DIET / FITNESS

Ramadan And Weight Lifting – How to Maintain Muscle And Strength

The holy month of Ramadan, brings with it a dilemma for most fitness freaks, who are also practicing Muslims. The dilemma is about whether or not they should continue with their regular weight training during this period, primarily because they will be having a complete fast for anywhere between 12-16 hours each day. The fear of losing out on the progress of building a leaner and firmer body is combined with that of not having enough strength to continue with regular weight training sessions. The good news is that it is possible for such people to maintain their muscle and strength even during the month of Ramadan, without skipping their workout.

Why Taking A Break Is Not Advisable?

Ramadan fasting is an essential ritual to be followed by all devout Muslims, who are physically and mentally fit. This means that for the entire month of Ramadan, the Muslim fitness enthusiasts will have to absolutely refrain from eating or drinking anything from dawn till dusk. The most common advice such people receive is to take a break from their regular workout routine.

However, most people, who have extensive training experience, know that it is not the right choice. This is primarily due to the fact that taking a sudden and long break from workout, causes the weight trainees and other fitness enthusiasts to lose considerable muscle mass and strength. The percentage loss is greater in people who have not been working out for too long as compared to those who have been training for months.

So, What Is The Best Workout Schedule?

The workout schedules during Ramadan should be altered according to the type of weight training being pursued and the level of expertise of an individual. Most experts ask even the advanced bodybuilders to avoid performing five day splits while observing Ramadan fasts. Moreover, they also suggest reducing the total time of weight lifting sessions from the regular 2 hours to about 45 minutes.

In addition to altering the workout schedule, it is also important to change the time of workout during Ramadan to gain the best benefits. The best time for weight training during this pious month is just after Fajr, which is the time for the first prayer of the day. At this time the body is well fed, hydrated and rested to cause minimum tiredness or dehydration during workout.

In case this time is not feasible, then the next best time for weight training is right after Maghrib, which is the time for the fourth prayer of the day and also the time to break the fast. However, weight trainers should have only a light snack after Maghrib, although they can enjoy a full meal after the workout. Working out on a full stomach after a whole day of fasting is not likely to provide the desired results.

Other Important Things To Consider

In addition to choosing the right workout regime and time, weight trainers should also consider the following factors during the month of Ramadan.

  • They should focus on eating the right foods during this month as good clean nutrition gains even greater significance during this period. Rather than gorging on foods that are rich in sugar content or other junk food, the weight trainers should indulge in healthy eating habits to get the best benefits of fasting combined with regular workout
  • Apart from eating the right food, the weight trainers also need to make sure that they get ample rest and sleep during this holy month. Lack of sleep does not prove helpful either for gaining or maintaining muscle mass and body strength but rather enhances the loss of both. As such weight trainers should try to get a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep during the 24 hour day.
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