AVOID MUSCLE ATROPHY DURING FASTING
Ramadan is a time for reflection. It’s a time for mediation and prayer, even a time for cutting back. However if you have been carefully building up your muscle bulk then you this is one area that you will not want to cut back on. There is a risk of losing muscle tissue during Ramadan, which can result in reduced bulk and muscle size. It’s a step backwards on all the hard work you have been doing to build up.
This happens because the fasting that is undertaken during Ramadan can mean that your muscles do not get the fuel from food which they are used to, and in particular may not get enough protein. Combine this with the fact that some people stop working out dur-ing Ramadan and you can see why there is a risk of muscle atrophy. Even if you do work out, when you are burning lots of calories and then not replacing them because you are fasting, your body will instead use your muscle proteins for fuel.
Timing your workouts carefully can help reduce this factor - https://nutritionsouq.squarespace.com/fitness-zone-blog/2015/6/13/5-simple-tips-to-keep-up-with-your-fitness-this-ramadan
This article will talk you through what to do to preserve your muscle during Ramadan and make sure your retain the size you have built up.
1. Eat Plenty
During Ramadan it is important that you eat plenty of food during the allowed times to make up for the time spent fasting. This does not mean you have to pig out, just make sure that you are feeding yourself and your muscles adequately. In particular be sure to eat plenty of good quality protein such as high quality lean meat, fish, nuts and beans.
2. Do 1 - 2 sets of low repetition, heavy weights
When you do workout it’s best to go for just a few sets of low repetitions on each muscle group, and use very heavy weights. Evidence shows that for muscle bulk, low reps / heavy weights is best. This means that even if you feel tired during Ramadan you can still do a short workout, especially targeting your muscles in this way, and still retain the size.
3. Make sure you work to failure
In order to gain the most muscle bulk you should always work the muscle to failure. This means that on the last few repetitions in a set you literally cannot do anymore - you fail. This is when the muscle tissues tear and, as they repair, the muscles will get bigger (as long as you eat well and include protein in your diet). Working to failure is a sure fire way to bigger, stronger muscles.
Always make sure to be safe. Know your limits for weight lifting, use proper technique and have a spotter with you where appropriate.
Pro Tip: For ultimate muscle bulk go for 2 x sets of 6 - 8 repetitions on each muscle, aiming to fail on the last few reps.
4. Use more than one exercise per muscle group
We can tend to get stuck in a rut with our muscle work sometimes and we all have our fa-vourite one or two exercises for a particular muscle group. For example, for my arms I might always do Bicep Curls and Tricep Extensions. However there are many, many more exercises and variations available for working arm muscles. For example you could switch to Tricep Dips off a bench or add a twist (literally turn your arm) to your Bicep Curls. Viola.
One of the best ways to ensure that you retain muscle size is to do more than 1 exercise for a particular muscle. Choose a couple of new exercises to add into your routine for each set of muscles. Instead of standard deadlifts, try throwing in some sumo deadlifts or straight leg deadlifts to change your range of motion and strengthen other muscles.
If you are concerned about retaining your muscle bulk during the period of Ramadan we suggest working one muscle group at a time rather than doing exercises like press ups or squats which work lots of muscles all at once. This way you will preserve energy and keep the muscle bulk.
5. Switch it up
Our bodies get used to the workouts we do, they adapt to become efficient. This means that after you initially start working out the same exercise that worked to bulk up in the beginning stops being so effective, and the muscle size stops increasing. The way around this is to switch up your workout so that you are always doing new and different exercises.
Shock your body and shake it up with different exercises to those you have done before, and see your muscle size increase.
Author: Julie Ritchie
Author Bio: Julie is a Nutrition Souq Fitness Champion Editor. She is a qualified Personal Trainer who spent many years teaching Zumba, Fitness Pilates, Pole Fitness and offering weight loss coaching. She is a fan of the natural approach to fitness and enjoys exercising and eating for pleasure and health.
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