I am not going to get into all the reasons why we gain weight in Ramadan. If you are reading this then you know the problem and you are reading this for the answer to make this Ramadan different than the past Ramadan. So here is the straight forward strategy to make this Ramadan a weight gain FREE month.
Step One: Know Your “ Magic” Number
Just submit to the fact you will be counting calories. For this month it’s going to be calories in verses calories out. You will be moving less, probably exercising less or less intense so you have to lower your overall calorie intake. But you HAVE to keep it above your basal metabolic rate. It takes calories for you to breath, for your heart to beat, for your kidney to function etc. This BMR number is the energy your body uses to do all of these things. It is the absolute minimum amount of calories your body needs in order to survive. If you go below this number your body will hold onto stored fat because it thinks it’s starving on a dessert Island and needs to preserve energy for later survival. When you consistently stay below this number your body will then begin to feed off it’s self for survival, starting with your valuable muscle. We NEVER want to lose muscle, because the amount of muscle you have is directly related to your metabolism. If you lose muscle you decrease your metabolism and if you gain muscle you increase your metabolism.
Determine the amount of Calories you need by using the following formula 4.35 x Weight in Pound (Minus) 4.7 x Age in years (Plus) 4.7x height in inches (Plus) 655 (Equal) Your BMR
Now you have To determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor, as follows:
- If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
- If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
- If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
- If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725
- If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9
= This Final Number is Your Daily Caloric Need (DNC). This is the number of calories that you need to MAINTAIN your current weight.
To determine your healthy weight loss DCN then subtract 500 calories from this number but NEVER going under 1200 calories a day.
Please Note: You should NEVER go under 1200 calories a day without Dr’s supervision and being monitored. Extremely low diet plans are generally for severely obese individuals who for medical emergencies must achieve extreme weight loss. You should not be attempted this type of diet unless directed and monitored by a physician.
Step Two: Create a REAL Plan
Now more than ever you have to create a strategic plan on what you are going to eat and how much. Start looking at calories and labels now of your planned foods and meals so you wont be caught at 3am Sahoor time with nothing but beef bacon and bagels in the fridge. Create an eating plan that will keep you on this plan while keeping in mind the time restrictions of eating and sleeping during Ramadan. The most challenging part of Ramadan in 2012 with very short nights and long days is the fact that you will have to eat larger portions at each meal to get sufficient calories in.
Here is a sample plan for someone on a 1500 calories diet plan, fasting in Ramadan AND exercising.
8:30 PM Break Fast
Dinner 500 Calories
- 3 dates = 198 calories
- 4 ounces Baked Chicken Breast = 128 calories
- ½ Cup Brown Rice = 117 calories
- 1 ½ Cup Broccoli = 45 calories
11:00 PM After Tawareh
Snack PRE-WORKOUT Snack 250 Calories
- 1 Banana = 105 calories
- 1 TB Peanut Butter = 94 calories
- ½ cup Fat Free Milk = 45 calories
30-minute Light, Body weight training circuit
11:45 PM – Post workout
Snack POST-WORKOUT Snack 250 Calories
- 1 cup of WHOLE Milk and 1 Scoop of Whey/Casein Protein Pwd = 246 calories
3:30 AM – Sahoor
Breakfast 500 Calories
- 2 Scrambled Eggs = 200 calories (aprox)
- 1 Cup Oatmeal w/ 2 TB brown sugar= 175 calories (aprox)
- ½ serving of Whey/Casein Protein Shake (½ cup WHOLE milk and ½ scoop Casein Protein) 125 calories (aprox)
I would recommend that you concentrate of having a good source of protein with every meal. Avoiding lower nutrient and low calorie foods like salads. During a normal day I would be all for getting one robust salad in each day because it fills you up on little calories but feeling full in the evening will not be a big problem when all your calories are going to be consumed in such a short time span. So concentrate of high nutrient foods to get in as many nutrients as possible.
Avoid Empty Calories like cakes, cookies and sugared drinks… as much as possible. I know that’s a given every other time of year, but in Ramadan, come on admit it, even the healthiest eater cheats more than normal. A combination of eating out of the house more and having a bit less will power after fasting for 16 straight hours. During Ramadan give yourself permission to eat a small portion of sweets only AFTER you have eaten your complete meal and drunk lots of water.
Step 3: Don’t Stop Moving…Just Move More Strategically
Thirty Days of inactivity can reverse 3 months of work. Don’t just stop moving. Decrease the duration or the intensity of your exercise but don’t just stop. If you ran before Ramadan, then walk during Ramadan. If you were bicep curling 15lbs pre-fasting continue doing strength training but decrease the weight to 12 or 15lbs. Try some body weight exercises put together as a circuit. Because you will most likely be working out at unusual times and may not be able to make it to the gym, it’s important that you have something to do at or in your yard home. (See my Ramadan Workout).
It’s important that you are maintaining your fitness level but don’t set goals of improving. That sounds weird coming from a fitness trainer however it is essential that we look at the entire picture here. Fasting for such a long amount of time will put abnormal stress on your body. To create real change in the physical fitness and body you much bring your body outside its comfort zone putting abnormal stress on the body. The two conditions combined is a recipe for disaster. Give Allah his right and make the fast solely for him alone and the reward of spiritual strength will enhance your physical and mental strength for the other 11 months of the year.
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Category: Ramadan Shape Up