I am frequently asked, “How can I work out and eat properly while fasting?” Most people see the blessed month of Ramadan as a time when they will lose strength and muscle mass; some think they can only “maintain” themselves during this month, while many people gain weight! If you prepare your training plan for Ramadan, you can make some of your best gains during this blessed month.
It’s all about maximizing nutrient uptake, maintaining proper hydration, and modifying key fat-burning and muscle-building hormones in your favor-and of course PREPARATION – if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail! Plus, how can you truly maximize this month spiritually if your body is sick, tired, and your mind isn’t sharp?
First, let’s look at what happens to your body during Ramadan. While you are fasting, you become more dehydrated at rest – but less than if you had exercised aerobically for over an hour (so exercise causes greater dehydration for this time versus fasting). Your main metabolic fuel source for bodily function during fasting is mainly fat, which is a good thing. So, the goals during Ramadan are to maximize metabolism (even though your metabolism will slow down due to less frequent meals); preserve and enhance as much lean muscle mass as possible which will inherently increase metabolic rate and allow you to burn more calories at rest and maximize your workout whether you are doing cardio or weight training. During Ramadan, depending on your goals, I really recommend that you limit cardio to 2 days a week at the most. This is again to preserve as much lean muscle tissue as you can.
Suggested Training Time
The best time to weight train during Ramadan is after Tarawih prayers at night. This will ensure that you will have several meals and plenty of water in your system before going to the gym.