Food & Training During Ramadan - 3 Strategies
Nutrition and Training During Ramadan - 3 Strategies
During Ramadan, Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset. Many people have many questions about their nutrition and training during this time. When is the best time to train? What should you pay attention to if you do not want to lose muscle mass?
Nutrition for muscle mass maintenance
It often happens that people find it difficult to eat enough. A possible consequence is a caloric deficit, which makes you lose weight. Some people don't mind losing weight as long as it's not lean body mass. Others like to maintain their body weight. So what to do?
Determine how many calories you want to consume and over how many meals you want to distribute the calories. Suppose you want to consume 2300 kcal, and you want to plan 3 meals, then you will have to compose 3 meals of +/- 766 kcal. If you want to change the distribution, you can of course, but keep in mind that you can suffer from your stomach ache if you eat too fast and/or too much at once. An easy tool to help you build meals is through a food logging app, for example "My Fitness Pal" (the free version is enough).
Calories have a muscle protein sparing effect, so if you take in less than you need, you can lose muscle mass in addition to fat mass. The less you eat, the sooner your body is inclined to burn even more precious muscle mass for energy. If you don't manage to get enough calories in, you will have to provide sufficient protein: a nice guideline is 1.8-2.7g protein per kg body weight (1,2,3). Especially if you eat plant-based, we recommend staying on the higher end of the range of this recommendation and considering extra essential amino acids on training days. If you can, it is also wise to evenly distribute your total protein intake as much as possible over your meals. If you are struggling to get your protein requirements, consider a vegan protein powder. SUPPLEAM® has the Premium Plant-based Protein with extra BCAAs and the Premium Vegan Clear Protein with extra EAA's.
3. When is the best time to train?
Often people wonder when is the best time to train during Ramadan. You want to ask yourself: when do I have the most energy? Usually this is after you have eaten and drank something. So you can consider a number of options:
- Almost immediately after breaking the fast. This means that you do not want to get a large meal right away. Give priority to hydration and carbohydrates, think of (dried) fruit, bread with sweet toppings, oatmeal, etc. After this you will have energy to train. After your workout follows your recovery meal, a large main meal that prioritizes protein, try aiming for at least 30-50g of protein. The amount of protein per meal depends on your goal for your total protein intake. You could also opt for to add some protein in a hydrolyzed form like the Premium Vegan Clear Protein;
- After your breakfast. Your breakfast is a main meal and contains all components: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. If your training consists mainly of strength training, you can reduce the intensity so that a larger meal before your workout doesn't affect your stomach too much. If you plan to train at a fairly high intensity, like HIIT, I do not recommend this option;
- Just before breaking the fast. Some people adjust the intensity of their workouts. This allows them to achieve good training sessions even with minimal energy. In this case, you train before breaking the fast and break the fast with a complete recovery meal.
What's most important is what feels like a right fit for you. It's a quest and perhaps it's slightly different every Ramadan. Take the pressure off. Even if you would lose a bit of muscle, you will be able to rebuild quickly. Ramadan Mubarak from SUPPLEAM®!
- Rogerson D. Vegan diets: practical advice for athletes and exercisers: a review. Journal of the International Society of Sport Nutrition.2017; 14:36
- Phillips SM, Van Loon LJC. Dietary protein for athletes: from requirements to optimum adaptation. J Sports Sci. 2011;29(Suppl 1):S29–38.
- Helms E, Aragon A, Fitschen P. Evidence-Based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation. Journal international Society Sports Nutrition. 2014;11(1):1