The golden question of every Ramadan is, “When should I exercise?” Although the answer may be different for everyone, the only secret to getting fit during Ramadan is to follow a consistent routine. With many options to choose from, all you have to do is find the one that fits seamlessly with your fitness level and lifestyle. You can use exercise to hack your body and increase Ramadan productivity.
Fasting has been clinically proven to regenerate your body from the cell up. Fasting puts the body under mild stress, causing our cells to adapt by improving their ability to cope. In other words, they become strong. This process is similar to what happens when we strain our muscles and cardiovascular system during exercise.
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By fasting (which improves insulin sensitivity) and being leaner (which means you typically have improved insulin sensitivity than someone who is overweight and/or insulin resistant), you have the ability to use nutrients, particularly protein, more efficiently.
Sustained fasting improves memory along with executive function and general cognition. By the end of the second week of Ramadan, your brain is primed to perform better.
The human body has a mechanism known as the mammalian targeting of rapamycin, or mTOR for short, which is the body’s primary muscle-building gene. Fasting primes the muscle building machinery by increasing insulin sensitivity and suppressing mTOR.
You can almost think of mTOR as a feather. When it is suppressed, it gains potential, and the more it is suppressed, the more potential it gains. When mTOR is unleashed, it does its job much more powerfully.
You can also hack into your hormonal hardwiring and kick-start the muscle-building process with intense exercise (safe for your body type, of course). When you suppress mTOR, you increase the potential for efficient muscle building, which in turn boosts your metabolism.
Best of all, studies show that more muscle in the body (especially in the legs) is linked to more synopsis in the brain and longer life. So yes, squats for Ramadan are a must!
Here’s a simple chart to follow and choose the best times to exercise according to your fitness level and lifestyle. Analyze yourself before you start. A good routine can show benefits depending on your body type and body composition. The goal is to fall in love with consistent habits and carry the habits over to the remaining months of the year.
When doing strength training: Choose a large muscle group every day – for example legs, back, chest or arms. Perform 3 to 4 exercises per muscle group. Concentrate on warming up.
For cardio: A short bout of sprints, two-minute kettlebell swings, or even a set or two of pull-ups are good examples of exercises you can do to get better results in building lean muscle.
Coach Marina is the founder of The Health Food Co. and marinafarook.com. She coaches global women to biohack their fitness and learn sustainable ways to become strong, healthy and happy. She gives daily news, tips and inspiration on Instagram @wondermama_