The key is careful planning and structuring. Plan what your month will look like and think about what meals you will have for Iftar and Suhoor as well as how long these take to prepare. This is especially important so you know when to wake up and don’t miss out on valuable resting time. Our group of fasters suggest the following foods:
(the pre-dawn meal eaten at around 4/5.00 am as preparation for the fasting day)
(the meal that breaks the fast)
When you do eat, eat slowly and take your time to enjoy it. Concentrate on every mouthful and try to chew at least 40 times before you swallow. The smaller the food particles are, the more easily they can be digested by the rest of the system and also the more your small intestine can absorb nutrients from them. Eating slower will also make you feel fuller for longer.
When you finally do break the fast, it’s easy to lose control and eat everything you find. But that’s not what Ramadan is about. First of all, your stomach is not ready for so much food after not eating anything all day long and second of all, you should take this as an opportunity to be more mindful about your eating habits and not take food and water for granted. Break the fast with dates, lemon water or a light soup and only once your body has digested this and you feel hydrated again should you eat a proper meal.
It’s important you stay active during Ramadan to maintain your health and fitness level. Studies even show that men who continue to train during the fasting period can lower their body fat percentage due to increased utilisation of fat as energy during exercise and when resting. Although you shouldn’t stop training altogether, you may need to rethink your usual training routine. Do you normally exercise in the morning? This should be avoided to prevent dehydration and loss of energy throughout the day. Instead, our fasters suggest you train one hour before breaking the fast. You might have less energy but it’s a good way to keep yourself busy and your mind occupied during the final stage of the fasting period – also known to be the hardest. Another good time to train is at midnight if you don’t have to work the next day. You will be more rested and have more power to perform. If you already feel dehydrated you should avoid long cardio sessions if you can. And always remember to listen to your body! Don’t push yourself too hard and don’t beat yourself up!
During Ramadan, you’ll want to savour every last drop of energy you have in the tank. If you can, try going for naps to save your energy or take cold showers to wake yourself up if you begin to feel drowsy.