Saturday, September 06, 2008

Fast or food: How to shape yourself?

That Ramadan can be good for the gourmets was noticed earlier; but what about the health conscious, those Muslims who have also adopted fitness or body building as a lifestyle? Well, there is something for them in Ramadan, too.

Ade Rai, Indonesia’s most famous bodybuilder (see above video), an advocate of good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, answers questions in the Jakarta Post of readers. Pak Musclemania's answer to a person who is concerned about himself of losing his fitness level during Ramadan offers an interesting insight about real problems in the holy month:

Assalamu'alaikum Ade Rai,

I am a Muslim who has also adopted fitness as a lifestyle. In regard to the fasting month, I am concerned I might risk losing the fitness level I have built up over the past year.

Are there any tips you can offer your Muslim readers, so that we can still fulfill our religious duties and maintain our fitness? Thank you in advance for your kind reply.

-- R. F. Hidayat

Wa'laikumsalam Mr.Hidayat,

Thank you for writing in. The fasting month of Ramadan is actually a great time for Muslims to lose some fat. Here are some things I recommend you do to minimize your worry and maximize your obligations during the holy month:

At sahur time, have a nutrient-rich meal that gives you enough slow-releasing energy to last throughout the day. High-fiber complex carbohydrates are essential to provide constant energy and blood sugar levels.

You also need to consume lean proteins to support muscle repair and prevent muscle breakdown. At this point in time, you also need a good dose of healthy fats from peanuts or olive oil. I recommend you finish your sahur meal with a handful of peanuts to help you hold off hunger longer during your day.

Do your cardio workout 30 minutes before breaking your fast. That would be around 5.30 p.m. Do light aerobics that bring your heart rate to 2 pulses per second, and maintain it for at least 20 minutes. This is to capitalize on the low-blood sugar levels in your body; an ideal condition for your body to utilize fat as its source of energy.

Break the fast with a few korma (dates), then a similar meal to that of sahur time. A multivitamin and mineral supplement after the meal is also recommended. I think it is quite risky to break the fast with sweet foods like kolak (banana stewed in coconut milk and brown sugar), sugary syrups or softdrinks as you will experience a quick rise and drop in blood-sugar and insulin levels, which will leave you sluggish and drowsy within a couple of hours after the meal.

After Tarawih prayers, you are primed for your workout. All the nutrients you took in when you broke your fast will have settled and absorbed by the body. This may be the best time to do your workout.

After your workout, have a simple carbohydrate drink to replenish your body, a few dates, a good electrolyte drink and a protein shake. Then, 15 minutes after that, have a regular meal with a nutrient content similar to that at sahur time. About one hour after that is the most ideal time to get a good night's sleep.

Allow me to take this opportunity to say "Happy Holy Ramadan".

I always thought that religious life is too formalized and regulated already, but putting body 'fitness' onto it would make life even more faithful. Anyway, have a ‘good night’s sleep’ as Pak Ade wishes but note that during Ramadan the faithful hordes (at least in this part of the Java) start drumming at 2:30AM to get you out of your dreams. As Ade said, Happy Holy Ramadan.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Photo Blog Blogs - Blog Top Sites Blogarama Blog Flux Directory