ramadan began on the 16th of May and is going to last till 14th of June. In this 9th month of the Islamic calendar, practicing Muslims will be fasting-neither eat nor drink anything-from dawn till dusk. The goal of fasting is to teach an individual patience, discipline, modesty, and spirituality.

But what gets harder than ever during Ramadan is carrying out your daily workout regime. We totally understand! Firstly, because it falls in the extreme summer months, and secondly there are chances of sleep deprivation as nights get shorter.

how to not lose muscle while fasting

While most men see this blessed month of Ramadan as a time when they will lose serious strength and muscle mass, some think they can only manage to maintain themselves during this span. So to all the lifters out there, things can get a bit tricky when it comes to training systematically and eating to build muscle.

That's exactly what we're going to address in this article. But before getting into diet tips and workout plans, let's figure out the common mistakes people fall prey to during Ramadan. And the core reasons behind that link to one simple thing-planning. You must plan out your diet, training, job, and sleep, methodically. Other mistakes to avoid are as follows:

1. Not Training: Giving your weight lifting a temporary pause won't result in significant loss of muscle and strength. But if you tend not to stick to your diet, that might result in more muscle/strength loss and fat gains in comparison to not lifting.

2. Not Eating Healthy: Most of the people gain fat during Ramadan, as a lot of the Ramadan foods are high in sugars and fats. So, eat nutritious foods.

3. Not Eating Enough: Food is energy-get this straight! If you aren't eating enough you'll surely lack energy at the gym and won't really recover well. Your focus must be on calorie-dense foods to gain the most out of your feeding window.

4. Not Sleeping Enough: Short nights during Ramadan generally cause sleep deprivation. Consider naps as crucial, since lack of sleep can kill your motivation to go to the gym.

Now getting into the tips you should follow in order to not lose those muscle you've earned through weeks of strenuous training and lifting.

1. Neither Bulk, Nor Cut: As you will be taking yourself through over 16 hours of fast, your rest and recovery are also significantly hampered during this time of the year. And, due to this training might seem demanding making things even more difficult.

Similarly, rest and recovery are also not optimal during this time and due to the festivities, restricting calories can be difficult. To help you out with how many calories you actually need to maintain, we've filtered a couple of formulas that you can leverage.

The easiest among them is to simply multiply your bodyweight in lbs by 14 or 16 and you get your desired calorie intake in Kcal. If you tend to gain weight easily, you should go with bodyweight x 14 and if the opposite, bodyweight x 16 will give you your maintenance calories.

2. Work Out Intelligently: Unless you're looking forward to some serious muscle loss, not training during Ramadan is not a good idea. All you need to do is tweak it according to fasting and eating hours. Continue working out but at a medium or at a low intensity-this is not the time to gain muscle, but to preserve and maintain your gains.

You have definitely got to keep your workout duration short-no more grinding for over 60 minutes at maximum output. And in those 60 mins, you should focus on compound lifts; you can afford to skip isolation movements and stay away from cardio for a month. Stay away from exercises that make you sweat a lot as your body can't afford to be dehydrated during this span of regular fasting.

3. Eat Accordingly: 'Iftar' foods are, without any second thought, astronomically delicious. And all the more so when you haven't eaten for 16 long hours. However, sadly, the foods are typically high in carbohydrates and fat, and that's the reason why choosing the right food creates a lot of difference when it comes to supplementing your training.

Stay away from fried food and sweets as they are nothing but empty calories with negligible nutrition. Instead, stick to predominantly grilled protein-rich stuff. Choose more complex carbohydrates, such as oats, sweet potatoes, wheat, etc.
You can give your body some whey blend for sustained protein supply-1-2 scoops during Iftar (Sunset meal) and 1-2 scoops during Sehri (Pre-dawn meal). Include protein sources like eggs, chicken, mutton, fish, paneer, etc. and never forget essential healthy fats, like coconut oil, omega3, natural peanut butter, and so on.

4. Sleeping Is Important: During Ramadan, sleep is something that keeps you going. Pamper yourself with a power nap an hour before working out, and it's going to refresh you and get you ready for the rest of the day. Moreover, try to get yourself at least 8-9 hours of sleep throughout the day.

5. Focus On The Festivities: It is at this time of the month when not only you but everyone comes together as a community. Make sure you don't miss out on spending time with your loved ones. Stop worrying: you won't lose your gains if you are consuming enough protein, calories, and training at least thrice a week. So relax and celebrate this month to its fullest.

Ramadan Mubarak!

If you have any other point that you want to bring forward, please feel free to leave your feedback in the comments section below.

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    Read more about: health ramadan weight loss
    Story first published: Tuesday, June 5, 2018, 10:02 [IST]
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