Why Fasting and Fitness Work Well Together

The month of Ramadan is the perfect time for spiritual and physical transformation! But, understandably the heat combined with lethargy and fasting means exercise is probably the last thing on your mind. But what many people don’t realize is that your work-outs can actually benefit from this special time of the year.

The past year has seen a surge in fitness experts voluntarily fast to align with their workouts. Calories are kept to a specific timeline, and the six small meals a day recommendations are quickly being replaced with controlled fasting. Sounds familiar right?

That’s because the misconceptions about fasting and what it does to your body are being debunked thanks to medical research.

Fasting doesn’t lower energy levels if you make the most of your eating times. Obviously the first few days you will be tired as the body adapts to the fasting month, but by choosing foods that release their energy SLOWLY you will quickly find your energy levels return.  Avoid the temptation of breaking fast with sugary or sweet snacks. Reach for fresh apple, home-made soups and non-oily meat dishes. The urge to eat sweet will quickly dissipate once you’ve had something small and healthy to eat so really the issue is control the urge to gorge! Like everything it’s about thinking ahead and making smart food choices.

 

Fasting doesn’t slow down your metabolism. This is the same for both men AND women. For some reason this myth is a common one among our female members. It takes a prolonged and consistently low-intake of calories (think less than 500 calories daily) for your body to go into starvation mode and that’s where your metabolism slows for survival. Fasting is merely moving your calorie intake to a different time of the day as opposed to a complete lack of food.

Fasting wont burn muscle mass and or reduce strength: Generally speaking, Ramadan sees a lull in our activity. If you have ever stopped working out for a week or two you would have noticed a small but significant change in your strength, stamina and muscle mass. This is simply because the muscles were not used and therefor didn’t grow. So if you are not active during the Holy Month of Ramadan you will most definitely see a decline in your physique but it’s due to inactivity and not due to fasting. So to counteract any potential muscle mass decline, make sure you are still working out during Ramadan with a focus on maintenance and not gains.

 

So don’t be afraid to work-out this Ramadan. Just take your sessions slowly, make sure you hydrate properly when you can and if in doubt ask your trainer for additional ways to keep motivated this Ramadan.

 

Women, Workouts and Weight Loss.

Hands up ladies who have kids, a full-time job, a house to run and severely depleted energy bank? Well, we hear ya. There is no doubt that trying to manage everything leaves most women unable to prioritize their health. Regardless of where you are in the world, women have a tough time trying to balance home, health, work and children and Pakistan is no different.

 
The common theme when we talk to potential female members is time. “I don’t have time”. So rather then tell you “You need to make time”, I’m going to tell the exact time to workout….and that’s early morning. Right after you kiss your kids goodbye at the school gate you head to the gym. If you think you will talk yourself out of going; then go to school with your gym gear on already. If you dread the idea of weight-loss because it’s such an epic, long-drawn out battle then just focus on your workout as being “Me time”. If you feel intimidated because you have no clue what to do in the gym apart from the treadmill, then just do the treadmill. If your coffee addiction is calling you, bring your coffee in a flask. The key to working out is get to it BEFORE your head talks you out of it. And KNOWING that your head will throw everything at you to convince you it’s a bad idea is also key to success.

I remember a few years ago I used set the alarm and place it half way across the room so I had no choice but to get out of bed when it went off. Sometimes I used hide it under clothes because I knew in the dark I’d have to frantically find it to avoid waking the entire house. I also used pile my gym gear directly where my feet would be, in the exact order of putting it on so in my bleary eyed state at 5:45am I had no excuse but to get up. And never once was I delighted about hearing that alarm go off. But the difference is I didn’t let my head talk me out of it. I grumbled the whole time not wanting to get up or get dressed, but my head grumbled while my body ignored it and got ready.

So let your brain do the talking as you do the walking, because you will be on the treadmill maybe 5 minutes and that nagging voice will go quiet. And that peace is everything.

Giving yourself even half an hour will do wonders not only for your body but for your mind.  You literally cannot help but feel happier, more confident and proud after even the smallest amount of exercise. The body releases the chemical serotonin during physical exercise which is responsible for feelings of happiness, relaxation and clarity. Getting exercise shouldn’t be about weight loss if it discourages you, it should be about mental health and giving yourself some much needed TLC.

At Structure Gym all our staff are trained professionals. So when you feel ready, you can ask at reception to talk to one of our trainers about expanding your fitness program to something that suits you and your body. There’s a massive amount of misinformation regarding fitness leading to many members feeling intimidated about asking how to change their routine.  You don’t need a complicated workout routine to lose weight or get fitter, but you do need the right information. And that’s our passion.