01) STAY HYDRATED
RAMADAN will occur during some of the longest and hottest days of the calendar year. We will have a very short period of time to get in both food and drink when we are fasting for 15-17 straight hours. Being diligent and purposeful is going to be important in balancing food and drink during the 3 or 4 hours we will have awake and not fasting.
The best way to stay hydrated is to drink water through out the evening. The body of the average person has the ability to absorb only 8-10 ounces of water very 20 minutes. (This amount goes up or down with body size) That means when you drink more than 10 ounces of water at one time, the body expels the additional water, hence the urge to urinate when we drink a lot of water. So the best plan is to drink smaller portions throughout the evening and you will be able to get plenty. It’s easy to remember if you connect your water with your prayers. Here is a sample routine.
✔ Break fast with 10 ounces of water before praying Magrib
✔ Drink 10 oz. of water after the prayer with your meal
✔ Drink 10 oz. of water before praying Isha
✔ Drink 10 oz. of water Before praying Tawarih
✔ Drink 10 oz. during the Tawarih Break
✔ Drink 10 oz. After Tawarih and Before Bed
✔ Drink 10 oz. Right Before Fajr comes in.
02) TAKE YOUR VITAMINS
WITH such long fast even the heftiest eater is going to find it hard to get all the micronutrients they need. That’s when a good “food-based” multi-vitamin will come in handy. The body needs 13 essential vitamins to function properly. To regulate the crucial performance of the body, it has to have vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K, B12, and the 7 B-complex vitamins. For example fat-soluble antioxidant vitamins, like the Vitamin E, works to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body.
It also maintains healthy skin through protection of cell membranes, blood circulation, heart, nerves, red blood cells, and muscles. Vitamin C fights infection, boosts the immune system and is vital in collagen formation, wound healing, and formation of bone structures, capillaries, and teeth.
Majority of these vitamins are obtained by our body through the food that we eat, however during Ramadan our foods are significantly decreased and when we eat many times the meals are not always balance nutrition. So the quantity and the quality of our food change during the month of fasting.
Taking a multi-vitamin made from whole food sources is the halal insurance policy for your health. “Food-based” multi-vitamins are made from dehydrated foods, making the micronutrient more bioavailable, in other words you body can actually use them. To make sure you have the right type of vitamins look at the nutrition label. If it has a list of the names of vitamins and does not list actual foods like, carrots, beets and broccoli in the ingredient list then its not food based.
03) SCALE BACK YOUR WORKOUT
DESPITE how fit you may be or how long you have been working out fasting 15-17 hours a day for 30 days will take a physical toll on your body. Going a day or two fasting may not phase your fitness routine but after a couple of weeks your body will not have the nutrients it need to recover from an hour of heavy weight training followed by a spin class. After workouts the muscles look for macronutrients (Fats, Carbohydrates and Proteins) to build and repair muscle fibers.
This process happens throughout a 24 hour period, which is the reason why outside of Ramadan fitness enthusiast eat every 3-4 hours to keep a consistent flow of nutrients to the muscles to pre-pare them for the next workout. Without this consistency your body will begin to cannibalize itself and eat away at the precious muscles and strength you have worked all year to build up.
So the intense workout that you are pushing yourself to achieve to prove your “Ramadan Fitness” will actually work against you in the very near future by making you weaker long term.
Mubarakah Ibrahim is the author of “The Ramadan Survival Guide: Practical Health and Fitness Advice For Observing Fast During the Summer” and owner of BALANCE Fitness Studio for Women in New Haven, CT. She is an AFAA Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Counselor and Authorized Oasis in the Overwhelm® Trainer. She has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show “Thirty-something in America”, is a contributing expert to Prevention Magazine on fitness for women over 40, appeared on the covers of the Hartford Current, New Haven Advocate and Chicago Tribune. Mubarakah lectures, promotes and conducts workshops on alternative health, fitness and healthy living throughout the World. She can be contacted through her website www.FitMuslimah.com