Playing Hoops During Ramadhan – The Survival Guide

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Muhd Zainul competing in the Borneo Cup in 2011… during Ramadhan fasting hours! Credit: KKBA
Muhd Zainul competing in the Borneo Cup in 2011… during Ramadhan fasting hours! Credit: KKBA

Ramadan is a month of abstinence and spiritual introspection; it is 30 powerful days to gain proximity to Allah. However, whether to fit in an hour or so at any basketball court, makes for a tough decision. Here at Brunei Basketball, we will assist all Muslim ballers in how to maintain your game fitness while observing the holy month while

There are not a lot of scientific studies regarding the effect of Ramadhan on sports, but we will go with anecdotal evidence – case in point: former Houston Rockets centre Hakeem Olajuwon, who fasted and claimed that his play improved. In the end, it depends on how in tune you are with your body. If you really struggle physically during Ramadhan, we suggest you postpone your open runs for a month and just play NBA 2K games. However, if your body feels like ready to go, then go for it! Just don’t overdo it. Confusing? Basically, doing some shootarounds when fasting is a good thing – it helps to keep the system working and blood circulating.

However, this also depends on your daily routine. It is important to find out what works best for you. You may find that you perform better doing layup drills on an empty stomach, or that you feel more energised doing cardio after a light sungkai or iftar meal.

Ramadhan balling like a champ – like Hj Badri and Ahmad Termizi. Credit: FBA
Ramadhan balling like a champ – like Hj Badri and Ahmad Termizi. Credit: FBA

EXERCISE GUIDE:

  • Keep your workouts short, a minimum of 30 minutes to a maximum of 60 minutes. No need to prove yourself an alpha during this month!
  • Do light cardio – light jogs around the court sidelines to help burn calories and improve stamina, full body stretching to improve flexibility, or abs workout and push-ups.
  • Gulp down plenty of water between the hours of iftar and sahur. Drink water with sea salt or coconut water to increase the electrolytes in your body, which are essential for heart, nerve and muscle functions.
  • NO high-intensity exercises like suicide sprints or contact drills as it can cause joint or muscle injuries and also lead to complications such as low blood pressure, hypoglycaemia and dizziness.
  • Avoid fried and fatty foods – all that hard work and you’re going to let it go to waste?
Muhd Jamri in action, post-sungkai. Credit: FBA
Muhd Jamri in action, post-sungkai. Credit: FBA

DIET AND NUTRITION:

Players are advised to eat plenty of slow-release carbohydrates while avoiding anything with too much sugar, which is a quick-release carbohydrate. What we can help with is to give everyone a survival food guide to be in baller-shape while observing the fasting month:

Sahur (Pre-Dawn Meal)

For sahur, it is imperative to drink plenty of water, eat a good blend of protein, carbohydrates, and essential fat. That’s right, “good fats” have many fat-burning and muscle-building properties, and their importance is even greater during Ramadan. Some good sahur foods include:

  1. Egg whites (1 yolk)
  2. Chicken breast
  3. Oatmeal
  4. Cream of wheat
  5. Protein shake
  6. Cinnamon
  7. Bananas
  8. Raw, dark Honey
  9. Raisins or dates
  10. Fibrous vegetables -This will help increase the feeling of fullness as well.
  11. All natural peanut butter
  12. Flax seed oil – A great and tasty brand is Omega Swirl from Barleans -There’s a version for Women as well. (www.barleans.com)
  13. Olive oil – preferably extra virgin (which means it’s cold processed and the essential fatty acids are preserved)
  14. Plenty of water

It is important to take a solid multi-vitamin, multi-mineral supplement with sahur as well to make sure daily minimum requirements of key nutrients are met.

Sungkai or Sungkai or iftar (Sunset Meal)

This is a key time for rehydration. Meals can be as normal but here we aim to specifically aid you in your quest in achieving or maintaining your athlete fitness. We break our fast with dates and water but if you investigate this nutritionally, you will see that dates are very unique in their nutrient content. They contain very high levels of potassium (much more than a banana), a key re-hydration mineral and a special carbohydrate blend that enhances hydration above and beyond water alone. They contain a special blend of glucose and fructose for short and long term energy. So basically when you eat a date and water for sungkai or iftar, your body gets hydrated again much faster than with water alone (think of dates and water combined as a very advanced, natural form of 100 Plus).

You should also eat some quality protein at sungkai or iftar time as well. Of course, drink plenty of water. Then 60 – 90 minutes later have a food meal. Drink plenty of water and then go train for about 30-45 minutes. After the workout, also have another nutrition shake with plenty of water.

Extra Tips

Eating small meals at night can trick your body into speeding up metabolic rate (not to mention increase nutrient absorption and stabilize insulin and blood sugar levels). Your body loves homeostasis and wants to maintain a certain balance – you literally have to shock it constantly to lose fat and gain muscle over the long run!

It is very important to watch your sodium intake at this time as high sodium can cause greater dehydration plus increase thirst during the day. Avoid high sodium foods like soups, sauces, condiments, gravies, high sodium bread products, and canned meats. Of course, eating fried foods and heavy oil items can cause heartburn and problems for you all day so it is best to avoid those if possible!

RAMADHAN COURTS

Here we are, the real crux of this article – where to shoot some hoops once you have performed the tarawih prayers. While the list is incomplete and it’s a short list due to the timings, we do recommend our hoopheads to check out these venues from time to time in hopes there are competitions going on:

1. University Brunei Darussalam Multi-Purpose Sports Complex, Bandar Seri Begawan

Time of the week: Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays


2. Marina Sports Hall, Seria
Time of the week: Every night (subject to availability, please make your bookings in advance)

3. Kampung Baru Basketball Court @ Xing Chun, Seria

Time of the week: Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays

4. Beribi Outdoor Basketball Court, Gadong

Time of the week: Tuesdays; otherwise subject to weather conditions

5. Fitness Zone, Kiulap

Time of the week: Every night (subject to availability, please make your bookings in advance

6. Brunei Basketball Association Indoor Basketball Hall

Time of the week: Every night (subject to availability, please make your bookings in advance)

There are other courts out there in Brunei (fan submissions are welcomed in the comments section below!). We hope the article can prep you for Ramadhan ball and whether or not you aim to maintain your fitness or just want to shoot around, knowing how and where to go will always be our mission. Ramadhan kareem, everyone!

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