Dear Angry Trainer,
I have been following you on Twitter and am a big fan!
I love and respect what you stand for aka The Truth. I weigh 220lbs at 5’10’’; I’m 23 years old and am about to start fasting for Ramadan, which is a month long.
Basically I can’t eat or drink anything from dawn to dusk (all day), but can eat from sunset to sunrise. So my question to you is what is your suggestion for eating, right after breaking the fast and in the following days, and also should I train at all?
I was planning to do cardio only 3-4 times a week for 15-30 minutes. I appreciate your help and await your answer.
Hey Mark, what a terrific question!
I’m sure many people can relate to this dilemma and aren’t quite sure what to do. I’ve had people tell me that they gorge themselves as soon as the sun sets, and just pig out until bed. I’m going to try and give you a bit more of a sound plan that fits with your health and fitness goals.
Truthfully the first thing that comes in to mind is to simply switch your eating schedule. So instead of the typical 8 am to 8 pm cycle, I’d suggest an 8 pm to morning or sunrise pattern. Yes it will mean you wake up and eat or drink a meal or two, but it’s only a month and you can do it! The reason why this is important is that you don’t want to cut calories drastically for a month, or eat thousand calorie meals before bed. You may end up slowing your metabolism down and risking a potential weight gain when fasting is over if this isn’t planned properly.
In fact I’ve always wondered if people who fast for extended periods due to religious observance gain weight after it’s over. In my own experience, I’ve been told it’s quite a struggle to fast and maintain energy, concentration, and motivation throughout the day. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that many of these same people also struggle with weight. But guess what? You can keep your regular workouts and there’s no need to just do some cardio! With an appropriate eating schedule, you’ll be just fine. Check this out.
Here’s what I would do. I would schedule a workout for an hour, maybe a bit more, before sunset and kick some serious butt in the gym. Then right after, I’d slam a whey protein shake that had a fair amount of carbohydrates that includes sugars. About an hour after that I’d eat a whole food meal that was rich in lean protein, vegetables, fiber, and healthy fats. I’d make both the shake and the whole food meal at least 500 calories as you’ll need it post workout. Then right before bed I’d either eat 6 or 8 hard-boiled eggs with a couple of yolks, or a grilled chicken breast, along with a fiber drink. I’m suggesting the fiber for this month because it will slow digestion, and make you feel fuller longer, which is something you’ll need.
Now to the part that’s not so easy – the wake up feedings. Listen, I used to do this as a bodybuilder for years. I’d set my alarm for 3am, and sometimes again at 6 to drink a protein shake that had ½ tablespoon of omega oil like flax or safflower, added in for calories and to further slow digestion. I’d make them before bed and put them on my dresser. I used milk and egg protein powder because it breaks down slower than whey, which means you’ll keep a stream of amino acids flowing to grow those muscles all night. The really awesome part is that since you’ll be working out at night, you’ll be getting really great nutrition almost immediately and will get fantastic recuperation from going to sleep shortly after.
Since I don’t know where you live, I don’t know when sunrise is, but I’d get up an hour before and make a terrific breakfast that’s full of long lasting fuel for the day. So perhaps try a cup or more of oatmeal with chopped up apples, and an egg white omelet mixed with lots of colorful veggies.
So basically you’ll eat before sunrise, fast during the day, workout before sunset, then have your post workout shake followed by a whole food meal an hour later. Before bed try to eat some protein and fat again (around 300 calories in a 2/3 – 1/3 split) with a fiber supplement, and then overnight try one or two protein shakes with added omega oils. That should be plenty of fuel for you and while a bit arduous, will be totally worth it! Within the first week you should be adjusted and just fine. Plus, you may even find this plan is better than how you normally eat.
What I wouldn’t do is what I mentioned earlier, which is to eat junk and stuff yourself at that first meal. Those who say it’s just a month and it won’t hurt are wrong. It will hurt and has the potential to set bad habits that’ll be hard to break. Try my suggestions and let me know how it goes.
Let me know how it goes and if any of you out there would like to book a more in-depth consultation with me – just drop me a line via the How To Book button in the sidebar.
And if you have a question – please just click here. I’d love to help you!
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