The fasting month is upon us and so is the temptation to indulge in countless buka puasa buffets and to stop exercising for an entire month. While appealing, eating clean and maintaining your fitness levels is the better option. If done right, Ramadan can actually be the opportunity you’ve been looking for to develop discipline and to detox - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
To ensure that your journey towards becoming the best version of yourself is nothing but smooth, here is what you need to know for a healthy Ramadan:
Drink at least eight cups of water during the period between Iftar and Sahur. As our bodies are predominately made up of water, not drinking enough is going to slow you down physically and mentally. Fun fact: Our brain is almost 85% water!
While you may crave sweet beverages, know that sugar has zero nutritional benefits. Caffeine is also a diuretic which means it increases water loss. So, drinking soda or caffeinated beverages during Ramadan is definitely a no!
Pro tip: Add chia seeds to your water to feel full for longer or lemon to aid in alkalising your gut.
Don’t Miss Sahur
The pre-dawn meal referred to as sahur can help your body prepare for a day of fasting. To avoid feeling fatigued during the day, eat a wholesome meal packed with nutrients that releases energy slowly. Think complex carbohydrates (whole grains, lentils, oats, beans), protein (tofu, fish, chicken), and fibre-rich foods (dates, seeds, bananas).
Pro tip: Check out PurelyB’s smoothie bowl recipes which you can top with bananas and granola.
Break Your Fast With Dates and Water
Breaking fast with dates is customary but have you ever wondered why this specific fruit is chosen? Well, it’s because dates can provide a much-needed burst in energy and are full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber (which can prevent constipation). By breaking your fast with a few dates (3-4) and with water, your blood sugar levels are naturally restored, too.
Pro tip: Learn about the 10 incredible health benefits of eating dates during Ramadan.
Have A Balanced Meal
It goes without saying that fried food, over-processed food, large amounts of protein, and too much sugar contributes to lowering energy levels. Yet, it’s easy to forget when you’re invited to a buka puasa buffet. So a gentle reminder eat balanced meals during Ramadan. Think half a plate filled with fruits and vegetables, ¼ with protein, and ¼ with carbohydrates
Pro tip: Many fruits and vegetables contain high levels of water which can help with hydration so don’t forget to buy some watermelon, pineapple, cucumber, celery, tomatoes etc.
Fast, Not Feast
Avoid overeating when you break your fast at Iftar as it is counter-productive for your body and can lead to weight gain. If you’re worried about not getting enough vitamins or protein due to your change in diet and eating style, take supplements!
Pro tip: Chew slowly to avoid overeating.
Regardless of if you choose to exercise before or after breaking your fast, switch to low to moderate intensity exercises during Ramadan. By doing so, you won’t lose your motivation to keep exercising. Of course, if you feel that you do want to continue exercising intensely, just make sure it’s after you break your fast.
Pro tip: Re-time your workout routine so that instead of exercising for 60 minutes, you’re exercising for just 45 minutes during Ramadan. If you’re working the right muscles, the 45 minute workout will be just as effective as your usual workout!
Take Cat Naps
Set realistic goals aka don’t expect to have the same level of fitness or even social life. Unfortunately, during Ramadan it’s quite common to suffer from a lack of sleep due to staying up after Iftar and waking up for Sahur. Take a power nap before Iftar if your energy levels are low (or just whenever you need to) and try your best to go to bed early. Adjusting to new routines will take time so allow yourself plenty of time to get used to things.
Pro tip: If you’re a mum to a newborn or youngster(s) then nap alongside your child(ren).
Be Kind To Yourself
In order to really reap the rewards of Ramadan, you need to be kind to yourself. Sometimes that means ordering take-away and sometimes that means hiring a helper. Other times it can mean indulging in a two hour massage - honestly, whatever helps you feel motivated to keep going. After all, it’s mind over matter so make sure your mind is decluttered and at peace
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