Spiritual Strength: Getting Leaner & Stronger while Fasting for Ramadan
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Ramadan is a time of year when we as Muslims take time to revitalize and strengthen the connection to our spiritual center. But just because we’re fasting, doesn’t mean that we have to wither away into physical weakness. Remember that a part of your faith includes taking care of yourself.
Let me tell you a story about a Muslim friend of mine. He’s a slim guy, but in good shape and health. Every year during Ramadan he loses a significant amount of weight and doesn’t like how his physique turns out at the end of 30 days. But he understands that this sacrifice he makes each year is for the sake of something greater than himself and so he commits to recharging his spiritual health at the expense of his physical health.
But this doesn’t have to be the case.
This year, he asked for some advice from me. “How do you maintain your strength and workouts during Ramadan?” he asked.
My answer is simple. Failure to plan is like planning to fail. I meticulously plan out the first two weeks. The second two weeks are variable because my appetite and body’s natural desires and needs change.
I plan my weekly meals and workouts and that seems to work for me.
Your body’s daily requirements are simple. Protein, Carbohydrates, Quality “Good” Fats, Water and High Nutrient Density. A combination of these things will keep your body from turning to muscle as a source of energy and the good fats should encourage the body to reach for body fat instead.
Protein and Fat will keep you full or “satiated” for longer so I tend to lean towards a very high protein intake in the morning. Meats, Nuts, and I supplement Fish Oil and a daily vitamin full of vital nutrients. My favorite vitamin supplement is a vegetarian source by Amazing Grass called Green SuperFood. Oh, and lots and lots of water
I lean towards getting a bit more carbohydrates in the evening from fruits and vegetables. I make sure to include protein as well and plenty of water. Usually I’ve done a workout at some point in the day and so my body is in need of carbohydrate replenishment.
Whatever you do, continue to workout. Skipping the first week thinking that you need time to adjust is the worst thing you can do. By the second week, you’ll be out of the habit so dive in week one and keep doing what you do normally. Lean on your spiritual strength to achieve your physical strength. My strongest days of lifting have been during Ramadan.
I left my friend with this bit of advice. Remember why you are fasting and use that faith to overcome all obstacles.
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