FITNESS

Staying Fit While Fasting: How Trainer Shrek of Ritual Gym Does It

  • What's your age and occupation?
    1 / 8 What's your age and occupation?

    I’m 37 this year, working at Ritual Gym as a Master Coach, my role is mainly being the overall in charge of all the coaches across the 3 outlets.

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  • What's the toughest thing about maintaining your diet during the fasting month?
    2 / 8 What's the toughest thing about maintaining your diet during the fasting month?

    The first 3-4 days are usually the toughest as the body adjust having no food and water from sunrise to sunset, so you have a very small eating window from somewhere around 7pm till bed time, and anywhere before 530am (the time varies from day to day).

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  • What's your usual diet like, and what's your diet like during the fasting month? What are the specific foods you eat/avoid?
    3 / 8 What's your usual diet like, and what's your diet like during the fasting month? What are the specific foods you eat/avoid?

    I prefer not to use the term ‘diet’, a better term would be “eating habits/patterns”. I have been practicing Intermittent Fasting over the last 6yrs. To summarise, I usually don’t eat for 16 hours and eat within an 8-hour feeding window.

    For example, if i have my last meal at 8pm, my first meal next day will be around 12 noon, so from the point I wake up till noon, I will limit myself to only water or black coffee. I should also mention that I do keep it flexible; some days my fasting windows can be as short as 12 hours or as long as 20 hours just to cater to how my day looks.

    With this eating habit, I just adjust my eating window accordingly during ramadan and the only difference, and still the toughest thing about ramadan, is the restriction of water.

    I tend to base my eating on whole foods, balancing the macros of carbs/proteins/fats and minimise processed food as much as possible. I try to be flexible with my food choices, so if I want to have a Snickers bar or ice-cream, I will not stop myself, and of course I wont overdo it.

    Over time I don’t have much cravings and I enjoy eating my “normal” meals of chicken salad or steak and rice. Being this flexible, I also don’t need a cheat day/meal.

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  • How are your usual workouts like, and what's your training like during the fasting month? What are the specific exercises you stick to and recommend?
    4 / 8 How are your usual workouts like, and what's your training like during the fasting month? What are the specific exercises you stick to and recommend?

    Over the last 5 years, I have been heavily involved in Obstacle Course Racing (OCR), and I’ve been doing at least 8 to 10 races a year, which is why I always have to maintain a certain fitness level and performance.

    OCR is an all-rounded sport, which is why my approach for training have me dwelling into running, climbing and of course strength training at the gym or outdoors. Usually I will spread all those activities throughout the week, and 2 training sessions on some days.

    For the fasting month, I usually take the opportunity to slow things down to give the body a little rest. Its usually running/rucking on Mon/Wed/Fri and strength training on Tues/Thurs/Sat. If you are wondering what rucking is, think fast walks with loaded backpacks.

    For strength training, I will stick to basic compound movement such squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, pullups, dips, animal movements (bear crawl, gorillas) and heavy carries (farmers walk, sandbag, atlas ball). I usually train about 1 hour to breaking the fast as I prefer to keep my night free, because sometimes I will be going to the mosque to do my Terawih prayers which only happens in Ramadan.

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  • How do you stay motivated to exercise during the fasting month?
    5 / 8 How do you stay motivated to exercise during the fasting month?

    Just like any other days or month, its always good to have a goal, a training plan and vary the intensity accordingly as theres definitely a shortfall with the strength as you are lacking in nutrients and fluid.

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  • How do you deal with any strength/fitness losses during this period? 
    6 / 8 How do you deal with any strength/fitness losses during this period? 
    As long as you maintain your training throughout the month, the body will pickup as soon as you ramp up the intensity after the fasting period. In the span of 4 weeks, training with a low/moderate intensity will also allow the body to rest and recover from the hard and heavy sessions in the months to come.

     

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  • How do you cope with the feeling of hunger during the day?
    7 / 8 How do you cope with the feeling of hunger during the day?

    Hunger and thirst is unavoidable but I count my blessings as I don’t have to be out under the sun for most of the day, I am usually in the comfort of my gym either coaching or doing some administrative work on my laptop. Staying occupied is definitely the best way to keep you distracted from the hunger. I almost forgot, stay away from social media so you don’t have to look at all those nice and delicious food posts. 🙂

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  • What advice do you have for people who want to keep fit during this period?
    8 / 8 What advice do you have for people who want to keep fit during this period?

    It helps to have a goal, a training plan and keep yourself accountable. If everything goes well, your training and eating habits being on point, you will definitely see some changes in your body composition. That’s definitely the biggest motivation you can attain concurrently in this great holy month of Ramadan.

    All images from @shrekofritual

    By Gilbert Wong, Men’s Health Content Producer

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