Ramadan - Nutrition advice
Ramadan is right around the corner now and some of you might be worried about your performance suffering and the loss of muscle mass. Yes there inevitably be changes in your body composition but we have some advice to minimise the effects of Ramadan.
When should I train?
If you can fit it into your schedule it would be ideal to train right before sunset when you can eat again. While you may be fatigued at this time, it will allow you to refuel straight after training to replenish your muscles glycogen stores and promote muscle repair and recovery, promoting you to maintain performance and muscle mass over this time. Training in the evening will also mean you’re not so starving hungry all day!
One good way to structure your evenings especially as Iftar gets later, is to prep up your food before you go and train or do exercise at home, then you’re able to eat as soon as you finish!
How should I eat?
There is limited time to eat so we need to be diligent with timings. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking (and feeling!) like as soon as evening rolls around and you can dig in to dinner that you need to eat as much as possible. Or before Fajr you see your last opportunity to eat and eat as much as possible to get you through the day.
In fact, research suggests that calorie load isn’t reduced during Ramadan – just the meal timings are altered (REF). Your meals are likely going to be reduced from 3 to 2 a day. Increase normal meal sizes to a maximum of 35% bigger than usual (i.e. normal 600kcal meal becomes 800kcal meal) and split the remainder of calories your snacks.
We want to try and keep food type and meal loads similar to our non-fasting meals. We want to be fuelled but not feeling heavy or bloated after meals. Limiting deep fried food as much as possible, focusing on fuelling our body with the same types of foods that we would for training outside of Ramadan, lots of veggies, lean meats and smart fats. Dates and fruits can be used as a dessert/added extra after meals.
If you currently track your food, continue to do so, continuing to hit within the same ballpark of calories for maintenance. If training will reduce during this time, then you may want to reduce intake by 5-10%.
If you follow our meal system keep your meal closest to training as a training meal and the remainder of your meals as anytime meals. The high fibre and higher fat content of the anytime meals will help to sustain your energy levels and keep hunger at bay!
When should I eat?
Below is an example of how you may want to structure your eating. Spread meals as evenly as possible but allowing to maximise sleep. On the weekends you may have more waking times throughout the night (or stay up later) to be able to eat as you may be able to sleep in until later!
While you might be thinking that how you eat is most important sleep deprivation is one of the primary causes of loss of performance during Ramadan. (REF) so get those ZZZs in!
To help reduce muscle mass loss during this time using creatine, protein shakes and an omega-3 supplement can help.
With your first meal of the day and your last meal of the day mix 5-10g of creatine with water, or even a protein shake. The protein shake can be used as one of your snacks or as an addition to meals to increase both intake at the meal and hydration. Aftermath protein from Bulk powders already contains creatine!
Take 1 omega-3 with your meal of choice. (Supplement links in PDF)
Here is a superb instagram post from Faisal (Mr PMA). Follow him for some excellent advice through Ramadan.
DOWNLOAD OUR NUTRITION ADVICE FOR RAMADAN PDF
If you want to get a sustainable nutrition plan in place we have our 6 week programs
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