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My First Real Taste of Ramadan – A Trainer’s Experience

posted by FitnessFirst Team May 30, 2017 0 comments

I arrived in Kuwait almost 2 years ago, right after Ramadan. Unfortunately I couldn’t experience it, but I knew my time would come! 12 months on and June 6th Ramadan was on our doorstep and I knew my decision was final. I was going to fast throughout the whole one month!

The purpose of my fasting was to understand what Ramadan means, feels like and how the body reacts to such extreme conditions. I also did my own research on the nutrition part and spent a lot of time to work out my training routine for the Holy Month.

Most of us are in a fortunate position where we don’t have to think too much about what and if we are going to eat or drink, because we have access to these things anytime and anywhere. However, it is not the case with poor people. Having to know what thirst and hunger is has changed my life. I started to see things from a different angle.

One day before Ramadan, on the June 5th 2016, I bought 300g of M&M’s sweets, smashed in 2 pizzas with extra cheese and 0,5l of Laban yoghurt drink at 2:15am, just to go “fully prepared” before entering the Unknown. And yes, I made a huge mistake!

Next day my shift started at 12pm so I had a good 7-8 hours of rolling in bed because I felt extremely heavy from the food I ate, and of course it was beyond uncomfortable.

I was tolerant to hunger of course, because of the 4000 kcal I had a night before, but boy I was THIRSTY! Very very thirsty and all I could think of was water! Water in any form, pool, sea, tap, mineral water, fizzy, hot, cold anything just water.

Then, in the afternoon I started to feel slow, my reaction time was just like a sloth’s one and I started to move as ‘fast’ as a turtle. My system was slowly beginning to give up, it was even hard to concentrate on what people were saying to me. Tap water was blocked with a sign ‘Ramadan Kareem’. That in my head translated to ‘Sorry Pal, but you cannot have food and drink from 2:30am till 6:45pm for 1 whole month’!

Everything seemed slow and distant. I had to learn something which I am not very good at, talk less. My mouth was dry and my tongue was sliding across my lips like the red light in the front of Knight Riders’ black Pontiac.

Although things got a little easier day by day, I was still missing my drinks and food. My wife and I prepared very clean and healthy food for ourselves but it did not feel comfortable to eat. I had a plan at the beginning, but I soon realised I need to change the game.

Beef, veal, and any red meat were out of the question. My body just couldn’t digest them properly and I was suffering from stomach ache. So I was left with fish, seafood, eggs, halloumi, veggies and of course with some important rice and quinoa. I was cutting out all sweets and processed food except Friday’s. Friday was my cheat day-fun day and all week I would long for it. However, this was Ramadan’s most challenging part, because it was also our day off. Waking up and not being able to do anything, really nothing was not easy. You can’t go out because of the heat, can’t go to the beach because you would suffer from thirst in the sun, can’t play sports with friends because sweating too much and not being able to drink, shops were closed, everything was quiet and slow, until dusk.

18:45 was our time. We jumped in the first taxi and went to some nice restaurant where it was hard to say NO to anything.

This is how I spent my one month during Ramadan. It was an amazing experience and I learned a lot during this one month. I learned how to be disciplined, and how to control my body when it is asking for fuel. I was hungry and thirsty, but it was worth it. Now I have my own experience on how to go through Ramadan, what to eat, how to train and if necessary what supplementation I would need to take.

I have the power to say to my client next year, yes I’ve done it and believe me I know what it feels like. I also have the confidence to say, it is possible to get in shape and even maintain your muscle mass during this period. It was not easy, but doable. I’ve lost 4kg of fat and 1kg of muscle. From 92 kg I went down to 87kg and although I looked a little bit like a dried fruit sometimes, I loved my new life experience and looking forward to do it again next year.

Pal Sebestyen
Personal Trainer at Fitness First Kuwait 360 Mall.

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