Rachael Sacerdoti, founder of the 12-week fitness and nutrition program It’s SO Simple, knows this time of year can bring its share of confusing weight-loss myths and messages.
“The key with everything, and in particular during Ramadan, is to pay attention to what your body is telling you,” she says.
To keep things, well, simple, she has two easy-to-follow messages of her own.
Leave tough workouts for later
Although working out before eating can be beneficial, during Ramadan, the timing of exercise requires caution. Sacerdoti wants you to remember, it’s is important to be kind to and listen to the body.
Doing light exercise before Iftar is fine, but a heavy workout would be better left until just after breaking the fast before the main Iftar meal, which should be a balanced light meal.
“Not only will you not have eaten, but you will be dehydrated, and we do not want to overstress our bodies,” she says.
Rather than working out after Suhour, Sacerdoti suggests waking a little earlier and doing your workout before you eat Suhour.
That way, you can gain the benefit of eating after the workout, and ensure taking on some hydration after the workout and before embarking on the day of fasting.
And while you don’t want to overdo things and you do want to listen to your body, don’t let fasting become an excuse not to train.
Here’s an easy-to-follow Ramadan workout:
- 20 x Reverse lunge twist hop (10 repetitions per side)
- 10 x Walkouts to 4 shoulder taps
- 12 x Pop squats
- 10 x Jab, jab, hook, hook, knee, knee
- 20 x Oblique crunch (10 repetitions per side)
- 24 x Fire hydrant to kickback (12 repetitions per side)
- 24 x Curtsy lunge pulse (12 repetitions per side)
- 30 x Mountain climbers
- 24 x Crunch opposite toe touch (12 repetitions per leg)
- 30 x Jumping jacks
- 16 x Commandos (8 per arm)
- 15 x Bent leg jackknife
- Repeat 3 circuits with a 30 second break between each set.
Eat multiple meals
“I would never encourage anyone to eat one meal per day,” says Sacerdoti. “The key to weight loss is running a calorie deficit, which means consuming fewer calories than we burn. I believe that this should be done by eating light, balanced meals and even small snacks. The key to a healthy lifestyle is to find a sustainable way of living, something that we can maintain over a long period of time. Similarly over the fasting period, spread your calorie intake across the time when eating and drinking are permitted.”
For Suhoor she recommends preparing Apple and Cinnamon Overnight Oats. Rich in fibre, filled with protein, this dish keeps you fuller for longer and is easy to put together.
- 2/3 cup unsweetened milk
- ½ cup old fashioned oats
- Ground cinnamon
- Diced apple
- In a bowl, mix together milk, vanilla and spices.
- Stir in the oats.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
- Serve with diced apple and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Iftar meals shouldn’t be too heavy and should be filled with vegetables and protein because you have been fasting all day. White Chicken Chili is a light meal filled with vegetables and protein and can be served with brown or cauliflower rice.
- Spray oil
- 1 onion
- 4 spoons green chili jalapenos
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1.5 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp dried coriander/cilantro
- 2 cans chickpeas
- 1.5 lbs/680g chicken thighs/breast
- ¾ tsp salt
- 4 cups chicken broth
- Juice of 1 lime
- Cilantro/coriander to garnish
- Heat spray oil in a pan and add onion, green chilis, chili powder, cumin, oregano and coriander.
- Mix and cook until the onion soften
- Add chickpeas, chicken broth, salt, and pepper.
- Simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
- Remove and shred chicken.
- Add the chicken back to the stock, add lime juice and cilantro.
- In a blender, add chickpeas and water. Blitz until smooth. Add to the pot and stir.
- Serve with a side of your choice (brown rice or cauliflower rice)