Things you can do to prevent muscle loss while fasting

On 02 April 2022 by Droobi

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It’s well known that strength training and having muscle mass leads to improvements in metabolism, blood sugar control, bone health… But many worry that fasting in Ramadan leads to muscle loss. Your body’s muscle composition is largely determined by your genetics, but you can prevent muscle loss by paying attention to the timing and intensity of your workout during Ramadan to achieve the best results.  

Inorder to avoid muscle loss make sure to do the following: 

  • Perform strength training 3-5 times per week two to three hours after your first large meal 

  • Make sure to cover your daily protein requirement, which is 2.2g x body weight (kg)

  • Make sure you eat within your daily caloric requirements

  • Drink enough water from Iftar to Suhoor

 

This way you ensure a good intake of the needed nutrients and you reduce the chances of losing your muscle mass. These steps can also be followed if your goal is to build muscle. 

 

The best time to do strength training: after iftar

When you start to exercise, your body will start to tap into different sources for blood sugar. First, your body will go through its glycogen stores for short term energy. Once that runs out, your body will start to break down your muscle for energy. Eating before a workout refills the body’s glycogen stores, which will prevent any muscle loss from occurring. Also, eating before a workout gives you more energy to perform better which leads to better results. 

 

The best time to do cardio: before and after iftar

In a fasted state, your body will also start to burn through stored fat if glycogen stores are depleted. That’s why cardio in a fasted state can lead to more fat loss, but it’s advisable not to do it regularly to avoid muscle loss. 

So, it's critical to remain active during Ramadan to stay healthy. It Is advisable to weight train using your body weight or lift weight 3 day per week as this may help you maintain muscle, even when losing fat. Choose a convenient time to work out during Ramadan, either 30 - 45 minutes before iftar by doing low-intensity exercises such as yoga, jogging, stretching, or brisk walking or 2-3 hours after iftar by doing medium to high-intensity cardio or strength training.

 

Here are few tips to help you stay safe while staying active during the fast:

  1. Avoid physical activity immediately after you break your fast as all the body’s energy will be directed towards digestion of food.

  2. Find small ways to be more active, like walking indoors, doing household chores or taking the stairs instead of the lift.

  3. Stop any physical activity immediately if you experience dizziness, nausea, difficulty breathing or chest pain.

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