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How To Maintain Your Gains During Ramadan

Minimize The Effects Fasting Will Have On Your Results!

Posted by TimeIsMuscle - May 26th, 2017

For those of you out there who are unaware, Ramadan is right around the corner and it’s the ninth month of the Muslim year, during which strict fasting is observed from dawn to sunset. During this time there are a lot of people all over the world who still workout, despite abstaining from eating or drinking for 16-20 hours a day (depending on the time zone). The purpose of this article is to provide a blueprint that will help some people overcome the obstacles of not getting enough food, water, sleep and training during Ramadan.

OBSTACLE 1: Training – How Should I Workout?

The first obstacle we need to address is training. Below is a typical day that you may consider following to help you maintain your gains:

Example 24 Hour Day

  • 7pm – Lift weights. 3-4 compound exercises for one hour max.
  • 9pm – Meal 1 with proteins & carbs (i.e. Chicken & Pasta).
  • 10pm – Meal 2 with proteins & carbs (i.e. Tuna, brown rice, pineapple).
  • 11pm – Meal 3 with fats (i.e Cottage cheese, ground flax seeds).
  • 11:30pm – Bedtime.
  • 3:30am – Breakfast with eggs, veggies, meat. Back to bed after first prayer.
  • 7am – Wake up, get ready for work.
  • 1pm – 30 minute nap (If you are not working 9am-5pm).
  • 5pm – One hour nap pre-workout.
  • 7pm – Lift weights. 3-4 compound exercises for one hour max.

Why Is The Typical 24 Hour Day Structured This Way? (My Explanation)

First, you’re going to wake up at 7am in the morning and then go to work all day (assuming you work a 9-5 job). When you finish work around 5-5:30pm, try to have what I like to call a pre-workout nap. You have that nap then you go to the gym. This means you can end up training 1-2 hours before you break your fast.

The reason for this is that you can then maximize the time you have to consume all of the calories you need during the shorter feeding window, which for most people is around eight hours during Ramadan (again, this will vary depending on your time zone).

How Can I Train Without Much Energy? Alter Your Training Intensity!

You need to try to reduce the volume and intensity of your workouts during Ramadan in terms of sets and repetitions. For example, switch to a 3x5 or 5x5 workout routine for each exercise, and generally stick to purely performing compound lifts to help maintain your Muscle, such as squats, deadlifts, as well as overhead and bench presses.

I also suggest you limit your cardio. You can’t drink water during a fast. Therefore cardio or HIIT circuits are a bad idea. Stick to just weight training until Ramadan ends. All of these tips should ensure you don’t burn out during Ramadan.

Obstacle 2: Food – How & What Foods Should I Eat During The Feeding Window?

Post workout (around 9pm for most, or when the sun sets) you can break your fast and consume that first meal. Then a few hours later, around 11-11:30pm, you can consume another meal before you go to bed. The foods you should be eating should be primarily calorically dense foods, such as:

  • Raw Oats
  • Brown Rice
  • Lean Red Meat
  • Nut butters and oils

These foods are high in calories and will help make up for the calories missed out during the day, while also filling you up much quicker. There are also more foods listed in the video at the beginning of this article.

Obstacle 3: Water – How Much Water Should I Drink During The Feeding Window?

Hydration is extremely important and consuming enough water during the short feeding window will be very challenging. Try to consume 2-3 litres of water during the feeding window. I have fasted on many occasions, and the water intake guideline is one obstacle that I myself have, from time to time, failed to meet in terms of optimal consumption given the shorter feeding window.

Obstacle 4: Sleep – What Should My Sleeping Pattern Be?

Given the fact that your sleep is comprised by the time in which you’re supposed to have your first prayer (around 3:30am for most, but this will vary with your time zone), it is no surprise that lack of sleep will be an issue. After the first prayer you should have your first meal (before sunrise). I suggest you then attempt to go back to sleep before the time you would normally wake up to begin your regular working day.

As mentioned previously, if you do work a 9-5 job, try implementing the pre-workout nap after you finish your working day. However, if you don’t work a 9-5 job you should take full advantage of being able to have a few naps throughout the day.

Keep in mind that prayers during the day are at noon and in the afternoon. This will vary depending on how your working day is structured.


Training fasted can work if you eat well during the feeding window. Thirst can be a problem if you're used to drinking a lot, or if you live in a hot climate. However, given the nature of the Ramadan Fast, you’re going to be forced to catch-up on a large quantity of water as well as food during the brief feeding window no matter how you plan out your days. Whilst this blueprint I have provided may not apply to everyone, I hope that the useful tips in this article will help some of you maintain your gains during Ramadan this year!

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