How to Maintain Gains During Ramadan
Beginning on May 6th of 2019, Ramadan will begin. It will end on June 4th, 2019, and it is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. The length of the month varies between 29 and 30 days, depending on the sighting of the Shawwal Moon.
This leads to the awaited festival of Eid ul Fitr on the 1st of Shawwal.
The holy month of Ramadan is practiced by millions of Muslims around the world. Maintaining your gains during this period can be challenging, but having a solid planned approach can help.
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Not having a clear target and nutritional strategy going into Ramadan can cause you to gain fat and lose your gains. This is not something a gym-goer likes to hear.
It's not impossible to get results during Ramadan, though. If you plan accordingly, you could maintain your gains or even build muscle during this time.
They key is having a plan.
For the eight hours of food consumption you get, you need to ensure you are nourishing your body with high-quality, nutrient-dense foods. You'll need to drink water to help restore and repair your body.
The 16-hour fast is a great opportunity for your body and digestive system to regenerate, detoxify, and activating your parasympathetic tone of prayer can help the body heal from modern stressors and help with recovery in the gym.
While recovery is generally an afterthought, is it a key ingredient in how well you can maintain your gains. Training is great, but planning for recovery and muscle growth is important — you can use Ramadan to progress and push your body to the next level.
Weeks Leading up to Ramadan
In the weeks and days leading up to Ramadan, push your training hard. Increase your volume, increase your intensity, or up the weight. You'll be able to train during Ramadan, but you will not have the same intensity.
You shouldn't expect huge gains during Ramadan, but you definitely don't need to worry about losing your gains.
A BCAAs product like Machine fuel will assist with keeping your body in a positive nitrogen balance.
How to Maintain Gains During Ramadan
Let's jump into what it will take for you to maintain your gains during Ramadan.
Nourish Your Body
After a 16-hour fast, you will need to get in critical vitamins and nutrients. Making sure you are adequately hydrated should be your first step. Try a couple of servings of a high-quality nut butter — this is going to help stabilize your blood sugar before you eat your two to three dates.
Dates are a great way to break your fast and a very healthy option, especially when accompanied by a slow digesting food like nuts.
Getting plenty of protein in the eight hours you are allowed to eat is critical. Since you are limited on the amount of time you can eat, you'll need to find high-quality protein sources. If you can, supplementing with an easily digestible protein powder could help meet your protein requirements.
Studies suggest that supplementing with a protein powder can help maintain muscle mass.
Branched-chain amino acids taken during and after weight training sessions will ensure you maintain a positive nitrogen balance. This is critical for maintaining muscle mass.
The term "branched-chain" is referring to the chemical structure of BCAAs. These are also found in protein-rich foods like eggs, meat and dairy products.
Eat More Nutritionally
Instead of opting for things full of sugar and fast carbs, try to think about your nutritional needs.
Sure, it's okay to have some sugars and fast carbs around training sessions, but don't fool yourself into thinking since you've fasted all day that it's healthy.
Research suggests ingesting glucose has a negative effect on testosterone levels. Excess sugars will also make it hard to stabilize blood sugars during your fasting periods.
Try Greens and Vegetables
Eating plenty of greens and veggies throughout Ramadan can help maintain muscle mass — they are full of micronutrients and vitamins your body needs to thrive. This ensures the cells in your body are receiving adequate vital nutrients that will maintain your health and muscle.
Missing out on a key vitamin or mineral could have a negative effect on your body's ability to recover and grow muscle.
Don't be afraid to supplement with a multivitamin to ensure your precious gains are safe.
Wrapping It Up
This Holy month will be trying, but planning reduced intensity activities, eating healthy foods, and recovering when you can will help you maintain your gains.
Eat nourishing foods when you can, keep up on your protein, and lower the intensity of your training during Ramadan.
Get plenty of recovery. Push hard. Pray hard.