Ramadan: Physical Maintenance and Spiritual Growth

Ramadan: Physical Maintenance and Spiritual Growth

HOW should we train and Eat during Ramadan?

At this time of the year I’m frequently asked what the Ramadan training and eating plan is?

Due to limitations, for many, it is a time when they may experience either weight loss, weight gain and especially the dreaded muscle catabolism (breakdown).

But wait, for a second let’s look at the benefits of fasting.

1.Fat is more readily used for energy which aids weight loss. This action also reduces cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
2.Restores insulin sensitivity and nutrient partitioning.
3.Higher growth hormone output.
4.Enhanced detoxification.
5.Improved mental discipline.
6.An opportunity to focus on higher and better priorities.

Below are a list of ideas that you may find useful.

IDEOLOGY: Ramadan is a time to focus inwards. You definitely should not be training 6 times per week or stuffing yourself at night. Neither should your mind be overly occupied with diet, training or your physique.

Ideally, these should take a back seat and doing just enough to maintain your shape. The only diet and training goal during Ramadan is the “minimum stimulus” to preserve lean muscle mass, strength and prevent excessive weight gain.

But at the end of the day, it all lies in the balance. Don’t overindulge in foods and completely avoid exercise during Ramadan. The hard truth of the matter is that you can lose that great body you have, in a month, if you do nothing.

INTENSITY: Treat the month as a deload. Therefore, reduce workouts to 30-40 minutes, 4-5 times per week and decrease your exercise weights by 30-40%. This prevents muscle atrophy, regression in performance and a total crash of your metabolism.

I prefer low to moderate volume and low intensity training. One should steer clear from excessive cardio. Deliberately creating a further calorie deficit is a recipe for fatigue.

TIMES: The best times to train would either be:
•after Taraweeh salaah
•or an hour before Iftaar

They both have differing benefits.

Training before Iftaar provides an opportunity to lose those stubborn extra kg’s, as you are in a state of “ketosis”. This means your body uses stored fat for energy. (If you train before Iftar, train at a lower weight loads, as you will not be optimally hydrated and fueled).

Training after Taraweeh also burns extra calories and stimulates metabolic processes. The hydration and additional calories however allows for a stronger, easier workout.

Remember, our bodies react differently so explore what times works best for you. Ensure sufficient sleep before Suhoor. This allows your muscles to recover.

SUPPLEMENTATION: If you’re dreading the thought of losing your hard-earned gains, supplement with a:
1.comprehensive multi-nutrient,
2.vitamin c,
3.whey protein,
4.casein protein,
5.BCAA’s,
6.glutamine,
7.HMB,
8.omega 3
9.natural fat burner and/or CLA
10.and phosphatidylserine.

Phosphatidylserine is particularly important as it reduces cortisol (acatabolic hormone) which is produced whilst fasting. It also makes you feel loads better!

Eat healthy – with the express purpose of giving your body the nutrients it needs to endure fasting.

*Tip: Start reducing your caffeine intake (coffee, tea, energy drinks) a week before fasting. Alternatively delay your morning caffeine intake to noon. This reduces the risk of headaches when Ramadan begins.

DIET: Maintain a prudent diet of the right kind (selection) and right amounts (quantity) of carbohydrates which will provide energy. Protein sources should include chicken and fish which aid in cellular and muscular health. If you choose to eat lean red meat, ensure you consume it 4,5-5 hours before bed time to counteract any digestive problems. And lastly, good fats such as nuts and avocado to maintain healthy brain and body function.

It is rather easy to overeat and overindulge when you sacrifice food and drink for an entire day, so keep an eye on what you eat and how much you eat. Consume in healthy moderation!

Hydration is a critical but a forgotten aspect during Ramadan. Drinking enough water is vital to aid digestion, avoid constipation and dehydration.

By viewing Ramadan as an extended deload and using it to recover and restore anabolic signaling, you can increase your training volume and intensity in the weeks after Ramadan.

That’s leaves us with how should we resume training after Ramadan?

Because of the calorie restriction one has undergone, it is a fantastic opportunity to gain some size and strength in the few weeks following Eid.

Research shows that gradually increasing calories and training volume after a period of fasting creates a positive metabolic and optimal hormonal environment. This is ideal for muscle and strength gains, as well as the potential for fat loss.

Life is about balance. Find the right balance between nutrition, fitness and spirituality. With this combination you’ll achieve great results no matter the month.

Enjoy Ramadan this year, maximize the spiritual benefits, and use these guidelines to help steer you, when it comes to training and diet.

Ramadan Mubarak.

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10 Weight Loss Tips for Beginners

Theres no one best secret to fat loss. There are lots of them. If you want to lose weight fast, you need to use as many as possible.
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1.Avoid insulin spikes by not eating simple carbohydrates. Stick to grains, rice and sweet potato. No sugar, and limit yourself fruit portions.
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2.Exercise at least 5 days per week. Do weight training AND cardio. Having some muscle will improve your performance in the gym, allowing you to work harder and achieve more. Cardio is great for burning extra calories.
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3.Dont skip meals. To keep your metabolism elevated, try to eat 6 small meals per day.
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4.Eat fiber every day. It will help digestion, slim your waist, and help you more effectively absorb nutrients.
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5.Drink lots of water. Shoot for 3 liters per day.
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6.Consume healthy fats from nuts, olive oil, and coconut oil.
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7.Get in some green tea. It has a slight stimulant effect and is rich in antioxidants.
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8.Center your meals around protein. Your body cannot store protein for later, so you have to feed your muscles throughout the day.
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9.Get enough sleep. Your body needs time to regenerate. Without around 8 hours of sleep, you will feel drained and never get through a hard workout!
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10.Brush your teeth after you eat. The taste will hopefully prevent your from snacking after your meal.