The holy month of Ramadan, practiced by millions of Muslims around the world can be a challenge to meet all your nutritional requirements for maintaining lean muscle if you don’t have a planned approach.
Aimlessly wandering through Ramadan without a clear target or nutritional strategy in place will have you gaining fat and dropping muscle – a gym-goers worst nightmare!
Don’t think for one minute that it’s impossible to get results during Ramadan! In fact, if you play your cards right with your supplementation and training, you could even add to your muscle mass if that’s what you’re after!
The key to success over Ramadan is to actually have a PLAN and the right mindset! And in this article, I’ll give you the basic principles and plan to get there.
The 8 hours of food consumption window that you have must be looked at as nourishing your body with high quality, nutrient dense foods, supplementation and water to help restore and repair.
Completing a 16 hour fast actually gives the perfect opportunity for your digestive system to regenerate and allow your liver to detoxify. Plus, there is the added benefit of prayer activating the parasympathetic tone in your body, allowing the body to heal from modern day stressors and also help with recovery from the gym.
Commonly, recovery is often an afterthought, when it’s actually the key ingredient. You’re only as good as you’re able to recover!
Don’t get lost in all the training without planning your recovery for muscle growth… And specifically, that is how you can use Ramadan to progress and ensure that you take the opportunity to its fullest.
In the weeks and days leading up to Ramadan, try to give your training an extra push, more than normal, via increased volume and/or intensity, is a great option. Knowing that during Ramadan, you can still train, but at a reduced intensity with more of a focus on movement and training frequency.
Ensuring you still hit all the targeted muscle groups with rep schemes above +10 and a minimum of 3 working sets, will provide enough of a stress load to keep your muscle!
Click here to see: Five nutritional strategies to ensure you keep all of your muscle mass this Ramadan.
Take home message
Try to make it into the gym at a minimum 4x per week over this period. Even if they are lighter training sessions, it will most likely provide enough stress/stimulation to hold all of your muscle mass during Ramadan. Putting your head in the sand and waiting until Ramadan is over, is a quick way to lose some of your hard-earned gains that have taken months and years to build!
Last but not least, take advantage of the Holy month with planned reduced training intensities, which can be an opportunity for your body to grow and recover properly (provided you adhere to the nutritional advice above).
See relevant article on creating a plan B for your fitness and health here. Not everything always goes perfectly to plan every time!