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Bodybuilding Tips for Ramadan

Diet and training tips for those celebrating Ramadan

Bodybuilding Tips for Ramadan

In this video I want to give some bodybuilding tips for Ramadan. Now, Ramadan is observed by all Muslims worldwide. It basically involves fasting from sunrise to sunset. After sunset, you're allowed to eat—so it's basically intermittent fasting. 

One of the biggest questions I get from people who are observing Ramadan is "Am I going to lose all my muscle mass gains, Jim? What's going to happen with this fasting? I don't want to lose all the muscle mass I've gained."

Focus on Fat Loss

Head to JimStoppani.com and read my article on Intermittent Fasting. I actually cover a study that followed subjects through Ramadan and they found that after that month period the subjects lost no muscle mass, but they lost a significant amount of body fat. Really, that's what Intermittent Fasting is about—it's about maximizing fat loss.

For those of you who are observing Ramadan and have to fast, don't worry about your muscle mass. I've been doing Intermittent Fasting for years, now. Worried about my muscle mass? No. 

Now, I'm not saying you're going to maximize while you're fasting. That's a complete fallacy, this "anabolic fasting" if you will. So during this period of Ramadan I suggest, instead of you guys following my Shortcut to Size or Shortcut to Strength trying to maximize your muscle mass and strength gains, that you take this period—this month, basically—and focus on fat loss.

You've already got fat loss going for you, just thanks to the fasting for observing Ramadan. Like I said, the research shows that without even trying subjects lose body fat without losing any muscle mass. So let's focus on fat-burning. Follow any one of my programs—and yes, you can even follow Shortcut to Strength, but realize you're going to be following it to maximize fat loss, not muscle mass gain. 

Use one of my programs that involves either some cardioacceleration—if it doesn't, you can also add cardioacceleration—but focus on fat loss. 

Focus on Protein

As far as your diet goes, during that period where you can eat after sunset you want to focus on protein. Yes, I'm talking about total protein. Remember, to truly hold onto your muscle mass and maybe even gain some while you're fasting—it's not unheard of to gain muscle mass while you're following Intermittent Fasting, I'm just saying you can't maximize muscle mass during Intermittent Fasting—but you can gain it by focusing on getting adequate protein. 

Get at least 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight during your feeding period, minimum 1 gram—try to get at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. For those of you who use the metric system, 2 grams minimum per kilogram of bodyweight during that feeding window. 

If you're 200 pounds, make sure you get at least 200 grams during that feeding window. Better yet, try to get in at least 300 grams. 

Meal Timing

Now, as far as protein goes, I'm also talking about focusing on protein for that first meal. I'm one of the few experts out there who's actually done research on fasting in the lab. At my old lab at Yale School of Medicine we actually looked at fasting and what meal you followed the fast with. 

Now, one of the ways that Intermittent Fasting boosts fat loss is by increasing the production of uncoupling proteins. These uncoupling proteins basically poke holes in the mitochondria—particularly in the muscle cells. The mitochondria are what produce ATP. That's how you burn fat and carbohydrates, producing ATP. That's the energy that you use during a workout.

If you poke holes in the mitochondria it's not as efficient, so you produce less energy and create more heat, meaning to produce the same amount of energy you now have to burn more calories—you have to burn more fat, more carbohydrates—just to get enough energy to basically put you through a normal day, let alone training.

Now, if you follow that fast with a high-protein, low-carbohydrate meal, you'll further increase that fat-burning potential. You further increase that boost in uncoupling protein production and metabolic rate. That's what essentially happens: You burn more calories. Your metabolic rate goes up.

So after you've fasted—whether you're following Ramadan or just normal, Intermittent Fasting—make sure your first meal is basically a high-protein but low-carb meal. Then, about an hour or so later, you can start adding carbohydrates along with your protein. Keep focusing on protein.

Eat Enough Fat

The other thing you want to focus on during your feeding window is fat intake. That's critical here: You're going to be fasting all day, you want to make sure you're getting adequate fat to keep testosterone production up. Fasting all day, if you're not getting enough fat in your diet, your testosterone levels are going to drop. 

Make sure you're getting at least half your bodyweight in grams of fat. So a 200 pound person, they need 100 grams. If you're doing that in kilograms, get 1 gram of fat per kilogram. 

Make sure you also get that fat in your feeding window, and I'm not just talking about what we call the "healthy fats"—our omega-3 fats, other polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats—but I'm also talking about saturated fats. You guys need saturated fats. 

If you're getting in 100 grams of fat per day—you're a 200 pound person—approximately 35 grams or so of that should be saturated fat per day. That's going to help maintain testosterone levels. Another 35 grams from monounsaturated fats—nuts, olive oil, those sources. Then the remaining should be your omega-3s from fish like salmon, or Omega JYM. 

Workout Tips

During Ramadan, if you want to focus on building more muscle—like I said, you're not going to maximize it, but you can maintain if not build some muscle during this fasting period—but what I recommend you do is keep your training to later, when you're feeding.

Ideally, you want to keep your workout during the feeding window—in this case, for Ramadan, after sunset—or you want to train right before the feeding window so that your first meal is basically your post-workout protein shake. 

If that's your first meal following a workout, you can actually skip the fast-digesting carbohydrates. You can skip all the carbs, and just go with your Pro JYM, your protein. Then an hour later have another shake or a whole food protein source along with your Post JYM Active Matrix and Fast-Digesting Carbs. Boost that recovery, drive more creatine and carnitine into those muscle cells, aid recovery and muscle growth.

I hope this video helped answer some of the questions that you guys have about Ramadan. If I haven't, hit me up—you guys know where: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. I'm always there answering your questions, helping you find the way. 

And if you don't want to wait around for me to get you an answer, head to the JYM Army Facebook group page. You'll get an answer there that's Jim-approved, I can guarantee it.

Whether you're fasting or not, guys, as always stay JYM Army Strong. 

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