Watch your weight this Ra­madan by fol­low­ing these tips for healthy eat­ing and ex­er­cis­ing

The Gulf Today - Panorama - - Contents - By Saleha Ir­fan

The Holy Month of Ra­madan is upon us once again. It is the month of spir­i­tual growth and self-dis­ci­pline. It is the time to get to­gether with friends and fam­ily for Suhoor and If­tar par­ties. But, af­ter a month of fast­ing and feast­ing, it is prob­a­ble to gain un­wanted weight. So we, at Panorama, de­cided to an­swer this burn­ing ques­tion for you this year: How can we utilise this month to lose some weight? We know that it is ex­tremely di­fi­cult to

ex­er­cise while fast­ing, and af­ter If­tar is an en­tirely dif­fer­ent story. Well, let’s change that this year.

The best way to ap­proach your diet dur­ing Ra­madan is to have healthy and bal­anced meals, which in­clude the cor­rect amount of ibre, carbs, pro­teins and fats.

Con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, you can sur­vive with­out fatty fried foods come If­tar time. In all hon­esty, your Ra­madan food plan should not dif­fer too much from what you nor­mally eat dur­ing the rest of the year.

For pre-if­tar work­outs

We are sure you have all heard that work­ing out on an empty stom­ach is more ef­fec­tive as, in­stead of burn­ing off your most

re­cent meal, your body is more likely to burn calo­ries from stored fat. This same prin­ci­ple ap­plies to a preif­tar work­outs.

Also, some of us like to get our work­outs out of the way so we can be free to re­lax af­ter If­tar. For those peo­ple, the most im­por­tant thing would be a illing Suhoor

meal to carry them through the day and through their work­out ses­sion. A proper sleep sched­ule is equally im­por­tant for in­creas­ing and main­tain­ing your en­ergy lev­els.

l Note: Yes, hy­dra­tion is im­por­tant dur­ing ex­er­cise, but if you go for a pre-if­tar work­out, we sug­gest you skip the HIIT and just do mod­er­ate car­dio for 40 to 45 min­utes. Go one hour be­fore If­tar (if you can muster up the en­ergy) so you can hy­drate im­me­di­ately af­ter. This also helps in illing your

stom­ach with wa­ter so you don’t binge eat.

l A Suhoor meal plan for this should deinitely in­clude

eggs, fruit, milk or yo­ghurt and lots of wa­ter. You can com­bine your fruit and dairy re­quire­ments by in­clud­ing a smoothie in your Suhoor meal.

l Try and keep your­self away from stren­u­ous ac­tiv­i­ties through­out the day so you can be en­er­gised for your work­out ses­sion. Squeeze in an hour or two of sleep be­fore hit­ting the tread­mill. l Keep your work­outs short. In­clude light car­dio­vas­cu­lar ex­er­cises like walk­ing or cy­cling to help burn the

calo­ries. with some Fol­low mat ex­er­cises these up in­clud­ing dips and lunges. pushups, Stretch­ing squats, ex­er­cises be­fore start­ing your work­out can be help­ful in

warm­ing up your body.

l Avoid high in­ten­sity ex­er­cises such as sprint­ing, us­ing the Stair­mas­ter or heavy weightlift­ing. It could use too much of your en­ergy and may lead to dizzi­ness, low blood sugar and a drop in blood pres­sure.

l Fol­low­ing the work­out, it is im­por­tant to start your If­tar meal right. It should in­clude com­plex carbs such as whole grain foods, lentils, veg­eta­bles; healthy fats in­clud­ing nuts, ish,

av­o­ca­dos; and pro­tein.

l Dates are a sta­ple dur­ing Ra­madan. They con­tain sugar, fat, pro­teins, ibre and

are a good source of var­i­ous vi­ta­mins. Break­ing your fast with two or three dates post work­out can help you re­gain your en­ergy and raise your low blood sugar.

l Next, go for a bowl of soup or salad. Not only are these healthy post-work­out meals, they re­plen­ish your body with­out over­do­ing it. Af­ter a prayer break, you can go for a meal which is a mix of veg­eta­bles and pro­teins. End the day with a por­tion of dried fruits and nuts as a healthy snack.

l Skip out on pro­cessed, junk, deep fried and su­gary food and drinks. Make it a pri­or­ity to eat healthy foods and you can treat your­self to a por­tion of dessert at the end of the week. If you like to drink green or black tea, use honey as a sugar sub­sti­tute. A tea­spoon of honey can give you a much-needed boost of en­ergy.

For post-if­tar work­outs

A post-if­tar work­out comes with its own set of chal­lenges. You may feel lazy or lethar­gic, or you may have over in­dulged on food and ind it hard

to move a mus­cle. Let’s face it: Af­ter you’ve had that piece of cake that you had been eye­ing since the after­noon, are you re­ally think­ing, “Time to change and go to the gym”? Chances are, you aren’t.

Well, we have a so­lu­tion. Sort of.

l Al­ways wait about one to two hours af­ter eat­ing be­fore you head off to the gym. This helps be­cause you get over the food coma that you are in. To get over it faster, try to walk in place to

warm up while watch­ing your favourite Ra­madan TV show.

l The up­side to ex­er­cis­ing af­ter If­tar is that your body has all the wa­ter and food it needs to feel en­er­gised. And of course, you can hy­drate all you want dur­ing your work­out. For bet­ter re­sults, we sug­gest break­ing your fast with dates and wa­ter, then eat­ing a light If­tar be­fore your work­out ses­sion, like a smoothie, soup or salad; fol­lowed by a proper meal an hour or two af­ter you are done ex­er­cis­ing.

l Where work­outs are con­cerned, you can lit­er­ally do any kind of ex­er­cise af­ter If­tar, whether it’s strength train­ing or high in­ten­sity car­dio. Gyms offer a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent classes ev­ery day rang­ing from aqua aerobics, cir­cuit train­ing and cy­cling to power yoga and even belly danc­ing. Also, all the gyms here change their class tim­ings to af­ter If­tar or Taraweeh. So if you feel bored with plain old HIIT, dance away the blues in a Zumba class.

If you feel you are not up for work­ing out at all dur­ing Ra­madan, don’t feel bad. Ev­ery­one is dif­fer­ent when it comes to ex­er­cis­ing. You may

be strained for time or have too much on your plate (no pun in­tended). Just a walk to and from the mosque can help you stay it as long as you

take care of the food you are putting in your body.

To sum it up, it doesn’t mat­ter which work­out time or style works best for you, as long as you just do it. Ex­er­cis­ing should be a part of your Ra­madan rou­tine, not only be­cause it may help you lose some weight, but also be­cause it will keep you it, healthy

and feel­ing fresh.

And re­mem­ber not to com­pare your it­ness

level with oth­ers. When it comes to ex­er­cis­ing, your only com­pe­ti­tion should be you.

From all of us at Panorama, Ra­madan Mubarak!

For a pre-if­tar work­out, in­clude light car­dio­vas­cu­lar ex­er­cises like walk­ing or cy­cling to help burn the calo­ries.

The best way to ap­proach your diet dur­ing Ra­madan is to have healthy and bal­anced meals, which in­clude the cor­rect amount of ibre, carbs, pro­teins and fats.

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