The Ramadan Nutrition and Workout Plan for Success: Women and Men


By Rehan Jalali, C.S.N.

2541659162_e116cbbbf7_bI am frequently asked, “How can I workout and eat properly while fasting?” Most people see the blessed month of Ramadan as a time when they will lose strength and muscle mass; some think they can only “maintain” themselves during this month, while many women actually gain weight! If you use some of the strategies I am about to share with you, you can make some of your best gains during Ramadan. It’s all about maximizing nutrient uptake, maintaining proper hydration, and modifying key fat-burning and muscle-building hormones in your favor–and of course PREPARATION — if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail! Plus, how can you truly maximize this month spiritually if your body is sick, tired, and your mind isn’t sharp?

First of all, let’s look at what happens to your body during Ramadan. While you are fasting, you become more dehydrated at rest – but actually less than if you had exercised aerobically for over an hour (so exercise causes greater dehydration for that time period versus fasting). Your main metabolic fuel source for bodily function during fasting is mainly fat, which is a good thing. So the goals during Ramadan are to maximize metabolism (even though your metabolism will slow down due to less frequent meals); preserve and enhance as much lean muscle mass as possible (which will inherently increase metabolic rate and allow you to burn more calories at rest); and maximize your workout (both cardio and weight training). During Ramadan, depending on your goals, I really recommend that you limit cardio to 2 days a week at the most. This is again to preserve as much lean muscle tissue as possible. There is actually research showing the health benefits of fasting. It is truly a physical purification. According to a study published in the reputable European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers concluded “no detrimental effects on health have as yet been directly attributed to negative water balance at the levels that may be produced in Ramadan.” Other research has actually shown cardiovascular benefits of fasting during Ramadan — that is, IF you can avoid the IBS. No, that’s not irritable bowel syndrome – it’s the dreaded Iftar Binging Syndrome! It is vital to eat moderate to small meals even after iftar.

Training Times

Ok, enough of the background, let’s get to the meat of it! I am going to set the record straight here.  The best time to do a weight-training workout is NOT while fasting. This can create way too much muscle breakdown and cause a significant rise in the catabolic hormone cortisol. Training while in a state of dehydration can decrease strength significantly. In fact, research indicates that dehydrating a muscle by as little as 3% can cause a 12% loss in strength. Training while you are fasting can actually be more detrimental than beneficial! The best time to weight train during Ramadan is after taraweeh prayers at night. This will ensure that you will have several meals and plenty of water in your system before going to the gym. This will also allow you to consume your all-important post workout meal or shake which is essential muscle growth which leads to fat loss. If this is too late then the next best time to weight train is about 1 hour after iftar before tarawih prayer. You could do a short but intense 30 minute workout. The best time to do cardio work for maximum fat loss is before suhur – yep, that’s the truth. Of course, most people I know will not want to get up at around 3:30am and do cardio! If you CAN pull this off then the best thing to do is get up and drink plenty of water with a cup of coffee, green tea, or oolong tea, wait 30 minutes and perform 30-45 minutes of moderate intensity cardio work like a brisk walk on a treadmill. If this is out of the question for you, then the next best time to do cardio is approximately 30-45 minutes after a “light” iftar (I will define this shortly). Short, high intensity cardio like sprinting is actually great to do during Ramadan.  It takes less than 10 minutes and provides maximum benefit in terms of fat burning and lean muscle preservation! This isn’t “driving Miss Daisy” cardio – it’s very intensive: an example would be sprinting for 20-30 seconds at full speed (like a crazy dog is chasing you!) and then walking for one minute. Do 4-5 cycles like that and you’re good! Start slow, of course, and work your way up.

So now you know when to train, it’s time to learn what to eat and drink (think water, water, and more water!

 

Suhoor (The Pre-Dawn Meal)

For suhoor, it is imperative to drink plenty of water, eat a good blend of protein, carbohydrates, and essential fat. That’s right, “good fats” have many fat-burning and muscle-building properties, and their importance is even greater during Ramadan. Some good suhoor foods include:

  • Egg whites (1 yolk)
  • Chicken breast
  • Oatmeal
  • Cream of wheat
  • Protein shake
  • Cinnamon
  • Bananas
  • Raw, dark Honey
  • Raisins or dates
  • Fibrous vegetables –This will help increase the feeling of fullness as well.
  • All natural peanut butter
  • Flax seed oil – A great and tasty brand is Omega Swirl from Barleans –There’s a version for Women as well. (www.barleans.com)
  • Olive oil – preferably extra virgin (which means it’s cold processed and the essential fatty acids are preserved)
  • Plenty of water

It is important to take a solid multi-vitamin, multi-mineral supplement with suhoor as well to make sure daily minimum requirements of key nutrients are met. One good source for women is the Women’s Blend by Super Nutrition and a good one for men is Opti-Pack by Super Nutrition. Taking extra vitamin C and vitamin E can also be helpful. A great product is Emergen-C from Alacer. It is very important to watch your sodium intake at this time as high sodium can cause greater dehydration plus increase thirst during the day – not good for fasters. Avoid high sodium foods like soups, sauces, condiments, gravies, high sodium bread products, and canned meats. Of course eating fried foods and heavy oil items can cause heartburn and problems for you all day so it is best to avoid those if possible!

Iftar (Sunset Meal)

This is a key time for rehydration. The wisdom in Islam is never ending. We break our fast with dates and water but if you investigate this nutritionally, you will see that dates are very unique in their nutrient content. They contain very high levels of potassium (much more than a banana), a key re-hydration mineral and a special carbohydrate blend that enhances hydration above and beyond water alone. They contain a special blend of glucose and fructose for short and long term energy. They also have a special nutrient called beta D-glucan that is a soluble fiber that can enhance satiety and digestive health. So basically when you eat a date and water for iftar your body gets hydrated again much faster than with water alone (this is a complex topic but I don’t want to bore you with the details – You can think of dates and water as a very advanced form of Gatorade®).  In fact, clinical research published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition entitled “The fruit of the date palm: its possible use as the best food for the future?” concluded that “dates may be considered as an almost ideal food, providing a wide range of essential nutrients and potential health benefits.”

You should also eat some quality protein at iftar time as well. I would first recommend three dates. For men, I recommend a meal replacement protein powder like Protein Rush from VPX Sports, Lean Body by Labrada, or Eat-Smart MRP from iSatori and for women, one scoop of a protein powder like Pro-Blend 55, Eat-Smart MRP from iSatori, and Low Carb protein from MRM. Of course, drink plenty of water – in fact, keep a water bottle with you at all times after sunset! Then 1-1.5 hours later have a food meal (or follow the schedule above for cardio). Then during taraweeh, depending if you pray 8 or 20 rak`at, have a protein bar (like Power Crunch) or ready-to-drink protein shake in the middle (not while you are praying of course!); or you can have another small protein and complex carbohydrate meal after the 8 rak`at. If you have a protein bar, drink plenty of water and then go train for about 30-45 minutes. For women, you can actually do 20 minutes of cardio and 20 minutes of weight training at this time. For men, you can take a BCAA (branched chain amino acid) product like BCAA-G from MRM before, during and right after the workout to preserve lean muscle. After the workout, also have another nutrition shake with plenty of water. Eating small meals at night can trick your body into speeding up metabolic rate (not to mention increase nutrient absorption and stabilize insulin and blood sugar levels). Your body loves homeostasis and wants to maintain a certain balance – you literally have to shock it constantly to lose fat and gain muscle over the long run! There is so much wisdom in “Eat and drink but not to excess” and we should try and follow that especially during Ramadan.

Sample Ramadan Meal Plan for Fat Loss and Muscle Gain

*This plan is for a 170 lb MALE, please adjust amounts for bodyweight

 

Suhoor:

  • Eat 6-8 egg whites (with one yolk)
  • One bowl of plain oatmeal w/cinnamon, raisins and a banana
  • 1 teaspoon all-natural peanut butter or olive oil or flax seed oil (1 tablespoon Barlean’s Omega Swirl)
  • Plenty of water (16-24 oz.)
  • Opti-pack by Super Nutrition (one pack) multi-vitamin/mineral

Iftar:

  • Three Dates and a Nutrition Shake (Protein Rush from VPX Sports, Lean Body by Labrada, or Eat-Smart MRP from iSatori)
  • Plenty of water

Sample Ramadan Meal Plan for Fat Loss and Muscle Gain

*This plan is for a 130 lb FEMALE, please adjust amounts for bodyweight)

 

Suhoor:

  • Eat 3-4 egg whites (with one yolk)
  • ½ cup of plain oatmeal w/ cinammon, raisins and a small banana
  • 1 teaspoon all-natural peanut butter, almond butter or olive oil or flax seed oil (1 tablespoon Barlean’s Omega Swirl)
  • Plenty of water (16-24 oz.)
  • Women’s blend: 2 pills of multi-vitamin/multi-mineral

Iftar:

  • Three Dates and a Nutrition Shake-1 scoop w/12 oz water (Pro-Blend 55, Eat-Smart MRP from iSatori, and Low Carb protein from MRM)
  • Plenty of water

 

For cardio workouts: Do cardio 45 minutes after this meal for 30-45 minutes at a moderate pace or do a sprint workout if you have less time and then have the next meal before taraweeh. Have a cup of green tea, Oolong tea, or coffee with iftar on cardio days.

For weight training days: Eat another food meal before taraweeh like chicken breast (or baked salmon), brown rice and some veggies OR baked fish (salmon, tuna, orange roughy, or mahi mahi), sweet potato, and a garden salad or some steamed vegetables.

Drink plenty of water during taraweeh. Go to the gym after taraweeh. (If you pray 20 rak`at, have a protein bar in the middle of prayer). Drink plenty of water during the workout. For men, you can even have Accelerade or Powerade™ or another sports drink during the workout.

After the workout, have another Nutrition Shake and lots of water of course. Then sleep 45 minutes later or stay up all night eating and working like I do!

Following these simple workout and nutrition tips can really help you make great gains during this blessed month. May Allah help give us patience and strength in this month and throughout the year and make us strong mentally, internally, spiritually, and physically!

Top 5 Healthy Foods to eat During Ramadan

  1. Dates – They contain a unique blend of glucose and fructose and have a very high potassium content (about 64% more than bananas). They have a nutrient called beta-D-glucan which is a soluble fiber that has health benefits and can increase the feeling of fullness.
  2. Raw, Unfiltered Honey – This contains many phytochemicals and flavonoids that can enhance health. Honey is very good for increasing energy. It is an excellent source of antioxidants. In fact, ORAC tests show it has the highest level of antioxidants of virtually any natural food on earth! It even has anti-bacterial effects. Take 1-2 tablespoons daily.
  3. Fish – Eating fish regularly can have positive effects on health. The fish oils EPA and DHA have been shown to improve brain function, enhance cardiovascular health, and reduce inflammation among other things. Some of the best fish are cold water wild salmon, orange roughy, deep sea cod, sea bass, ahi tuna, mahi mahi, and tilapia.
  4. Figs – They contain key mineral such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. They are also a great source of fiber and can support healthy blood sugar levels. Figs are an alkaline food which means they help balance the Ph of the body making it less acidic.
  5. Olive Oil – Contains omega 9 or oleic fatty acids. It has been shown to increase the good cholesterol (HDL) while lowering bad cholesterol (LDL). It also seems to have some antioxidant effects. Look for extra virgin olive oil (cold-pressed). Cooking with it can lower some of its benefits. Add it to food after it is cooked!

Happy Healthy Ramadan!

*The content of this article is for information purposes only. Please consult a physician before starting any nutrition, training, or supplementation program.

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135 Comments

  1. Akthedok says:

    Thanx 4 this wonderful info. I will try doing cardio twice a week after Iftar. Ramadan Mubarak to evrybody!

  2. Hamza says:

    Great article! There is no excuse for not working out or not eating properly!

  3. Hassan says:

    Have a protein bar during taraweeh?
    Go to gym after taraweeh?
    Eat nothing but eggs, oats, and protein shakes?

    This is just your cookie cutter nonsense from Muscle and Fiction magazines.

    • Taylor says:

      Agreed. Everyone has a different body and lifestyle. These cookie cutter plans don’t work. People need plans tailored to their situation.

    • Sammy says:

      This plan is for 30 days, not for the rest of your working out days. The “plan” here is the same for everyone; we’re all fasting for 30 days and for pretty much the same amount of time. Time is not a luxury during Ramadan. So yes, have a protein bar during taraweeh, go to gym after taraweeh and yes eat nothing but eggs, oats, and protein shakes. We can go back to our crazy mass building workouts after Ramadan is over. But for now this is a great way to eat live this month without binging. If you have something better, then please enlighten us with your plan. Otherwise keep your sarcasm to yourself. Salam

    • yasir says:

      agreed! with all that exercise when are you meant to devote time to praying and other good deeds. You dont need all that much protein and actually you can train whilst fasting.

  4. Layla says:

    What i understand from this article, regarding the exercise, of course, is that there is sleep deprivation. Studies show that we need 7-8 hrs of sleep also to maximize health benefits. For a person who works this is difficult to keep up. There really has to be some fancy foot work during Ramadhan to make this work. I also assume that means that invitations need to be kept to a minimum, in order to stay on schedule.

    The idea is simple, but it is not easy!

    • ananymous says:

      Sallam W Brother/Sister,

      Thanks for your information, also I have a query

      The plan your recommended for female Sample Ramadan Meal Plan for Fat Loss and Muscle Gain, about the 3-4 egg whites (with one yolk) is it cooked or raw?

      Jasakulahu khair

      • Cham says:

        Make sure you cook the egg. Half boiled, hard boiled or whatever. Raw egg can make you very very sick.

        Stay safe.

        • Riz says:

          I’d say skip the egg whites/yolk to be safe, and try Greek Yogurt 0%. It has 18g of protein in 3/4 cup of yogurt. Safer alternative. All natural, bacterial culture, and skimmed milk.

  5. Amina G says:

    As salaam alaikum,

    I started out trying this diet (minus the vitamins, protein shakes and workout sessions) to see how my body would feel with just this food in my system. I have to admit that at first it was weird eating the eggs, oatmeal, bananas, peanut butter and raisins for suhoor with nothing but lots of water.. But then as the day went on I noticed not feeling tired or hungry.
    The big surprise was when I had dinner, the normal feeling of exhaustion that I was used to feeling the Ramadans prior to this one, was completely non-existant. I dismissed it as the first day and decided to assess myself at the end of the week when I could properly say I gave this nutrition plan a go.

    It’s been about a week now and I still feel amazing alhumdulillah. I’m not hungry during the day, I don’t crash after dinner and I don’t yawn or feel tired during Taraweeh. It’s mainly about what foods you decide to eat and how much of them you’re eating.

    Trust me, with all those bountiful dinners and gatherings it’s not easy for me either, but if you’re smart and stick to the plan your body will thank you.

    Here’s how I started..
    Suhoor: 1 bowl of oatmeal or cream of wheat (alternate) w/1 tsp of peanut butter mixed in, topped with half a banana sliced and a handful of golden raisins. 2 egg whites and 1 whole egg scrambled and a bottle or 2 of water.

    Iftaar: 3 dates and a bottle of water

    Dinner: a small portion of whatever is on the table. I make sure it has 1 protein, and 1 vegetable and then eat it with a half cup of rice.

    I eat whatever I didn’t get to after Taraweeh but make sure to keep the portion small.

    I’ll incorporate the vitamins and the protein shakes next week and start working out insha’Allah.

    Sorry this was so long but I had to share my results properly. Hope it helped i’A!

    Your body is an Amana from Allah (swt) that he’s given us Ramadan to cleanse spiritually and physically, don’t miss this golden opportunity to detox and get rewarded for it!!. GNC’s got nothin on this! :)

  6. Moccona says:

    Salaam.

    Thank you for the article, but as a student of Human Nutrition I have to question some of your dietary advice. The lack of variety means very little nutrients are being ingested. You recommend vitamins but these, in the scientific community, are not ideal because they are not absorbed by the body as efficiently as from whole foods. And where is the fruit and vegetables? People can achieve their daily requirements easily with a few pieces of fruit and a few cups of vegetables a day. Also, when you suggest egg whites with only one egg yolk, I fear people may become wasteful by throwing away the other egg yolks. In ramadan and indeed in daily life outside of this month, we are taught not to be wasteful. This is especially important given the humanitarian crisis in Somalia.

    • elme says:

      i keep egg yolks to brush on pies and pastries for family

      • Samir says:

        This was my original concern as well, A little research on the topic and I found many uses for the yolk thats not consumed. Some examples I found were skin treatment, hair and scalp treatment, finger paint (for those that have kids), and some recipes call for only the yolk.

  7. Muhammad says:

    Salams. Great article by the way brother!

    @ Moccona

    There is actually a variety of things here that provide the body with a full spectrum of nutrients, electrolytes, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Not to mention the additional use of optional supplements.

    Macronutrients all mentioned above.

    -Proteins
    -Carbohydrates
    -Fats

    Electrolytes all mentioned above as well

    -Dates
    -Figs
    -Bananas

    Antioxidants
    -Honey (In my opinion, there are not to many things more superior, and its natural, comes from Allah SWT)
    -Steamed Veggies
    -Salad
    -Olive Oil

    Phytochemical
    -Veggies
    -Salad

    He covered everything brother, and much more. Maybe you didn’t read the article thoroughly? Dates, Figs, & Raisins are fruits. So those were covered as well. We all also know that multi-vitamins are not the optimal source for vitamins and minerals etc, but they do help fill in the gaps. Also, going above and beyond, he mentioned Branched Chained Amino Acids (BCAA’s).

    As far as they egg yolk arguement, yo do know that egg whites can be purchased from the store without yolks, right? And even if they were not readily available you can used them to cook with as well iin other dishes. No offense brother, but I feel as if you were being slightly arrogant by questioning the Authors dietary advice. Considering he is a Certified Sports Nutritionist and you are like you said, just a student, I think you can learn a thing or two from him.

    Salams

  8. bigBoi muslimah says:

    Salaam everyone,
    I read this article beginning of Ramadan & thought it was crazzzzy to workout during Ramadan but I knew that Ramadan would be the perfect opportunity to start eating really healthy. So, I decided to change my diet completely during Ramadan. 16 days into Ramadan & I have lost 8 pounds. SubhanAllah.
    I did not work out at all. I simply ate really filling meals for both sahoor & iftaar that were very health concious.

    Every morning for sahoor I eat egg white only scrambled eggs with small pieces of chicken breast with whole wheat toast, low fat greek yogurt, half cup of fat free skim milk, two full 8 oz glasses of water & sometimes I exchange something for like cheerios.

    Then for iftaar I start with two glasses of water, a organic fruit juice blend I make at home, consisting of 5 kale leaves, two apples, & a few oranges. Then I eat whatever is served but in small portions. I have totally cut out rice & white bread. I eat one or two small friend items. Usually I eat some sort of vegetables either steamed, simply stir fried or sauteed with either chicken or salmon. I always make sure to eat a cup of fruit salad. After taraweeh I drink half a cup of green tea.

    Alhamdulilah I have been able to stick to eating really healthy for the past two weeks & I am hoping to carry this past Ramadan.

    Also, I try to walk as much as possible. If I go to work or grocery store I park as far as possible so that I can walk more.

  9. Saad Malik says:

    Rehan, this is fantastic. Exactly what I’ve been looking for as its always been difficult for me to manage my diet during Ramadan. Thanks much!

  10. Muhammad says:

    Do you think doing Insanity (the p90x workout) 6 days a week during Ramadan would be a bad idea? And I’m speaking strictly in terms of bodily processes, such as fat loss, metabolism, muscle gain, etc. Insanity is a high intense cardio session that lasts approx. 30-45 minutes. I would be more than ready to do it, as long as I’m not harming my body in anyway. Thanks!!

    • Rayhän says:

      i luv humus and i eat dat durin suhoor wid whole wheat bread….it somehow keeps me feelin full…..also i wanted to kno how abt taking acetyl L.carnitine at suhoor??
      As workout is concerned, i cant leav it as im into modelling and dont wanna loose the cuts….specially the abs…..hence i eat a date or two @iftaar and run to the gym with a protien shake……is this ok??

      • Abdul says:

        try not eating hummus, even if it keeps you full. Hummus is not good, its really high in calories and sodium. Its about 100 or so calories and 8 g of fat per 3 tbsps. @iftar what your doing is good, dates are really rich in potassium as mentioned in the article. and the protein shake is also good, will give u lots of energy. if that doesnt fill you up. eat something like a salad with grilled chicken or something. And theres no need to really hit the gym, try doing “insanity” its a workout by teambeach body. it will definatly keep you in shape and will give u more cardio, it’s high intensity, but it gives you amazing results, even if your already cut. Make sure you give urself a rest after having iftar, dont go to your workout right away. try doing it before sehri by like an hour or two then at sehri drink ALOT of water and eat well.

    • Taylor says:

      I have the same question about Insanity. Accompanied with the proper nutritional intake, will Insanity work and prove beneficial?

  11. Syauqi says:

    Salam to everyone.

    First of all, thank you for the very informational article. Before i read this article I just wondering what I have to do and what I can eat within the Ramadan and now I know exactly what I need to do. I just have an inquiry about the meal replacement. Can I use other brand such as Dymatize Elite Fusion 7?

  12. sajeed says:

    Salaam

    I want to try this unique routine, good stuff!
    but i wanted to know how i can adapt it to this years ramadan! in the uk we have iftar at 9.30pm then Suhoor will be around 1.30am…

    SOMEONE HELP ME!

  13. Abdul says:

    Salam, Well to start this off , im only 15. I’m currently doing the Team beachbody workout insanity by shaun t. . since ramadhan is coming up im planning to restart insanity all over. I like the idea of this article, but not really the meal plan, i hate eggs >.>.

  14. AbdelRahman says:

    barakAllah feek

  15. l says:

    So basically i started doing high intensity interval training (HIIT) a couple of weeks ago but as ramadan is coming up i guess i have to stop that? I dont really wanna harm my body or lose any type of muscle. Should i just walk everyday for about 45mins everyday?

    • elme says:

      i think the author mentions it’s a great time to do HIIT – sprints for 30s and walk for 1 minute… but short bouts of course. Not an hour long session!

  16. Fozi says:

    Thanks alot for the detailed tip on Ramadan nutrition and workout. I have been looking for a way to fit in workout in Ramadan,

  17. Dee says:

    This article is very informational. My problem is that I have my iftar around 8.30. And I think that it is a lil bit late to do exercises after that time. What’s your suggestion? Thanks.

  18. Musa Muhammad says:

    The dietary suggestions are essentially what I follow whenever I’ve fasted during ramadan or for mustahab and I’ve found it carries me through the day and night with strength and energy. The meals help me avoid the feeling of over indulging at sehri or iftaar (which I found in the past made me more hungry and have less energy). The timeline proposed is difficult if you work during the day. I don’t work out at a gym or home, I do brazillian jiu jitsu and muay thai and unfortunately, the classes aren’t offered after 10 o clock at night. Personally I’ve found that if you need to work out during the fast its really important not to work out too early in the fast and to work out near iftaar where you are able to eat almost immediately after. By eating a smart iftaar as mentioned above, I’ve found I make some of my best gains during Ramadan. However, when I workout and then go home and do a stupid over indulgent iftaar I actually get fatter (after all, this is how sumo’s put on weight, by having intense work outs on empty stomachs and then binge eating on rice). This article is amazing and its so nice to see Muslims educating themselves in various disciplines and sharing their knowledge such that we can perform our Islamic duties safely and knowledgeably. Hamdulillah.

    • lina says:

      Assamoualaikum!
      Thank you very much for ur post! I’m also planning to do some muscle toning exercises at the gym BEFORE IFTAAR. However,I’m confused what to eat for iftaar…If you eat a heavy meal,u’ll end up stocking all the calories,like the sumos…at sehri time,I eat very little and fast,so that I can go to sleep…otherwise i’ll feel tired and sleepy all the day…also,if u eat a heavy meal at sehri and go to sleep,it’s not wise neither…
      can you advise me please…:)

  19. Hassan says:

    Thank you! Ramadhan Kareem full of peace, happiness, and prosperity! I imagine eating olives is better than uncooked olive oil?

  20. saif says:

    Salams, Most likely working out post-iftar or pre-suhur is not realistic. Its the only time you have to spend with your family and going to the mosque. Most brothers and sisters I know actually do workout while fasting. What is your remedy on that? I have read in many places that keeping a workout light and under 45 min will help you do that. The goal in Ramadan for most people who workout realistically wont be to gain muscle, but more so to keep what they have already, maintain without loosing too much. I have a problem of loosing weight quick. I think your meal plans do make sense and one can get in 4 meals while fasting.
    1. Light iftar (8pm): dates, protein shake, tuna or chicken, with some vegetables or salad. Lots of water.
    2. Right before Taraweh (930pm): sandwhich tuna/chicken, pasta, potatoes, 6 egg whites, oatmeal, vitamins, protein shake. Lots of water!(reverse osmosis and oxygenated water – better hydration)
    3. before going to bed (11pm): Casein shake, fruits, peanut butter, some essential AAcids, Omega 3s, water water water.
    4. Suhur: 6 egg whites, Chicken breasts/Tuna, steamed vegetables, sweet potatoes, handful almond/cashews, protein shake. water!

    I can only workout in the afternoon at lunch time, due to family and spiritual reasons after work.. Pre-suhur almost impossible..

    What you say RJ?

  21. mohamad ghassan Albarazanji says:

    working out during fasting does not cause that much muscle break down as compared to fat break down… as long as you are taking in a good amount of calories for sahoor and eating light for iftar you should be fine… try to keep your sahoor and post taraweeh meals highly protein concentrated and high calorie in general (iftars should be light)

  22. Hayat says:

    Suhaib:

    I’ve read the article a couple of times in order to come up with my personal plan. This is looking awesome; however, I do have a question:

    If I do my 45 minute moderate cardio following a “light iftaar”, then could I eat my full-meal right after the work out? I have a small baby and I would love to quickly eat, pray Isha’, and fall asleep right away

    Morning cardio doesn’t work for me at all! Please advise!

  23. Maryam says:

    Asak! I find the diet good just now i read it but i wanna loose 15-17 pounds in another 15 days…..Iam very keen about dieting, I diet a lot and iam doing aerobics after taraawee but i need a proper diet but i want to loose so, can anyone give me a diet plan through which i can loose 15-17pounds in 15days….Iam 24years old and i love dieting n workouts..plz dont advice me that its not healthy although i knew it but i want to loose as its my marriage.. so, can i get a diet plan….i have lost almost 10kgs in one month with protein diet but as for ramadan i am dieting but i dont know the perfect plan…
    Thanx,
    Maryam…

    • Ahmad says:

      It is advised not to loose more than 2lbs a weeks by international health agencies.So avoid any diet plan offering weight loss at a rate more than this one.

  24. Rehan says:

    Jzk for the kind words. I hope this article benefits the believers. Please keep me in your duas. Peace. P.S. I would reiterate NOT training at all during the fast-the dehydration is the main issue.

    -Rehan Jalali

  25. Rami says:

    I don’t know if my eyes just can’t handle looking through all the comments, but I feel like my two most important questions are left unanswered:

    1. How do you follow this plan and still get a healthy amount of sleep to be a productive employee from 8am-4pm?

    2. Is it healthy to do a P90x or Insanity workout, or do we switch to something less physically demanding?

    These questions become more important with a Ramadan like this year’s where the sun is up at 3:45ish and down at 8:30ish. I’m most worried about the sleep deprivation because I know I don’t function well when I get less than 7.5 hrs.

  26. Zohra says:

    I was just wondering if I could run 30min before Iftar. Or do some intense cardio for 30 min before Iftar. If you know what I mean?

  27. Abubakar says:

    Thanks for a great article.

    I will be doing the ‘warm up’ part of Insanity workout (about 20 minutes but intense) 3 times a week and then 2 shortened weights workouts (variations of 5×5)a week.

    First time exercising during Ramadan, so it is interesting to see if I can fit in the exercise with fasting and prayer.

  28. Molly says:

    Salaams, I am 34 year old female that is trying to tone my body. I am 5”6 and 140 lbs. I am trying to lose abdomen weight but hold muscle in other parts of body. With long summer hours for next week Ramadan do you think I can still accomplish what I have been working so hard to achieve over the past month that I began this fines journey? Shukran

  29. Bodrul Miah says:

    http://www.halalprotein.co.uk anyone used this? Just want to be 100% sure it is halal as they claim.

  30. some person says:

    I think turning ramadan into a diet , however well intentioned seems to be missing the point. The meaning of ramadan is to confront the appetites of the nafs and to delay them. There are people who observe Ramadan who do not have to fast from food (ill health or travel) – clearly there is more to this month that telling people to tone up.

    why not write this article for Rabiul-Awwal, Rabi-uthani, Jumadi-ul-Awwal or Jumadi-uthani;

    Muzaffar al-Qirmisini said,

    “Hunger supported by contentment is the meadow of reflection, the spring of wisdom, the life of intelligence, and the lamp of the heart.”

  31. Sister Ana says:

    Salams,
    I want to benefit in all aspects of my life this Ramadan, spiritually, physically and emotionally. I love the workout plan but do you do cardio and weight training on alternate days and when do you drink the protein shakes? During Ifatar or after workouts or both?Im a bit confused and is Slim fast a good alternative for nutirition shakes?
    Thanks and May ALLAH reward you and us all for efforts to keep the body he gave us clean and healthy

  32. Talha says:

    Aparently oats spikes your sugar level and is not good for you – so much contradicting advise out there its confusing:

    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/are-oats-healthy/

    Would people still recomend to haave oats meal daily?

  33. Kamal says:

    How do you get egg whites without wasting the yolk? I don’t like the egg whites that comes in the cartons. Is it haram to dispose of the yolk all together?

    • elme says:

      creativity people! use it to brush pastries which turns it nice and golden… ? Add to quiche, add to bobotie…. really

  34. AWM says:

    what about having fava beans on iftar? its filling and has a good mix of protein and carbs.

  35. AM says:

    Great post, but flawed in terms of training. I’ll explain below, but the overarching theme is that the suggestions are purely impractical for working individuals / professionals.

    1. Working out after Taraweeh. This is not a good recommendation at all, unless you can afford to remain awake for at least one hour post-workout completion. Given that Taraweeh prayers are ending around midnight (in NY), the average person will finish their workout around 1AM, and that’s only IF they planned properly by readying and wearing all of their workout gear to Taraweeh. Increasing your heart rate at such an hour will require the body some cool-down time and thus requiring the individual to remain awake – especially with the recommendation of HIT (high-intensity training). By the time you wrap-up and are all tucked away in bed, you’re looking at approximately 2AM. Again, not practical when you have to wake up for Suhoor in about an hour and then proceed to work in the morning thereafter.

    2. Working out 1 hour after Iftar and before Taraweeh. This is not possible. Iftar is currently at ~8:30PM (in NY) and Isha/Taraweeh starts at about 10:15PM. How is it possible, as suggested, to start your workout at 9:30PM and make it to prayers on time? While I agree this makes the most sense, but given the time constraints you’ll hardly get in a quality workout. This recommendation is again, DOA (dead on arrival).

    3. Working out before Suhoor. DISCLAIMER: If you enter Ramadan working out less than 3 days a week on average, then this recommendation is NOT for you. This is probably the most legitimate recommendation, but probably the least favorite with the vast majority. If the individual can get into their workout by 2AM / 2:30AM they should be able to produce a high-quality workout with the proper nutrition on the backend to supplement. However, please be reminded that there are significant risks to working out on only two hours of sleep. Therefore, this recommendation should only be for advanced trainers / workout enthusiasts and not the mass, general public who want to employ some form of fitness during Ramadan.

    In my humble and honest opinion, I believe the most practical workout time for the vast majority of working professionals is one hour pre-Iftar. I agree that you won’t be as strong going into the workout, but with the ability to rehydrate and supplement immediately after should partially compensate for the loss of strength. Also, the rush of sugar and immediate light-headedness that comes from breaking your fast should subside with a pre-Iftar workout. You’ll also have plenty of time to cool-down and stretch during the nightly prayers as well as get the proper rest during the challenging month.

    Other thoughts:
    As someone who’s completed P90X – don’t do it during Ramadan. While the workouts are indeed tough, the most important element to the program is the nutrition. And given the abstinence from food and drink, one cannot properly regulate their metabolism during the month and therefore will not be able to get the proper nutrition necessary for the program to be effective.

    Just my two cents. Hope this helps and provides some guidance.

    AM

  36. Awais Asgahr says:

    This is very good article. Infact i was searching from couple of days and here I have found perfect workout plan in Ramadan..:)

  37. Sabrina says:

    Salaam,

    Thank you for all the good info and suggestions. My main concern is how to squeeze In my work outs while fasting. After Iftar it gets to be really late and most times I end up choosing sleep over the work out. The most convenient time would be right before Iftar but as the article mentioned it would be more detrimental than beneficial to do any kind of strength training. So it would only be cardio and over a period of 30 days would cause me to loose lean muscle mass.

    So I’m still trying to figure out a solution – anyone try working out right before Iftar? How do you do it without any water? My goal during normal work outs is to maximize water intake so this seems like the biggest challenge. Any suggestions?

  38. anonymous says:

    There are two things wrong with this article.

    1. Your body will consume muscle for energy first, not fat for energy during the day. Once all the muscle is gone then you get to the fat burning.
    2. It’s all about timing and getting enough sleep, lack of sleep has a bigger impact on performance than nutrition.

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  40. Dawar Naqvi says:

    An excellent and useful article,inshallah will help everyone of us in the blessing month of Ramadan.

  41. nisar says:

    Salamz..

    I’m a professional lawyer, plus have been training for over 15years with both weights and cardio.

    From my research no food no water …plus training is bad for your body.

    You can train with only water ..but no water can cause damage.

    If you wish to fast …approx 16hrs a day for 30days…I suggest you do your research.

    You will find that all professional in this area strongly suggest you don’t train.

    Most importantly…after opening fast ..drink water…then more water…then some more..

  42. Aliyya says:

    I did this a couple years ago for Ramadan. I ate oatmeal in the morning no butter or anything, then 3 cups of water 20oz bottle. Upon breaking my fast I had the water and dates. Then salmon no seasonings and steamed veggies no seasonings. And fruit! All types especially watermelon. I worked out right after fajr for about 30mins or so on elliptical or treadmill. I felt great! Took my nap inbetween dhur and asr went to school and work. I chose no seasonings because our bodies hold on to everything we eat at this time. So spicy foods may cause you to be bloated or gassy and salty foods may cause you to retain water, plus its not healthy anyways. So to each is own but this is what I did. At the time I weighed about 215lbs 23yrs old and at the end I lost 20 lbs which wasn’t a goal it just happened. I am going to do this again Insha’Allah cause it was a good meal plan for me. Try it if you want. May this Ramadan 2014 be even better than the last for all of us! -Ameen

  43. njz says:

    insh Allah this ramadan will change our lifes,may Allah help all of us……Ameeen

  44. njz says:

    i want to lose 12 kg this ramadan,plz sugggest me diet plan frnds…….

    • Mardy z says:

      Salaams,

      It is NOT HEALTHY to lose 12 kgs in a month. You need 3 months for it to happens without compromising your health. If you eat properly this Ramadan and workout you can expect to lose 4-5 kgs for the month. If you lose more than that you will gain it all back in eid trust me. Gradual weight loss will last you your whole life. Use Ramadan to form healthy habits that will lead you to lose weight healthily even after Ramadan is over.

  45. all says:

    Assalamoualaikoum,

    Allah subhanhou taala and his prophet pbuh planned it enough for us:

    Slowly start with dates and water for iftar.

    Avoid excess junk and factory processed foods.

    Introduce fruits and veggies( cooked with good fats like olive oil).

    Doing your prayers, your Taraweeh and Walking should be good enough to boost your metabolism and support your digestive system.

    May Allah bless accept your fasting.

  46. Moazzam says:

    salams all,

    I see a few of you commented on Rehan’s expertise in nutrition. I am not questioning your expertise but please do some research on Rehan Jalali (http://www.rehanjalali.com/). He is one of the top nutrisionists in the US. He has done nutrition for Sylvester Stallone, Ben Affleck in upcoming Batman etc. I’m sure you can see the results there yourself. His advice here is a general principle on what to eat during ramadan, it is not meant as a personal plan catered for any of us, that would take consultation. And look at the testimonials of people who actually tried this plan, all are POSITIVE right?

    also, Rehan is a practicing Muslim and very down to earth mashaAllah. So try his plan and don’t be haters. :)

    ws

    Moazzam

  47. Darya says:

    Thank you so much Rehan for this very informative article! I just have a few question for women, do we have to dissolve one scoop of EACH protein supplement into 12oz of water or is it just one of the aforementioned brands(pro blend 55, eat smart MRP, low carb proteinMRP)? Also is that ALL we eat for Iftar until next morning suhoor?

    Thanks!

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