Many of us fast for one reason or the other, and I practice fasting from dawn till dusk for full month during Ramadan.
Ramadan is one of the milestones in the life of a Muslim to practice discipline, commitment and balance, without forgetting integrity, generosity and family. The essence of Ramadan represents love. Love for this universe, our Creator and the ones we share this planet with. With the essence of discipline in mind, this month also will test us in almost every physical and spiritual way.
I personally love this time of year. It has been my favorite time of year since I was 14 years old. The unity that I share with both my Muslim and Non-Muslim friends, reminds me of my purpose in life.
Having said that, you all know how seriously I take my fitness and health, and this month can definitely be challenging to keep up the pace and remain physically active. Well, fear no more, as I have found a way that works for me, and hopefully you can find this helpful!
Since I spend so much time building muscle, this month I try to RETAIN as much as I can. So planning for the types of meals and supplements is essential. I have outlined what works for me, and I hope it helps you this month as well.
My Daily Routine:
Prior to Breakfast, I usually try to Prep my meal the night before of oatmeal and egg whites with one whole egg.
In the AM:
I muster to get up 40 mins prior to Sehri time, I try to incorporate daily yoga for 20-30 mins and hydrate (with BCAA) during this time as much as possible. Coconut water would be a good choice at this time in the am. (You can also opt to do this after Fajr but you just can’t drink water from this point, so before is best). Breakfast usually takes me 10 mins to eat.
About 1 hr before Maghrib:
I will try to muster up some energy to do some home workouts and circuits. (You can also opt to do this 1 or 1.5 hr after Maghrib). This is about 20-30 mins long and I am sure to include BCAA. I typically aim to get about 15-20 gr of BCAA so I can retain lean muscle during this time due to lack of food during the day.
Here is a sample workout I will do:
50 Squats; 1 min skipping; 50 Reverse Lunges; 1 min skipping; 25 Step-ups on a chair (per leg); 1 min skipping ; 25 split squats (per leg). 1 min skipping REPEAT 3 or 4 Times!
I typically keep a date handy to balance my sugar levels and a glass of water (with BCAA). Give that in our culture, breaking fast is proceeded with some type of appetizer (fruit salads, samosa’s, chaat etc), I usually make my own healthy version of greek yogurt mixed with vanilla protein (tastes like a custard) and top it with fruit and some nuts (and my multi-vitamin and fish oil)
After prayers, I indulge in almost a variety of grilled meats that I premarinate and usually make before Maghrib. Given my energy levels are often exhausted at this point I usually opt for the easiest thing to make and it always includes veggies (broccoli, green beans, asparagus, cucumbers) complex carbs (brown rice, sweet potatoes) and a protein (lean steak or chicken). Click Here for some sample meals.
I also start drinking plenty of water and include coconut water for electrolytes and extra hydration.
I take slow ingesting protein (Casein or cottage cheese) right before bed and a glass of water with more BCAA. You can also opt for a high quality protein shake and mix in the BCAA with it. This will allow the protein to absorb slowly in my muscles and maintain what I worked for during the year.
Here is my grocery list:
- Whole Chicken (to roast or premade roasted chicken)
- Chicken breast
- Sweet Potatoes (cut into fries and baked)
- Brown or black rice
- Sugar Snap Peas and Hummus
- Cottage Cheese
- Irish Oats
- Eggs and egg whites
- Non-Fat greek yogurt
- Variety of Berries and nuts and seeds (pumpkin, walnuts, cashews)
- Coconut Water
- Variety of McCormiks premixed herbs and spices
- Protein Powder (Beef Protein is my fav recently)
- Fish Oil
- Multi-vitamins (True Star is my brand of choice)
Good luck Folks!! I hope this month brings you the balance, contentment and unconditional love as it brings for me. Keep me posted with your updates. I want to hear what works for you!!!