Aim to maintain this Ramadan

By Nicky Holland, Fitness Manager at Fitness First Motor City

Many people find this period of the  year a hard time to train. Even though it is summer and people want to look good and be in shape, due to the high temperatures here in the Middle East, people shelter and stay away from the sun more. People become less conscious of the way they look as their main priority is to stay cool. Another factor is Ramadan. Although not everyone will fast, the ones that do tend to see a reduction in weight…which you’re thinking is a good thing right? Well that depends, what weight you are losing, which is probably water retention and muscle mass which is bad.

The body needs food for energy and performance, just like a car needs petrol to go. However, when you fast, you starve your body without food, meaning you have less energy. Your body doesn’t break down food throughout the day because you are not feeding it but instead at one big hit, when you break your fast, which makes the demand on the organs a lot greater. Along with the nutrition, the training you do during Ramadan will affect your body and your results. If you continue to train at a high intensity and lift heavy weights, you will see a negative effect.

You need to train smart and here’s where I can help you:

1. Chest Press

This predominantly works the chest, triceps and front of the shoulders. The weight should be light to moderate and the reps should be 12-15. The focus here is controlled movement to activate the muscle. Push the handles away from you and make sure you don’t lock out your elbows at the top. Breathe in on the way down and breath out as you press away.

2. Lat Pulldown

This will work the lats in the back along with the biceps. Stay in a strong seated position and bring the bar down to the chin. Try to retract the shoulders and squeeze your back down to feel the contraction of the lats. On the way up, stay in control of the bar, so it doesn’t pull you up. Light to moderate weight, 12-15 reps.

3. Leg Press

Another seated exercise, working the big muscles in the lower body. Make sure your feet are parallel and your heel is flat pressed against the board. Push to extend the legs back but never lock out as this will take the load of the weight on to the joint but we want the load to stay on the muscle. Aim for light to moderate weight 12-15 reps.

4. Abdominal Crunch on BOSU

Sitting down with the BOSU behind your back will allow you to hyper extend. This isn’t always advisable but for this exercise, executed with control will help you feel the whole rectus abdominals working. Keep your feet on the floor, legs bend and hand by your head with the elbows wide. Complete 12-15 reps and squeeze your abs at the top of the movement.

All of these exercises work big muscle groups and you can choose whether to complete 3 or 5 sets on each exercise. Remember, your body doesn’t have as much energy as normal, so you need to reduce the intensity of your training. Doing something is better than nothing and exercising during fasting will maintain your strength levels and metabolism during Ramadan. You do not want to lose strength, muscle mass, weight and slow down your metabolism.
Best of luck with the fasting readers.