We created this article (Fitness During Ramadan) in 2014 and have rebooted it for 2018 after various questions and requests from you guys and girls about how they can eat and train over Ramadan. This is useful for those on our LDNM Transformation Guides for Men and Women looking for structure during this month of fasting, or just those looking to partake in training and well-formed eating patterns in general.

The scenarios we detail are simply our best and most realistic suggestions, so please feel free to tweet us @LDN_Muscle or leave a comment below about the article!

As we understand, Ramadan restricts eating and drinking to only the hours of darkness. These hours of complete fasting lengthen slightly throughout Ramadan, dawn till dusk (Fajr to Maghrib), from Tuesday 15th of May to Thursday the 14th of June.

The fasting commences just prior to sunrise, where a (traditionally) light meal is eaten (Suhoor) and finishes at sunset, post-prayer (Adhan). We will detail some advice below on how to consume sufficient calories (and macros) in these hours to try and help maintain a healthy metabolism and avoid excess muscle catabolism. We will also try to help with fitting in your gym session too, if you do wish to train during the holy month.

If you do train we would recommend that you reduce the length and/or intensity of gym sessions during Ramadan (and certainly do not increase the intensity!), given that you are consuming less food and water – increasing your risk of over-exertion and further dehydration. The risks are especially heightened if working out during the fasted period of the day, which we would not advise. Personally we would only work out after a substantial Iftar (fast-breaking) meal – most importantly ensuring you had consumed around 1.5-2 litres of water prior to physical activity.

Obviously everyone’s caloric needs will differ, but the example meals given can be worked to fit your particular macronutrient/kcal requirements, or used as an example and altered to your own taste or desires. The meals can even just serve as a menu to pick and choose meals from that are calorie dense and easy to cook, regardless of if you are aiming to hit a certain amount of calories or not.

Please do not take this article as us telling you that you must train, but simply our advice on training and nutrition if you do wish to keep active during the holy month.

 

Training advice for the fasted period:

We would try to discourage you from working out – weights or cardio – during the fasted period of the day due to the increased risks of dehydration/over exertion and increased potential for muscle catabolism. There would be an even stronger suggestion against training on a hot/active day.

As this will be a repeated period of calorie restriction, we would advise that you avoid high volume weight training (this will use more kcal/be more fatiguing) and preference hypertrophy and strength training for maximum muscle retention. Stay away from complete failure for at least all but your final set(s), and stop training if you feel at all light-headed, dizzy or nauseas. Drop sets, super sets, 6-12-25 work and other high volume methods should be avoided or used sparingly.

We would also suggest a reduction in cardio and advise that you do not perform HIIT in the fasted period and limit/stop it completely post-workout. LISS can be performed before the Adhan if you do not feel dehydrated or weak, so you can then rehydrate and eat immediately afterwards- but again listen to your body and be careful. We would only suggest HIIT after Adhan, if at all.

 

Monday 6th of June – Fasted period: 03:51 – 20:27

Ideal Scenario:

If you are working to an LDNM Transformation Guide we would advise using your standard pre/post workout meal macros, with an increase of carbs and fats at each meal by around 20%. We would also advise at your Suhoor, you consume carbs equivalent to around half that of your pre workout meal (on top of your regular breakfast macros). 

20:30 (pre-workout meal):

Suggestion: normal protein, high carb, low fat

1-1.5 litres of water with 20-40g of dextrose, 1 piece of fruit, 5g serving of 2:1:1 BCAAs, creatine and a pinch of salt (this will allow you to train 15-30 minutes after breaking fast/this meal).

Overnight oats

Total 0% yoghurt, whey protein, rolled oats, diced dates, blueberries, banana and manuka honey.

Instant oats, whey protein and powdered greens shake. 1-2 pieces of low fibre fruit.

Simple smoothie

Ensure you drink at least 1 litre of water with (a pinch) 0.5-1.5g of sea salt with this meal (use 0.5g if your family has a history of heart disease). Continue to sip on water during the lead up to your session as you will be very dehydrated come the final few hours of your fast. Some coconut water may also be a good addition to this meal.

21:45 (pre-workout):

Caffeine has a diuretic effect, but if you choose to use it as supplement or a single or double espresso will work here (also consider the effect upon sleep here; you will struggle for a good sleep if having caffeine or other stimulants close to sleeping).

22:00 – 22:45 (intra-workout):

A serving (5g) of BCCAs powder & 15-30g dextrose (more or less dextrose may be used dependent on your macros – gummy bears or equivalent sweets can also be used here) mixed with around 1 litre of water to sip on throughout your workout.

23:00 (post-workout & pre-bed):

Aim: high protein, high carb, low fat

1 large chicken breast, express rice, microwave mixed vegetables, chipotle sauce to taste. Piece of fruit.

Simple Smoothie: whey powder, spinach, kale, frozen mixed berries, banana, almond milk and water/ice as needed (blend).

Protein Porridge with Sautéed Fruit Topping.

Bowl of low fat cereal, skimmed milk. Whey protein shake with greens powder.

(Optional) 01:00 shake:

If you wake up in the night you can opt to have a shake here, similar to that detailed below.

Whey protein, instant oats, greens powder. Handful of brazil nuts.

03:00 – 03:30 (breakfast):

Aim: high protein, medium carb, high fat

Rolled oats, unsweetened almond milk, whey protein, cinnamon, chocolate almond butter, chia seeds, and strawberries.

Poached eggs, sautéed spinach, diced garlic and mushrooms on buttered wholemeal toast.

LDNM Peanut Butter Stir Fry

Protein Granola recipe

Chicken quesadillas

Before fast begins:

Drink another litre of water with a moderate pinch of good quality sea salt.

Your Suhoor meal can be in addition immediately after your ‘breakfast’. Try to get some vegetables on board here too if possible.

You can also sip on an electrolyte drink up until the beginning of your fast instead of the salted water.

If your schedule permits you could sleep more here after prayer- I know I would! However, napping during the day for 20 minutes at a time or periods upwards of 90 minutes should not be overlooked as a useful tool to hit those all-important 6-8 hours of sleep per 24 hours.

 

This example diet plan is designed to pack in sufficient protein, carbs, fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals that you will be deprived of during the fasted period. This should allow you to train soon after you break the daily fast, which is probably the most sociable and safe balance for everyone.

I would reiterate again to limit the length of any training sessions to 30-60 minutes, dependent on how well you manage this period of disturbed eating and sleeping patterns energy and nutrition wise.


 

Sub-optimal Scenario:

Where you are training within the fasted period (we would not suggest this given the risk of dehydration, increased muscle catabolism and likely poor quality of sessions).

If you do train during the fasted period please avoid high volume weights and high intensity circuits or cardio.

20:30 (post-workout & pre-bed meal):

High protein, high carb, medium fat

1 large chicken breast, express rice, microwavable mixed vegetables, generous pinch of salt, (chipotle) sauce to taste.

Simple smoothie

Whey protein, dextrose, instant oats, creatine shake.

Dark chocolate Greek yoghurt post-workout

1.5-2 litres of water.

Sleep 22:15 – 03:00

(Optional) 00:00 shake:

If you wake up in the night you can opt to have a shake here, similar to that detailed below.

Whey protein, instant oats, greens powder. Handful of brazil nuts.

03:00 – 03:30 (breakfast):

High protein, high carb, high fat

Protein porridge: Rolled oats, unsweetened almond milk, whey protein, chocolate almond butter, chia seeds, diced strawberries.

(Wholemeal) Toasted bread slice(s), poached egg(s), spinach, garlic, mushrooms.

Overnight oats with nut butter.

0% yoghurt, whey powder, dates, banana, cinnamon, nutmeg.

Before fast begins:

Drink another litre of water with a moderate pinch of good quality sea salt.

Your Suhoor meal can be in addition immediately after your ‘breakfast’. Try to get some vegetables on board here too if possible.

You can also sip on an electrolyte drink up until the beginning of your fast instead of the salted water.

If your schedule permits you could sleep more here after prayer- I know I would! However, napping during the day for 20 minutes at a time or periods upwards of 90 minutes should not be overlooked as a useful tool to hit those all-important 6-8 hours of sleep per 24 hours.

 

This example diet plan is designed to pack in sufficient protein, carbs, fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals that you will be deprived of during the fasted period. This should allow you to train soon after you break the daily fast, which is probably the most sociable and safe balance for everyone.

I would reiterate again to limit the length of your sessions to 30-60 minutes, dependent on how well you manage this period of disturbed eating and sleeping patterns energy and nutrition wise. Be especially careful with over-exerting yourself if you are training during fast

 

Rest day:

20:30 fast-breaking meal:

High protein, high carb, medium fat

LDNM Healthy Chicken Saag Recipe with Pilau rice

Whey, Kale, frozen berries, diced dates, ground almonds (smoothie).

Wholemeal lean beef mince burrito.

Sleep 22:00 – 03:30

(Optional) 00:30 shake:

If you wake up in the night you can opt to have a shake here, similar to that detailed below.

Whey protein, instant oats, greens powder. Handful of brazil nuts.

03:00 – 03:30 breakfast:

High protein, medium carb, high fat

Omelette with cooked chicken breast, spinach, diced peppers, mushrooms and seasoning. 2 pieces of fruit.

0% yoghurt, whey protein, banana, goji berries, diced walnuts and brazil nuts, manuka honey.

Bowl of granola, full fat milk. Whey protein shake.

Before fast begins:

Drink another litre of water with a moderate pinch of good quality sea salt.

Your Suhoor meal can be in addition immediately after your ‘breakfast’. Try to get some vegetables on board here too if possible.

You can also sip on an electrolyte drink up until the beginning of your fast instead of the salted water.

If your schedule permits you could sleep more here after prayer- I know I would! However, napping during the day for 20 minutes at a time or periods upwards of 90 minutes should not be overlooked as a useful tool to hit those all-important 6-8 hours of sleep per 24 hours.

 

This example diet plan is designed to pack in sufficient protein, carbs, fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals that you will be deprived of during the fasted period. This should allow you to train soon after you break the daily fast, which is probably the most sociable and safe balance for everyone.

 

 

Post Ramadan:

Dependent on your Eid al-Fitar, you may or may not feast at the end of Ramadan. If you do partake in a feast, unless you feel that you need a mentally need that ‘blowout’ meal eating everything you can lay your hands on, we would suggest that you don’t go completely crazy. Have a little self-restraint and eat until you are satiated, rather than unable to move, in order to prevent consuming excess calories that will be stored as fat.

In the days following, we would suggest transitioning back to normal eating and sleeping patterns/volumes. Keep the meals that aren’t pre or post workout low in carbohydrates for the time being, they can be slowly reintroduced at a rate of 10g every other day (if you gain weight quickly, be sure to reintroduce them at a slower rate- circa 5-10g).

We would also suggest building back to your previous training program and intensity over the course of a week, rather than jumping straight back in to high volume and HIIT training.

We hope this article has been genuinely useful and helped you manage the holy month slightly more aptly in a health and fitness sense.

Please see our exclusive, high-quality LDNM Supplement Range here.

For the best progress towards your goals and ongoing support see our Transformations Guides for men and women, detailing training, nutrition, supplements and more over a 10-20 week period.

As always tweet your feedback to @LDN_Muscle and have a good one!

 

Remember to follow us and post your meals on Instagram, and use the hashtag #LDNMuscle so we can see your lovely creations, repost some and spread the LDNM Community far and wide!

 

 

 

 

  

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