Morning All

As we all know that Ramadan is just round the corner, people are stocking up and preparing for the fasting period. Everyone has different views in tackling the way they would want to maintain their eating and fitness habits during this auspicious month. Some chose to lose weight, some chose to eat loads, some look into having the best food throughout the year not considering the health factor and some like to maintain their fitness and a healthy diet.

I was 12 years old when I did my first fast and boy I was anxious to pounce on all those special food items mom had made. Fasting at a very early age, I was able to monitor my food intake along with my physical exercise routine. And this helped me understand the real deal behind fasting and how to make the best of this month.

I like to call it the ‘Fix yourself month’  where you get to control over-eating, eating healthy and maintaining that fit body.

Ramadan is all about routine! routine!! and routine!!! There will be a lot of temptations during this month as the best of food is served in every house.

I’d like to share what I think is the ideal way to go about your health and fitness during this month.

Keep your body hydrated – drink as much water as you can at Iftar. Soup is ideal to start off as it is easily absorbed by the body allowing the nutrients to penetrate and nourish the body. A glass of fresh juice is a must after Iftar. Try and avoid milky drinks as it adds more calories to your food.

Oily foods – If a deep fried samosa is part of the menu, try and have just one and you can follow this pattern on a daily basis. During this month try and control your oily food intake such as samosas, jalebis and pakoras. Instead you may include healthy fats like olive oil, fish oil and fats found in meat. These are natural sources of energy which give you long – term sustained energy throughout the day while fasting.

 

Sugary foods – should be avoided as much as you can as sugar drains your body of vitamins and nutrients. Substitute sugar with fresh fruits and fruit juices. It keeps your body replenished. Have brown rice and wheat bread instead of white rice and white bread. High intake of sweets can leave you thirsty during the day.

Hibiscus – one of my favourite for its thirst quenching attributes. High in Vitamin C and with its pleasant taste, the hibiscus flower is best known for treating urinary tract infections, strengthening the immune system and useful for the heart and blood flow.

I would normally throw half a cup of the flower into a jar and soak it with cold water. Leave it to settle for a day or two, then remove the flowers and add honey. This is a perfect drink to break your fast.

The main idea is to eat food high in fibre, higher in protein and high in fat. In short, food that involves slow digestion which keeps the energy in you thus allowing you to sustain for longer periods.

 

To go with this diet, I ensure a regular exercise schedule is maintained. Reduce the intensity of the training and keep doing your usual routine. I usually maintain a lean muscle programme during Ramadan where no harm is done to my immune system and metabolism. Workouts like push ups, squats, chin ups, lower body exercises, forearms, upper body are parts where I would work on with reduced reps. e.g. 2 sets of 10 reps per exercise instead of 3 sets of 12, 10 and 8 reps per exercise.

 

If you are able to balance the above routine with the intake of a lot of fluids, healthy eating habits with minimum canned food and the least deep fried food items, you will be able to observe your fast with ease. Simultaneously, your fitness plays a vital role in keeping your heart pumping. The best time for a work – out would be an hour or two before iftar so once you are done with the work out, you can get straight to your iftar.

Ramadan Kareem

Tamim

You may also like: