Optimising nutrition, training, sleep and recovery can be tough at the best of times.
Life always gets in the way and creates obstacles for us.
Especially in the Aussie culture, we are a relaxed and social bunch.
We are always being invited to celebrate weddings, engagements parties, birthdays and other occasions.
We have 12 public holidays per year!! This often means a long weekend.
We love to take family holidays.
On top of this, if you are like me- an Australian muslim, you also have to factor in Ramadan.
For those of you who aren’t informed about Ramadan. It is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, where muslims worldwide engage in fasting for an entire month. This is a sacred time and is one of the five pillars of Islam.
During this month, from dawn until sunset muslims must not drink liquids, eat food or smoke.
In my experience I have observed many of my family, friends and peers almost completely give up on their health and fitness during this time. I don’t believe that this is necessary.
Taking a whole month off proper nutrition can be really harmful and can be very hard to bounce back from. Especially when you do CrossFit.
I believe that its best to accept that its going to be tough, that you won’t be making any steps forward in terms of PR’s or body composition. But that DOES NOT mean you need to take any steps backward.
You CAN maintain your body, your health and your fitness if you are smart about it.
My tips and tricks for Ramadan
Cut back on caffeine 1- 2 weeks before the start of Ramadan. An painless was to do this is to switch to tea or decaf, so that when Ramadan starts you don’t suffer from withdrawal headaches.
Just before dawn have breakfast.
Include a balanced plate of carbs, protein, fat and greens.
My go to is
2 x soylin seed toast
4 x Poached eegs
1 handful of baby spinach
1 x Banana or Berries
1 x Coffee
1.2 litres of water. I get started on the water as soon as I am awake. It is really important not to skip this as you will not be able to continuously hydrate yourself throughout the day.
*Coffee is only a good choice if you do early morning starts like I do. If you are planning on going back to sleep then skipping the coffee is a better option.
3. During the day
Minimising technology helps. Have frequent short break from computer screens and phones.
If you start work early, an afternoon nap is a good idea before dinner and training.
4. Dinner- is a two part affair!
Part 1- at sunset
100g Lean chicken breast
3/4 cup of Rice
1.2 liters of water
Try to hold yourself back from consuming a large meal when breaking your fast at sunset. This way you can avoid post meal sleepiness and just be lightly fuelled for your evening training session. Don’t forget to start re-hydrating as soon as the sun goes down! This is key for your training session.
If you love your coffee then dinner time is a great time to drink it! This will also give you energy at training.
5. Dinner- part two
In my opinion, this is the most important meal of the day. You don’t have to get fancy and cook a different meal, just eat what you had earlier on but in a bigger portion size. You must load up after training and refuel after your training session.
During Ramadan don’t expect to see any significant training gains. Just make it your goal to maintain.
Strength training should be the number one focus at moderate intensity. Don’t try maxing out your olympic lifts, but rather do some smart accessory work, DB work, unilateral work and prehabilitation. Use this time to strengthen the joints and tendons preparing yourself for the return to lifting after Ramadan.
You can expect conditioning to feel a little harder. It is also important to remember that your body isn’t as fuelled as usual, so lowering the intensity of conditioning workouts is always better.
Mentally I feel a lot better once I get up after dinner and go to training, if I don’t include some kind of training in my day I can get easily get very sluggish.
I understand that some of you reading this at home may not have access to a gym facility that has late classes. If that is you, fill in the form below with your details and I will send you some easy to follow workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own home. No equipment required!