FitLife trainer, Yasir Khan tells you everything you need to know about staying healthy, and on-track with your fitness goals during the Holy month.
Ramadan is fast-approaching, so we caught up with Yasir Khan for a refresher course on health and fitness while fasting, with a bonus sample workout.
The Sixteen-Eight Method
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It usually doesn’t talk about what foods to eat, but rather when you should eat them. There are several different intermittent fasting methods, all of which split the day or week into eating periods and fasting periods. If you think about it, most people already “fast” every day while they sleep. Intermittent fasting can be as simple as extending that fast a little longer. You can do this by skipping breakfast, eating your first meal at noon and your last meal at 8:00 pm. In this case, you’re technically fasting for 16 hours a day, and restricting eating to an eight-hour window. This is the most popular form of intermittent fasting, known as the 16/8 method. There’s no downside to intermittent or ramadan fasting if you do it properly.
Ramadan Fasting vs Intermittent Fasting
Many people who fast during ramadan find that they have put on weight at the end of the month. This is because, very often, people eat more than they need to. It’s important to clarify that intermittent fasting - in this case, fasting during ramdan - has nothing to do with weight-loss. Losing weight is the result of a sustained calorie deficit. A sustained calorie surplus will result in weight gain. Following a balanced diet is essential during ramadan to make sure you get the nutrition your body requires, especially if you want to keep to your fitness goals.
When the body is starved of food, it starts to burn fat so that it can make energy. This can lead to weight loss. However, if you fast for too long your body will eventually start breaking down muscle protein for energy, which is unhealthy, and that’s why you should try and have casein. This protein, that makes up approximately 80% of the protein in cow’s milk, also supplies your body with amino acids, carbohydrates, calcium, and phosphorus. Adding this to your diet means your muscles will stay healthy and you will continue to only burn fat.
Fuel Your Body
Avoid heavy, fried foods as they are filled with empty calories and stop you from eating correctly and getting the nutrition you need. Instead, opt for a plate of fruit, which contains approximately 250 calories and is enough to fill you up. Add tofu and cottage cheese to your diet, as they digest slower and give your muscles a constant supply of protein. Eating smart during ramadan is key. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or not, keeping your body healthy should be the focus.
The best time to work out if you’re fasting is before suhoor (pre-dawn meal). Drink a good amount of water half an hour before you start your session, and keep your workout to a medium intensity. Avoid regular cardio during ramadan – twice a week is enough - and instead, focus on strength training as it prevents muscle loss.
Here’s a sample workout for three times a week.
Note: 1 minute rest between each set.
Overhead Press 5x5
Bench Press 5x5
Overhead Press 5x5
Barbell Row 5x5