Now Ramadan is great for health in overall,however it may interfere in our goals as bodybuilders if we don’t know how deal with it, if we deal with it right, we can still have the benefits of this holy month on Both our spirit and body.

The first and most important tip to be given comes right at the beginning: don’t stop working out. Your body maintains muscle mass as long as it feels it is needed and when you stop exercising, will slowly build back what it feels is unnecessary luggage that costs extra energy. Even though you may not make gains in muscle mass during Ramadan, you can at least preserve what you have if you keep your schedule up.

The best time for workouts are after the breaking, 1-2 hours after the breaking would be ideal,this way you will have all the time till sehr to eat.

During Ramadan you shouldn’t train longer than 40 minutes to an hour. You should lower your number of sets and your volume of exercises while focusing on preserving your strength. Focus on heavy compound movements that hit every muscle nice and quick. Intensity is key and not high volume as high volume training requires lots of food, water and rest which is not a luxury you have during Ramadan. Remember you are not trying to build muscle and train like a bulking bodybuilder for hypertrophy. In Ramadan you are trying to preserve everything through a quick shot of time with compound movements. Hit it hard, do it with intensity, get it done and get out. Intensity is key.

I strongly urge everyone against cardio during Ramadan as you are already fasting and burning calories with weights. If you really must do a cardio workout and your heart is set on it, limit it to twice a week of 10 minute of high intensity cardio. HIT cardio will stimulate hormones and chemicals that in turn will help with fat burning and muscle building/preservation. As my usual saying goes, unless you want to look and be as weak and frail as a marathon runner, NO crazy cardio. Cardio will also further dehydrate you which is the last thing you want during summer Ramadan.

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This means keeping your caloric consumption the same as your regular consumption levels when it is not Ramadan. This means that if your consumption level was 2,500 calories per day prior to Ramadan, it should remain at 2,500 calories per day during Ramadan.and in order to achieve this,avoid extra calories from junk foods and the typical ramadan festive meals.

BREAKING FAST- Sunset > MASSIVE SHAKE! I know you really want to eat something here, cause you havent eaten ALL DAY, but you can really fit in more cals, and I know personally, that when I havent eaten for so long, my stomach shrinks, and when I start eating, im usually fully VERY quickly! So for this reason, you want a nice rounded pcf shake that fits your macro breakdown [prot, carbs,fats]

When breaking your fast, quickly absorbing proteins(such as whey,egg whites) and carbohydrates(such as dextrose,waxy maize,fruit juices,dates) are ideal especially when you plan to work out. You are depleted so whatever you eat will be quickly absorbed due to the heightened insulin sensitivity and your depleted state. It’s the same way as when eating post workout.

INTRA-WORKOUT- Supplements can go a long way in helping you cope with Ramadan, since there is a shorter time to get all the nutrition in (dusk-dawn), you can rely on protein and meal replacement powders to help you with that, another thing I advice is taking a during workout drink, mix some BCAA powder/ Glutamine/ creatine/O.R.S(oral rehydration salts) with simple carbohydrate as dextrose, this drink won’t require digestion, and will help replenish your muscles with glycogen and amino acids, while creatine will also help retain more water to support hydration.

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IMMEDIATELY POST WORKOUT- SAME AS WHEN BREAKING FAST(Fast digesting protein such as whey with simple carbs such as dextrose or natural fruit juice).post workout should consist of a high protein and high carbs meal, to replenish glycogen in the muscles and liver, and fill the muscles with amino acids needed for growth and maintenance.

Then basically just cram in as much food as possible to fill your calorie requirements, even if you are trying to lose weight, you will still struggle to fit in enough calories, just to get you to your deficit amount…so avoid any extra calories from junk foods,sweets etc.

BEFORE BED-have a ROUNDED meal before bed… Dont be worried about carbs going to fat or some nonsense like that, you prebed meal should be a nice meal containing protien carbs and fat, with the emphasis on SLOW releasing!!

SEHR-before sunrise and have a massive meal…!! Make sure this meal has lots of complex carbs, lots of good fats, and lots of WHOLE protien (ie no whey shakes).. then back to bed with a nice full belly.
source of carbs (rice, oatmeal, baked potato) and high protein (preferably slow digestive such as casein, fish ) with some fibers and healthy fat (peanut butter), the goal is to keep nutrition flow in your body as long as possible.

Drinking a lot of water during non fasting time is very important as well, especially in hot weathers, the body gets dehydrated during the fasting and you will be needing lots of water to compensate, make sure to drink ATLEAST 3-4 liters of water daily.Take a 2 litre water bottle to your workout and try to finish it by the end of the workout.

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You might find yourself eating a smaller variety of foods.Take your multi to prevent any deficiencies. and increase the vitamin C, its very useful as well, it lowers cortisol, support muscles and recovery and many other benefits, so 1000-3000mg daily on divided dosages should be good(1000mg 15minutes before workout will increase nitric oxide levels in your body which will help maintain a good pump).

Train no more than 2 days in a row before taking a day off.and working out 4 days a week max will be all you will need to maintain muscle during ramadan.the rest days will be crucial to help recuperate and recover from the workouts and the fast.

With Ramadan being in the Summer, the time between your early morning meal and your iftar (break-fast) may only be 7-8 hours. If you can’t take advantage of that full 7-8 hours between meals, think about taking a power nap during the day. Energy levels will be low due to a lack of food, so you’ll need to leverage the energy you can get from sleep. This can then help drive your workouts.sleep atleast 8 hours daily.

I honestly think its very possible to lose weight, or maintain/even gain muscle with a plan like this…! The human body is pretty amazing!
Now Ramadan is great for health in overall, however it may interfere in our goals as bodybuilders if we don’t know how deal with it, if we deal with it right, we can still have the benefits of this holy month on our spirit and body, hope you benefited from this article.

Wish all of you Ramadan Mubarak!

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