Personal Trainer in Kuala Lumpur (KL), Cyberjaya, Putrajaya, PJ, KLCC, TTDI, Damansara

16 August 2010

Exercise During Ramadhan?

It has been 6 days since Ramadhan started on the 11th August, and I would like to wish all Muslim readers a blessed Ramadhan Mubarak ahead. In case you are not aware, the Ramadhan month is known as the holiest month for Muslims all over the world, where Muslims observes one of the 5 pillars, fasting or also known as Sawn.

And it's not uncommon for Muslim friends to ask me how should they adjust their exercise routine during the Ramadhan month or should they stop exercising during the holy month? Even non-Muslim who don't fast would ask me the same question, out of curiosity to know.

In general, many side effects take place in the body during fasting mode, both physiological and psychological. Nausea, headache, lethargic and the list goes on. All these happens as the body tries to adapt to the change of diet of not having sufficient calories to sustain the demands imposed on the body. There are also other side effects that are invincible to the naked eyes, like slower metabolism rate to conserve energy and breaking down of muscle tissue to be used as energy source in the absence of food.

Back to the question on whether to exercise during Ramadhan?
The answer is simple – Just do whatever that works for you, and most importantly doesn't harm your body. You see, every person's body is unique in their own way. And our body responds differently from one another as well. What work for you, might not work for me and vice versa. I know of people who could still maintain their exercise routine during the fasting month (on a lower intensity of course), while some people's body just could not keep up with the additional stress demand from exercise.

Most fitness professionals I know personally say that it's counter productive to exercise when fasting, especially for those looking for put on muscle mass. But I personally think that it depends on the timing you choose to exercise. We all know that well timed post-exercise meal is important for protein synthesis to happen, so it would be good to choose proper time where you could break fast immediately after your exercise.

Besides, one study done by a Canadian University reported that those who performed resistance exercise when fasting would be able to reduce muscle tissue lost rate compared to those who fasted and did not perform any resistance exercise.

While there are many theories available on exercising when fasting, end of the day you'll have to try out by yourself, make adjustment and make use of whichever that suits you best for optimal results that you desire. But always remember, due to the insufficient calories intake, it's not uncommon to experience drop in performance during fasting.

I wish you happy and safe trainings :)

07 August 2010

Knowing Your Sources of Calories and Needs

In my previous post, I mentioned that it's not what you eat that makes you fat, but eating more calories than the body need is what makes you fat!

But what are calories actually?
A calorie is the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius. (Okay, that's according to some science textbook's definition). So basically a calorie is a unit for energy. In this post's context, it's about energy for the sustenance for us, humans.

We need energy for everything that we do, breathing, walking, standing, and even lying down resting. And we acquire energy from no other than food. A gram of carbohydrate contain 4 calories, a gram of protein contain 4 calories, and a gram of fat contain 9 calories. While above all that, next to fat is alcohol with 7 calories from every gram, and the worst part of alcohol is, it has no nutritional value.

And to choose your source of calories, ISSA recommends the 1-2-3 nutritional rule-of-thumb. What it means here is 1 part fat, 2 part proteins and 3 parts carbohydrates. Alternatively, you can also modify it based on higher protein intake, which makes it 1 part fat, 2 part carbohydrates and 3 part proteins.

Next question would be, how does this work?
Let's say you are a Male, 90kg with 15% body fat and a fitness buff range weight lifter who needs 3420 calories per day. What you need to do is divide 3420 with 6 part which makes it 570 calories per part.

570 x 1 part fat = 570
570 x 2 part carbs = 1140
570 x 3 part proteins = 1710
                       Total = 3420

Followed by;

570   divide 9 ( fat calories )       = 63 gram of fat
1140 divide 4 ( carbs calories )   = 285 gram of carbohydrates
1710 divide 4 ( protein calories ) = 428 gram of protein

The amount of 3420 calories should come from 63 gram of fat, 285 gram of carbohydrates and 428 gram of protein.

I'm sharing the above calculation just for people's knowledge sake. But for real world application, it's actually not easy to count the amount you are eating and calories. But as a general guidelines, I personally adapt 3 part protein, 2 part carbohydrates and 1 part fat for my food intake. And what I do is - the amount of carbohydrates I consume is about the size of my fist only, with one whole skinless chicken breast, and vegetables. The food stall operator would usually ask me how can I be full from eating so little rice, I just smile :)