Ramadan starts tomorrow so its time again to talk about Nutrition and workout tips for the holy month of Ramadan. For those who don’t know what Ramadan is, its a time for spiritual reflection and it is the most sacred month for Muslims. Between Fajr, the first prayer time of the day which is a few hours before sunrise, and Maghrib, the fourth prayer time of the day (around sunset), they do not eat nor drink anything and there other restrictions as well.
First, let me point you to Ramadan and Bodybuilding as there is no need for me to repeat that information. Many like to claim that they invented intermittent fasting and I just want to point out that Muslims have been doing it for thousands of years as Ramadan is a form of Intermittent Fasting. Intermittent Fasting as well as Ramadan can be an effective means of lowering bodyfat in some but in others it can provoke daily binges that have the opposite effect. One thing to remember is that you do not get more calories during Ramadan, you get the same. I realize that there are traditional meals and foods as part of Ramadan but you can choose to have less of the foods that are high in calories and more of the foods that are low in calories. To lower your bodyfat during Ramadan:
- Do not drink your calories! Again, if there is some traditional beverage that you are expected to have, that is fine, but have the minimum socially acceptable amount rather than a pitcher full.
- Control your first meal. The most important thing is how you break the fast, it needs to be a small meal. Dont eat big until the next meal. Dates are an ok first meal but remember that they are calorie bombs so eat slowly and limit consumption. Better is something that has a lot of non-starchy vegetables to fill you up without a lot of calories. Perfect would be eggs scrambled with a pound of cooked spinach.
- Try to choose foods with lots of fiber. Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are awesome!!!! The fiber will fill you up without all that many calories.
- Avoid simple carbs. That includes all breads and deserts.
- Sleep! Take naps if you have to but its important to maximize sleep. Lack of sleep adversely affects the way you gain/lose muscle/fat.
If you look at my suggestions, they are not all that different that what I recommend in how to lose fat. Its important to realize that although Ramadan is a very special religious event, as far as calories and nutrition its the same thing – if you want to lose or maintain your bodyfat then you have to be very careful about what you eat!