How to maintain fitness and fat loss after fasting
By Coach Fahad Maniar
If you’re like many people I’ve spoken to recently, who have lost weight during the fasting of Ramadan, then you’ll be interested in the following article on what you can do to ensure that the weight stays off after Ramadan is over and when you can eat normally again.
At TEAM FIGHTING FIT, we wanted to create an easy and comprehensive guide on how you can maintain your health and fitness after a month of fasting.
Before we get started, I wanted to share a caveat that this article isn’t just reserved for Muslims who observed the fasting period of Ramadan but to anyone who has lost weight over a short period of time.
What we’re talking about is a popular topic in the fitness community known as “The Rebound” effect.
It’s not uncommon for people who aim for a physique, bodybuilding competition or even a fight where weight is to be restricted and a strict calorie and macronutrient controlled diet is followed to gain weight fast after their competition. The rebound has been the bane of many a fitness competitor and the advice for anyone following competition aptly applies to those who have just finished fasting too.
Let’s be honest, If you’ve lost weight during Ramadan, then the chances are, you’ve probably lost a bit of lean muscle mass in the process. A fitness competitor may lose some muscle mass during their diet but due to being able to eat adequate amounts of protein and supplementing with things like BCAAs and Glutamine, they can minimise the effect of muscle loss. The average faster during Ramadan probably doesn’t even supplement with a vitamin and mineral supplement let alone BCAAs and Glutamine so the net effect is a greater loss of muscle in comparison to a fitness competitor.
What this means is a slow down in metabolism and one of the key reasons the weight piles on back fast. Another reason is the body has a compensation mechanism to ensure that it quickly restores its environment to the state it’s used to. A month of fasting or a 12-week diet probably isn’t long enough time to give the body to adapt its homeostatic mechanism to fight to keep your new weight as its norm.
So, the following tips will help you overcome the rebound effect:
- Training – It is important to return to strength training as soon as possible. Although if you’ve not trained for a whole month or have just competed in a fitness contest and trained hard up until it, then going straight into hardcore workouts is ill advised. Go into some light strength training and build up.
- Be disciplined – Look, you’ve shown yourself you’ve been disciplined enough to this point to adhere to a strict regime and abstain from food during the day, don’t now just flick a switch and go crazy like you’re training for an eating contest (after all, if Ramadan was an exercise in self-restraint and exercising God consciousness, doesn’t the fact that you just go back to eating crazy after fasting just go against the whole point of that?)
- Reintroduce foods slowly – You’ve spent a month eating a certain way, go slow and introduce meals throughout the day and eating foods that are good for you. You don’t need to eat a super clean diet all the time but be moderate in eating foods you know you shouldn’t or limit them.
- Focus on Protein and good fats – When you introduce food back into your day, focus on the good stuff. Lean proteins, good fats and plenty of veggies.
- Go easy on the carbohydrate intake – If you’re wanting to start a more healthy eating regime than what better opportunity than to start fresh right after a month of restriction. Limiting carbohydrate intake and following the previous step and making sure that you focus on eating lean proteins, veggies such as kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus
Also, being careful of carbohydrates is important as insulin will wreak havoc on your body composition. During periods of fasting, cells become more insulin sensitive but overeating carbohydrates, especially the wrong kind of carbs will mean quick fat gain. It’s important to slowly reintroduce carbohydrates to your diet post fasting and sticking to clean, low glycemic carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, brown rice and oats to begin with.
- Drink more fluids – Some of the weight loss may have been water and chances are, you’ve not been drinking enough water over the past month. To make sure water retention isn’t an issue and you keep your body hydrated, it’s important to drink plenty of fresh water. You can also enjoy herbal teas and green teas.
- If you weren’t supplementing before, start now – Start taking a good vitamin and mineral supplement, fish oil supplement and throw in some good BCAAs into the mix.
- Try Intermittent Fasting – The intermittent fasting (IF) protocol has been quite popular in recent times. It’s when you take a day or two of the week and reduce caloric intake. It’s not as strict as the fasting of Ramadan as you can drink water throughout the day and you don’t have to wait till sunset to break your fast. Some will eat their first meal at midday. The 5:2 Diet is a popular IF protocol.
- Set a goal – Setting a goal now would keep you focused on staying on track. It may be a goal of getting to a certain body fat percentage or dropping a dress size, maybe it’s to run an obstacle race or to simply just set a goal of starting a fitness regime, whatever it is, this is a good idea to stay focussed and continue the momentum of discipline. If you would like to talk about a fitness related goal, we’re happy to have a chat with you as setting good goals is a powerful way to both stay motivated and stick to a fitness routine.
If you are interested in using the momentum you’ve gained during Ramadan to really ramp up your health, fitness and create a physique transformation, then we’re here to help. Perhaps now would be the best time for you to get involved in one of our Semi-private or personal training programmes. Why not contact us today to find out more? Contact us on 07779225668 today or email firstname.lastname@example.org