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Ramadan

Health & Nutrition

7 Tips On How To Keep Your Energy Levels Up in Ramadan

posted by FitnessFirst Team June 14, 2017 0 comments

How to keep your energy levels up in the last week of Ramadan

Sleep and Nap

Sleeping is essential for body, a healthy lifestyle includes healthy food, good hydration, and quality sleep. During Ramadan our sleeping routine is changed and we usually do not sleep much as on regular days. For better sleep, take 1-2 naps during the day, no more than 20-30 minutes each, to improve alertness and performance.

Exercise

Exercise is a great way to give you an energy boost, help you sleep better, and most important maintain your weight during Ramadan. Exercise was always an issue for many people who are fasting, we always advise if you are used to exercise on regular days continue don’t quit, as for the time of exercise it differs from one person to another. Some people train before Iftar or a couple of hours after Iftar or even right after Suhoor. When you start training you will be surprised how much energy you have.

Supplement

Supplements can provide additional nutritional value to your daily intake. In one way or another, some foods lose some of its nutritional value due to cooking or just handling so we advise to add some supplementation to your diet to keep your energy levels up. Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Omega 3, B vitamins (which are called the energy vitamins) are some examples. We advise you have some blood tests some before taking any supplements.

Preventative Measures for Osteoporosis

Hydration

Hydration is very essential nowadays, especially in hot weather, the main rule is to have at least 2-3 liters of water all through the night between Iftar and Suhoor so aim for 2 cups every 30 minutes. Avoid high caffeinated and drinks high in sugar.

Hydration

Small Frequent Meals

Keep your healthy eating habits the same during Ramadan, instead of having one heavy meal, divide your meal into 3-4 small light meals, even if you don’t have time, with only 30 minutes between the small meals. This prevents the tired and bloated feeling after eating a heavy meal.

Healthy meal

Yes for Suhoor

The importance of Suhoor is the same as breakfast as it’s an early meal. It has a lot of benefits for the body, fuels your body for the long day of fasting and gives you steady energy while fasting. Don’t miss it and remember remember you can sleep during the day, but you cannot eat. Citing Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) “Don’t miss the Suhoor, as it has a blessing”

Don’t miss the Suhoor, as it has a blessing

Don’t miss the Protein

Make sure your main meal during the Iftar has protein. Protein helps you feel fuller for longer time and it’s also great to boost your energy and metabolism. Keep in mind it’s considered the favorite food for your muscles.

Banin Shahine
National Wellness Manager
Fitness First Middle East

 

Tenderloin
Health & Nutrition

Tenderloin with Salsa Verde

posted by FitnessFirst Team June 12, 2017 0 comments

INGREDIENTS

  • Tenderloin beef
  • 1kg parsley, chopped
  • 500g basil, chopped
  • 500g coriander, chopped
  • 500g onion, finely diced
  • 200g Dijon mustard
  • 30g garlic
  • pinch apple vinegar
  • salt
  • 200ml olive oil

METHOD:

  • Seal the tenderloin and cook in the oven to desired doneness
  • Place chopped herbs, olive oil, garlic and mustard in robo coupe and blend to a paste
  • Remove and add the onions and correct the seasoning with the vinegar

Recipe provided by Pura pura.ae

Shakshuka
Health & Nutrition

How to make Shakshuka

posted by FitnessFirst Team June 12, 2017 0 comments

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium brown or white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cups ripe diced tomatoes, or 2 cans (14 oz. each) diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp chili powder (mild)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (or more to taste– spicy!)
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Poached eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (optional, for garnish)

Method

  • Heat a deep, large skillet or sauté pan on medium. Slowly warm olive oil in the pan. Add chopped onion, sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add garlic and continue to sauté till mixture is fragrant.
  • Add the bell pepper, sauté for 5-7 minutes over medium until softened.
  • Add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan, stir till blended. Add spices and sugar, stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes till it starts to reduce. At this point, you can taste the mixture and spice it according to your preferences. Add salt and pepper to taste, more sugar for a sweeter sauce, or more cayenne pepper for a spicier shakshuka (be careful with the cayenne… it is extremely spicy!).
  • Serve tomato sauce and style poached eggs on top of the tomato sauce. Garnish with the chopped parsley, if desired.
  • Shakshuka can be eaten for Iftar or Suhoor. For Iftar, serve with warm crusty bread or pita that can be dipped into the sauce. For Suhoor, serve with a green side salad for a light, easy meal.

Recipe provided by Pura pura.ae

Turkey Meatloaf
Health & Nutrition

Turkey Meatloaf Recipe

posted by FitnessFirst Team June 6, 2017 0 comments

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • 500g turkey mince
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 50ml BBQ sauce (homemade)
  • 1-2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley

Cook the onion for 8-10 mins until softened. Add the garlic, mustard and tomato purée, and stir until combined. Set aside to cool.

Put the turkey mince, egg and cooled onion mix in a large bowl and season well. Mix everything to combine, then pour into a rectangular lined roasting tin. Bake until cooked

Spread tomato sauce over the meatloaf end enjoy.

Recipe provided by Pura pura.ae

Gaucamole
Health & Nutrition

How to Make Perfect Guacamole Recipe

posted by FitnessFirst Team June 6, 2017 0 comments

Ingredients

  • Guacamole
  • 2 avocados, ripe
  • 1 tomato, de-seeded and diced
  • ¼ small hot chili
  • 30g coriander chopped
  • 1 lime, juice
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • sea salt

Put the avocado in a bowl and crush into large chunks

Fold in the remaining ingredients with a fork

Recipe provided by Pura pura.ae

 

Fitness & Training

Yoga Sequences during Fasting

posted by FitnessFirst Team June 6, 2017 0 comments

Yoga is an ancient science which helps you balance the body, mind and spirit. Yoga involves breathing exercises which increases the capacity of the lungs, more intake of oxygen to the blood stream, poses which help you stretch the muscles increasing flexibility. There are meditation techniques which will help to control over the mind, which will keep the mind focused and have good control over the sense organs.

Design your yoga practice well avoiding dynamic movements and including calming poses and breathing exercises which focuses on the mind and soul.

Yoga sequences during fasting

All non-intense yoga is recommended during fasting. Sun salutations of low intensity with adequate intervals between poses is highly advised, there are few breathing practices and poses which help the body mechanism to function regular during fasting.

Alternate nostril breathing

A simple breathing practice which helps you calm your mind and give a good control over the mind, this also helps to regulate your temperature. Sit in any cross legged posture with spine straight and shoulder relaxed. Left palm on the left knee, right nostril is closed with right thumb inhaling deep through the left nostril. Closing the left nostril with right ring finger exhale slowly from the right, keeping the left nostril still closed inhale from the right. Now close the right nostril with right thumb and exhale from the left. This is one round of practice; continue doing 7, 14 or 21 rounds.

Forward bend sequence 

Backward bend produces heat in body and all forward bending like forehead to the knee pose gives cooling to the body systems. Forward bend relaxes the heart and helps the metabolism by creating a negative suction pressure to the abdominal organs. Sequences of forward bending help the heart to pump the blood to the brain and give a good control over the mind. Yoga aims to balance the body in order to still the mind, so cooling forward bends are perfect during the heat of summer while you are in fast.

Forward fold – standing

Has more effects compared to seating forward fold. Helps to energize the heart, focus on the balance gives you a good concentration and determination.

Other poses to try include Hip openers, Wide legged Pose and Half Shoulders stand variations.

Find out more on our Mind & Body group exercise classes

 

Health & Nutrition

Protein Overnight Oats

posted by FitnessFirst Team May 31, 2017 0 comments

Ingredients

  • 50g Oats
  • 50g vanilla Protein powder
  • 30g Almond milk
  • 30g Water
  • 30g Berries

Mix the oats, vanilla protein powder, almond milk and water.

Chill over night. Pour on top of the berries. Enjoy!

Recipe provided by Pura pura.ae

Health & Nutrition

Healthy Chocolate Fudge

posted by FitnessFirst Team May 31, 2017 0 comments

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups almond butter
  • ½ cup chocolate
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • Sea salt, to top
  • Roasted almonds, to top 

Instructions

Line a 12 count muffin tin with six-muffin liners and set aside.

In a microwave safe bowl or stovetop, melt your chocolate almond butter with coconut oil. Stir through your pure maple syrup and mix until fully incorporated.

Divide mixture evenly amongst the lined muffin cups. Top each cup with an almond, if desired. Refrigerate or freeze. Once firm, sprinkle with sea salt, if desired.

Recipe provided by Pura pura.ae

Fitness & Training

Plan Smart Get Results during Ramadan

posted by FitnessFirst Team May 30, 2017 0 comments

If you`re thinking to have a Ramadan fat loss plan, killing yourself in long cardio sessions, training when you`re fasting, pushing your limits over 100% everyday, you are wrong.

The perfect formula for great results in sports, wellness and fitness should be designed in a perfect balance.

Ramadan is a perfect time to have a smart plan and get great results. We have selected 3 important keys to help you in your fitness journey during Ramadan 2017.

1st – Smart workout routine periodization

Your workout plan should be well prepared respecting your actual nutrition and based on what you wish to achieve. Ramadan is a time when we could name as a “recovery season”.  Imagine yourself being a high performance athlete and take your workout plan with a commitment of a professional elite player. During Ramadan you should not stop exercising, however we advise your training sessions to be on lower intensity and volume at this month.

Your body actually requires times to recover and to slow down, Ramadan is the perfect time you can manage to train in lower intensity and still get great results.

Note: MYZONE belt plays an important role to manage your workout session and help you to know limits.

2nd – Ramadan is time to socialize, but don` t go to far and avoid regrets.

The season of delicious, taste, heavy, full of fat and refined sugar traditional food. Surrounded from family and friends. We can easily get lost and regret right after Eid El Fitr. Understanding how to balance your choices will help you to keep on track and select the right portions you can allow yourself to enjoy this season. A great advise is to alternate the days you will stick with healthy meals and those days you can be allowed to cross the line to enjoy yourself. It`s important to remember the quality of what you eat and to know what will strongly affect your performance at the gym as well as your results in short and long term. Balance your choices and you will finish this season feeling and looking great.

3rd – Sleep well!!!

When it comes to Ramadan, sleep is very important and can have a direct affect on your results.

A great night in bed means 3 steps ahead to achieve your fitness goals. Take it serious and you will be wow impressed with changes that may occur to your body. Energy high up, control food cravings and reduce cortisol levels. Sleep is completely connected with stress control. High levels of cortisol is the poison of modern society.  It can cause heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and the list can go further.

Cortisol is also responsible for your belly fat, the one you’ve been working so hard to burn it. The best way to reduce cortisol levels is having a quality night sleep.

Switch off all lights, Instagram, Snapchat, mobile phone, TV and give yourself an extra 2 to 3 hours night sleep. Plan for 7-8 hours deep sleep. I know it’s hard but believe me! You will remember this advice for a life-time if you allow yourself to try!

Each goal comes with a different strategy and it`s important to understand what are your need are. Fitness First has a team of professionals that can help in your journey to organize the perfect workout routine, manage your nutrition and understand the importance of recovery.

Bruna Diniz
Fitness Manager
Uptown Mirdif Ladies 

Fitness & Training

To Train or Not to Train?

posted by FitnessFirst Team May 30, 2017 0 comments

That is the question – and there is no right or wrong answer! Every year as the Holy Month of Ramadan gets closer, there is always a debate as to whether it is healthy to train during this time – or even train while fasting. Other concerns such as eating too much or too little can also have an effect on peoples’ decision to train.

The answer is simple: it depends!

The reason why it depends is because it depends entirely on your body. It is important to know and understand your body’s limitations and knowing what your body can handle. If training is a regular part of your daily or weekly routine, then training during Ramadan shouldn’t be an issue – the limitation might then be to understand how intense your training should be. If training is fairly new to you, then taking this Holy Month off might be the better choice. Again, this comes down to understanding your limitations.

When to train during Ramadan?

Another question that is asked quite frequently is when to train. Because hydration is one of the most important things during exercise, it is recommended to train right after a light Iftar meal. However, if staying hydrated between Iftar and Suhoor is an easy task, then training while fasting might be alright for your body. Know your limitations!

If you do decide to train, here are some points to keep in mind when designing your training:

  • Try not to push your body too far; keep workouts short and at low intensity
  • If training is new to you, try some light cardiovascular exercises and mobility work to keep the body moving
  • Make sure to drink plenty of water between Iftar and Suhoor to keep the body fully hydrated
  • Try to keep high intensity workouts until after Iftar meals. This way you can give the body fuel for energy
  • Try not to eat too many fried or fatty foods so that it doesn’t counteract your hard work and fitness achievements thus far
  • If you start to feel dizzy or sick, stop training and lower the intensity. Remember, any movement is better than no movement at all

Whatever you decide – whether to train or not to train – make sure you understand your body and your body’s limitations. This is not the time to try new things, but to maintain your fitness. You know your body better than anyone else!

Andre Fox-Martins
Fitness Manager
Fitness First Platinum Plus l Town Center l Dubai

Our Team

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.

Mindful Eating
Health & Nutrition

8 Steps to Mindful Eating During Ramadan

posted by FitnessFirst Team May 30, 2017 1 Comment

After a long day of fasting, it’s very easy to overeat at Iftar time and not focus on what you’re eating due to hunger and thirst. After all, we all don’t want to gain weight during Ramadan and would like to lose a few pounds or at least maintain our weight.

Ramadan is a time when it is most important to practice patience and mindful eating noting the health benefits and rewards it brings. Here are some steps to help you eat mindfully during this holy month.

STEPS TO MINDFUL EATING…

This ancient practice can transform the way you think about food and set the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating.

Like most of us, you’ve probably eaten something in the past few hours. And, like many of us, you may not be able to recall everything you ate, let alone the sensation of eating it. Because we’re working, driving, reading, watching television, or fiddling with an electronic device, we’re not fully aware of what we’re eating.

Ramadan Meal

By truly paying attention to the food you eat, you may indulge in foods like a cheeseburger and fries less often. In essence, mindful eating means being fully attentive to your food—as you buy, prepare, serve, and consume it. In the book Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life, Dr. Lillian Cheung and her co-author, Buddhist spiritual leader Thich Nhat Hanh, suggest several practices that can help you get there, including those listed below.

Begin with your shopping list. 

Consider the health value of every item you add to your list and stick to it to avoid impulse buying when you’re shopping. Fill most of your shopping trolley in the produce section and avoid the centre aisles—which are often heavy with processed foods—and skip the sweets at the checkout counter.

Come to the table with an appetite.

If you skip meals, you may be so eager to get anything in your stomach that your first priority is filling the void instead of enjoying your food.

Start with a small portion.

It may be helpful to limit the size of your plate to nine inches or less.

Salad Portion

Appreciate your food. 

Pause for a minute or two before you begin eating to contemplate everything and everyone it took to bring the meal to your table. Silently express your gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and the companions you’re enjoying it with.

Bring all your senses to the meal. 

When you’re cooking, serving, and eating your food, be attentive to colour, texture, aroma, and even the sounds different foods make as you prepare them. As you chew your food, try identifying all the ingredients, especially seasonings.

Take small bites.

It’s easier to taste food completely when your mouth isn’t full. Put down your utensil between bites.

Chew thoroughly. 

Chew well until you can taste the essence of the food. (You may have to chew each mouthful 20 to 40 times, depending on the food.) You may be surprised at all the flavours that are released.

Eat slowly. 

If you follow the advice above, you won’t bolt your food down. Devote at least five minutes to mindful eating before you chat with your tablemates.

Enjoy!

Health & Nutrition

Roasted Strawberry Protein Shake

posted by FitnessFirst Team May 24, 2017 0 comments

Try this healthy treat for the taste buds as a post workout snack.

Roasted Strawberry, thyme and cottage cheese protein shake

  • Thyme roasted strawberries
  • Cottage cheese
  • Strawberry protein powder
  • Water
  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup Ice

Blend all ingredients and enjoy!

Recipe provided by Pura pura.ae

Health & Nutrition

Yellow Lentil Soup

posted by FitnessFirst Team May 24, 2017 0 comments

Try this healthy and hearty lentil soup for Iftar.

Yellow lentil soup

  • 200g of split red lentils, soaked
  • 50g chopped onion
  • 50g chopped celery
  • 50g chopped carrot
  • ¼ tsp green chili
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 2ltr chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2.5 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped parsley

 

METHOD

  • Rinse and soak the split red lentils for 15-20 minutes, then drain
  • Heat the oil up in a large pot over medium heat
  • Cook the onions, celery, and carrots for 7-10 minutes until they have become slightly translucent
  • Add in the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds
  • Add in the bay leaf, cumin powder, turmeric, drained lentils, chicken stock, and water
  • cook for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils have softened
  • Remove the bay leaf
  • Blend the soup to the consistency that you like
  • Season with the lemon juice, salt, and pepper
  • Top with chopped parsley

Recipe provided by Pura pura.ae

Health & Nutrition

The Meaning of Ramadan

posted by FitnessFirst Team May 21, 2017 0 comments

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic Hijri calendar, is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting which starts and ends with the visual sightings of the crescent moon. Fasting is obligatory for adult Muslims during which no food or drink is consumed from sunrise till sunset and it is believed that fasting helps the Muslim learn patience, modesty, and spirituality.

What is the true meaning of Ramadan and why is it compulsory for Muslims to fast ?

Yes but what is the true meaning of Ramadan and why is it compulsory for Muslims to fast and endure hunger and thirst especially during the hot summer months?

Every year the percentage of hunger and starvation is increasing and we hear a lot of people die of hunger especially in the poor and developing countries. The biggest problem facing the world today is not people dying in the streets but rather the lack of a sense of caring for those disadvantaged people.

Through Ramadan, God is asking us to think about these people, and feel their hunger through fasting, because to God we are all equal. Fasting provides the opportunity for the faster to feel the pain and agony that a poor person is going through.

God has made fasting compulsory so that the rich feel the pain of hunger so they have a mercy upon the poor. A fasting person is also expected to pay money (Zakatul-fitreh) which is compulsory and is regarded as the compilation of fasting to feed a group of poor people with.

Moreover, a religious fasting is not just a physical diet program, it’s a spiritual detoxification and healing for the mind and body. When we fast from food we are expected to also fast from all harmful and forbidden actions and intentions. Fasting teaches punctuality, patience, contentment and many others that unless one fasts cannot really realize them.

Ramadan Kareem
Fitness First Team

Health & Nutrition

Nutrition and Healthy Eating in Ramadan

posted by FitnessFirst Team May 21, 2017 0 comments

The person’s life style changes in Ramadan. He has a precious opportunity to follow a healthy diet that contributes to losing weight and adjusts the blood sugar level.

Ramadan is a great opportunity for overweight people to lose weight by eating moderately and exercising before or after Iftar.

The healthy and complete diet that contains different types of food must be adhered to, so that the fasting person can have all food components needed by the body. One of the most important things to be considered is to eat slowly with no rush.

What are the person’s nutritional needs every day?

Carbohydrates:

They act as the body’s fuel, as they provide it with the energy it needs to carry out its functions normally. They also play a critical role in maintaining the blood sugar level.

Proteins:

Proteins are essential to build and renew the body’s cells and tissues. Eating sufficient amount of proteins in your all meals during Ramadan makes you feel full till next meal, so you do not eat an excessive amount of desserts.

Fats:

They also are an important energy source and play an important role in the function of the body’s cells. Some of them (i.e. healthy fats) are useful for the health of the heart, skin and hair too. Avoid using saturated fats of butter and gee in Ramadan meals, as they raise the cholesterol level in blood and increase the risk of heart diseases.

Vitamins and Minerals:

They play an important role in maintaining the functions of the body’s cells naturally. They also strengthen the body’s immunity and give it liveliness. In addition, some of them play the role of antioxidants that protect the body from diseases.

Drink sufficient amount of water between Iftar and Suhoor to provide the body with fluids during day.

Avoid drinking fizzy drinks at Iftar and Suhoor, as they adversely affect the digestion process and fill stomach with sugar. Further, these kind of drinks lacks nutritional value and adds weight.

Iftar (breakfast)

It is advised to eat Iftar in two phases:

First, eat dates, and then drink a glass of water or milk. Start Iftar with a hot plate of soup and salad.

After a while ranging from half an hour to an hour, it is advised to eat the main meal. Moderation in eating food is undoubtedly the main factor of good health!

The balanced main dish at Iftar must contain types of good carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes brown rice, oats or bulgur and type of lean meat such as red meat, chicken, or fish, as well as vegetables.

  • Iftar only does not provide you with all your nutritional needs. It is preferred and advised to eat a snack before sleep, which consists of, for example, a glass of low fat milk, a sandwich made of brown bread, low fat cheese, and a handful amount of dried fruit and nuts.
  • If you want to drink coffee or tea, it is advised to drink an hour or two after eating Iftar.
  • The change in eating routine may lead to having constipation. To avoid it, it is advised to eat an ample amount of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes; drink sufficient amount of water; and do some form of light exercise right before iftar, after iftar or before suhoor.
  • Eating a piece of dessert immediately after Iftar causes increase in the stomach’s size, as it delays the digestion process. In addition, an imbalance occurs in the blood sugar level, leading to increase the desire to eat more dessert. It is preferred to eat it two or three hours after eating Iftar.

Suhoor

Suhoor is a main meal in Ramadan. It helps endure the fatigue of fasting.

One of the common mistakes in Ramadan is that many people tend not to eat Suhoor, thinking that it is not important and that eating Iftar and the following different food is enough to provide them with the sugar and energy they need for the next day, that is on one hand. On the other hand, some people eat this meal early before Suhoor time.

Suhoor is considered as an alternative to the breakfast you eat in the normal day. Therefore, it must contain the same main ingredients we find in breakfast, including bread, low fat dairy products such as milk, labneh, egg, vegetables, or rice with milk and dried fruits. As for fast food such as falafel, shawerma, or dishes rich in fats, they do not fit the requirements of Suhoor.

It is desirable to eat Suhoor as late as possible to reduce the period during which the body is deprived from food and drink. 

  • Avoid eating salted food such as canned food, processed food, salted nuts and pickles at Suhoor as they may heighten your feeling of thirst during fasting period.
  • You should drink an ample amount of water during the post-Iftar period, i.e. at least 2-3 liters of water. Drink little amounts of them intermittently to avoid any discomfort or distention.

Fitness First Team

Fitness & Training

How and when to exercise in Ramadan

posted by FitnessFirst Team May 15, 2017 0 comments

Exercising should be continued during the holy month of Ramadan, as it is one of the healthy habits that are recommended to be followed for its many benefits that positively affect the human health.

However, the right time and kind of exercise should be chosen.

 

Why should you work out in Ramadan ?

If exercising is important to the body’s well being and health throughout the year, it is even more important in Ramadan than in any other month, due to many reasons including:

1. It helps people who follow an exercise program to easily resume it after Ramadan and does not give a chance to idleness to seep into their bodies.

2. During fast time, the muscular system gets energy by using the glucose in liver. If the physical exertion and required energy increase; and the amount of glucose in liver is inadequate to provide muscles with energy, the muscular system will use another source, which is the adipose tissue dissolution and fatty acid oxidation. If the fatty acids decrease, the muscular system will oxidize the fats in liver. Thus, fast and exercising are a good chance to burn the stored fats.

3. It improves the digestive system efficiency and protects from indigestion problems.

4. The weight lost during fast will definitely be gained after Iftar, especially if the fasting person overeats throughout Ramadan without exercising.

5. If the body suffers from deprivation and lacks energy resources, weight will be lost, but from the non-fatty tissues, which adversely affects health. However, in Ramadan, exercising and deprivation of food lead to weight loss from the adipose tissues, affecting health positively.

6. Not eating or drinking for long hours up to 15 hours, as well as staying up for long hours at night, cause body fatigue and stress. Therefore, exercising is a key factor in fasting to increase the body’s efficiency, fitness and health; add vitality to it; protect it from diseases; and eliminate idleness and laziness.

What time of the day should I exercise?

Preferable Times for Exercising in Ramadan and the benefits of each:

1. Two or three hours before Iftar to compensate the body for the missing fluids and minerals as soon as possible to avoid the health symptoms that may be caused for it as a result of exercising

2. Approximately two and half to three hours after Iftar, as during this period, food is efficiently digested to recover energy and recharge it to the vital organs of the body

The period of time allocated to an exercising class during fast does not exceed 60 minutes for a maximum of 5 days a week.

The physical activities that are preferred to be practiced in Ramadan are of low or medium intensity kind and do not require considerable exertion and high resistance that may exhaust the body.

Fitness First Team

Blood Tests
Health & Nutrition

Why it’s important to do a blood test before Ramadan

posted by FitnessFirst Team May 12, 2017 0 comments

Annual blood testing is the most important step adults can take to prevent life-threatening disease. Unless we know what your blood looks like under a microscope, there is no way for us to identify what steps you should take to protect your health and enhance your well-being. With blood test results in hand, you can catch critical changes in your body before it manifests as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or worse. Having the proper blood tests can empower you to act on a prevention program that could add decades of healthy life.

Blood Tests

Blood tests have benefits that go far beyond disease prevention. For example, by monitoring levels of hormones, you can take decisive steps to enhance your quality of life, perhaps by correcting a depressive mental state, abdominal obesity, as well as improving your memory and energy levels.

Ramadan is the perfect month to achieve your fitness goals as your body will adapt to eating less and coupled with the right amount of exercise and by eating healthy you will definitely see a big change in your body. By doing a blood test you will be able to assess if there are any problems. Armed with the results of these tests, you can work together with your physicians, nutritionists and our trainers to avert serious health problems and achieve optimal health.

Recommended Blood Packages:

Wellness Profile – Designed to give you a snapshot of your health and detect problems at an early stage

Weight Management Profile – Screening test to identify specific hormone imbalances associated with excess Weight Gain and Obesity, Vitamin D Deficiency, Hypothyroidism and Diabetes

Metabolic Screening Profile – Basal screening test to pick on health issues that require immediate attention

Genetic Health Test (DNA Health) – Tests susceptibility to chronic diseases including osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, amongst others.

Genetic Diet Test (DNA Diet) – Tests responsiveness to diet and lifestyle modification based on your genetics

Food Intolerance Test – What foods could be stopping you from achieving good health? Tests for Intolerance against 222 Foods

Alma Raheem
BSc Biotechnology
Scientific Clinical Laboratories

Are you ready for Ramadan
Health & Nutrition

Are you ready for Ramadan?

posted by FitnessFirst Team May 11, 2017 0 comments

That anticipated cup of coffee every morning, that nourishing midday lunch and afternoon tea time, we would need to do without all these while fasting during the upcoming month of Ramadan. Planning and preparing your body for the month of fasting will make the transition easier and lessen any symptoms you might experience. Remember you are not only training your body to function comfortably on less food, you’re also signalling your mind and your appetite that the fast is approaching.

Here are 12 ways to prepare your body for fasting

1. Detoxify your body

Keep a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly. Start each day with a complex carbohydrate breakfast that breaks down slowly, allowing you to stay energized through the day. Avoid heavy, unhealthy-fried foods, meats, salt and sugar that trigger reactions in the body, which can make cravings even harder to fight. Have a light meal at the end of each day: focus on fruit, vegetables, live-culture yogurt, and salad.

2. Reduce coffee intake

To avoid getting a pounding headache during the first few days of Ramadan, start now by reducing your caffeine intake and reduce your cups of coffee or tea throughout the day to train your body to function regularly caffeine free during daylight hours. Try to switch to herbal teas with all the added benefits.

3. Drink plenty of water

Stay hydrated throughout the day and avoid dehydrating substances, staying away from diuretics like coffee and tea.
drink-water

4. Reduce your food intake

Over-eating pre-Ramadan will only increase your appetite and make it more difficult to fast. Stick to 3 meals a day and avoid snacks in between to make an easier transition to having less meals during the holy month.

5. Have an early breakfast

Start having an early breakfast from now to help your body get used to the earlier hours of waking up and having Suhoor, especially if you are not much of a breakfast eater.

8 Tips to make a fresh start for the New Year

6. Quit bad habits

Ramadan is an opportunity to quit bad habits such as smoking. Plan to wean off gradually to avoid various withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anger, restlessness, impatience, and difficulty concentrating during fasting hours.

7. Practice fasting

Try doing a few fasts in the run up to Ramadan to help you adapt. This is also a great opportunity to make up for any missed fasts from last year.

8. Regulate sleep

Start to mimic your sleeping habits for Ramadan like sleeping earlier to wake up earlier for Suhoor and having an afternoon nap.

9. Start Meal-planning

Prepare your menu for Iftar and Suhoor for the first seven days, list the ingredients needed, and go grocery shopping now when you are still full of energy.

10. Visit your doctor

Check with your doctor if it is safe for you to fast if you have any health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure or reflux, now is the time to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

11. Modify your exercise routine

Regular gentle exercise is recommended during Ramadan which will help keep your energy levels up. Fasting slows the metabolism, making it harder to keep fit and burn calories at your usual level. Start planning your exercise routine during the holy month. Great options include moderate walking shortly before breaking the fast, swimming, yoga and stretching regularly, particularly in the morning to keep the body limber.

Last but not least…

12. Set an intention for the month to come

Think about what you’d like to change in your life: perhaps you need to cut out poor habits and live a healthier lifestyle. Consider what you can do to become a happier and more effective human being. Ramadan is a prime opportunity to your reflect on your life and reset your routines – so plan ahead to make the best use of your time.

Ramadan Kareem
Fitness First Team

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