Don’t Lose Your Strength When You Find Ramdan
So, it’s about that time. We’re finally reaching the blessed month of Ramadan, and we are all excited. Many of us will be setting goals for ourselves in terms of gaining more in a spiritual sense, doing more good deeds, helping family, friends, those in need and ultimately making the most of this Ramadan. However, some of us will do all that, while also trying to juggle our own training routines alongside long nights in the Masjid praying Tarawih. So, what is the best way to train during Ramadan?
The most effective form of training for strength:
For us gym goers, athletes and those who have just started to get into strength and muscle building, inevitably you will be worried about losing those hard earned gains you have made over the year or previous months prior to Ramadan. There really shouldn’t be a reason to be worried because there are ways around you maintaining those gains as well as doing the most you can to get closer to Allah during this blessed month. As Ramadan will fall in the summer time, we will have less time to eat, and less time to get in those long sessions of gym time we are so used to. So, how do we overcome this?
The first thing to do is set up a routine whereby, you maintain your strength with low to moderate volume on the compound lifts; deadlift, squat and bench press with heavy weights (80-95% of 1 rep max). This will ensure that you will retain your strength if you are consistent enough! You want to plan every session to cover one of these three compound lifts, and this would compromise one lift alongside a few accessory exercises at moderate volume. We do not want to burn our muscles into near fatigue/failure as that will increase muscle wastage if your caloric intake is not at or above maintenance. Make sure you are fully hydrated before any session and during. This will aide recovery and will keep your performance level up to standard. You want to be training after Iftar, but not right after. Give it an hour or so before, so that the food you have consumed has settled in your stomach, and is on its way to become fully digested.
An ideal session would last for 30-45 minutes (It is advisable you join a 24 hour gym). Set and rep range for each compound lift would look something like this:
Week 1 of Ramadan training log:
Squats: 5×3 @ 80% of 1 RM
Leg curls: 10×5
Leg press: 10×5
Leg extension: 10×5
Bench press: 5×3 @ 80% of 1 RM
Tricep machine push downs: 6×8
Barbell curl: 6×8
Incline machine/Bench press: 6×8
Deadlifts: 5×3 @ 80% of 1 RM
Back rows: 6×8
Leg curls: 10×5
Shoulder press: 6×8
Lat pull down: 6×8
This would be an adequate amount for the person training for strength and muscle maintenance and they can go up to 85% on the second week of Ramadan, 90% on the third and 95% on the fourth (this will be effective in making sure you increase strength as well as progress). You should also use this time to have an extra workout meal. This can be a protein shake that is high in carbs, fats and protein as well as something on the side e.g. a flapjack. It’s important to get in as many good sources of carbs, fats and protein during Ramadan. Protein is the most important factor as it will constantly keep the muscles from wasting away, carbs come in second and you want to get in as much as possible to fuel your workouts and your legs during Tarawih.
– Fasting during Ramadan also has its benefits, which include:
– Improved focus
– A chance to allow training/diet to run in the background and to focus on higher priorities
– The potential for restored insulin sensitivity and nutrient partitioning
– Higher growth hormone output during the fasts
Choose calorie dense foods. You do not want to be eating foods that cause bloating or fill you up easily, e.g. rice and dairy. I will go into more specifics as the month approaches, for food options, recipes and other training methods during Ramadan. Nevertheless, this is mainly aimed at those wishing to keep their muscle, keep their strength and progress. The next part of this article will be targeted at food options and what would benefit you.
May Allah reward you for reading, and I hope this helps you get an idea of what to do when planning a routine to hold onto during Ramadan. Please be sure that training comes after our duties towards Allah and that the priority of Ramadan is to please Him as best we can, and that it is a month of mercy and worship. Training comes behind all the things we need to do as Muslims during this blessed month. Make sure to make gains for your hereafter!
To be continued …
By: @lockoutstrength (MW Contributor)
Sarmad is an avid weightlifter. He creates and prepares custom diet plans and exercise/strength/bodybuilding routines that take everything into account: body composition, fitness levels and 1 rep max outputs.
For more strength and lifting, diet and general fitness advice, visit Sarmad’s personal blog.