So one of my personal training clients in Epsom as been body building and strength training with me for over a 6 months now and the other day he tells me he is going to be fasting during Ramadan and wants my advice on maintaining the muscle he has built up.
One of the key things that I tell all my personal training clients who are looking to build muscle and strength is that the need to eat plenty of food and be in a calorie surplus. Your body is only going to build muscle with the extra calories it has left over at the end of the day when all of your body’s other calories requirements are met.
As you can see, being in a calorie deficit for a month and body building don’t really work together.
I have had plenty of personal training clients who have done Ramadan fasting before and I tell them all the same advice.
You are not going to make any gains during Ramadan but you can maintain what you have achieved so far, by altering your training.
First to maintain your muscle and strength cut the duration of your workouts down. You want to be in and out of the gym quick. The longer you are in there the more you will eat into your muscle as fuel.
Second is to focus on the compound movements (exercises that use a lot of muscle at the same time) e.g. squats, bench press, chin ups, dead lifts.
Third is to reduce your sets for each exercise. No more than 3 sets for any exercise, you are just stimulating your muscles to stay strong here and maintain the mass they have. More sets than this will just drain your bodies fuel reserves and start eating into muscle. I get my personal training clients to keep the rep ranges between 8-10 for any exercise during Ramadan. Going lower is a waste as you won’t have the energy reserves for a maximum lift of 2-4 reps. Doing really high reps 16+ won’t stimulate your muscles enough to stay strong.
Fourth is to keep cardio short and hard. 10-15 mins of intervals will be enough to keep your heart and lungs healthy and maintain your cardio. Long cardio sessions will just eat into your muscle as fuel.
Fifth is to time your workouts so as soon as you have finished you can have something to eat. Your muscles will be crying out for calories at the end of the workout so make sure you give them plenty.
Sixth as well as calories at the end of the workout make sure you drink plenty of water to rehydrate.
I tell my personal training clients who are fasting that they can maintain the muscle they have built up if you just follow these simple steps.