Training to retain muscle mass during Ramadan

Gymnation's Ty Kubiak

Gymnation’s Ty Kubiak  shares intelligence on how to maintain your muscle mass while fasting. Being a high-profile fitness trainer who specially designs work-out routines for a varied range of clients, he has some key tips to keep your workout routine in check during Ramadan.

According to the National Council on Strength and Fitness, dehydration of a muscle by as little as 3 per cent can cause about 10 per cent loss in strength as well as malfunction or cramp. Therefore, without the right preparation, training while fasting may cause damage.

The best way to stimulate muscle hypertrophy (build muscle) is through tailored training and nutrition. The key here is to keep working out!

A widespread misconception is that strength and hypertrophy training only involve heavy weights; this is only partly true. It’s important to consider volume, intensity, and frequency all of which have to be addressed. While fasting during Ramadan, it is a case of Regress to Progress. The above-mentioned elements should be altered and slightly reduced.

During this period, it is recommended to try and utilise more multi-joint compound movements which will cut your full-body workout time and release more muscle building hormones. This style of strength training also helps you work on multiple muscle groups and strengthen the body as a whole.

Movements such as squats, deadlifts, bench, overhead and military presses should be most utilised. Do your working sets by using lighter weights, and up to approximately 70-75% of your 1 rep. This will work much better than spending time on accessory exercises such as bicep curls and leg extensions.

Use those smaller and single-joint movements as a warm-up before performing compound movements. Remember that it is all about conservation while working to your near maximum capacity with all the altered aspects of training during Ramadan.

Pro Tip: Shorten your workout timings i.e. if you normally train for 45-60 minutes switch it down to a 30-40-minute window instead.

Altered Back Training Routine:

  • 3 sets 10 reps Lat Pulldowns
  • 3 sets 10 reps Low Cable Rows
  • Deadlifts as your compound exercise: 6 x sets (start light with 10 reps working up to 70% of your max for 3-5 reps)

It is important to remember that your body won’t have the same amount of energy that you would have on a normal day. Your hormonal balance and blood sugar levels will be less than regular and can affect many functions. Try to train after you have eaten your first meal. So, swapping your morning / noon routine for a night workout might be more beneficial, because you will have replenished your energy, and fulfilled the body’s nutritional requirements.

Your nutrition intake should include plenty of carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, rice and other complex carbs. Ideally, consume your food one hour before training to allow for digestion. For your post-workout meal, you can have a high-quality protein shake, which can help you reach a higher macro-count.

While fasting, think more about maintenance and damage control. Post Ramadan, you can get back into the regular workout routine.

Spotlight Ty Kubiak

Ty is a high performance personal trainer and coach, and uses Hypertrophy, Strength and Conditioning, Functional and Sport specific elements as part of his training toolkit.

He is also a big fan of HIIT, Endurance Circuit and Strongman training principals to make his workouts more productive.

Before becoming a full-time trainer, Ty used to work as a personal bodyguard. He has worked with top tier companies, high profile business owners, celebrities and VIPs including Beyoncé, Angelina Jolie, Eminem, Mylie Cyrus and the Rock during the filming of the San Andreas movie and a member of the British Royal Family to name a few.

Ty is also certified Martial Arts and Defensive Tactics Instructor, with experience in different styles of traditional Martial Arts and Reality Based Concepts.


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