Ramadan Kareem everyone!
It’s that blessed time of year again, the holy month of Ramadan. If you’re following my fitness journey on Snap Chat you’ll know that I only started my healthy lifestyle 6 months ago. This is my first Ramadan trying to exercise and eat well! I’m not a professional, I’m just a beginner fitness enthusiast who is still learning. Many of you have been asking what I’ll be eating this Ramadan and how I will exercise while fasting. So I put together this blog post to share with you some tips, exercise schedules and meal plans I’ll be following this Ramadan.
Ramadan is about discipline, disciplining your mind, soul and body so I feel it’s the perfect time to train while fasting. Many of us workout in Ramadan for different reasons: losing weight, staying fit, losing body fat, whatever the reason may be we have to remember the ultimate goal of Ramadan and to make the most of these precious days. Eating well and exercise in moderation is a good habit to include in your Ramadan schedule but don’t obsess over it and keep the true goal of Ramadan in mind.
My goals for this month (aside from my spiritual goals of course) are not to loose weight but to lean out and lose body fat. Training while fasting has many health benefits like shedding fat. There is a difference between the weight you see on the scale and how that translates to how your body looks. Muscle weighs more than fat so you could weight 120 pounds but look slimmer then someone who weighs 110 pounds for example. I stopped caring how much I weigh a long time ago to be honest, I’m more concerned about how my body looks and feels. How your clothes fit is a great way to see the changes in your body with hard work in the gym and eating clean. Though I’ve gained a few pounds since I started working out, my clothes fit better and my pants are loose around the waist and hips. Even my shirts are fitting loose!
Generally women want to lose weight in Ramadan while men don’t want to get to skinny. This Ramadan I don’t want to lose the muscle and strength, I want to maintain what I have gained and lean out by reducing my body fat percentage. This will help me see definition in my body. I’m down to 20.3% body fat and my goal is to further reduce it to 18% which would be excellent for my height, age and weight. I need 1540 calories per day with 120grams of protein and just because I’m fasting doesn’t mean I can’t get those calories in. Divided between Suhoor, Iftar and afterwards, I can plan meals that are high in protein to hit my protein targets and plan meals that are nutritious and will hep me reach my calorie requirements.
Here are some Suhoor options that I’ll be having during Ramadan. I love oatmeal so suhoor option #1 is my favorite, the rest just depends on my mood. You want to choose foods that are full of nutrients and that will give you fuel through your day. Choose a mix of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein.
Suhoor Option #1
1 cup cooked Oatmeal with 2% milk, raisins and brown sugar (you can replace the brown sugar with sugar free jam which tastes great in oatmeal)
2 hard boiled eggs
Protein Shake – 1 scoop whey protein in water
1/2 cup orange juice
Fruit – Optional
Drink as much water as you can before Fajr.
Suhoor Option #2
8 ounce Protein Shake – 1 scoop whey protein, 1 banana, 2% milk
2 scrambled eggs in 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin coconut oil
1 brown toast
Suhoor Option #3
Egg White Omelette (4 egg whites 1 whole egg) – you can add coriander, onions, veggies and seasoning to taste
Low Fat Cheddar Cheese on top
Add 1 Dempesters Thin Flat Bread or Brown Rice
Coffee or Tea
Suhoor Option #4
1 Cup 0% Fat Greek Yogurt, Granola, Berries,
2 Eggs (boiled or lightly fried)
I break my fast with dates and water as per the Sunnah.
Immediately afterwards I have an 8oz protein shake (1 scoop protein with 2% milk) – I find this fills me up and I don’t crave oily or sweet food afterwards. I then go to pray. After prayer I have a snack as listed below before I head to the gym.
- Black or White Chickpeas (boiled then lightly fried in olive oil with onions and black pepper) Topped with green chilli and lemon juice.
- 1) Fruit Salad with 0% Greek Yogurt and 2 hard boiled eggs (I love eggs) .
- 2) Salad (Baby Spinach, walnuts, organic strawberries, Hemp Seeds, Bell Pepper) – Add Chicken Breast on top to make it a meal.
- Tea or Coffee
Post Workout Meals :
Meal Option #1
- Salmon/Haddock/Halibut/Cod Fish (change up your fish and spices) with Brown Rice and Salad
Meal Option #2
- Tandoori Chicken Breast Roll (Chicken Breast cubes marinated in Shan Tandoori Chicken Masala then baked), add in Avocado, Mustard, Fresh Red Onion, and vegetables per taste
Meal Option #3
Add some carbohydrates like Brown Rice or Sweet Potato
Meal Option #4
Salmon, Brown Rice, Salad (Baby Spinach, Kidney Beans,Chickpeas with Quinoa and carrots dressed with Balsamic Vinegar), 1 Olive,
What Time of the Day Should I Exercise?
I’m planning to workout 4-5 days a week during Ramadan. Your exercise plan depends on you and your goals, if you’re trying to lose weight try to go for a brisk walk or run before Iftar for 20-30 minutes. After Iftar you can go for more.
I’m planning to do 3 days of strength training, with 2 days of fast cardio. So I’ll run/walk before Iftar 2 days a week and 3 days after Iftar and prayers I’ll head to the gym for 1.5 hour strength training workout.
It’s important to find what works for you best, you might want to workout on an empty stomach or after a light iftar meal, depends on you.
Ramadan Do’s & Don’ts
- Don’t eat lots of fried food like samosas and spring rolls (if you really want to, eat 1 but not when opening your fast, after you’ve filled your stomach with something nutritious).
- Do drink lots of water especially between Iftar and Suhoor
- Don’t starve yourself in Ramadan if you’re trying to lose weight it’s important to eat healthy, nutritious meals with moderate carbohydrates and lots of protein and you will lose.
- Do drink coconut water and electrolytes to keep you hydrated
- Don’t eat Parathas for Suhoor
- Do plan your meals to avoid eating oily/fatty foods during Iftar and Suhoor
- Don’t Skip Suhoor!
- Do eat tons of protein!
- Don’t eat salty foods for Suhoor – it will only dehydrate you!
- Don’t train if you feel sick, weak or dizzy
- Do light cardiovascular exercises – walking, cycling to help burn calories
- Do have a workout buddy to keep you motivated
Follow my journey, meal plans and workout routine on SnapChat: Nilohaq xx
I’d love to hear what you guys are doing this Ramadan to stay healthy! Do comment below 🙂