Ultimate Performance trainers give their Ramadan tips

How to train like an Ultimate Performance coach through Ramadan

For many Muslims around the world, Ramadan can be a challenging time when it comes to maintaining good health and fitness. However, you do not need to let your health and fitness goals slip completely.

At Ultimate Performance, which has a gym in Dubai, we work with hundreds of Muslim clients globally to help them through the month of Ramadan to emerge fit, healthy and ready to keep progressing with their goals. Many of our Muslim trainers are also observing Ramadan alongside their clients.

Read on as they share how they personally approach training, diet, meal planning and sleep while fasting.

Peter – trainer

What time do you wake up and what do you eat during Ramadan?

I wake up around 4.25am to be able to eat and prepare before the prayer time, 5.40am. I’m not looking at my calories, I’m just making sure I get a protein source, carbs and healthy fats. Depending on the time remaining, either I rest or go directly to work.

How do you stay hydrated when fasting?

Adding 3-4 pinches of Himalayan salt to my water in the morning can be a solution. Apart from that, I try not to get too dehydrated during the day by avoiding exposing myself too long in the sun or training in the middle of the day.

Being on your feet all day as a personal trainer, how do you ensure you have enough energy while fasting?

The first 10 days are the most tiring due to lower glycogen. A good approach so that the body adapts quickly in this period would be to begin to slightly reduce calories a few weeks before. For example, two weeks before, removing the snacks between meals, then one week before removing the snacks and breakfast or dinner. In this way, we reduce calories gradually and the body and the metabolism adapts to it. The morning meal helps me to keep me full at least until 3pm, then over the days, it becomes a habit and is manageable.

Has your training changed during Ramadan?

Before Ramadan, I was doing 5×5 training. This involves 5×5 reps on three compound exercises (push-pull-legs or push-pull and one hip hinge) and three isolation movements for 12 Reps. During Ramadan, I cannot keep the same intensity. I train according to my schedule, ideally before breaking fast at 5:30 pm. I do full-body exercises just for maintenance, around 60-70 percent of my maximum for 10 reps, and train for no longer than 45 minutes.

Do you have any tips for training or mindset while fasting?

You must be smart and be aware of your capacity. Personally, training is not my priority in this period. I train all year round then it gives me an opportunity to recover.

However, if I had some advice to give my clients it would be:

  • Do not try to exceed your limits or aim to go to ‘failure’ during your training.
  • Focus on the exercise execution and improve your technique during this period.

Train either very early in the morning after your first meal, or late evening before sunset, or train after sunset (take a whey protein shake and carbs powder, like maltodextrin).

What do you eat when you break your fast?

I usually take two meals, which equals one lunch and one dinner. I try to avoid processed food or other food that may contain added sugar and I try to rehydrate as much as possible.

Hariz – trainer

What time do you wake up and what do you eat during Ramadan?

I typically wake up at 5am and have 250g of low-fat Greek yoghurt, combined with 1 scoop of U.P. Chocotrients. I may look to change this soon, as I do feel a little low in energy, so I may make some overnight ‘Proats’ (protein and oats) instead. Since I have morning sessions, I start to get ready for work. On the weekend, I get back to bed.

How do you stay hydrated while fasting?

I would usually drink at least 1-1.5 litres of water to hydrate myself. I find that this helps me feel better. After breakfast, I make sure to drink at least 500ml of water before starting on food and then drink another 1.5-2 litres before I head to bed. 

Being on your feet all day as a Personal Trainer, how do you ensure you have enough energy while fasting?  

It Is definitely very challenging, especially without my frequent coffee breaks throughout the day! Going from three to four coffees a day to zero is very challenging, but I decided to quit coffee during the month of Ramadan as a way for me to lower my caffeine tolerance. This has actually made me more mindful of getting sufficient quality of sleep daily. I now have to ensure I get at least seven hours of sleep-in order to have enough energy to last the day.

Has your training changed during Ramadan?

For training, I try to train either in the mornings or right after breaking fast. This is to ensure I have enough energy to lift. If I am unable to fit training in at those times, and train at less preferred times, I train as per normal but manage my expectations as to what I lift. I tend to fail quite a little earlier than normal.

Do you have any tips for training or mindset while fasting?

Manage your expectations when it comes to your training. It may not feel great but do your best and get a workout done anyway. Train close to mealtimes to optimise performance. 

What do you eat when you break your fast? 

I drink lots of water, and eat lots of fruits, protein (usually chicken breasts) and white rice for carbs. I also tend to have veggies for fibre. It is not easy to stick to it if you break fasts with a family that feasts on traditional snacks and delicious local food. Make sure to prioritise your staples before venturing out for a (little) taste.

Zaki – trainer

What time do you wake up during Ramadan and what do you eat?

I usually wake up at about 5am and will prepare the table for me and my wife to have our pre-dawn meal. So far, I have been having the following for my meal: 

  • 3 sandwiches with beef, pepperoni, or chicken, hams, eggs, sliced cheese
  • 3 dates
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 serving of protein shake. 

How do you stay hydrated while fasting?

Most of my meals will also contain a cup of water. I have a total of four meals, which includes the pre-dawn and dawn meals.

How do you ensure you have enough energy to get through the day? 

I believe the pre-dawn meal is the most important meal to make up for my energy on the gym floor. Aside from this, quality sleep is also important so that I can get the focus I need.

Has your training changed during Ramadan?

My training frequency before Ramadan was five times a week doing a typical ‘bro split’, with a rep range of around 8-15 reps with 3-4 sets.

During Ramadan, I reduced my training frequency to three times a week doing a push-pull-leg split with a range of around 6-8 reps with 1-2 sets. More warm-ups are done for the first exercise, too.

Do you have any tips for training or mindset while fasting?

I would say train as close to mealtimes, then keep yourself active. 

What do you eat when you break your fast?

Training days:

  • 3 scoops of whey protein
  • 1 banana
  • 3 dates
  • 1 sandwich – the same as my pre-dawn meal 
  • 500g of chicken or fish with 200g of rice post workout
    Non-training days:
  • Whatever my wife cooks or an outside meal 

Saydul – trainer

What time do you wake up during Ramadan and what do you eat?  

I will wake up at 4.30am every day during Ramadan to prepare for the suhoor meal. For me, I usually have meat, like chicken breast, and vegetables, as well as rice. I will also drink two glasses of water after my meal. Hydration is really important during suhoor. Most of us get tired because of a lack of electrolytes and this will impair cell communication and results in low performance, affecting the body’s metabolism and cognitive function. 

How do you stay hydrated while fasting?

During iftar, I will drink one glass of water after my first bite of date and another one glass after I finish my whole meal. I will also drink one glass of water every 30 minutes before my bedtime. 

Livehealthymag.com is for every body and mind in the UAE. This magazine is all about moderation, making small changes, little additions and the odd subtraction.



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