We’re sure most of you must have heard the term intermittent fasting. Ramadan, in its way, is one such form of intermittent fasting. Apart from the celebrations and galore during this month, one must not forget about their own health. There are several health benefits of fasting if done in a right, guided way. Here are some of them -
- Fasting helps creating a calorie deficit that aids weight loss
- Helps fighting inflammation
- Improves blood pressure and prevents neurodegenerative disorders
- Increases mental wellbeing.
But fasting alone is not enough to stay fit and healthy. If you pay close attention to your body during this time, you will see a drastic change in your eating habits. That means that understanding and balancing the nourishment with iftar and suhoor becomes crucial. But the question remains - How do you stay strong, healthy and energetic during this phase?
If you are on a program on the app, look out for the Special Ramzan Plan, Recipes and guidelines. If you are on a Nourish program, just ask your nutritionist for a Ramadan Plan.
Read on to find out some tips!
The meal ‘Pre-dawn’, never to be gone!
You need to get a sufficient amount of nutrients during this time. Skipping your pre-dawn meal will NOT help you do so.
Do you want to stay healthy? If you have answered yes to that question, never skip your pre-dawn meal. It is extremely important to pre-plan and prepare a well-balanced nutritious meal that contains -
- Complex carbohydrates - they are slow releasing carbs, these help in keeping the blood sugar in check and maintain a feeling of fullness. Oats, wheat bran, lentils, starchy veggies are examples of this.
- High-fibre foods - that digest slowly like bran, fig, fibrous veggies, dates, fruits are good to be had to keep the fullness feeling for long.
- Protein-rich foods - these include fish, chicken, paneer, yogurt, etc.
Veggies and fruits! For the importance of these, no one can pursuit.
At least 3 servings of veggies and 2 servings of fruits per day with high water content like cucumber, watermelon, papaya, oranges, spinach, tomatoes and so on! Eat them raw or make them into a salad or cook, boil, steam them and enjoy them!
More water intake, never a mistake!
To prevent dehydration during the day, taking enough water between iftar and suhoor will help. Enough water is vital to water depletion in your body especially because dehydration has all kinds of negative effects on the body. Regular water intake helps you overcome that!
Workout! Cannot go without!
If you are on a program, you can continue with your workouts. Feel free to discuss timings and food with your nutritionist.
If you are not on an active program and have not been working out then use these tips.
For beginner level - Focus on NEAT movements.
NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis. Which means burning calories with minimal activities like standing, walking. Walking 10k steps in a day, standing for an hour helps with this. Fasting has a distinctive fat-burning potential, so just walking will also have an additional compelling impact on your body.
Beginner to intermediate - Focus on LISS cardio.
LISS stands for Low intensity steady state. Exercises like running or cycling helps with this. This is doable and suitable for fat burning. Engage in 30 mins sessions and track your calories burnt.
Tip - start the exercise slowly, with stretches and stay below your maximum level. Do NOT push yourself over your body’s limit.
This will depend on your energy levels and your diet calories and timings. IF you have a proper plan in place, you can continue with your regular workouts.
Intermediate to advanced - Focus on HIIT training.
HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. This is more intense exercise than just running or cycling. Spend 20-30 mins during Ramadan for best results. This should have short bursts of exercise for 45 seconds of intense exercise and rest for 15 seconds.
Tip - just like LISS cardio, you are advised to remain within or below your maximum limit.
If you have your diet plan in place you can continue with your regular workouts. However the time of the workout and nutrient timing is critical based on the type of workout.
Though these are the basic guidelines to follow, one might still have some concerns with regards to how to not fall off the wagon during these days. It sure might seem difficult but it is do-able with the right guidance and mentor. If you are on a plan with us, you will get support from your nutritionist to manage this phase and help you understand how to continue doing so.
We have seen some common questions, they are addressed below for your reference -
Though a large portion of us might want to focus on the religious perspective during this month, some basics of nutrition and exercise becomes a must for health.
One should try to stay away from starting a new routine or a high intensity routine during ramadan. Intense exercises while fasting might lead to reduced muscle mass and muscle strength. However, it is very much advisable to do medium-intensity workouts during this month.
Ideal time for working out would be after iftar so that you can replenish yourself after exhaustion. You can also do them before suhoor after having a small snack (pre-workouts snack) and plenty of water. This can be followed by a nice, nutrient dense meal! Yummy!
This is answered for you if you are on any plan with us. You understand how and what exactly you need to add to your meal. Adding fibre rich + protein rich + complex carbs rich foods to this time will help increase satiety. Eggs, curd, whole cereals, pulses, chicken, fish are great to achieve this.
Preferred drinks for this time - lemonade/ thandai / sattu / green tea / tea / coffee.
Iftar meals need to be rich in carbohydrates, electrolytes and must include protein dense foods. Various options to choose from are -
- Cereals - whole grain sandwiches
- Fruits with quinoa
- Oats and cold milk / overnight (can call it over-day) oats / oats dosa
- Poha- egg poha / peanuts poha / sprouts poha
- Tofu / paneer rolls in wheat atta
- Chicken rolls / kebabs
- Boiled egg - salad / custard / pasta (whole wheat)
- Soya granules - cutlet / stuffed in roti / soyachops
Even though intermittent fasting has become vogue in the last few years, it has still always been a part of our culture. Be it Navratri or Ramadan. Many studies have proven that fasting augments human growth hormones. This helps speed injury and repair muscle damage after workouts. It also increases muscle mass and helps metabolism.
Avoid very heavy, oily, spicy meals. Fried food, cream, refined flour, refined sugar and processed foods. Try not to have fruits and cooked vegetables at the same time. Do not drink excessive coffee as it can have a diuretic effect and might cause dehydration. Stay away from high fat dressings like mayonnaise, cream, packed sauces, salad oils, etc. Do not overeat as it causes your blood sugar levels to spike.
It is important to note that the diet during this time is planned as per one’s requirement, routine, physical activity and appetite. Different people, when given the exact same thing, react differently. However, the key to any diet is moderation and portion size control. You might need an expert guidance on this to ace it this time and keep doing it from this time on!