Intermittent fasting may be the hottest trend for weight loss, but this is a different story. Ramadan entails a rigorous fasting regime. Only one mealtime is allowed after every sunset and no water/food is consumed from sunrise to sunset, until the fast is broken. To pump iron or take it easy? Experts have some valuable inputs on how the health-conscious can practice fasting and stay fit, worry-free. Read on to find out!
Some Fitness Tips for You
Fasting, when done the right way, does not debilitate you
Metabolism, cholesterol levels, energy expenditure, and sugar levels vary significantly before and during fasting. But studies have proven time and again that, as long as you feed regularly, you will not starve. Yes, this means that you can keep your strength, without eating every 2-3 hours.
Your body needs fuel, not grease
Indulge in wholesome, nutritious meals instead of high-fat, high-sugar, low-nutrient grub. Unhealthy eating can slow you down and affect your everyday activities. The food you consume during Suhoor (i.e., the morning meal) must be rich in carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. This will help you stay energized for the rest of the day. If you plan on working out later in the day, make sure you include protein in the night time meal (Iftar), too.
Maintain your fitness if you cannot improve it
Maybe you cannot fast-track your fitness goal until Ramadan is over, but you must not ignore it completely. Switching to the Ramadan routine is a big deal, especially when you have been eating and exercising differently every other day. But you do not have to give up on all the hard work you have been putting in! Do some basic analysis – do you have extra fat to burn? If yes, you can afford to exercise even when you are fasting. However, this applies to individuals without medical conditions such as diabetes and related issues.
Do not run miles, but stay open to strength training
If we had a penny for every time we fretted over “losing form” because of missing a workout, we would be pretty rich by now. Worried that those love handles will magically reappear this month? Fret less, squat and lunge more! Oh yes, your muscles are more than up for 30 minutes of low-medium impact exercise. Make sure you train not earlier than 1-2 hours before you break your fast, or 2 hours after you break your fast. Do not forget to recharge as much as you like, with a good night’s rest!
Keep the workouts simple and sustainable
Those push up challenges with your buddy can wait. So can any new regime which may be high-impact on your body. Stick to a safe mode of exercising wherein your primary focus is to keep your muscles strong. Lighter weights with fewer lifting reps, stability exercises on the floor/mat/ball, yoga, core and flexibility exercises are a must-have in your fitness arsenal when you are deprived of cardio workouts. No crashing!
Appreciate, apprehend, and apply
If you have put in plenty of sweat, tears (maybe more) and hours at the gym, your body will remember it. This is a time when you connect to your inner self and your roots. So trust yourself and use your strength to perform all duties during this practice, and trust that you will get back to your regular routine after this, too. Stressing out can lead to weight gain, not to mention make fasting difficult! No one knows your body better than you do. So pay attention and listen to your body – do not exercise on days when you are overly exhausted, and focus on getting proper food and rest.
This Ramadan, stay healthy and fit. Team Mapmygenome wishes you Ramadan Mubarak!
About the Author
Rasika is a key member of the scientific team at Mapmygenome. After her graduation from Osmania University, she joined the molecular biology division at Ocimum Biosolutions, before jumping on to the Genomepatri bandwagon. When she is not in the lab, she is usually at her desk, reading about SNPs. She is also addicted to Pilates/strength training, oatmeal recipes and chocolate indulgences.