Hamish Ramdharry
Advanced UK Diploma in Personal Training and Sports Nutrition

It is widely assumed that people have to suspend their training as it is difficult to follow nutrition and exercise plans during Ramadan.
However, by planning ahead and making smart food choices, you can still support your goals by switching to maintenance and strength training.

This year, Ramadan falls between Tuesday May 15 and Thursday June 14 2018, with Sehri times approximately 0513 hrs and Iftar times around 1741 hrs.
Between Iftar and Sehri, there is an 11-12 hour window where three to four meals that meet your goals are very possible.

After a day of fasting your hunger hormones will be high so having meals prepared in advance for when you break the fast is key, and aim to drink between 3-5 litres of water.

The best time to hit the gym during Ramadan is either after your first meal of the day (Sehri), or after your first meal post-fasting (Iftar).
After your meal, your body will be fuelled to complete your training session, ensuring your muscles recover and repair during the effort and set for the next session.

Rather than attempting to set a new personal best or muscle building, focus your efforts on maintenance training with three to four strength training sessions a week.
Lower your volume and shorten your workouts, or even use this time as an opportunity to work on weak points.

A good training plan would be to focus on four to five sets with five to eight repetitions and 60 seconds rest.
Preferably aim for at least 45 minutes of hard work but nothing more than 90 minutes.

For supplementation consider branched chained amino acids (BCAAs) and an intra workout to conserve your muscle integrity and fuel your efforts.
Those who use creatine can continue doing so, as it will keep your cells hydrated by locking in water. However, if your goal is to shred then cycle off creatine to avoid water retention.

If your goal is to shed bodyfat then you should try your best to eat the same quantity and ratio of food that you would normally consume on your fat loss diet. The above supplements can also be used.

Avoid low-nutrient-dense meals, junk food and highly-processed products – like deep fried foods, cakes, pastries, cereals, and biscuits, as well as fast foods and highly processed meats.

Base your diet around lean meats, healthy fats, low glycemic index carbohydrate sources and plenty of green vegetables.

Food for optimal performance

Protein

There is a risk of muscle loss during fasting periods, so it is vital to keep your protein intake high between Iftar and Sehri.

I recommend that you should try and eat between 1.5-2.5g of protein per 1kg of body weight.

The best sources of protein are from fish, chicken, turkey, beef, eggs, greek yoghurt, whey, and for vegetarians have tofu and tempeh.

Fats

Healthy fats are important and must be included during your final meal before the fast begins again.

Carbohydrates 

Some people work really well on high fat, high protein and low carbs – particularly during a period of fasting.
Great sources of carbohydrates are sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, legumes and oats.
The best time to consume carbs is after training to help replenish depleted muscle glycogen stores.

Vegetables 

They are key because of their high fibre content, keep you feeling fuller for longer and keep hunger at bay.

During Ramadan, the main things to remember are: Always plan ahead, stay hydrated every day, and seek advice on your training and nutrition from a fitness professional.

During the month of Ramadan, change your training goal to maintenance or strength and follow this eating schedule.


Ramadan Mauritius 2018: Tuesday

May 15- Thursday June 14 2018

Sehri: Average time 0513 Hrs
Iftar: Average time 1741 Hrs

Sample maintenance/strength training diet

Training Days: Training time: 1800hrs, Training duration: 45min-90min

1741 hrs – IFTAR Break Fast / Pre-Workout: Whey, Cream of Rice, Fruit (Raisins/Dates/Apple), Nut Butter, Fish Oils
1841 hrs – During Workout – Amino Acid and Carb Powder drink
1941 hrs – Post Workout Shake – Whey and Carb Powder drink
2041 hrs – Post Workout Meal – Lean Beef Mince, Rice, Olive Oil
0515 hrs– SEHRI Pre-Fast Meal – Eggs and Oats

Rest Days:

1741 hrs – IFTAR Whole Food Meal (e.g. meat/fish with healthy fats/carbs)
2000hrs – Liquid Meal (e.g. whey, cream of rice/oats, dried fruit, nut butter all blended)
2300 hrs – Whole Food Meal (e.g. meat/fish with healthy fats/carbs)
0515 hrs – SEHRI Whole Food Meal (e.g Meat/Fish/Eggs with healthy fats/carbs)

This may seem challenging; however it does show that your fitness gains do not have to suffer.

Sample fat loss training diet 

The following diet plan, is one I created especially for a former Mauritian client during Ramadan. They weighed 60kg and had a bodyfat percentage of 25 %.
In your case, adjust your portion sizes according to your macronutrient ratios.

Meal 1: 1741 hrs Iftar
3 dates, 200ml skimmed milk

Meal 2: 1841 hrs
150g chicken breast, 150g green vegetables with 10g butter, 60g rice, 500ml water.

Strength training 2100hrs
A minimum of 1 litre of water.

Meal 3: 2300 hrs
150g white fish, 150g green vegetables with 10g butter, 500ml water.

Meal 4: 0515 hrs SEHRI
150g baked salmon, 60g white rice, 500ml water.