Showing posts with label NUTRITIONS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NUTRITIONS. Show all posts

Effects of Ramadan Fasting on Athlete Performance - TIPS for Exercise, Training During Ramadan

>> August 04, 2011

During the month of Ramadan it's estimated that around 500 millions of adult Muslims all over the world fast from dawn to sunset. Generally, 'fasting' means you can't drink, eat, smoke, and have sex during the daylights. That will require those who fast to change the timing of food and fluid intakes, as well as sleep cycle.

One day of fasting seems to have no or a little effect on performance. However, thirty consecutive days of fasting may affect various performance factors including strength, speed, and endurance.

Previous studies have mentioned that Ramadan fasting contributed a fall in aerobic capacity, endurance, and ability to perform exercise at 75% of maximum vo2 max. There was also study that reported some decrements in general fitness components (speed, agility, endurance) and skill test (dribbling) following the fasting (1). The reasons of aforesaid decrements might be lack of fluid and food intake and sleep loss , in which subsequently increase fatigue.

However, recent study demonstrates that there were no clear effects in speed, power, agility, endurance and dribbling skill following Ramadan fasting (7). A study found that Ramadan fasting did not affect the physical performance of athletes, in fact improved performance (2). 

A study was carried out to investigate the effects of Ramadan fasting on anaerobic power, anaerobic capacity and the removal rate of lactate in sprinters, thrower (athletics), and wrestlers (3). Results from this study suggested that Ramadan fasting may not produce adverse effects on body composition, anaerobic power, anaerobic capacity, and LA metabolism during, and after high intensity exercise if there is no change in total daily caloric intake (food and fluid), and no change in total sleeping hours or if everything are maintained as before Ramadan (3).

During Ramadan fasting, proper periodisation of training is important for maintaining and optimising the performance of athletes. Adjustment of training can have a remarkable effect on performance. High-level athletes can maintain performance during Ramadan if physical training, diet, and sleep are well-controlled (9).

Recommendation / Tips for Exercising During Ramadan

  • First of all, there is no reason to stop your regular exercise during Ramadan;
  • Exercise in the morning is okay as long the neuromuscular is already activated and ready to practice;
  • Exercise in the afternoon/evening (normally 2 hours before break fast) is okay but you may control  the training variables (volume, set, repetition) to adapt the physiological change occurred during Ramadan;
  • From the scientific research, experienced athletes may be able maintain the normal training loads (with some adjustments) when fasted in Ramadan's month;
  • Heavy gym session or weight training is preferably be done 1 and a half hour after first meal of post fasting so you can lower the risk of muscle damage;
  • Other reason to exercise at evening is you can consume your supplement foods as usual;
  • If your aim is to lose weight, the best time to perform the workouts is 1 - 1.5 hours prior to break-fast (evening);
  • You may drink heap of waters during sunset to dawn (not dawn to sunset, of course !!);
  • Maintain the daily calorie intake (food & fluid) as before Ramadan (very important);
  • Make sure that you consume protein with the pre-fasting and post-fasting meals;
  • Taking extra multivatamin, protein shake, protein bar are also very helpful;
  • You should ensure adequate sleep and good nutrition to preserve performance and general health.

  • It's clear that you don't really need to make an excuse regarding your practice or training during Ramadan. However to keep your body (and mind), fit and healthy, good diet, sleep etc as mentioned above should be adhered, or your training's performance may decline as reported from the scientific studies. Kindly remember that training impact from week 1 to week 4 of fasting month may be different (increase), thus adjustments of diets and workouts are vital.

    (1) Impact of Ramadan on physical performance in professional soccer players
    (2) Influence of Ramadan fasting on physiological and performance variables in football players: Summary of the F-MARC 2006 Ramadan fasting study
    (3) Influence of Ramadan fasting on anaerobic performance and recovery following  short time high intensity exercise
    (4) Effect of Ramadan fasting on 60 min of endurance running
    (5) Effect of Ramadan intermittent fasting on aerobic an anaerobic performances
    (6) Is diurnal lifestyle altered during Ramadan in professional Muslim athletes
    (7) The influence of Ramadan on physical performance measures in young Muslim football
    (8)  Effects of Ramadan on physical performance: chronobiological consideration
    (9)  Influence of Ramadan fasting on anaero bic performance and recovery following short time high intensity exercise


    Nutrition For Sprinter - Nutritional Guidelines and Supplement Food - For Maximum Performance

    >> May 29, 2011

    One primary goal for good nutrition is to maintain health. Sprinters need good nutrition so that he or she can maintain energy levels during intense training. The use of good nutrition also help facilitate the recovery process that can optimize training adaptations, and thus maximizes performance.

    There are many supplements that are essentials and should be used to improve performances. However we will focus to the supplements that hve been proven effective for sprint performances (Tipton, Jeukendrup & Hespel, 2007);

    1) Beta-alanine (β-alanyl-L-histidine)
    Scientific research have shown the effect of Beta-alanine as follows:
    # Increase muscular strength & power output
    # Increases muscle mass
    # Increase anaerobic endurance
    # Increases aerobic endurance
    # Delay muscular fatigue- train harder & longer

    2) Creatine
    # Enhance power output during short maximal exercise
    # Improve sprint performances by enhancing the efficacy of resistant training
    # Gains in fat free mass and muscle force and power output that accompany resistance training

    3) Sodium Bicarbonate
    # SB known as buffering action. It's an alkali agent of which often used to enhance performances through the ability of buffering the build-up of acid lactic on the blood resulted from anaerobic glycolysis. It's very effective especially for a 400m sprinter (and distances, too)

    4) Caffeine
    # Caffeine is a popular stimulant used by most individuals and athletes
    # Improve muscle fibre recruitment
    # Improve mental alertness (Wow, faster starts... BUT overdose will negatively affect reaction time!)

    # NOTE: Topics of Macronutrient (Vitamin, Mineral, Carbohydrate, Protein, Fat), and also some nutritional agents that promote more on recovery will be discussed in the next time.

    Summary of Nutritional Guidelines For Sprinter:

    • Carbohydrate intake should be sufficient (~5g/kg body wt) to maintain glycogen stores during training.
    • Energy intake should be carefully considered – if increased muscle mass is desired, energy intake should be increased; if muscle mass is optimal, energy intake should be maintained and perhaps monitored.
    • Protein intake is likely adequate for the majority of sprinters, but if energy intake is increased a portion of this increase could, and perhaps should, be protein.
    • Type of protein and timing of protein ingestion should be considered if increased muscle mass is the goal.
    • Race day nutrition should be developed individually with the goal of avoiding GI distress and dehydration.
    • Creatine supplementation may enhance increases in muscle mass and strength, but sprinters must consider the extra weight gain associated with creatine use.
    Principle (Tenets) of Good Nutrition
      In order to achieve top performance, athletes require an appropriate quantity of energy (calories) and various nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins,and minerals) as well as the correct balance or quality of these nutrients. NSCA recommends five tenets of good nutrition as follow:
      • Adequacy: A diet which contains enough of the essential nutrients.
      • Balance: A diet which contains a good proportion of nutrients. No overemphasis of one food group or another.
      • Calorie Control: A diet which contains the correct amount of calories to maintain ideal body weight.
      • Moderation: A diet which enables you to eat any food in reasonable-size portions
      • Variety: A diet which contains different types of food to prevent boredom.
      Nutrition During Competition Days

      The most important message for athletes during competition is "avoid hunger but not risking the discomfort of a full stomach".

      The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) recommends following nutrition's tips  for sprinter during competition;

      1) The following foods are suitable to eat 3-4 hours before exercise:
      • Crumpets with jam or honey + flavoured milk, baked potato + cottage cheese filling + glass of milk, baked beans on toast, breakfast cereal with milk, bread roll with cheese/meat filling + banana, fruit salad with fruit-flavoured yoghurt, pasta or rice with a sauce based on low-fat ingredients (e.g. tomato, vegetables, lean meat)
      2) The following foods are suitable to eat 1-2 hours before exercise:
      • Liquid meal supplement, milk shake or fruit smoothie, sports bars (check labels for carbohydrate and protein content), breakfast cereal with milk, cereal bars, fruit-flavoured yoghurt, fruit
      3) The following foods are suitable to eat if there is less than 1 hour between events:
      • Sports drink, carbohydrate gel, cordial, sports bars, jelly lollies
        1) Wilmore & Costill (2007). Physiology of Sprts and Exercise. Champaign, IL: HK
        2) Wein & Palmer (2008). Does your diet pass muster?. NSCA, Perf Training J, (7) 14-15.
        3) Tipton, Jeukendrup & Hespel (2008). Nutrition for Sprinter. J of Sp Sci, 25 (S1): 5 - 15.
        4) Australian Institute of Sport (
        5) Beta-Alanin, The Facts (

        Recommended reading;

        Practical Sports Nutrition
        NSCA's Guide to Sport and Exercise Nutrition
        Runner's World Performance Nutrition for Runners
        Sports and Exercise Nutrition


        GLUTAMINE ... Push yourself to the limit !!

        >> May 26, 2010

        The purposes to take Glutamine are as follows:

        1) Muscle growth
        2) Strength Gain
        3) Muscles recovery
        4) Reduce muscle cells breakdown
        5) Improve protein synthesis
        6) Anti-Catabolic

        Glutamine is an often-ignored sports supplement among athletes. Glutamine is the most plentiful acid amino in the body. Glutamine plays a vital role in protein metabolism and muscles recovery by increasing protein synthesis and reducing muscles breakdown.

        The higher the amount of glutamine in muscle cells, the greater the rate of cell-production (well how much the muscles is broken down by your training especially in the gym). It’s also shuttles in more fluids into the cells. This process is called “cell-volumizing” which acts as powerful and as anabolic signal for the body to build more protein. Glutamine is important as an anti-catabolic where preventing muscle tissue from being broken down to produce energy.

        Apart from that, it’s important to know when the right time to consume the glutamine is. Generally, by take one tea spoon and put into your cup along with some water then drink. It’s usually taken post workout and before sleep at night.

        Is it safe if consume the glutamine along with creatine? Yes, it is recommended to consume creatine pre and post workouts but when you take glutamine, then no more creatine after workouts and replace with the glutamine. For the best results, consume the glutamine immediately following workouts, or before bedtime, or early in the morning.

        In short, taking the glutamine as your sports supplement, immune function can be enhanced, allow to push yourself to the limit in your training, improve muscles’ efficiency and allowing effective muscular recuperation or recovery.


        Creatine and Athletes Performances

        >> May 15, 2010

        Generally, main benefits to take creatine are as follows:

        1)To increase muscle recovery
        2)To increase endurance
        3)Muscle growth

        With the increasing of scientific finding in the sports supplement, the more products available in different type of fitness-related needs. Creatine is one of them. Creatine has become one of the most popular sports supplements among ‘power endurance-related’ athletes such sprinters, weightlifters, boxers, swimmers, wrestler etc. This writing may helps athletes to understand how the creatine works for the body during the high-intensity workouts.

        When an athlete take part in exercise, a compound in the cells called ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) is used to create energy. It releases one of its phosphate molecules to form ADP (Adenosine Diphospate). And in every releases of phosphate, energy is released for use.

        To re-produce the energy, ADP has to be converted back to ATP. Its means that it needs phosphate. But the problem is that the phosphate that is stored in our body is limited. So, you need the "phosphate"  to re-form ATP, it's mean you need creatine.

        How's it work? Creatine is converted to creatine phosphate in the body. Creatine speeds up the process of producing energy by giving its phosphate to ADP to reform ATP. Now the ATP is ready to create the energy again.

        Indeed, creatine supplementation make difference. However you'll need to understand how and when to consume them in order to maximise the benefit from it.


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