Did you know that exercising while fasting isn’t that different from working out after iftar? Certified personal trainer and nutritionist by IFBA Omar Fouad Breaks some Ramadan misconceptions about food and fitness we always thought were true.
By Mariam Elhamy
What are some misconceptions about fasting and eating during Ramadan that you would like to break? Ramadan misconceptions
- A misconception about Ramadan is that if you eat big quantities, it’ll make fasting much easier. Unfortunately, that is not true. The key is not to eat as much as possible but to eat a balanced meal that includes quality carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
- Another misconception about Ramadan is that fasting eliminates toxins from the body. Also not true. You can only achieve that by consuming foods that are beneficial to your body; these include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, salmon, etc. If you break your fast with fried foods and high sugar foods the toxins will remain in your body.
- The third misconception is that fasting will result in weight loss. Again, not true. The only thing fasting really does for weight loss is that it restricts the time frame where you can eat. shredding in Ramadan
The only way you can lose weight is by monitoring your calories and making sure you’re not eating more than you need. So do not depend on fasting in Ramadan as a way to lose weight!
Please tell us about exercising in Ramadan, does exercising while fasting make you lose weight and/or muscle?
First off, exercising correctly during Ramadan will always be beneficial for your health and will help you reach your fitness goals. However, one misconception I want to address is “when” to exercise. Ramadan misconceptions
A lot of people assume that if you exercise before breaking your fast, you’ll burn more fat because there aren’t many carbohydrates in your body. This makes people think that it will cause your body to use only the fats as the source of energy to exercise therefore you’ll lose more weight than usual.
Unfortunately, a lot of research has proven that this is in fact NOT true. There isn’t much of a difference if you decide to exercise before or after breaking your fast. If you really want to lose weight in Ramadan, it is important to be in a calorie deficit and keep track of the carbs, fats and proteins that you consume.
On the other hand, if you are looking to build muscles I wouldn’t recommend exercising before breaking your fast. Spending the whole day with no food and water will be exhausting which will affect your performance during exercise and therefore slow down your progress. Ramadan misconceptions
You might also miss your metabolic window which is a 15 minute period right after exercise where your body is at the peak function of building muscle. The only time I would recommend exercising while fasting is if you have no other time in the day, or you are at a good fitness level and are confident that you can perform well in training.
People can keep the same diet that they follow on normal days while fasting in Ramadan, is this a misconception and how do we correct it?
For people who were following diets prior to Ramadan, what you can do is maintain the same amount of macros (carbs, proteins and fats) you had before. The one thing you can change is to switch to foods that have more caloric dense.
It can be hard for people who are bulking or trying to increase muscle mass to squeeze in all these calories in such a short time period, so the solution to that is to consume foods that have more calories.
For people trying to lose weight, Ramadan is one of the things that can be super helpful because you will have less time to eat and therefore it will be harder to consume so many calories compared to normal days. All you need to do is to focus on maintaining the amount of macros you need and make sure you are in a caloric deficit to lose that weight.